My never-ending quest to replace my aging Land Rover Discovery has yet to reach a conclusion because of a few reasons. First, I haven’t really needed to utilize my Land Rover all that much because it is strictly used for severe snow travel or when I need to haul something that won’t fit inside a Mercedes-Benz W123 or W116. The winter hasn’t been that bad at all and outside of hauling some leaves away in the fall, I haven’t needed to transport anything large. Second, I haven’t found something I’ve fallen in love with yet. Buying a vehicle for tens of thousands of dollars is a big deal for me because when I buy a car, I don’t mosey on down the local dealership and sign on the dotted line for 78 months at 11% interest then act like I just didn’t commit financial suicide. I’m surely not getting a 0% loan on a 10 year-old used SUV, so paying in full at the time of purchase soothes my soul.
Unfortunately, this past week when I went to replace the dead battery (imagine that) in the Land Rover, I noticed something odd dripping from the rear. I held my hand under the dripping fluid hoping it was water leaking from the rusty exhaust, but no, it was gasoline. As I crawled down on the cold ground to get a better look, I see that the leak was spewing from something on the top of the tank, probably from the return line. Thinking I could get a view of this leak from above where you can access the fuel pump, I peeled back the carpet and sound deadening to find that all six screws that hold the access door are rusted into something that once resembled a phillips head. Next course of action is trying to bust the heads off the screws with some force or cut them off with a wheel a few inches away from a pool of gasoline. This has been another episode of This American Land Rover Ownership Life.
Naturally, this has led me back on the hunt for a replacement and over to choice number 1, the G-Wagen. I’m pretty set on a W463, but unless you live in Los Angeles where the person who walks your dog drives one, finding one locally isn’t exactly an easy task. During my nationwide search, I came across this 2004 up for sale in Indianapolis with a monstrous 298,000 miles. I’ve looked at Gs before with a ton of miles on them before, in Los Angeles no less, so seeing one near 300,000 isn’t a total shock to me. The M113 V8 with the 722.6 transmission are tough as nails, so hitting 300,000 isn’t a sweat. What is a shock to me is the condition of this G and of course, the price that is being asked for it.
Update 3/3/19: Sold for an impressive $20,300!
Last month I did a quick history lesson on the W163 Mercedes-Benz ML-Class and how it came to be made in America. One of the most interesting pieces of the ML story also involved another aspect Americans love: wildly fictional movies. If you are looking at this car, you probably know what I’m talking about. Somehow, Mercedes got in contact with Universal Pictures during the filming of The Lost World: Jurassic Park about using the then pre-production ML in the film. Somewhat ironically, while Ford Explorers had replaced Toyota Land Cruisers used in the Jurassic Park novel, in Lost World it would be the Explorer now being replaced. Somehow, a deal came together and suddenly you were watching a couple of ML320s with a bunch of added on armor roam around a fictional world full of dinosaurs. One of the stars of the film, Jeff Goldblum, was given a free ML320 as part of the deal and the craziest part is that he actually used the ML as his daily driver for over 15 years. He must not be into cars that much.
Unlike other vehicles from the Jurassic Park franchise, the Jeep Wrangler and Ford Explorer, you would never see someone hack up a ML320 to replicate the version from the movie. Probably that’s because it wasn’t very smart to totally destroy a luxury SUV just to pay tribute to a film that was considered a letdown compared to the original. Fortunately, prices of first-generation MLs have hit play money type levels and someone in California took the plunge into full movie mode. Now it is up for sale and ready to be passed on to the next person who constantly wants to be stopped to answer questions about it in the grocery store parking lot.
The past few weeks I’ve come across a few Mercedes-Benz SL500 Silver Arrows that have garnered some attention. This car in Florida ended up selling for $16,900 and this car in Atlanta looks like it is still for sale. Today, I came across one of the 100 SL600 Silver Arrows that were made for the US market. The SL600s differed from the SL500s in that they didn’t receive the two-tone white interior but it did get the very pricey panoramic glass hardtop as standard. You also got a cool metal briefcase with some goodies inside of it that matches the car. Of course, you paid for all that at nearly $140,000 in 2002. Today, I have found one of these SL600 Silver Arrows for sale in Texas with just 5,400 miles. The price? Well, if we are on planet earth, this price is somewhere on Neptune. Seriously, I spit water on monitor when I saw this number and I wasn’t even drinking anything at the time. It is just that crazy.
Last week on Christmas day I looked at a 2002 Mercedes-Benz SL500 Silver Arrow that had a little bit of a mixed reaction. Even though it had only 70,000 miles and spent the majority of its life in Florida, the wood on the center console had some odd stuff going on with it. That is often the one minus of cars in the regions of no snow: you have to deal with the heat, along with the sun, that can wreak havoc on wood and leather. For the $17,000 asking price, you could probably find a better car or at least a better deal if you planned on driving it regularly. Today, I might have found that better deal. This Silver Arrow up for sale Atlanta, Georgia has 40,000 more miles but of course has some flaws to go along with those miles. The good news is the price is much cheaper than $17,000. How cheap?
