Following up on the
hugely popular Fuldamobile, it seems appropriate to talk about the more successful and instantly recognizable Isetta. Like the Fuldamobile, BMW’s quirky bubble car was a licensed production. The original design was the Iso Autoveicoli company’s property in Italy, and its owner – Renzo Rivolta, who would go on to support the production of some beautiful Italian-American V8 GT cars – started production in 1954 after showing the car at the ’53 Turin Automobile Show. Rivolta was happy to license production and did so with VELAM in France, De Carlo in Argentina, and Romi in Brazil. But, of course, the most famous and numerous version was the BMW variant.
Produced first as a 250, then upgraded to 300 (and finally 600, where the stretched chassis would go on to foster BMW’s 700 model), some 160,000-odd Isettas were produced by BMW in their cash-strapped post-War years. But among the most rare variations of production was the Cabriolet model:
I hate to be cliché, but the facelift W124 Cabriolets are aging very well. It is safe to call them classics now, honestly modern classics, but still old enough to rent a car at the airport. The square handsome lines will never be offensive or jarring, and the quality is nearly unmatched. Even compare it to the same model year Rolls-Royce Corniche, and you’d be crazy not to pick the Mercedes. That has been keeping prices stable for as long as I can remember and it doesn’t look like they are going anywhere. This 1995 up for sale in Arizona is nothing but blue over blue on blue. I think I like it that way.
Looking for a performance car? This isn’t it. It’s also about as far from a classic Audi as you could get in the U.S. market; there was no turbo, no inline-5, no manual and no quattro drivetrain. But the B4 Audi Cabriolet was ironically the last 1980s holdover for the company, and it survived until somewhat amazingly 1998 here, with the basic chassis construction from 1985. To the end, it remained a competent and handsome convertible, a conservative alternative to the more expensive Mercedes-Benz drop-tops and the flashier BMWs. The Cabriolet really only came in one configuration here, with the 2.8 liter V6 linked to the 4-speed automatic driving the front wheels. On the fly, this was a fine setup and certainly potent enough to rustle your hair, though it was far from lighting it on fire. Pricing at the end of the run was surprisingly high at $34,600 base price. Added to that were the packages many came with for the 1998 model year; Premium Package added a power roof, burled walnut wood trim; Kodiac leather seat upholstery, remote locking and alarm. To make it more palatable to most of the country, the “All Weather Package” added heated front seats, heated windshield washer nozzles, and heated door locks. Also optional for the end of the run were the Votex Speedline Competition 16″ 6-spoke alloy wheels and even high backed sport seats; both (especially the latter) are very rare. Of course, the Cabriolet is rare full stop, with only 5,439 sold here between 1994 and 1998, or roughly 1,000 per a model year. This ’95 is one of 1,087 and might be one of the best left:
To commemorate the end of the G-Class Cabriolet production, Mercedes-Benz decided to make a special version called the ”Final Edition 200” that was slated to be ultimate G cabriolet. They grabbed the wheels from the G63/G65, put some fancy leather work inside, added a some badges, and pitched it to all their best buyers. All 200 sold out before production even started, and those buyers probably weren’t too happy to hear a few years later that this wasn’t the end of the G cabriolet run thanks to the Mercedes-Maybach G650 Landaulet. Granted, this was the last two-door G Cabrio, but still. Today, one of the 200 is up for sale Miami thanks to some federalization help from Europa International. However, this price on this G probably isn’t what you would guess. Are you sitting down?
Update 5/7/19: This E36 AMG Cabriolet sold for approximately $36,000.
RM Sotheby’s is going all-in on their Youngtimers Collection auction on April 11th in Essen, Germany which features 85 cars from the ’80s, 90s and 2000s that will make your heart bleed. As much as I’d like to go through all of those cars, because believe me, there are some gems, I’d thought I would pick one or two to take a closer look at. Today’s car is a very rare 1994 Mercedes-Benz E36 AMG Cabriolet. This car was originally delivered to Luxembourg of all places and is reportedly only one of 68 W124 E36 AMG Cabriolets ever built. It is painted in one of my favorite colors, Malachite Green Metallic, and has everything you could want from a 90s AMG car. How much is this predicted to hammer for? Quite a lot. I guess I’m not the only one drooling over this car.
Update 3/20/19: This Étienne Aigner sold for $11,500.
As I explained back in 2017, towards the end of their lengthy production run, the Volkswagen Cabriolet broke into a three-tier model platform. All shared the same basic underpinnings, but each had a unique trim. The base model and best seller had cloth interiors, with the latter being opted with the ‘Teardop’ Detroit alloys, air conditioning and cruise control. Opting for the upscale Boutique model got you a matching leather interior to your white exterior. These packages had replaced the mid-80s Wolfsburg and Carat packages.
