Back in the days the W210 Mercedes-Benz E-Class production, there was a model produced that didn’t exactly get all the headlines or fanfare, and that was the E430 Sport. For the 2000 through 2002 model years, you could option a E430 with the E55 AMG body kit. That meant much more aggressive bumpers, some cool side skirts, and circle fog lights that were unique to the E55. While all this was cool, Mercedes was smart enough not to offer the smoke taillights nor the signature 18″ AMG Monoblock wheels, as you had to settle for 17″ wheels. However, source a set of the Monoblocks, and you have a faux E55 to the untrained eye. Wouldn’t you know it, this is exactly what we have here with this 2000 up for sale in Massachusetts that has just 42,000 miles. I don’t want to spoil the party early, but this one might have some issues.
We made it to April and the convertible season is finally here. Personally, I’m not a huge convertible guy, but I appreciate them, and certainly more so when it’s on an iconic model. For the Porsche 993 generation, Porsche had a tough job to stash the folding soft-top somehow behind the rear seats and in front of the engine firewall, all while making it look good. Truth be told I think they did a great job considering the challenge, but I can’t say I’m ever tempted to go buy one. However, if I were in the market, today’s car might be one of the better ones.
This 1998 911 Carrera Cabriolet up for sale in Miami has the understate black exterior but went all in with Lobster Red leather on basically everything. Even better, this one has some extra goodies to top it all off.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1998 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet 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
When Porsche launched the new 992 generation, they sure weren’t playing around when it came to numbers. No longer were the lowly C2 and C2S models just an entry point and if you wanted real numbers, you had to go GTS, Turbo, or a GT car. A base 992 throws out 379 horsepower and 331 lb-ft of torque, but the numbers on the road say it’ll do 0-60 in about 3.5 seconds. The 992 Carrera S that we are looking at today? 443 horsepower and 390 lb-ft of torque good for a 0-60 time in 3.0 second flat. Those are near supercar numbers out of a 911 Carrera S, which you really could drive every single day, and it has a base price of about $114,000. Boy, I hope these depreciate someday.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2020 Porsche 911 Carrera S on eBay
If you say “aging twin-turbocharged V12 engine” to any sane car person, they’ll probably reply along the lines of “You couldn’t give it to me for free.” They probably wouldn’t be too far off, but it all comes down to expectations going into something like that. Is it going to be cheap and easy? Probably not. Is it going to be a total disaster of Maserati Biturbo proportions? Hopefully not. In all seriousness, the Mercedes-AMG M275 engine is about the best you can ask for in terms of what they made and how much reward you get from it, which is 604 horsepower and 738 lb-ft of torque. Much to everyone’s surprise and now delight, these engines have been proven to be anything but a rolling disaster. However, does that mean it is worth rolling the dice on one when the price becomes attractive enough? Let’s take a look with this 2008 with an impressive 80,000 miles on the odometer.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2008 Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG on eBay
The black A1 GTI sold for $11,500 on October 30, 2021.
While not the fastest or the prettiest car Volkswagen ever made, the GTI represents the ethos of VW’s 1980s philosophy of cheap, fun-to-drive, and eminently practical cars for consumers. As they did when new, the first generation GTI also represented a car which gave much faster cars a run for their money. True, the 90 horsepower under the hood won’t scare a supercar. But what this car lacks in straight-line performance it more than makes up for in value.
You see, over the past few years we’ve watched the fan-favorites and driver’s cars from the 1980s increasingly price themselves out of the range of most enthusiasts. The esoterics are also forged in unobtanium today, and while there was a period where you could snap up cheap 80s products in Europe and import them, they’re going away, too. Sure, the M3 and 911 led the charge, but today a clean 190E 2.3-16 or Quattro will set you back some serious bucks. And then when you do get one, you need to worry about collector insurance, expensive and hard-to-source parts and whether you bought in a bubble.
The solution is still the giant-killer GTI. Find a clean one, and you’ll have a car that can be driven at 10/10ths still today and generate plenty of smiles, yet is relatively cheap to buy and very cheap to run. You’ll get thumbs up just like the 911 driver will. Maybe even more, honestly, because when was the last time you saw an A1 cruising around? Today I have two possibilities, from wild to mild. Which would you choose?
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 Volkswagen “GTI” on eBay
It hasn’t been all that long since I looked at a 7A-powered 90 or, for that matter, a very clean Coupe Quattro:
However, today’s car – while broadly similar to that Coupe above, is definitely worth a closer look. That’s because it has a scant 27,000 miles on the clock. How is that even possible?