Update 12/25/18: This Silver Arrow is listed as sold for $16,900.
Last weeks very special 1970 Mercedes-Benz 300SEL 6.6 was one of the most interesting cars I’ve looked at in a while but one of our readers spotted something in the background. As you might have noticed, that something was a R129 SL500 Silver Arrow. Today’s vehicle isn’t that same car because that dealer doesn’t seem to have it listed for sale, but it is another very nice Silver Arrow so I figured that will work just fine. This one up for sale in Florida checks in with just a hair under 70,000 miles and honestly, has a very fair price on it. How much?
With only 1,672 produced now some 45 years ago, your odds of coming across a 2002 Turbo today are fairly unlikely. Yet over the past few years I’ve taken a look at a steady stream of the legendary hot E10. While the M5 is often credited with being the first real ‘super sedan’, a decade before that model launched BMW’s fledgling Motorsports division breathed heavily on the diminutive 2-door sedan, creating a pint-sized sports car killer. I covered what made it so special back in 2017:
1974 BMW 2002 Turbo
The third 2002 we’ve looked at in three weeks, this is one that definitely ticks the right boxes as the collector car left out of the EAG Legends collection. But what will it take to buy today?
It seems somewhat fortuitous to stumble upon today’s creation, which manages to build upon a few prior posts. Last week I look a look at a beefed-up 1976 2002 with a S14 swap. Then, yesterday, I took a look at the crazy 4-door convertible 316i Baur TC4. Combining those two unique creations is today’s 1972 BMW 2002.
Like last week, this one is pretty far from original. It’s also got tacked-on flares, super-wide wheels, a non-original interior and is painted a non-original color – in this case, Sunflower Yellow borrowed from the contemporaneous Porsche. But the big news here is again the S14 and 5-speed swap, giving more muscle to match the macho looks. On top of that, or rather topless perhaps, this one appears to be a Baur Targa conversion. It was certainly worth a closer look:
Last week I looked at the cleanest 2002 Mercedes-Benz ML55 AMG that I’ve seen and the comments on it were a mixed bag. We actually had a few owners of ML55s chime in and report their experiences with them. There were no ”Alabama trashcan” comments, but we were awfully close. I thought that would be the end of me looking at the W163s for a while outside of something really crazy and it turns out something crazy did pop up. This 2002 ML500 in California comes with an impressive 325,000 miles and looks like it has about a third of that. Chalk it up to some loving owners and the California climate for keeping this thing looking as nice as it does but maybe it is time to give the W163 some credit. Just a little?
Another model missing from the ‘EAG Legends Collection‘ was undoubtedly the 2002. What really should have been there was another early cutting of the Motorsport division teeth – the 2002 Turbo. Like the 3.0CSL, this was an engineering exercise to flex their muscles. The 2002 Turbo was one of the first turbocharged production cars, and while it was a full decade behind GM’s ‘Jetfire’ turbo V8, it produced nearly as much power as the much larger 3.5 liter V8. Slapping a KKK turbocharger to the Kugelfischer-injected 2.0 M10 yielded 170 horsepower and 180 lb.ft of torque making the 2002 turbo a bit of a giant killer.
With only 1,672 Turbos produced, you’re not likely to come across one today. If you do, you’re also not likely to be able to afford it. So today’s 2002 is, like yesterday, a resto-mod rather than an original. This one takes the equation to 11 though, and adds a dose of “M” dna into this beefed-up E10. Ever wonder where all the S14s from M50/52 swapped M3s went? Well, one went right here:
Update 11/20/18: Blast from the past! I wrote this custom turbocharged drag racing BMW 2002 back in the Summer of 2014. It failed to sell on eBay but apparently did change hands, and the current owner has relisted it with basically the same photos and information as the original listing. The reserve auction has yet to get a bid at the $5,500 opening bid. It’s a long road ahead to get this one back in shape, but it’s still a pretty neat car!
I know what you’re thinking. “Carter”, you’re saying, “you spent a little too much time around the high test this weekend. This thing is a wreck”. And you know what? You’re right. This car is a wreck. Yet I’m still mystified by it, like a Siren’s call – there is just something about period race cars that I find very, very cool. So if you’ll indulge me a bit let’s look at this turbocharged 2002ti from 1969. Perhaps not the most likely car you’d consider for the form of motorsport it ended up in, this car was modified in the early 1970s by Holger Tapp. Mr. Tapp built his own turbocharged setup, running a KKK turbo through the twin Weber carbs. Then Mr. Tapp went racing – drag racing – with this 2002. The period picture reveals the car appeared to originally be a orange and wear some awesome BBS magnesium race wheels. Some of that original color can still be seen on the unmounted and damage chin spoiler. According to some light research I found, Holger Tapp was actually quite successful with the car, according to a competitor winning quite often. It also appears that at some point he built a second, more wildly flared car that picked up the BBS wheels – indeed, in one photo the plate “HU AV 303” this car wears can be seen on that car. The rest of the history appears to be pretty fuzzy; however, if you brush up on your German, Holger Tapp is still in business today doing much the same thing: