1980 Mercedes-Benz 300CD

I’m always on the lookout for golden era Mercedes in rare colors to add to my small collection (more on that soon!). We’ve reached the point where despite millions of these cars being built and nearly all standing the test of time well, any nice one is starting to creep up in value — even more so if it’s in a color that isn’t earth tone. Today’s car that is up for sale in New York is the ultra-rare Inca Red paint that I’ve only seen on a handful of Mercedes over the years – let alone a W123 coupe.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1980 Mercedes-Benz 300CD on Hemmings

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2001 BMW Z3 3.0 Roadster

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 quite a bit of sport in the 3.0:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 BMW Z3 3.0 Roadster on Hartford Craigslist

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Motorsports Monday: 1988 Porsche 944 “S2”

Building a track car can be a dirty business. You can start with a branded title car or one with a ton of miles, one in poor shape or maybe just a car that needs a ton of mechanical work. The results aren’t always Roger Penske perfection, but that certainly doesn’t mean you can’t have a lot of fun. Indeed, there’s a certain freedom to having a less than perfect, not hugely valuable track-focused weapon. It allows you to head to the circuit without the emotional baggage of what would happen if midway through turn two something let loose. Take today’s 1988 Porsche 944, for example. Thorough upgraded and ready to head to the track, this S2-spec 944 may not be a lot to look at, but the entry price is less than a new set of BBS centerlock wheels for a GT3. No, I’m not joking. I just checked, and it’s $9,800 for a set of BBS FI-R wheels from Tire Rack – without tires, or shipping mind you. See, you could have a whole track car instead and still have $300 left to pay for a track day!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Porsche 944 “S2” on eBay

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Motorsports Monday: 1992 Porsche 968

One of my first days instructing at a high performance driving school, my student walked up to me after the morning meeting and told me he was under the weather and not up for driving. But, he said, he didn’t want to miss out on track time, so would I be willing to drive him around Lime Rock Park in his car? Sure, I said, and we strolled over towards his ride – a track prepared Porsche 968 on Michelin Sport Cup tires. I have to admit I was slightly apprehensive; a car I was unfamiliar with wasn’t the end of the world, but that day track was wet and while I had been the wheel man a few times in my father’s 924S on track, most of my seat time was spent in my front-drive Audi Coupe GT. But out on the track we went, and the 968 quickly proved why it gained a reputation as such a superlative driver’s car. Near perfect balance matched with smooth power delivery. The limited slip differential in that particular 968 also helped to translate the power to the ground, and on a soaked track we were one of the fastest cars that session within two laps – it just felt natural to push the car. Down the “No Name Straight” (which both has a name and isn’t a straight), the 968 twitched lightly under full throttle but was never out of control and never once felt uncomfortable. Even before then I had a high regard for the watercooled front-engine Porsches, but it solidified my love even more and it’s always nice when I see a track prepared 968:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1992 Porsche 968 on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday: 1991AC Schnitzer ACS3 Silhouette 3.0

It’s Tuner Tuesday and like clockwork we have another BMW 3-series to take a look at. However, today’s feature is very different than the normal Alpina, Dinan or Hartge models that grace these pages. It’s very interesting that today’s build company isn’t more linked with the road going cars from Munich because since the 1970s AC Schnitzer was the go-to race development team for BMW. And since BMW likes to link its race-bred technology with prowess on the road, Schnitzer models for the general public would theoretically be a natural step. However, they’ve never proven as successful as the aforementioned alternatives and are fairly infrequently seen. Today’s example is somewhat of a treat to run across; a first-year E36 chassis converted to ACS3 Silhouette 3.0 specifications. That yielded 240 horsepower and a tightened up, lowered suspension along with some great wheels and aero bits that make this 3 look pretty special:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 AC Schnitzer ACS3 Silhouette 3.0 on eBay

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Ultrasport Version 3.0: 2002 Audi A4 3.0 quattro Avant v. 2005 Audi A4 3.0 quattro Avant Ultrasport

