The M5 might not have been the original super sedan. It wasn’t even the first hot 5-series. But just like the GTI is synonymous with the hot-hatch segment, the M5 became the standard by which all other super-sedans were judged the moment it rolled onto the scene in 1985. Power seemed other-worldly; 280 plus horsepower from the race-derived M88/3 hunkered down with beefy suspension upgrades and huge (for the time) alloy wheels linked with a limited-slip differential. At a time when “fast” cars had 180 horsepower, BMW’s first M-offering in the sedan range might as well have been a space ship.
BMW promised limited production for the U.S. market, too – and, indeed, only 1,239 were produced for the U.S. with the slightly de-tuned S38. Unfortunately, that was 700 more than BMW had promised to make, and that led to a lawsuit. It also wasn’t very long before the M5’s power reign was eclipsed; first by its replacement E34 model, then by the whole range of new V8 models emerging on the market, from the 1992 Audi V8 quattro to the 500E. Values quickly fell as these old-looking (even when new) boxy rockets fell out of favor, and they remained there for quite some time.
But recently there’s grown a much greater appreciation for all things 80s M, and though the E30 has grabbed the headlines as the market star, outside of the M1 it is the E28 M5 that was brought here in fewest numbers. Even fewer have survived, and finding clean, lower mile examples can be tough. This one appears to tick the right boxes:
If you’ve not been paying attention, pundents have been claiming that the classic car market is cooling ever so slightly. Bring a Trailer and the BMW 2002tii didn’t get the message, apparently. Just the other day, a European-specification 1972 tii traded for $102,002 before fees. See what they did there?
Anyway, I’ve previously lamented that I had opportunities to get into the Quattro market before the second wave of Group B insanity. Well, I also missed out on the classic E10 market. My first car was very nearly a ’73 2002tii, and while it’s extremely unlikely it would have ever ended up as nice as today’s Turkis example, it’s a nice thought, anyway.
Most German car enthusiasts are no longer familiar with the name “DKW”. It’s a shame considering the long history of DKW, whose name originates from the German Dampf-Kraft-Wagen or “steam powered vehicle” – just to give you a sense of the time period they started out. DKW reached its zenith in the 1930s, a time when Germany was experiencing massive growth in its economy and Hitler wanted to turn the Fatherland into a nation of drivers. Ironically, despite his notable efforts supporting Grand Prix racers and the development of the Beetle, pre-War automobile ownership in Germany was amongst the lowest in all of Europe. They were, rather, a nation of riders – motorcycles, to be precise, buying more of the two-wheeled transport than anyone else in Europe. It was what gave companies like BMW a start, for example, but the most successful of all of the pre-War motorcycle companies was DKW. Upon joining the Auto Union in 1932, they began experimenting more with small cars. But the aftermath of World War II meant that the area that DKW, Audi and Horch – 3/4 of the Auto Union company – were stuck in Soviet controlled areas, most of the factories being disassembled and sent back further behind the Iron Curtain as war reparations.
The result was that in the late 1940s and early 1950s, new efforts to resurrect these names were attempted. It’s not very surprising that the attempts were made; after all, imagine if Chevrolet went out of business due to a War; you can bet once things were cleaned up, someone would try to make a Corvette. And sure enough, based upon some pre-War designs the F89 was born. As with most post-War cars in Germany, it was small, affordable and versatile. DKW utilized the platform to create what was, in essence, the first Audi Avant. The F94 chassis you see here was an updated version of the F89, replete with the 2-stroke 3-cylinder engine that the company claimed gave the power of an inline-6 – hence the paradoxical naming strategy of 3=6 for the Sonderklasse. With a space-saving transverse motor driving the front wheels, there was ample room for flexible seating in the rear. Outside was a reasonably aerodynamic, compact design and the small motor ensured reasonable fuel economy – though no promise of speed. Today, nearly 70 years after the design was first sketched out, finding these Universal Kombis is extraordinarily hard – and when they surface in the U.S., they’re typically not in particularly good shape:
Let’s say for a moment that you came into an extraordinary amount of money and wanted to go vintage automobile racing. Of course, to prove your worth as an enthusiast, you’ll want to buy a historically significant car that will impress all the long bottom jaws, and few raise more eyebrows in the German realm right now than the 911. Truth told, the 911 is really the ‘new money’ of the vintage world – go try racing antique Bugattis or Ferraris, for example, and you’ll soon laugh at the budgets of Porsche racers…but I digress.
Ironically, there was a point in history where your scenario from today wouldn’t have been all that different from the past. Take the case of Diego Febles. Diego was born in Cuba under the notorious dictator Batista, but left in 1957 for “political reasons” you may have heard of at one point. Finally landing in Puerto Rico, Diego took to racing, and specifically racing Porsches. In the 1970s, this led him to be linked up with Peter Gregg’s Brumos Porsche group, and Diego proceeded to buy and build cars which mimicked Gregg’s famous liveries.
