2005 Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet

By the back half of 2004, Porsche was full steam ahead with the launch of the 997 chassis for 2005, but they still had some unfinished business with the 996. Mainly this amounted to getting rid of all the leftover body shells and throwing all the parts bin stuff at the cars for high MSPRs to squeeze the last drop of juice out of the chassis. The 2005 model year for the 911 is hell for basically everyone having to deal with them as you could get a C2 cabriolet, Turbo, and GT3 in the 996 body as a 2005 model year, but the rest of the model range was now a 997. Even stranger was that if you wanted a 2005 911 Cabriolet, the base Carrera was a 996, but the Carrera S was a 997. Try having to pitch that as salesmen to potential buyers. Today’s car, a 911 Turbo S Cabriolet, was a full on “throw all the options on it to clear out the space we need in hopes someone buys it for a margin” kind of build. This car carried an MSRP of nearly $160,000 and was not shy about going a little over board equipment. Now? Not much of a discount, honestly.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2005 Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet on eBay

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1961 Mercedes-Benz 190SL

The Mercedes-Benz 190SL has one of a the craziest price deltas considering they all are the same car. A running project will get you in the game at around $40,000, while a restored example is north of $200,000 and beyond. Anywhere in between those two numbers, your mileage will vary (no pun intended) on how nice a car it is. Truth be told, the 190SL is much more of a looker than a driver, as it is a car that was built in the 1950s and is very much not the big brother 300SL. Thankfully Mercedes was not shy with the color combinations both inside and out, so your heart can run wild in terms of what flavor you’d like.

Today, we have a 1961 up for sale in a lovely shade of blue with a dark blue fabric top. From the outside, it looks fairly nice and has a more than reasonable price tag of $70,000. Oh, but wait until you open the doors and peek inside.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1961 Mercedes-Benz 190SL on eBay

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1995 BMW 325i Convertible

Launched in 1992 for U.S. shores, the third generation 3-series instantly cemented itself as the new benchmark. In fact, for all of the attention fawned on ‘God’s Chariot’ (the E30), the reality is that the 3-series didn’t appear on notoriously BMW-leaning Car and Driver‘s Ten-Best list until the 1992 model year. Equipped with the M50 DOHC 189 horsepower inline-6, the modern yet still driver-oriented design would go on to become a regular thereafter. They were a sales success too, and like the E30 was for some time, they’re currently being largely ignored in the used market. After all, if you can get a clean M3 in the teens, why would you buy a 325i instead?

Well, this one is an interesting counterpoint. Someone obviously loved it a lot, and this E36 convertible is chock-full of options and neat accessories. And, it’s only got 18,000 miles:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 BMW 325i Convertible on eBay

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2008 Audi TT 3.2 Quattro Roadster 6-Speed

VAG’s decisions on who would be able to shift their own gears have always been a bit confusing, but the period of the 3.2 VR6 is really where this came to a head for U.S. customers. In 2004, Volkswagen brought their hottest Golf (finally!) to our market, featuring the singing VR6 in 6-speed manual only form with the R32. Great, but Audi offered the same platform in slinkier TT 3.2 Quattro form. However, fans of manual shifting were overlooked as Audi opted to bring the top TT here only with DSG. This carried over to the A3 model range, where you could get a 3.2 quattro but only with the DSG box.

When it came to the next generation, VAG opted to change this formula. As it had been a fan favorite, you’d assume that the R32 would retain the same layout. But no, Volkswagen removed the manual option and the Mk.5 based R32 became DSG-only. So that would hold true in the bigger budget, typically more tech-heavy TT too, right? Wrong, as in the 2nd generation, Audi finally opted to allow buyers to select a manual in either Coupe or Roadster form:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2008 Audi TT 3.2 quattro Roadster 6-speed on eBay

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1959 BMW Isetta 300 Cabriolet

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:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1959 BMW Isetta 300 Cabriolet on eBay

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1995 Mercedes-Benz E320 Cabriolet

I hate to be clich, 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.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Mercedes-Benz E320 Cabriolet on eBay

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1992 BMW 318iC Design Edition

If you really want to stand apart from the standard E30 crowd, some of the limited production models that never came here are a sure-fire bet to draw attention. Late in the E30 run, BMW developed a special run of E30s called the ‘Design Editions’. These were effectively just appearance packages with splashy colors; Daytona Violet, Neon Blue and today’s feature color, Neon Green Metallic 262. Each was matched with a special interior fabric, here in 0464 with Neon Green accents. Underneath, these were effectively stock E30s otherwise, so you got a M42 inline-4 rated at 140 horsepower and here mated to a normal 5-speed manual. While the drivetrain isn’t anything exotic, certainly the limited nature of this model is – as only 50 Neon Green Metallic Design Edition 318iCs were produced:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1992 BMW 318iC Design Edition on eBay

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GCFSB Alumnus: 1993 Mercedes-Benz 300CEc

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:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1993 Mercedes-Benz 300CE on eBay

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1999 BMW M3 Convertible with 3,800 Miles

Its interesting to consider how enthusiasts today view the E36 M3. Generally speaking, youre either a completely devoted fan who insists that the E36 is not only the best M3, but perhaps the best BMW ever made. Why stop there? Why not go straight for best car in the history of the world, ever? On the other side of the coin, detractors love to point out that the second M3 was softened up for the U.S. market, that it wasnt as potent, as pure, as Motorsporty as the original curb-hopping, box-flared legend.

Arguably, theyre both right. Its certainly true that BMW made the decision to tone down the M3 for North American consumption. That was a really good thing for two reasons: one, that we got it at all, and two, that it remained affordable. Consider, for a moment, that the E30 M3 had grown quite expensive to sport all of that motorsport heritage. By 1991, the base price of the M3 was $35,900. Of course, it was competing against even more expensive cars like the Porsche 944S2, which was a further $10,000 more dear. While we can talk about driving spirit all day long, if we look at the fact sheets what you got was a bit soggy in comparison to todays cars. Inflation corrected, the M3 would be around $62,000 pretty much spot on the entry price for todays M3. The new car has more than double the horsepower of the original and enough tech to launch all of the Apollo program missions.

So what was really exciting when the new M3 was launched in late 1994 was that price point; $36,000. That was some $14,000 less expensive than the European model, and yet performance was within a few clicks thanks to a revised version of the 325i M50 engine. In fact, many including notoriously BMW-savvy Car and Driver suggested that the U.S. spec M3 was a better choice than the more exotic Euro model for our roads.

Today, the E36 M3 remains for many the smart choice within the lineup. Long overlooked as the obvious choice, prices have remained low relative to its predecessor and even its replacement. Modern comparisons often skip the E36 entirely. But that doesnt mean all E36s are affordable:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1999 BMW M3 Convertible on eBay

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Feature Listing: 1999 Porsche 911 Carrera 2 Cabriolet

1999 was the first year of the new 911, and it’s been a debate ever since. But Porsche had to move forward from the air-cooled design ultimately, and the new 911 Carrera was happy to pick up the pieces. The smoothed out styling made the 911 more aerodynamic yet was instantly recognizable as being from Porsche. So, too, was the exhaust note; a flat-6 still powered the best from Stuttgart, but now it was water-cooled instead of air-cooled.

The Carrera 2 and Carrera 4 shared a 3.4 liter variant of the flat-6, the M96. Out of the box, these cars had 300 horsepower – a number that a Turbo would have been happy with only a decade earlier. VarioCam assisted the motor in both being smooth in its power delivery and, unlike the Turbos of yore, that power was available in most of the tachometer. 0-60 was gone in 5 seconds and flat-out, even the drop-tops could do 165 mph. They were comfortable, fast sports cars that were capable in the tradition of the company. And today, they are without doubt the most affordable way to get into the 911 range.

Those first 1999 911s came in Carrera 2 form meaning rear-drive only as Carrera 4s rolled out a bit later, but you could opt for either a Coupe or this car, a convertible Cabriolet. The Cabriolet stickered at $74,460, but in typical Porsche fashion as you added in options the price went up quickly. But today, these cars offer a great entr into Porsche 911 ownership:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1999 Porsche 911 Carrera 2 Cabriolet on eBay

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