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It always surprised me what comes out of the woodwork when looking at unusual color combinations. Most of the time I didn’t even think it was possible, but the old adage of anything is possible with enough money sure rings true.
Today, we have a 1999 Mercedes-Benz SL500 up for sale in London finished in Designo Purple over Designo Purple leather. Thats the name. Just Designo Purple.
Of all the cars to spend the extra money on for a BMW Individual color, this was not one I would have guessed. This is a 1999 BMW 316i, better know as the ti to us Americans. It was the compact hatchback body of the E36 and generally known as the “cheap” version. For the rest of the world, not so much, as little hatchback versions of luxury brands are the norm and not looked down on in any way. They just exist. That probably explains how this car ended up finished in the very cool Fiji Green and how it seems so inexpensive today. Too bad this one needs another two years before it is welcomed to the US because it has some great equipment on it.
The introduction of the W208 Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class was a little bit of a shock if you were coming from a W124 E-Class coupe. Suddenly everything that was square was now round, and the interior felt….well, a little less quality. I’m sure Mercedes had some kind of spin about how it was modernizing it for the new millennium, but there was no mistaking the difference. You also were swapping a smooth inline-six for a squared-off V6, which I’m sure buyers didn’t really notice the difference of – as long as it started every morning. I think time gave us the answer as really nice E320 Coupes sell for strong money, while the best CLK320 examples, like the one we have today, won’t even sell for half that value.
The conundrum of the Z3 is for me wrapped up in the model’s signature appearance in Goldeneye. There was lots of promotion for the new model; after all, the change from Bond’s signature Aston Martin must have been for a car worthy of such a distinction. Granted, Audi beat BMW to the punch when James sported twin Type 44s in The Living Daylights but the fanfare surrounding the leap to BMW was unprecedented. And, as it turned out, largely unwarranted. Despite the hefty amount of advertising and anticipation of the debut, the 1.9 liter light blue convertible barely appeared in the movie at all – in fact, only long enough for James to toss the keys to someone else. This seems to largely sum up how enthusiasts feel about the successor to the Z1; cute, but a little too soft and not very BMW. Of course, as the model progressed it became more in keeping with the brand – especially true of when outfit by the M division. The resulting M Roadster and especially Coupe versions of the Z3 have become hot commodities in the marketplace, but if you’re willing to forgo the Roadstars, quad exhaust and especially the “S” motors in the front, you can still get a nice inline-six tied to a manual in a roadster.