In his own right, Febels was fairly accomplished as a racer. He raced some of the most famous races in the world; of course the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring were naturals that Gregg and Brumos had excelled at, but he also raced at Road America, Mosport, Mid Ohio and finally even at Le Mans. This particular car is claimed to be his last ‘RSR’, but looks can be deceiving:
One of the biggest challenges we face when contemplating cars from a distance is that it’s difficult to judge a book by its cover. We’re at the mercy of the images and what the seller is willing to disclose in order to form a judgement. I’d like to think that most of the time we get it right and spot items that are perhaps warning signs to a larger problem. But, perhaps inevitably, we definitely have gotten some wrong. That brings us to today’s car, which Andrew wrote up back in 2016:
1993 Mercedes-Benz 300CE
Andrew felt at the time that it was a very clean example with a reasonable price. And, as luck would have it, one of our readership took the plunge and bought the car without a PPI. But it didn’t go quite as one would hope the story would, as it turned out there were some undisclosed problems which popped up. Today the car is back for sale with a lot of the heavy lifting done and some more stories to add to its pages:
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 5/7/19: This time around, the Bamboo Bomber sold for $12,100.
I don’t think there are any young children sitting around pining for the loss of the wagon. It’s hard to imagine a young teen hanging a picture of a Audi Allroad on his wall next to the idealistic Ferraris and Porsches, after all. Say to a average car-obsessed 10-year old “someday you’ll really want a wagon”, and they’ll probably laugh. Then try to tell them it will be beige…
All of this raises an interesting point: at what point does this particular car become appealing? Is it because it’s rare? Certainly there aren’t many 200 20V quattro Avants out there, with most fans accepting that approximately 149 were imported. Is it because it’s old? Now on the verge of being 30, the scant number originally imported has dwindled to the point where I’m sure someone knows them all by name. After all, there were more people in my high school graduating class than 200 20V Avants imported. Is it because it’s powerful? Well, to be honest, the 217 horsepower the 3B turbocharged double-overhead cam 20V inline-5 chucked out originally seems pretty tame today. But at the time, you needed to spend a lot of money to go faster than this 5-door. Is it because it’s beige? Now it gets interesting, as I was frustrated by the drapes-match-the-carpet tones in a recent S8, which otherwise shares most of the characteristics I just mentioned:
2001 Audi S8
Yet here, this rare Bamboo Metallic over rare Travertine in the (you guessed it) rare 200 20V quattro Avant pulls the right strings and becomes quite desirable:
Stepping even a bit further back in BMW’s timeline, today we have a Neue Klasse Coupe. The E120 was as evolution of the Bertone 3200CS design from the early 1960s, but BMW’s design head – one very famous Mr. Wilhelm Hofmeister – certainly added his own distinctive flair. However, he wasn’t alone – some of the most famous car designers from the period had influence – from the aforementioned Bertone, Giugiaro, and of course Michelotti (designer of the 700 series as well) all had a hand.
While the lines looked exotic, underneath the chassis and drivetrain were borrowed straight from the more pedestrian Neue Klasse sedans. Power came from the venerable 2.0 inline-4 M10 fed by twin Solex carbs. The CS had the higher compression (9.3:1) 120 horsepower version, while the C and CA made due with 100. This was still a huge step for BMW, who lacked the capability to produce the complex body structure on its normal assembly lines. As a result, like its successors the E9 and early E24 models, the 2000C, CA and CS Coupes would be produced by Karmann in OsnabrĂĽck. A total of approximately 13,691 were produced between its 1965 launch and the takeover of the 2800CS introduction in 1968.
So, they’re old, a bit quirky-looking by BMW standards, and rare. That certainly makes for the potential for a collector car! And this one is claimed to be a mostly original survivor, to boot:
While it hasn’t been particularly long since I looked at a B2 – either in Coupe GT or in 4000S form – it has been a bit since we saw a nice example of the fan-favorite 4000 quattro. In fact, it’s been over a year since I looked at the last late-build 4000CS quattro.
Such is the marketplace at this point. The newest example is on the verge of being 32 years old and, frankly, not many have lived glamorous lives. Despite this, they are resilient. I was reminded to the 4000CS quattro when I watched a recent Motorweek featuring the then-new 325ix. While admittedly the E30 packed more power than Audi’s traditional normally aspirated inline-5, to me the 4000 still holds greater appeal and was better in its execution of a reliable all-weather sedan. I won’t go through everything that made these cars special as I have done several times, but if you’re interested you can read about the early or late models by clicking.
Today, both the ix and quattro models are few and far-between. Audi originally sold about 4,000 each model year of the 4-year run of the democratized all-wheel drive system shared with its very rare Quattro brethren, but at a cut-rate price and with exceptionally low residual value (I bought mine at 9 years old with under 100,000 miles for only 10% of its original sticker price), there just aren’t a lot of good ones remaining. Here’s one:
Update 7/8/18: The seller has dropped the price from the original $29,000 ask to $24,900 today.
I’ve shown in several recent Alpina posts that you really need to watch what you’re buying. As it’s still possible to get all of the parts from Alpinas and even replica dash plaques can be forged, it’s the details that help to establish that you’re barking up the right tree.
The last E32 Alpina we looked at was the replica B12 5.0. While it looked the part and featured correct Alpina parts, it was not an original build – something that makes a difference in the pricing. Yet that didn’t slow down bids the second time around, as a slick picture gallery and glaring omission that it was a later build from parts netted a $23,600 sale. For a non-original E32, that was seriously strong bidding. For example, we had featured a real B12 5.0 with very low mileage in pristine condition for $29,900 in 2016.
Today we have another E32, but this time it’s the lower-spec B11 with the M30-derived 3.5 liter inline-6. Looks wise, there’s little to differentiate these two models. While the E30, E28 and E34 models usually steal the headlines, I absolutely love the brutish look of the even larger 7 adorned with the signature Alpina treatment. So is this B11 the real deal, and is it a better deal?