1990 Volkswagen Cabriolet with 23,000 Miles
However, there was a fourth trim model available in 1991; the Étienne Aigner Edition. Étienne Aigner is famed for high fashion leather products aimed specifically at women. So, you guessed it, this Cabriolet featured a cloth interior. As with the other upscale Cabriolets, this was an entirely appearance-based package, full of special details and badges. Étienne Aigners also differentiated themselves from the normal Cabriolets by being equipped with the Fuchs-made forged 14″ Le Castellet wheels and were available in three special colors, Midnight Blue Metallic, Mangrove Green Metallic or Bordeaux Red Pearl Metallic, each with a special color-matched interior fabric and top cover:
Here is something I don’t see all that often. This is a 1993 Mercedes-Benz E36 AMG Cabriolet. If you are asking yourself why you never see these cars, it is because they are incredibly rare. The W124 E36 is exactly what it sounds like, a W124 with a 3.6 liter M104 from AMG with some cool bumpers and wheels. For as German as Mercedes-Benz is, they are dreadful for publishing production records on cars that aren’t worth a million dollars. Although maybe they just aren’t very open with sharing their information either. From what I understand, under 200 W124 E36 AMG cars were produced during the last few years of the W124 production run in the sedan, coupe, cabriolet and estate bodies. Of the less than 200, 57 officially went to the UK as right hand drive models and the rest were scattered around the rest of the world. Much to no ones surprise, none made it to the North America. Today, we have an E36 AMG Cabriolet up for bid in Illinois. Except this car isn’t one of those 200 cars. Please stay with me here.
I post this mainly out of curiosity because that’s pretty much what this 911 is: a curiosity. This is a 2005 Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet. It’s located in California, has an Arctic Silver Metallic exterior over a Sand Beige interior and has 77,243 miles on it. Nice car!
The current owner decided he wanted a little more out of his Cabriolet and has attempted in some regard to replicate both the appearance and performance of the 911 GT3. As I’m sure you are aware the GT3 does not exist as a Cabriolet. I don’t imagine it ever will, nor do I imagine there is much desire for such a machine. But car enthusiasts being what they are, they tend to crave more performance even when the performance already is pretty good or even when they’ve chosen the model with somewhat compromised performance because the roof has been cut off. And I guess that’s how we got to where this 911 is now.
I will say it does look great. The GT3 front always has looked better than that of the standard 911 and here juxtaposed with the Cabriolet rear it’s a pretty attractive design. It’s party in the front, business in the back. It’s a reverse mullet. Personally I’d actually be satisfied with the alterations to its appearance, but this owner didn’t want to stop there and put in a bit of effort to improve its overall performance. I doubt it’s up to GT3 levels, especially given that I’m sure this Cabriolet still weighs a good bit more than a GT3 (according to Excellence a Carrera S Cabriolet weighs around 250 lbs more than a GT3), but performance should be elevated nonetheless. As I said, it’s kind of a curiosity. I don’t know that I’d ever think to do this to a 911 Cabriolet, but it’s not a bad idea.
Recently, I’ve looked at two BMW 135i M-Sports. It’s a bit easy to be confused by the monikers of various models over 135i production. All 135i models came with most of the sport features that you’d associate with what BMW traditionally had labeled “M-Sport” models, but in the case of the 135i the actual M-Sport name was only given to models with option code P337A, which gave you Style 261 wheels and an anthracite headliner. Making it even more confusing is that when you decode VINs on non-M-Sport models, the term M-Sport pops up in S704A – the suspension – of all 135is.
Ready to be more confused? For its last model year, the M-Sport was dropped and replaced by this model – the 135is denoted by code P7MFA. The 135is had few changes from previous models; outwardly, they are virtually identical to the prior year’s M-Sport. Or, for that matter, they’re basically identical to any other 135i. There are two ways to identify the 2013 outwardly; one is the single “s” added to the back, and the other is the wheels. Like the M-Sport, one main difference was the new S2NFA M Double Spoke Style 313 wheels shared with the 335is. While they were 19″ on the E9x, they were 18″ on the 1 and carried the same size 215/245 tires as the prior years. Dynamically, there was a small change. Still carrying the N55 single-turbo inline-6, the last model year got the bump in power that was optional on 2012s. The remapped ECU gave you 20 more horsepower and 17 lb.ft of torque – not a big gain, but a gain nonetheless.
So here’s a 135is to consider, and since we’ve looked at Coupe 6-speeds the last few rounds, I went for a E88 Convertible equipped with the 7-speed DCT this time:
The W463 Mercedes-Benz G-Class Cabriolet is one of those vehicles that you might have a hunch is special, but aren’t quite sure how special until you really look at it and then ultimately look at what kind of prices they are commanding. I’ve taken a look at these G Cabrios before and my consensus is that they are loved for two reasons. The first being that they are extremely rare and people love to have what others can’t get. Second reason being that it is simply a G-Wagen with a power convertible top. Jeeps and Defenders with cloth tops are cool and all, but just easily pushing a button to raise or lower the top on your SUV that can literally climb a mountain is a luxury that people will seriously pay for. This 2006 G500 Cabrio up for sale in Switzerland looks to be case once again.