For me, right now, there is no better value in the Mercedes-Benz world than the R230 generation SL-Class. A nearly $90,000 car new back when it first launched almost 20 years ago has probably reached its floor for the well-loved models. If you want in on one, now is the time. Thankfully just like the previous generation, the R230 had a long production run with no less than five different engine choices including a V12. Of course, the real value is with the classic M113 5.0-liter V8 with the nearly indestructible 722.6 five-speed automatic. Today’s example, an Amber Red Metallic example up for sale in Nevada, is looking to be a real deal even in today’s thirst for everything cool in the automotive world.
I love seeing creative solutions people come up with when factory options aren’t enough. Sometimes they are brilliant, sometimes they are half-baked, and sometimes they are a little bit of both. Today, we have that “little bit of both” recipe on this 2003 Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG. The story was the previous owner didn’t care for leather seats, and since leather was the only way to go on the R230, they did a custom cloth setup. Truth be told it doesn’t look all that bad, except this previous owner wanted one more special request: the largest headrests I’ve ever seen in my life.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG on eBay
Remember these? Yeah, I tried not to either. Way back in the year 2001, Mercedes-Benz had their “cut off half their hair and dye it purple” moment when they came out with a really odd C-Class coupe. Converting the sedan to a coupe, which in reality is a hatchback, costs the car 7.3 inches of overall length – but in reality you lost much more. The W203 was a hot piece of plastic garbage to begin with, and somehow Mercedes made it cheaper by finding $5,000 to cut off the price. Base price was under $26,000, and to put that into perspective, was just $2,000 more than an Acura RSX Type-S. These were clearly targeted towards the younger, more impressionable buyers, and the crazy thing is that it somewhat worked. Yes.
Mercedes-Benz claimed that 40% of these buyers opted for another Mercedes-Benz product after owning their Sport Coupé. That sounds great, but I have to wonder if a large percentage of those owners did so because the Sport Coupé was so bad and they had to get out of that thing and into something nicer. I’m not kidding.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Mercedes-Benz C230 Kompressor Sport Coupé on eBay
Back in July 2021 I took a look at a rare bird; a stock Mk.4 GTI 1.8T with only 75,000 miles:
That may not sound like a rare car on the surface, but it’s far more difficult to find one of these than…say, pretty much any 911 ever. Today’s example is pretty similar in some ways; it’s also got only 75k miles, also appears to be stock, and also is a 1.8T manual. But this one turns up the rarity a few notches; not only is it equipped with the Luxury Package (which adds a power moonroof and Monsoon audio), Cold Weather Package (heated front seats), and Leather Package (you guessed it), but it’s also Rave Green. It’s not perfect, but that’s not holding back bids – let’s take a look:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 Volkswagen GTI 1.8T on eBay
Yes, the Mk.4 GTI ushered in a more bloated body, subdued styling, increased safety, and a lot more weight. But, it also brought with it a lot more choice. While the VR6 continued over into early models largely unchanged, though a more potent 24-valve version emerged later. But the big news was the entrance of the turbocharged 1.8T into the lineup for me. More in keeping with the character of the original model, the peaky and punchy 1.8Ts grew in power over the production run, and they also offered the basis for a few special models; the European-market 25th Anniversary model, the 2002 337 Edition, and the 2003 20th Anniversary Edition.
Today’s car is none of those special models, but it carries a large amount of the same DNA in a more discrete standard package. It’s also got only 75,000 miles and is claimed to have lived with just one owner, and it’s completely stock. This might be the rarest GTI of them all.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Volkswagen GTI 1.8T on eBay
We saw what kind of asking prices the 996 Porsche 911 is asking, and I really mean asking, but I still think it might be a sign as to what is to come with that generation. As with everything, the best and most desirable examples get snatched up first, then you make your way down the food chain at a rate that the market demands and of course the supply offers. Thankfully they made a ton of 996s in nearly every flavor, and most of those flavors as relatively appetizing. Today, we have the trusty “not a Turbo but kind of looks like one” Carrera 4S in the always popular Grand Prix White. Inside, black leather. Get one while you can, or still not worth it?
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S on eBay
Believe it or not, March is here. Funny to say that since it happens every year, but spring fever is going to get hot and heavy. Especially since, well, you know the drill. With spring, comes convertible season. At least for us who live anywhere else but California and Florida. The options are pretty wide when you are looking for top down cars, but dollar for dollar, the R230 SL55 AMG continues to be one the best values out there. As expected, most of these don’t have many miles on them. Even with that, $25,000 buys you a decent example. However, this 2003 up for sale in Florida has an impressive 98,000 miles. Even better? It’s from the original owner.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG on eBay
I don’t mean to harp on the Porsche 996 Carrera 4S so much, but the entire package of what they offer, especially at their current prices, always seem to draw me back in. Whether it be the wide rear end, 18″ Turbo Twist wheels, or the heckblende rear reflector, these cars just seem to do it for me. For what they were working with, I think Porsche nailed this design and pulled just enough pieces from the Turbo to keep you interested, but not so much that it was almost as expensive as the Turbo and no one would bite on it. Now, some 15 years later, this are at the bottom of the price curve and ripe for the picking. Time to snag one?