Fresh off the craziest Porsche 911 color combo I’ve ever seen, today we have a Mercedes-Benz that is ready to join the party. This 1993 600SL looks innocent enough on the outside, but once you open those doors, the 1990s slap you right in the face. The dealer in Germany is claiming this is a one-off pre-merger AMG and while I’m normally skeptical of any dealer claim, I think I am buying this story. Although that is the only thing I’m buying once you see the asking price. Hold on.
The Alpina B6 continued from the E30 generation in the new E36 chassis in 1991, while the last of the prior generation cars were still in US showrooms. Alpina took the basic M50 and shape of then-top-of-range 325i and upped the ante; they bored the displacement to 2.8 liters, stuck Mahle pistons, a special exhaust, Bilstein shocks, 17″ wheels, and the normal assortment of aerodynamic tweaks and interior details to create the B6 2.8/2, which could be had in coupe or sedan form. With 240 horsepower on tap, it offered M3-level performance two years before the E36 M3 debuted.
While these are the least potent of the E36 Alpina variants, they’re still quite special and very rare – just 40 coupes and around 180 sedans were produced before the B6 3.0 replaced it in mid 1993. Today’s example comes from Japan and is chassis number 11.
There is certainly something about a G-Body Porsche 911 in a shade of green. The G-Body is arguably the most iconic shape of the 911 and certainly one of the most recognizable, so when you pair it with today’s color, Moss Green Metallic, it is a home run for me. Normally green makes up just 1% to 3% of total car production, and that is for both the car industry as a whole and for Porsche specifically. So if you feel like you don’t see a lot of green cars out there, you aren’t wrong. This 1986 up for sale in Italy is well into the “driver” category with over 100,000 miles, but that doesn’t mean it is going to come cheap. Nope, not at all.
Picking up the reins from the very basic E21 315 model that was introduced some 40 years ago, the E30 316 was the entry-level model for the the newly introduced chassis in 1983. While the model introduced new styling, the basic 316 carried over the 1.6-liter M10 from the 315 model as a very basic entry-level edition.
There’s an appealing simplicity to these early no-frills cars, and this one has already been imported. Let’s take a look:
Back before Thanksgiving, a slightly crusty 200 20V quattro Avant popped up in the Northeast:
Winter Project: 1991 Audi 200 20V quattro Avant
It sold for relatively short money, though it also clearly needed a fair amount of work. But, as I said, these are fan favorite cars – so when another turns up in short order, it’s still worth taking a look. Today’s Lago Blue Metallic example has black sport seats, the correct BBS wheels, and European headlights thrown in, too boot!
Crazy though it may sound, this E36 – priced at $24,000 – may actually be a reasonable deal. Wind the clock back a few years, and that statement was inconceivable; E36s were relegated to the bargain basement of BMW M pricing. That’s not the case anymore, though, as pricing has been trending sharply upwards – recently a few non-Lightweight examples have crested $60,000 sales after fees. Hard to believe? Well, perhaps more a sign of the trends, but finding a neat and clean E36 is certainly no longer as easy as it once was, and early examples are – amazingly – able to be registered as antiques in more than a few states.
So here we are, with a very shouty Dakar Yellow ’94. And if you know E36 M3s, you know that a pre-’95 model year automatically means one important thing – European specification. Well, at least it should mean that. Let’s take a look:
BMW’s second generation M5 followed the same recipe as the outgoing E28; manual transmission, rear-drive, howling inline-6 under the hood. But the E34 was far from a copy of the car that was really credited with being the first super sedan. BMW upped with power first with the 3.6 liter version of the S38; though the increase in displacement was a scant 82 ccs, the result was impressive. BMW Motorsport GmbH fit a new cam, a higher compression head, and a new engine management system to yield 311 horsepower at a rev-busting 6,900 rpms. They weren’t done.
