The E36/7 M Roadster remains an interesting microcosm of not only BMW, but more specifically BMW M, products. Similar to the SLK and Boxster, the Roadster offers you a unique experience and expression of your favorite brand. But because “true enthusiasts” don’t value you them as much, these models often come to market below the value of similar models. While the E36 M3 Coupe is enjoying an uptick in value and the E36/8 M Coupe has been more highly prized, it’s possible to get a lower mileage and great condition Roadster for less money still though the experience is quite similar.
Today I’ve stitched together three interesting examples – one for every budget. From a very inexpensive example through an unusual low-mileage collector, which one grabs your eye?
The W140 Mercedes-Benz S500 Grand Edition is a one of those cars that you probably forgot about if you knew they existed in the first place. I looked at a really nice one about a year ago and they don’t pop up for sale all that often. I’m sure that has a lot to do with just 600 of these cars ever made, but a lot of times when I do see them for sale they are in a pretty sad state. Chalk that up to the W140 not really being a collectible yet and the market still really soft on them, but I think this car has some serious potential to be a in demand model when it comes to Mercedes enthusiasts. If you want the best of what the W140 has to offer and don’t want to fully dive in with a S600, then the S500 Grand Edition is probably going to be your answer. This example up for sale in California is probably the nicest one I’ve seen come up for sale in a long time and I’m even more surprised at it’s condition given its four owners and over 100,000 miles. The question is, are you willing to pony up a heavy premium for such a nice example?
Update 11/11/18: The seller has dropped the asking price to $50,000.
Update 9/12/18: The seller has updated their asking price to $54,000.
For decades, I’ve had a pipe dream of taking a Westy van cross-country. When I was a teenager, a family member had a late 80s Vanagon Westfalia, and we went on a camping trip in it. It was great! And while I’m certain time has diminished the drawbacks of our method of transport on that trip, the knowledge of that isn’t enough extinguish my desire.
Unfortunately for me, it seems like I’m not alone. #VanLife has pushed the value of these clever boxes on wheels up substantially. Clean T3 campers regularly hit the market in the same territory as late 70s 911s. Even the replacement T4 Eurovan Weekender – which just has a bed, and none of the real camping gear the earlier Westfalias had – command a substantial premium over a non-pop-top T4. By far, the Volkswagen vans are the most expensive products from their catalog.
So you can imagine that if we get a rare Euro version of the T4 over here, it’ll probably be worth a look:
Update 11/20/18: After heading back up to $24,999 and then down to $18,999, this E55 is strangely now listed as a 2000 model year and has dropped in asking price to $17,999.99.
Update 9/18/18: Another drop in the asking price from $22,500 to $20,999.
Update 8/30/18: The asking price has dropped $2,500 from the original $24,999 to $22,500 today.
Earlier this week I dove into how the W210 Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG is becoming the next collector car from Mercedes and as a result, prices have been creeping up on them. The example I looked at was a 1999 up for sale in Canada that had all the makings of a collector example with its pristine condition and full service history. It ultimately ended up not selling as the bidding reached $10,500 and I was a little surprised it didn’t go higher. Today, I happened to run across another 1999 E55 up for sale in California that checks in with just 44,000 miles. At first glance, I thought this one might be another home run, but then I really took a closer look it and then I saw the asking price. Now, I might not be so hot for this one.
I’m ready to declare that the W210 Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG has stepped into collectibility territory. Full disclosure, I own one of these so take it how you want, but the recent sale prices have been telling the story. Over the past year, auction results for clean, nice condition E55s have been producing prices that have surprised me just a little. For the past five to eight years, you could pick a decent W210 E55 for $7,000-9,000 and have a nice example. If you wanted a rusty one with a bunch of issues, $5,000 would put one in your driveway. Now, those $9,000 examples are $13,000-$15,000 and the really prime cars with low miles are reaching the high-teens and maybe even $20,000. Sure, you can still find those rusty $5,000 ones if you look hard enough, but I just don’t think there will be any appreciation on those because once the rust starts on a W210, it never ends. I guess this makes sense in the grand scheme of things because we’ve been seeing price cycles like this for years with W201 190E-16vs, W124 500Es and on the BMW side with the E39 M5 and of course the E30 M3. Remember when you could get one of those for $8,000?
Today’s car, a 1999 E55 AMG up for sale in Canada, brings a little bit of a unique situation. First being it is a Canadian-spec car so there are some minor changes from the US cars and second being that it’s a 1999 which means this is the rare, one-year only, pre-facelift car. That means a different gauge cluster, steering wheel, body work, transmission setup, taillights and radio. For some the one-year status might mean increased scarcity, but I doubt you’ll find a lot of people wanting a 1999 over a 2000-2002 because of all the upgrades the facelifted cars received. That doesn’t matter all that much today because this car is in outstanding condition and is set to probably bring a nice, fat number once the auction ends.
The M Coupe has moved from cult legend into one of the most desirable M products produced. Late production S54 equipped models can top up to $60,000 asking prices. Add in a rare color and great combination, and they’re all the more desirable. While not quite a 1:1, the M Coupe is like the Porsche 964, and the S54 models are the RS America of the lineup.
For most of us, that means if you want a ‘Clownshoe’ you’ll need to look towards early production when they were equipped with the venerable S52. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as lower running costs and higher production numbers mean much lower asking prices. Still, it’s not unusual to see atmospheric asks, such as this 2000 M Coupe in Estoril with Estoril leather. With only 56,000 miles on the clock, the seller wants $39,900. While it’s not likely that number will be even close to realized, good luck convincing them of that.
Yet occasionally a nice one pops up in a no reserve auction format to give us plebeians a chance to own a legend. So here we go, with this ’99. It’s the same Estoril/Estoril combination as above, which is fairly desirable – one of just 313 imported in this pallet. Condition looks very good and there are some high quality modifications, but is there a catch?
The W126 and W140 Mercedes-Benz 420SEL/400SEL/S420 cars have always been lost in the crowd a little bit thanks to big brother 560SEL/500SEL/S500 and even bigger brother 600SEL/S600. There is nothing really wrong with these cars and in the W140s case, the S420 uses the same M119 engine as the five-liter S500. When new, you saved about $13,000 when you selected the S420 over the S500 and in exchange you gave up about 50 horsepower and gained a whopping one mile gallon in fuel economy on the highway. Today, none of this really matters because any car without 500 horsepower might as well not even show up and 22 miles per gallon is considered poor fuel economy. Such is life.
Today, I wanted to look at one of these forgotten S420s and this example in Virginia is one of the better ones I’ve seen over the years. This 1999 checks in with a little over 120,000 with no real issues or anything to be concerned about. The price? Actually pretty reasonable.
After last week’s 22,000 miles Mercedes-Benz E500 that with the bidding ended at $79,800, I figured I’d check out another 90s Mercedes sedan with similar mileage that I happen to run across. This is a 1999 S420 with 24,601 miles located in Chicago. Unlike the E500, the presentation and documentation leave a lot to be desired. The mileage doesn’t lie, but when hit with a big price tag for a not-so-desirable W140, it is a tough sell to anymore who isn’t willing to dive headfirst into finding out what this car is really all about. But I’ll try to do my best with the little information and quick photos that I do have, but I make no promises.
The last Golf I took a look at was a high-spec GLS TDi model from the end of the run. A popular niche vehicle, the turbo diesel Golf is a hot commodity and even with over 170,000 miles bids were quick to crest $4,000, finally ending with a $4,350 sale. Yet it’s far from the most desirable, or indeed the most valuable, model within a robust lineup of favorites.
There’s the all-wheel drive 3.2 liter VR6 R32, often with asks that rival multiple generations of M3s:
2004 Volkswagen Golf R32
There’s the 20th Anniversary Edition GTI, a turbocharged terror with great looks:
2003 Volkswagen GTI 20th Anniversary Edition with 9,800 Miles
There’s the Edition 337 – a limited collector-friendly model that kicked off a new generation of turbocharged Golf performance:
Feature Listing: 2002 Volkswagen GTI 337 Edition
And though it carried a ‘Jetta’ badge, we finally got the “Golf Variant” wagon, replete with your choice of 1.8T, 2.0, TDi or even a gutsy 2.8 liter VR6 hooked to a manual:
2002 Volkswagen Jetta GLX VR6 Wagon
So the Mk.4 range really has a devoted following and plenty of love to spread around to make you a bit unique. Today’s car, though, is none of those collector favorites. What we have here is a Flash Red first-year Golf. No TDi, no VR6, not even a GLS. No, this is a standard Golf. Except it’s not a standard Golf, because it’s an automatic. But before you click away, this one’s odometer hasn’t yet turned 23,000 miles….
Where to start….where to start….
So, in the realm of ‘Least Desirable Volkswagen Products’ enthusiasts bemoan, the New Beetle must surely rank very high on the list. But every once in a while one pops up that is worthy of consideration. Maybe they have low mileage or are a neat color. Sometimes they’re turbocharged, making them pretty quick, too – all attributes of this 1999 example. Presented in L9L9 Cyber Green Metallic, it’s traveled only 23,000 miles in its life and its the more macho 1.8T speedbug. Though it’s clearly not stock, we’ve recently looked at a well modified Beetle that pulled off big-dollar mods at a budget price.
Tuner Tuesday GCFSB Alumnus: 2002 Ruf Volkswagen Beetle Turbo S Concept
So when I first caught the gallery shot, it looked as though the owner of this car tried to replicate the super-sweet Beetle RSI – not a bad thing, if it was pulled off correctly.
This one is not pulled off correctly.
However, if you’d like a few chuckles, read on.