2003 Mercedes-Benz CLK430 Cabriolet Designo

Earlier this week I checked out a great 2000 Mercedes-Benz SL500 with some Designo touches that hit all the right buttons for me. Today, we have another Mercedes-Benz convertible with some Designo treatment, but this one is a little bit different. What we are looking at is a 2003 CLK430 finished in Designo Mocca Black paint with Designo light brown leather interior. I think the thing about the W208 is that it wasn’t really great at anything. It had the enormous task of replacing the W124 Cabriolet that was and still is an outstanding car in more ways than one, but the first-generation CLK Cabriolet was strange mash-up of W202 and W210 parts. Yes, it looked fresh at the time and had a lot of modern updates for its era, but at the end of the day you could really feel that the quality just wasn’t there like the W124. That doesn’t mean it is a bad car, but rather one that you knew from the beginning what you going to get out of it: an average experience.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Mercedes-Benz CLK430 on eBay

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2003 Mercedes-Benz S600

Last week I checked out the lowly 2006 Mercedes-Benz S350 that in addition to being literally short, was short on options too. Today, we travel to the other end of the (non-AMG) W220 spectrum with a car that has no problem with features or power, the S600. The thing about the W220 S600 is that despite only being produced from 2001 to 2006, this super sedan had two variants of V12s. The early S600s used the naturally aspirated 5.8 liter M137 that was so disastrous that it only lasted two years before the engineers went back to the drawing board to totally redesign a new V12 for their flagship cars. What they came with was a twin-turbo 5.5 liter M275 that proved to be much less troublesome. Luckily today’s car, a 2003 S600 for sale outside of Chicago, sports the M275. Even better, it checks in with just a little over 27,000 miles.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Mercedes-Benz S600 on eBay

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2003 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Coupe

I’ve been featuring a fair number of very high-priced 911s of late. I certainly love them and in most cases their rarity earns them the feature. But for most of us those cars always will exist well out of reach and merely as pieces to admire in someone else’s collection. There is also the problem that in most cases you really can’t even drive the darn things.

This 911 should possess none of those issues and while certainly not cheap as second-hand cars go there’s nice value to be had here within the realm of the 911 itself. Here we have a Speed Yellow 2003 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Coupe, located in California, with 6-speed manual transmission and 33,750 miles on it.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Coupe on eBay

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2003 Porsche 911 Turbo Coupe with 963 Miles

This is kind of silly and I have quite a few questions, but this definitely has me intrigued. Here we have a Black on Black 2003 Porsche 911 Turbo Coupe, located in San Diego, with a completely insane 963 miles on it. Yep, fewer than 70 miles per year. Usually posts about the 996TT are about performance value. This one is not about performance value. I am very curious whether it will sell though. The asking price – $110K – is quite high, though given some of the asking prices we’ve seen for highly collectible versions of the 996TT that price actually is lower than I’d expect. I’m still not sure it will sell, but this is certainly one to keep an eye on.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Porsche 911 Turbo Coupe on eBay

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2003 Mercedes-Benz S55 AMG Widebody

In my opinion, custom body work can either go really good or really bad. Those who know what they are doing usually put out some unique stuff. Those who don’t know what they are doing put out work made of nightmares. Luckily for everyone, this 2003 Mercedes-Benz S55 AMG for sale in Vancouver, Canada, has some custom body work that actually looks pretty good. Normally, the bodies of the mid-2000 AMG cars don’t have much of a flare to them, but this seller of this specific car had something to say about that. This S55 had the front the rear fenders pulled out by a decent amount to give it the look of a CLK63 AMG Black Series. The more I look at this car, the more I appreciate it, but I can’t decide if I really love it or not.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Mercedes-Benz S55 AMG Widebody on Vancouver, BC Craigslist

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2003 Mercedes-Benz C320 SportCoupé

Remember when you could take people at their word? Yeah, me either. But you get my point. The reason I bring this up is because when someone tells you something about a car you hope you can take their word at it, but ultimately it is your responsibility to do your due diligence. Enter this 2003 Mercedes-Benz C320 SportCoupé.

As you might have noticed, this W203 is far from a stock car with quite a bit of modifications done to it. It has a wing, some 19 inch BBS wheels, a DTM-inspired splitter, a carbon fiber hood and of course some special paint. Inside, the seats have been redone with Mercedes logos stitched in them and if my eyes are correct, an original Xbox gaming system in the passenger foot well. At first glance, I thought it was just a modified car from a private owner. Then I read the eBay description and saw a story with the words ”McLaren” in it. Needless to say, my eyes lit up and I became very excited. Could this car really be associated with the F1 great? Then a few moments later I had to ask myself ”Why did McLaren want an Xbox in a C320 SportCoupé?”

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Mercedes-Benz C320 SportCoupé on eBay

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2003 Porsche 911 Turbo Coupe

We feature the 996TT pretty frequently. Even as prices have risen they remain fantastic performers for the money and definitely one of the best performance values you can find, especially when you find one with the factory X50 package raising those performance heights even higher. I wouldn’t say most of those we feature come in the best colors though. There’s the odd Speed Yellow or Guards Red Turbo and, of course, there was the very rare Signal Green Turbo S, but most are in the standard shades of gray and silver that seemingly dominated the 996 line.

