1987 Audi Coupe GT Special Build

If you pop on to the Audi USA configuration site, it’s easy to shake your head at how expensive it seems the range has gotten. The A3 is the cheapest product you can buy, but at $33,000 without options it’s hard to see how this gussied-up Golf is affordable.

Yet, relative to where Audis used to sticker, that price is downright cheap.

Take this 1987.5 Audi Coupe GT Special Build. At the end of the run, Audi sold approximately 850 of these B2/B3 hybrid Coupes to the U.S. market. While things like the suspension and basic body were unchanged, the Special Build got the NG-code 2.3 inline-5 that was seen in the later Type 44/C3 and B3 chassis cars with 130 horsepower. The gearbox was also unique to the Special Build, having beefed up drive shafts (for some unknown reason, as the existing ones were already overbuilt). The Special Build was also the only front-drive B2 to carry 4-wheel disc brakes – again, shared with the B3 instead. Inside, the Special Build got a special digital dashboard in a slightly different hue than the ’86 Coupe GTs with digital boards had. The interior fabric was updated to the Savoy Velour (also from the B3) instead of the B2’s Kensington Velour – this was signified by a triple stripe instead of a dual stripe. To help distinguish the limited cars, the exteriors featured a “dipped” look; window surrounds were body color as were mirrors and spoiler, and if you opted for Alpine White (L90E) the Ronal R8s were also painted body color. As with most later GTs, the Special Build came relatively loaded with few options, though most don’t seem to have the rear wiper selected for some reason. Sunroof, leather steering wheel, power windows, power defogging mirrors, cassette stereo and power antenna, cruise control and a trip computer were all standard. Only heated seats, a rear wiper, leather interior and an automatic transmission could be optioned.

The price for this “heavily optioned” exclusivity was $20,600, and you’d be hard pressed to leave a dealer for much under $21,000 after delivery charges. Inflation corrected from 1987 dollars to 2020 dollars, that’s about $48,000. A brand new A5 coupe starts at $44,000 today and has many more amenities standard. Is it any surprise that we see so many more luxury vehicles today than what we saw in the 1980s?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Audi Coupe GT Special Build on eBay

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1990 Audi Coupe Quattro

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.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Audi Coupe Quattro on eBay

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Ex-Michael Jordan 1996 Mercedes-Benz S600 Coupe

Earlier this spring, ESPN released a six-part documentary about the life and legacy of basketball player Michael Jordan that showcased him like we’ve never seen before. Even as someone who is only mildly interested in NBA, it was a fascinating watch. I wasn’t alone in this, as the ratings were off the charts for all six episodes. As a result, anything Michael Jordan related was now on fire in terms of value and people were eating it up. Even the most mundane things were suddenly as hot as can be and everyone was back on Jordan mania. Well, wouldn’t you have it, that includes cars. Even ones h̶e̶ his wife owned over 20 years ago and now are all beat up with a ton of miles on.

I actually looked at another one of his cars a few years ago in the ultra-rare SLR McLaren 722 Edition, which as the time wasn’t a big deal at all. This isn’t an SLR today, this is just an C140 S600 Coupe with some Lorinser bits bolted on and a bunch of miles. The current bid? Well, this is why eBay doesn’t work for cars like these.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: Ex-Michael Jordan 1996 Mercedes-Benz S600 Coupe on eBay

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1982 Mercedes-Benz 300CD

When I really sit and the think about it, the W123 Mercedes-Benz chassis is not the most beautiful thing ever to roll out of Stuttgart. Especially considering they were producing some of the most beautifully styled coupes only a few years prior and basically every year since the start of the company up until this point. The W123 was total functionality, and did its best to look good as an afterthought. See one randomly parked among today’s blobs of cars? Sure, you can call it handsome. It’s making the best of what cards were dealt. The big bumpers are there to take a 5-mph impact. The squared-off taillights with a wavy design? Mercedes-Benz consulted a team of optometrists to study which taillight design is easier to be seen by the eyes in the dark and wet. Those taillights are what went on the car. The list goes on and on. Mercedes built a car with the intention to last forever and it sure is doing a good job so far.