A few weeks ago in my “Avant-off” article, I asked if the premium for the Titanium Package S-Line cars was justified. But comparing a B6 to a B7 can be tough, since there are a fair amount of differences in styling and performance. To equal the playing field more, today I have two nearly identical cars. In this case, it’s a normal A4 3.0 quattro Avant 6-speed against a very similar Ultrasport model. Just like the Titanium package, the Ultrasport package was mostly for looks; you got the Sport Package 1BE suspension, 18″ “Celebration” RS4-style wheels with summer high performance tires, perforated leather 3-spoke steering wheel and shift knob, aluminum interior trim and a quattro GmbH body kit. It was a $3,000 option on top of your already pricey A4 in 2004 and 2005, and came in 1.8T or 3.0 V6 configurations in either sedan or Avant. They’re relatively hard to find, so let’s look at the theoretical premium the package commands today:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 Audi A4 3.0 quattro Avant on Worcester Craigslist

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1983 911 SC Targa

Another day, another crisp SC Targa found down in Florida. This one is a real head turner as it is covered in rather rare Schwarz Metallic paint. The ad says it can appear Slate Grey in certain light, black or even brown at other times. I think I saw  a 911 with this paint a few years back at a meet but didn’t realize it was so special at the time. Also could have been my eyes playing tricks on me, hard tellin no knowin I suppose.

Anyhow, I thought this ’79 Targa deserved some attention as it features not only a unique exterior but a very clean, very pretty Cork interior. This is certainly among my favorite color combinations for a 911, I think it works particularly well on this era. The leather on the dash and on the front seats is new and the Targa top has been reupholstered with OEM material as well. From a visual stand point this vehicle appears to need nothing and the mechanical side of the equation also seems to be balanced. Brand new tie rods and steering rack boots were recently installed, the seller notes that the A/C squeals at bit at start up but from what I’ve read that’s both rather common on these cars. Whether or not it is an easy fix is beyond me but if it was my car, I would keep the A/C off and the top popped to keep cool.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1979 Porsche 911 SC Targa On eBay

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Motorsports Monday RS Style: 1979 and 1987 Porsche 911s

It goes without saying that the Porsche 911 is one of the most popular modified chassis ever conceived, and a fair amount of those modifications are track-based. The results are sometimes mixed; however, one of the more popular trends which I think is pretty slick is backdating 911s. It’s ironic, since for some time it was more popular to update the looks of many of the older race cars to new 964 or 993 bodies. However, the surge in pricing in the 1960s and 1970s 911 market has resulted in many backdated cars coming to market. Obviously, the advantage is that you get a better driving and more powerful car with more options than original, but it’s got the look of the sought after early models. However, probably the biggest advantage is that of price; with a lower entry cost, prospective buyers aren’t afraid to use the 911 where it is well suited; driving fast on a race track. Today I have two different takes on backdated 911s, both with a nod towards the mega-buck RS model. Which is the one you’d choose?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Porsche 911 Carrera on eBay

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1974 BMW 3.0CSi

I’ve made several references comparing the BMW 8 series to a few Ferraris, suggesting that it was perhaps a budget alternative to running a 456GT, for example. However, the E31 isn’t the only Ferrari-esque design to come from Munich; in many aspects, the E9 coupe shared some visual DNA with the Ferrari 330 2+2 from the 1960s. Now, for some that may sound like heresy and I can appreciate that; but take off the Rosso-colored glasses for a moment and look at the side profile of a 330 GT versus the E9 coupe; it’s nearly identical. The rear end treatment was quite similar as well, and while the grill on the BMW was obviously quite different the two even shared a quad-headlight setup. Obviously, underneath the Ferrari had that wonderful Colombo V12 versus the rather pedestrian inline-6 in the BMW; but pound for pound the BMW punched hard, especially in CSi trim. With 200 horsepower on tap it was certainly no slouch, especially in the midst of the oil crisis which neutered most V8s in America. It would take another two generations for the Big Three to break back into the 200 horsepower realm with nearly double the displacement of the E9. But the E9 wasn’t about straight line performance; it was a whole package – a speedy grand touring coupe with luxurious appointments and gorgeous looks:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1974 BMW 3.0CSi on eBay

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1972 BMW Bavaria

I have a soft spot for the Bavaria. It’s not because it’s the best looking BMW from the 1970s, or the fastest. It’s not the most collectable, either – but as a result, the Bavaria might just be the rarest of the 1970s BMWs. To me, I can appreciate this coming from a background of loving Audis – most of which are quite rare today. The look of the Bavaria is even very similar to the Audi 100, and like the 100 very few examples are left kicking around. But the Bavaria was nonetheless an important move for BMW, taking on the larger executive market with an upscale big-body 4-door:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1972 BMW Bavaria on eBay

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