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Audi Coupe Quattro on eBay
Neither the E24 M6 nor the E28 M5 need an introduction on these pages. Legendary even when new, they both captured the imagination of generations of German car enthusiasts and established the benchmarks for sedan and GT performance in period. Both went through a relatively long downturn in value, as well. And today, as each has moved firmly into classic status and the market ///Madness continues, each has increased in value considerably over where they stood a few years ago.
But with so many shared components, which is the one to get? While a lot of that boils down to personal preference, more so than ever it’s also dependent on your budget. We’ve seen asking prices for nice examples of each chassis hovering between $50,000 and $80,000 depending on mileage and condition, and with a hot market there’s no letup of good ones to choose from. Today’s example is not the most pristine or low mileage on the market by any means, but it does balance that out with some desirable mods:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW M5 on eBay
Like yesterday’s GTI, the similarly Giugiaro-styled Audi Coupe GT added a touch of upscale Italian design to relatively pedestrian underpinnings. However, there was more of the rally-bred all-wheel drive Quattro DNA in the Coupe GT than its corporate cousin. Nearly everything apart from the door handles in the B2 was overbuilt; massive driveshafts, bigger brakes and heavier duty suspension, and a robust engine meant that in any form these entry level Audis have stood the test of time pretty well. While in Europe there were several different variants of the Coupe in 4 or 5 cylinder and with all-wheel drive, in the U.S. we only got one at any time. Starting with a 2.1 inline-5, the front-drive only GTs worked their way up to the last of the run 2.3 NG motored cars. With 4-wheel disc brakes, special exterior and interior treatments, a unique digital dashboard and 130 horsepower, these lighter “Special Build” GTs were a performance match for U.S. spec Quattros, and are almost as rare. This black example sports some modifications but looks quite clean overall:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Audi Coupe GT Special Build on eBay
Nomenclature has been something Audi fans have struggled with, but to be fair the naming scheme from Ingolstadt hasn’t always been particularly straightforward. For example, though ubiquitous as the Coupe GT, there was actually a trim and performance difference between B2 front-drive Coupes and Coupe GTs. Similarly, though U.S. fans often fair to recognize it, the B3 Coupe Quattro was actually the second generation with the name; Europeans enjoyed the option of having a non-turbocharged, non-flared version of the B2 platform which few but the most dedicated U.S. Audi Coupe fans are aware of. Then there’s the name – properly, a capitalized Quattro refers to the aforementioned legend – the model that launched the branding of Audi’s all-wheel drive system. Every subsequent model that followed properly has a lowercase “q” if it sported the optional all-wheel drive. That even goes for models that were only offered in all-wheel drive, such as the V8 quattro. That is, except for the Coupe Quattro, which Audi insisted should also be capitalized. So confusing is the naming scheme that fans have taken to using “Ur” to refer to the Quattro (though proper capitalization would take care of the problem) for not only the original model, but the C4 S4/S6 and I’ve even been seeing it used for TTs, A4s and a few others. It also means that every time one comes up for sale and someone slaps ‘Ur’ in front of it, someone else has to ask what ‘Ur’ means.
But the B3 and B4 Coupe wasn’t just offered in all-wheel drive; there were a long line of optional engines in the Coupe in both two and four wheel drive. However it only came to the U.S. in one configuration – the under-appreciated 7A inline-5 20V motor pushing all four wheels. The B3 ran the second generation of quattro, with the center differential controlled by a Torsen unit and the rear open with an optional, speed limited locking unit. It upped the safety and electronic options to respond to market demands. They were heavy with electronic features including power seats, and passengers enjoyed the confusing safety net known as PROCON-10 – essentially, a series of cables which pre-tensioned seatbelts in the event of a crash. Though the production run of U.S. Coupes was brief at only 2 years and roughly 1700 units, there were many changes over that time. The motor changed ISV valves and computers as well as swapping from a tubular header to a cast iron unit. Shortly into production, airbags became standard on both the Coupe and sedan models. A rear swaybar was added, along with changes to the hydraulic system. All of these went relatively unseen to consumers, making the only notable change the addition of a glass sunroof to 1991 models. For the most part, these cars came fully loaded with the only options being Pearlescent White Metallic paint and power heated seats, unlike the sedan which despite being fewer in number has much more variety in options.