This 1982 300CD up for sale in Los Angeles can be one of those “forever” cars. Enough miles to not think one second about not driving it in fear of devaluing the car, but not so many that its ready for taxi duty in the Middle East. The condition is bordering on outstanding, and the price? Well, its not cheap, but thankfully not too crazy.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1982 Mercedes-Benz 300CD on eBay

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1972 Mercedes-Benz 250C

It seems that, to me at least, the Mercedes-Benz W114/115 may be forgotten about, or at the very least overlooked. I can understand it given the W111 Coupes that were being produced at the same time were some of, and still are, some of the most magnificent and quality automobiles ever built. A W111 Coupe has doors that weigh roughly the same as a baby elephant and shut so preciously that it’ll slice your fingers clean off if you get them caught. But you won’t care because all you’ll be focused on is the beautiful burl wood gauge cluster housing. So naturally if you are standing on the lot of a Mercedes-Benz dealer in 1972 and see that interior, then walk over and peek inside today’s car, a 1972 250C, you’ll probably be a little disappointed. It certainly explains why a W111 Coupe today is worth a boatload of money, and the W114/115 Coupe can be hand for those of us on a budget.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1972 Mercedes-Benz 250C on eBay

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1993 Mercedes-Benz 300CE

I personally think one of the more overlooked Mercedes-Benz that is still relatively affordable is the W124 coupe. It’s starting to get in that sweet spot of becoming old enough to be classic, but all the equipment is still modern enough, both safety and amenities, that you are perfectly fine driving it everyday. Nothing will kill you in terms of maintenance or repairs, and even since it is a W124 at the end of the day, it shouldn’t be that unreliable at all. What’s not to like?

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

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2000 Mercedes-Benz CLK430

The transition from the W124 Mercedes-Benz E-Class coupe to CLK-Class coupe, which for all intents and purposes is an E-Class coupe as well, was a very clear evolution. It was an abrupt switch from the old-school Mercedes feel into a new modern age with softer styling and softer materials. Of course the wrench thrown into this is that while the W208 looked like a W210 E-Class both inside and out, it was actually built on the W202 C-Class chassis. You’d never really know this and Mercedes did a really nice job of covering that up, but none the less, the new-era of Mercedes was here. It was a very fresh design for the time and while impressive for its day, signaled a very clear end to philosophy of over-engineered and over-built coupes that Mercedes was known for since basically the beginning of the automobile. Times change and you need to adapt, and this is what Mercedes did. Just looking at the front end, you went from squared off and boxy look with headlights that were literal rectangles, to a set of ovals that were split apart into two different lights. A massive change in direction for sure, but it was new, and people bought them.

However, this also signaled the time where a Mercedes-Benz wasn’t really considered a car you kept for years on end, but rather a lease special and a race to get out the door with the lowest monthly payment. Twenty years later, this is still true across the entire model range with the exception of very few niche models. So where does that leave these now old cars? Nearly worthless, basically. There is no nostalgia for a 2000 CLK or 2001 S430. Any example that is more trouble than it is worth is scrapped without a second thought and only the nicest examples still remain. Today, I came across this CLK430 example in Philadelphia that still does maybe have some appeal to it. Outside of the terrible aftermarket grille, of course.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2000 Mercedes-Benz CLK430 on eBay

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1997 Mercedes-Benz S500 Coupe

The Mercedes-Benz W140 Coupe is growing on me. Especially when they are done as well as today’s car. This 1997 S500 Coupe up for sale in Costa Mesa is painted in the ultra-bright Imperial Red and most importantly, the 18″ three-piece AMG wheels. The interior is take it or leave it beige leather, but it does make up for it having just a little over 25,000 miles. Time to buy in on the C140? Probably not this example given the asking price. Let me explain.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1997 Mercedes-Benz S500 Coupe at Private Collection Motors

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1988 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC

Last week, I took a look at one of the nicest examples of a W140 Mercedes-Benz S-Class that I’ve seen in quite some time. In addition to it being extremely clean, it was also optioned with the cloth/velour interior. Like mentioned, that interior choice was actually a more expensive option, which in terms of the American market, seems counter-intuitive. As luck would have it, another top of the range S-Class popped up with a velour interior and this time its on US soil.

This 1988 560SEC up for sale in Portland, Oregon is a left-hand drive car built for the Japanese market which means it has all the European-spec goodies. Shorter bumpers, the proper headlights, and the wonderful patterned blue velour interior. Wait until you see it.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC on eBay

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2013 BMW 328i Coupe

While it’s easy to get wrapped up in the biggest, baddest, and fastest of every type of car, in the background there are some hidden gems. These jewels are, unfortunately for enthusiasts, getting harder to find – in this case, we have a naturally aspirated, inline-6, rear-drive coupe with a manual gearbox. If that sounds like an endangered species, you’re right – it seems to be. But by forgoing the turbocharger of the bigger brother 335i or twin turbos in the 335iS, jumping into this Liquid Blue Metallic 328i won’t cost you an arm or a leg – a good thing, since you’ll need both of each to drive it.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2013 BMW 328i Coupe on eBay

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