This one clearly is an exception. Here is a Cobalt Blue Metallic 2003 Porsche 911 Turbo Coupe, located in Georgia, with a Graphite Grey leather interior and 64,008 miles on it. Cobalt Blue was a standard color for the 996 so I have no idea why we don’t see more of them, but for some reason it seems we don’t. That makes this one a particularly pleasant find.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Porsche 911 Turbo Coupe on eBay

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Double Take 540i/6: E34 or E39? 1995 BMW 540i Sport v. 2003 BMW 540i M-Sport

My recent M5 v. Alpina B10 post took a look at two exotic versions of the E34. Of course, BMW offered their own alternative to the M5 late in the production cycle, as the introduction of the M60 V8-powered 540i produced nearly as much usable power as the more expensive M variant. Such was the success of the 540i that BMW initially judged the M5 dead in this market; it was removed from the U.S. in 1993 after slow sales and wouldn’t return until the new millennium.

As a result, the 540i flew the 5-series performance flag for two generations and still is very popular today. Especially in Sport versions, the E34 and E39 540is offered power, refinement and outstanding chassis dynamics in a package that was attainable for more people. So which is the better buy today – the first or second generation?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 BMW 540i M-Sport on eBay

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2003 Volkswagen GTI 20th Anniversary Edition with 9,800 Miles

News broke this morning that the brand new RS4 Avant is unsurprisingly not coming to the United States. While this is no doubt disappointing to the twelve people who actually would have bought it and the 1.8 million who claim on the internet they would if given the option, it follows a long tradition in German motoring of leaving the best of the breed in the homeland. When it came to the GTI, not only did we have to wait several years before we got the hot Golf, but indeed it was a bit watered down and heavier when it did arrive. The same continued in the next two generations; more weight, less power. Both in the second and third generations we also lost out on supercharging, all-wheel drive and special body kits available in the European market.

Once again in 2001, a neat Golf was launched that – of course – wasn’t coming to the United States. But of all of the special editions that weren’t sold here, perhaps this one made the most sense to be excluded. It was called the 25th Anniversary Edition and you didn’t need to be good at math to realize that there was no GTI sold here 25 years before 2001. Since the “18 year Anniversary Edition” didn’t make much sense from a marketing perspective even in spite of Volkswagen’s continual spotty judgement in that regard, it was no surprise that it wasn’t offered. That was too bad, as it had a lowered suspension, better brakes, a bit more power, fantastic Recaro seats and the best looking BBS wheels fit to any Volkswagen, ever. Volkswagen enthusiasts in America drool inwardly and shouted openly, so in 2002 Volkswagen finally did bring the special edition here. Again, since “19th Anniversary” didn’t make any sense, we instead got the “337” Edition. This was, for all intents and purposes, an exact copy of the 25th Anniversary model, but instead the 337 referenced the internal project code for the original GTI. But they were quite limited, with only 1,250 sold in the U.S. and 250 sold in Canada. So, you probably missed out on your chance to own one, right? Well, wrong, because in 2003 Volkswagen re-released the 337 edition. Conveniently, there was now a round number that they could actually commemorate the GTI’s longevity with as it had been 20 years since the A1 GTI rolled out of Westmoreland. Again, it was a greatest hits edition; the 337 upgraded 12.3 inch vented brakes with go-faster red calipers carried over, as did the upgraded suspension. Though they sported different fabric, inside was the same Recaro interior with deep bolsters. The golf ball shift knob also returned, though it now was mated to a new 6-speed transmission (MQ350) which in turn were connected to R32 Aristo wheels in place of the BBS RCs. Deeper front and rear valances matched the previous two models, and the 20th AE got blacked headlights more similar to the 25th AE. A final homage to the original model were subtle rabbits adorning the rear and vintage inspired GTi badging. But the biggest change was that the 20th AE was available in three colors unlike the silver-only prior cars; Black Magic Pearl, Jazz Blue and Imola Yellow:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Volkswagen GTI 20th Anniversary Edition on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday Double Take: 2002 and 2003 BMW M5 Dinan S2s

There are a few select automotive tuners who can take an impressive package and refine it into an even better entity. That group includes legends such as AMG, Alpina and Ruf – all of which are staples of this segment.

Yet they are far from alone. Given the task of improving on what is generally considered to be one of the greatest sedans ever made is no small feat, but if there was one group up to it, it was Steve Dinan’s eponymous company in California.

While just about anyone can take a turbocharged engine and crank up the boost, slap a few stickers on it and call it done, the E39 M5 didn’t come with forced induction. On top of that, it was a motor which wasn’t exactly underdeveloped before it went into production. Nor were the brakes, suspension, or any other aspect of the third gen M5. But Dinan thought they could improve upon them, and with a tremendous amount of work, did.

Dinan went to town on the S62 from start to end. Out came the factory air boxes, air meters and velocity stacks, replaced by Dinan units of larger diameter and better flow qualities, along with larger throttle bodies bored out by the company. This necessitated reprogramming of the computer controls for the engine to match the new flow characteristics. To help the exhaust side of the motor, unique tubular headers were fit to a free-flowing, lightweight exhaust system. While this sounds a bit like old-school engineering, it was successful; the result was an additional 76 horsepower and 51 lb.ft of torque – basically, this was like adding a 1980 Rabbit’s worth of power to an already powerful car.

Dinan coupled the engine mods with a shorter final drive and higher rev-limiter to reach fantastic speeds. The S2 was capable of 0-60 runs around 4 seconds flat and, in unrestricted mode, geared out around 190 mph in 6th. These are still very impressive numbers today, some fifteen years after its introduction! Of course, special forged wheels from the company were added along with their signature suspension. The price was steep, at $36,000 in modifications alone – a further 50% premium on your premium sedan.

Today, you can pick up one of these super-saloons for less than what the price of the modifications cost originally making them one heck of a performance bargain, and I have two to consider for today’s Tuner Tuesday:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 BMW M5 Dinan S2 on eBay

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