The E31 was BMW’s first real attempt at integrating lots of computer designs and controls into one of their road cars. The clean-sheet design resulted in a 2-door grand tourer that shared some visual similarities with the great M1, but stood apart as a more practical cruiser. Unlike the E24, the windows could fully drop, revealing a graceful pillarless design to match the sweeping greenhouse. The sharp nose amazingly hid an even larger motor than its predecessor; in fact, it was basically two conjoined M30s. That configuration certainly has some drawbacks, but there was no denying that the 850i had serious presence and credentials with the M70 V12 kicking out 300 horsepower.
However, BMW softened the character of what potentially could have been a screamer. Many were outfit with 16″ wheels for a better ride and tied to an automatic transmission. This was truly a GT car, and not the supercar slayer that BMW teased with its M8 Concept. Still, there are a few which were hooked to 6-speed manual transmissions prior to the launch of the manual-only 850CSi, and they’re a whole lot cheaper than the M-modded model is trading for today:
Update 1/17/19: The E30 sold for $4,200.
Continuing on the custom theme, today’s post comes thanks to some unusual chassis combinations. Of course, BMWs – and particularly the 3-series – are no stranger to swapped motors. I’ve covered just about everything, from a M62’d E30 to the outrageous S85-powered Hartge H50 and, of course, the ubiquitous S50/2 swaps in E30s or E36s.
But today’s power overhauls come in the form of American V8s stuffed into the noses of Munich’s finest small sports sedans. While their personalities are quite different, both manage to pull off the swaps as relative sleepers despite the crazy changes underneath. So which is the winner?
Last week I checked out probably one my favorite R129s, a 2000 SL500 Designo that everyone else seemed to enjoy too with its unique paint and interior color combination. Well, turns out we weren’t the only one who fawned over this unique SL. Recently decrowned richest person in the world, Bill Gates, seemed to have an eye for this R129 too. According to this seller, this 2000 SL500 up for sale in Silicon Valley no less, was originally owned by the Gates for the first two years of its life. This is wonderful and all, but unlike the car I checked out last week, I’m not totally in love with this specific example. Let me explain why.
Everyone once in a while I run across a car that makes me say ”Wow”. It doesn’t have to be expensive or all that rare, but more so something that I haven’t seen before or a car in outstanding condition. Today’s car, a 2000 Mercedes-Benz SL500 up for sale in Arizona, is one of those cars. This car is not in outstanding condition for having 73,000 but it is featured in a color combination that I maybe have only see once. This R129 is finished in Slate Blue Pearl with Designo Two-Color Dark Blue that I think compliment each other so well. Of course, this SL comes with the ultra-desirable SL1 and SL2 packages which just to refresh everyone’s memory on is â€ťAMG designedâ€ť bumpers and sideskirts, 18 inch Monoblock 1 wheels, Xenon headlights, a 6-disc CD changer and heated seats. Could it get any better? Maybe.
I wish that I had better news for you. I’d love to say that I’d found some hidden gem no one else had discovered, and that it could be yours for a song. Today is not that day. Instead, what we unfortunately have is another case of mistaken identity. To add a bit of insult to injury, it would seem that it’s quite intentional.
Back in May of 2017, I looked at two E32 BMWs. Both were modified, non-original examples. One was a 5-speed 735i sporting some Racing Dynamics bits, and the other was a clean and low-mileage 750iL that had undergone a full cosmetic Alpina B12 5.0 makeover.
Outstanding E32 Face Off: 1988 BMW 735i and 750iL
Kudos to the then seller, it was accurately represented. It looked great but needed to be cleaned up a bit, but despite low mileage and all the original Alpina goodies, it sold for pretty budget price – just a bit over $5,000.
Well, it’s back. It’s cleaner, better photographed and there are also some clever changes and omissions in the current advertisement that have apparently sold bidders on a bill of goods that I’m pretty confident the car can’t write:
”How cheap can they really get?”
That is what I ask myself all the time when checking out almost any car. I understand why cars get to a certain point, even ones that were really expensive to start with. Sometimes it is just the natural cycle of used cars. Sometimes it is a situation where the car just isn’t worth the trouble and prices hit the floor. Of course this is a case by case basis, but it is always interesting to see how certain cars slot into the market when they’ve matured to over 10 years old. Today’s car, a 2005 Mercedes-Benz SL500, is one of these cases where I always wonder how cheap they are going to get.
The R230 generation isn’t like SLs of years past; this is a modern-era SL with a retractable hardtop and a sleek design. Gone are the square slabs and lightweight feel, this is a bloaty, heavy grand tourer. Of course all this came at a very expensive price. The 2005 SL500 started at $92,000 ($118,000 in today’s money) and only got significantly more expensive from there. The thing is, these are pretty stout cars. They aren’t mechanical nightmares like a Land Rover (I know this from personal experience â€” I own one) and maintenance won’t bankrupt you even if you daily drive one of these. But this SL500 isn’t a mint to get into: it is a mere $9,000. That’s it. No, it doesn’t have a rebuilt title and it’s not full of mold, it is just a 2005 SL500 with a 141,000 miles. This makes me wonder; are all R230s heading towards this level of cheap buy-in?
Lost in the sea of Mercedes-Benz R107s is the SLC that is one of those ”Oh yeah, I remember those” cars because honestly, you just don’t see them anymore. I’ve checked them out before, but none like this one for sale in New Jersey. This is the ultra-rare 500SLC 5.0 which doesn’t sound like much right now, but let me explain.
Mercedes-Benz actually ran the SLC in the FIA World Rally Championships and in order to do so, they had the homologate the cars as they ran 5.0 liter V8 SLCs in the races. Mercedes wwas only making the 4.5 liter cars at the time so a 5.0 liter car for the streets was necessary. Like most homologated cars, the production numbers were extremely low with justÂ 1,133 500SLCs being made over a few years. None of these cars were ever made for North America, but somehow there is really nice for sale in America’s favorite state. But the price? All those creme puff 560SL owners will be jealous.
A few months ago I checked out a 1989 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC AMG Widebody that had everything and a price tag to match. Today’s car is styled similarly, but unlike that 560SEC, this one doesn’t have the same punch and thankfully no where near the same price tag. This is a 1983 Mercedes-Benz 500SEL. You are probably asking right now ”This is an AMG car, right?” Well, not really. See, this is a really nice European-spec 500SEL with some AMG body parts, AMG wheels and an AMG steering wheel. You might of noticed I left out the part about a massive engine. This car looks every bit the part of a really good pre-merger AMG car, but without the heart. The thing is, I’m totally fine with that.
I’ve looked at my fair share of Mercedes-Benz G-Wagens here. From the rusty 1985 280GE for $12,950 to the street-legal monster truck 2017 G550 4Ă—4Â˛ for over $250,000, I’ve covered nearly all of them. They all make sense in one way or another as you can basically find a G to do anything you really need it to do. Need a military vehicle? Here is a 1991 230GE. How about a fire truck? Another 1991 230GE. Topless beach cruiser? I’ve got a 1992 300GD for you. But this 2001 G500 3-door for sale in Hampshire, England is a mystery to me and I wish I knew the full story. Let me explain.
There are probably cars you really like and want to own, but only with certain options or packages. In my world, the Mercedes-Benz R129 falls into the category. For me to spend money and commit to one, I need the SL1 and SL2 packages. What do they include? The SL1 comes with the ”AMG designed” bumpers and sideskirts with 18 inch Monoblock 1 wheels. The SL2 includes xenon headlights, a 6-disc changed (who cares?) and heated seats. For me, that is the pinnacle of the R129. Well, I’d love a pano hardtop too, but you can’t have it all. But every R129 that I come across without these packages seems disappointing to me because I know that there are other ones out there that are better in my eyes. Today’s 1999 SL500 for sale in Pennsylvania has these packages and in a rare color, but it has one catch.
Engine: 5.0 liter V8
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Mileage: 117,000 mi
Price: $15,000 Buy It Now
This car has been garage kept and meticulously maintained. Driven for pleasure only. Excellent inside and outside rare grey interior for this year model (most are tan in color). Car is located in Manchester , Pa. 17345
Please call me @ 717-818-9033 if you have any questions.
If you have a keen eye, you might notice something about this car is ”off.” Well, if you guessed the wheels, you are correct. This R129 has the 17 inch Albali wheels instead of the 18 inch Monoblock 1 wheels that come with the SL1 sport package. I have no idea where those original wheels went, but it is really unfortunate because this car also has the SL2 package. To top it all off, this SL500 is painted in Amber Red which is a really rare color for a R129. The rest of this car looks outstanding with no major flaws despite its 117,000 miles. I like the gray leather but black wouldn’t turn me away either if that was the case.
This seller is asking $15,000 and in my eyes, it is probably a few thousand too high. If this car had the wheels and half the miles, then yes, $15,000 might be doable. But the market is still pretty soft even with these desirable options and rare paint, so I doubt anyone is going to overpay when they can find a comparable car for thousands less.