1977 Mercedes-Benz 280SE Euro-Spec – REVISIT

The awesome looking 4-speed 280SE from 1977 that I wrote up in late July has reappeared on the marketplace, having not sold the first time around. This car appears to be really unique and well presented and would certainly turn heads at any show. I especially love the AMG-spec wheels and Euro-goodies that slim down and beef up the S-Class just a bit. At $12,000, this seems like a good deal for a great vintage Benz:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1977 Mercedes-Benz 280SE on eBay

The below post originally appeared on our site July 26, 2014:

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1984 BMW 745i 5-speed

The E23 has always been a design which to me has been quite polarizing. As with the E12 and E24, Paul Bracq was heavily involved in the final design and it shows – in many ways, the E23 looks like a cross between the two that was scaled up 10%. The results of that in my mind weren’t always good. Growing up, my father had both E24s and E28s, clean looking, well proportioned designs, and when I first saw an E23 I remember thinking it looked a bit ungainly. In U.S. specification, the bumpers were too big and the wheels were too small, resulting in a car which appeared heavy, sagging and sad. When he’s really upset, my son manages to invert his lip and stick it out, tears streaming down his cheeks. It’s a look which nearly mimics the U.S. spec front end of the E23 I now recognize. However, in European trim the E23 made more sense – it looked lighter, smaller and better proportioned. While not as stately as the W116, it certainly looked a fair bit sportier outside and more modern. Couple those European-market looks with some great period BBS RS wheels and the look is just about perfect; throw in the turbocharged M106 motor and you’ve peeked much interest. Of course, unfortunately the M106 was only pared with an automatic transmission – but then, what would happen if you swapped that for a 5-speed?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 BMW 745i on eBay

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1977 Mercedes-Benz 280SE Euro-Spec 4-Speed Manual

I’ve said before that the W116 is a love/hate car for me; most times, I see them and they just look like any tired old Benz; a bit out of proportion and over-bumpered. But then I see a great example, like some of the Euro-spec 6.9 models I’ve written up in the last few weeks, and I get a bit giddy. Though not really my dream car by any means, I can imagine cruising up to a Cars and Coffee event, or a German Car Day somewhere in my massive Benz. That vision is helped when I see one in full European trim; the slim bumper lines and cleaned up light clusters make it so much better. But while most of my adoration is levied upon those 6.9 models, this car might just change that. Compared the largest engine fitted in the W116 6.9, this car seems downright puny with only a 2.8 liter inline-6. What helps that, though, is the manual transmission and some of the missing luxuries that help lighten the load. Top it off with some AMG bits, and my does this car look tasty!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1977 Mercedes-Benz 280SE on eBay

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1985 Mercedes-Benz 280GE

The search for the perfect Providence commuter continues, and I’m constantly drawn back to these 1980s Geländewagens. Part of that is the inherent appeal of the G-wagen, with chunky good looks, rugged utilitarianism and honed-from-granite build quality. Sure, it’s about as fluid a design as what my 2-year old would draw and didn’t take much imagination; Draw one rectangle with two circles underneath, and on top place a slightly smaller rectangle. Job done! But the proportions are just right and with the right tires and alloys, the stance is perfect. Another reason that the G is on the list of cars that are acceptable in this household? My wife likes them and thinks they’re cool – rare for Mercedes-Benz products in her mind:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Mercedes-Benz 280GE on eBay

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1985 BMW 635CSi Euro-spec 5-Speed manual

Witness exhibit C in my anti-E30 M3 campaign. Like yesterday’s 1988 635CSi, this is another clean and tidy, well presented E24. But unlike yesterday’s end of the run car, this is a mid-year non-M spec car that I would generally consider the least appealing of the bunch. So what’s special about this one? Well, it’s a 5-speed car, always a plus amongst the big 6s. It’s got lower miles, too – only 68,000 in this case; that’s less than 2,500 on average if you’re counting. It’s all original, too – right down to the TRX wheels and tires. It has the unique Buffalo hide leather – an interior usually seen in the M cars but less frequently in normal production models. But in my mind I love it because it’s a Euro-spec car with a documented history, and an interesting one at that:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 BMW 635CSi Euro-spec 5-speed Manual on eBay

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Euro-spec 1978 GTI for sale

We all love a good GTI, especially the first generation.  The Europeans got the revolutionary hot hatch a few years before the States, and also benefited from an even greater sense of “less is more” with the Euro version.  Of course the US bumpers weighed down the ends a bit, as well as a clunkier, rectangular light setup instead of the classic Euro quads.  Today we have an imperfect-but-enticing Euro-spec GTI for sale in the SF Bay Area, in need of a little work but with a lot of great bits providing the foundation for a great A1 GTI.

1978 VW Euro-spec Golf GTI for sale on Craigslist

A list of mods from the seller:

2.0L Audi 3a Bubble Block
8 Scirocco valve head
Scirocco Intake Mani
Dual Downpipe
TT Race Header
TT Low temp fan switch
High-flow cat
Replaced Vaccuum Lines
TDI 5spd transmission
Strong Clutch
Weitech TX Height and Dampening Adjustable Coilovers
Nuespeed Fr Tie bar
Neuspeed Fr and Rear Sway Bars
Stainless Steel Braided Brake Lines
Brand new bfg tires on oem 14×6 Snowflake rims
Have all fender flares (currently off the car)
Euro Duckbill front spoiler
Fenders Rolled for 15×8 Widened Steelies (not included)
Euro Bumpers (not running rear)
Euro Quad Headlight Setup
Euro Taillights
Euro Cluster (kph, speedo is not hooked up)
Euro Gti Grill badge
Euro Golf Gti hatch badge
Black interior
Radio Delete Panel
Glass in great shape
Current Registration
That’s a lot of great mods for $2700, and I like that he ends his ad with “Cash Talks, if you seem like you’re going to take care of it thats more important than the money.”   This is definitely a guy who had a fun Mk1 project and is looking to pass it on to a kindred spirit.  The Audi 3A block originally came with 115hp, probably more now thanks to the upgrades, and either way a significant improvement over the original mill.  Sitting low on Weitech coilovers, I really like the subdued grey color scheme and roof spoiler.  It’ll need some work to be perfect, but I think this would be a really fun GTI with a great Euro-theme already established.  And you know what?  I kind of like that it’s a dirty little monster.  If I had a little more in the bank, I’d go offer $2500 and have some fun.
-NR