In 1992 M upped the capacity again, this time to just 5 cc shy of 3.8 liters. Even higher compression, a further revision in electronic management, and a few other odds and ends now netted 340 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque. Again, they weren’t done. Perhaps tired of Audi cornering the go-fast-5-door market with their 200 20V Avant, in 1992 BMW launched the M5 Touring. Production began in March 1992 and ran through 1995. All E34 M5 Tourings were left-hand drive 3.8 models, and a total of 891 were produced.
BMW opted not to bring the enlarged motor or the M Touring model to the United States, as the 540i took over the top rungs of North American production. But now legal for importation, these rare Ms are one of the more desirable models around:
This Type 44 sold for $2,773 on November 21, 2021.
No stranger to these pages, you’re already likely familiar with why this car is here. But if you’re new to GCFSB and would like a quick overview of what was special about the early 90s Audi/Volkswagen lineup, I dove in a bit in May 2020:
1991 Audi 200 quattro Avant
Of the 149 200 20V quattro Avants originally imported here, it’s safe to say a fair number have gone the way of the dodo. So while today’s car is far from pristine, it’s still worth a look. And, as a plus, it’s also no reserve!
This C4 is listed as sold for $12,950 on November 20, 2021.
Back in January (and, again in July!) I took a look at this European-specification 1995 Audi S6 Avant. So why is it back? Well, in July it moved to a different seller, has different photos, and is now a no reserve auction. Strangely, the new photos also appear to be taken in Europe, but the car is claimed to be in Stamford, Connecticut – and the July auction was also supposed to be no reserve, but here’s the car again – and, again, with a slightly different description with some contact information. Each time a bit of new information is disclosed. Scam? Perhaps, but if you’re interested maybe it’s worth a call.
Original text from January 2021:
It used to be a bit unusual to see 90s-era European-specification cars come this way. But with the advent of the internet and 25-year-old cars being relatively cheap in other areas of the world, coupled with a current soaring market in the US and nostalgia for easier (they weren’t, but it’s okay to think they were) times, it’s less unusual to see Euro-only models for sale stateside. That’s not the case today; this S6 Avant was available here in nearly identical spec. However, there are a few things interesting on this one and it’s worth taking a look:
BMW took a big leap at the end of the 1980s and introduced some pretty extreme design language. First was the E31 8-series, a seeming quantum leap from the outgoing 6-series. That chassis pioneered, for better or worse, a tremendous amount of technical and electronic innovation for BMW. The 8s relied on a bevy of computers to control its chassis, electronic suite and engine. Side by side with the more famous Grand Tourer though was a diminutive roadster BMW produced based heavily on the E30 chassis. Instead of a heavy reliance on computer technology, the futuristic (hence Z for the German word for future – Zukunft) plastic bodied Z1 looked like a supercar even if it didn’t go like one. Park one next to a E30 convertible and you’d never know the two are related!
The Z1 was a complete departure for BMW; while they were not strangers to small cabriolets, their previous efforts were in the 1930s with the 315/1 and the 1960s with the 700. BMW went away from the idea of an integral body and frame to a separate chassis with removable, plastic body pieces. The idea was that the owners could replace the panels themselves to “repaint” the car with minimal effort. It was something the Smart car would be notable for – a car that launched a decade following the Z1. To get the paint to adhere to the bodywork, BMW had to partner with AZKO coatings to develop a flexible paint which they termed ‘Varioflex’, while the bodywork had to be attached using a unique elastic joint technique. The doors didn’t open out – they slid down into the supporting chassis structure. The underbody was flat, not only for aerodynamics, but the tray turned into a diffuser towards the back, assisting in sticking the rear to the ground as speeds rose. In front was nothing new: the venerable M20 from the E30 popped up here, too – but in the rear the Z1 was new with a multi-link rear axle of its own. This new design would later be incorporated into the E36. It’s interesting that with the Z3 BMW opted to go the opposite route and incorporate earlier E30 pieces into the rear of the /7 and /8. While performance was relatively leisurely, the Z1 nevertheless garnered praise for its innovation, unique design and great looks. They never made it to U.S. shores and only around 8,000 examples were ever produced, but a few have crossed the Atlantic now that they’re old enough to be more easily imported: