Back in “the day” if you knew about what AMG was and the cool things they produced, you could have a little taste. If you purchased a Mercedes-Benz product and took your new car to AMG West in Beverly Hills, California or AMG of Missouri, you had your choice of the catalogue. Truth be told, most of the products were bolt-ons, although there were some power upgrades in terms camshafts and exhaust systems. Today’s car, a 1986 190E 2.3 up for sale in California, is one of those bolt-on cars.
These are always fun. This is a 1987 Mercedes-Benz 230E with a mere 995 kilometers, or 618 miles for us Americans. The story says that it was used as a dealer demo car for a showroom in Germany then stashed into storage until recently discovered. As crazy as it is to see 618 miles, this is about as basic as a W124 gets. The M102 inline-4 with a cloth interior, no power windows, no air conditioning, and a manual transmission. Puzzling at the time, but now as we are entering an era where some covet for basic models with nothing to go wrong, it is tough to argue against this one. Problem is, this one comes with a massive price tag. Like, nice 500E price tag.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Mercedes-Benz 230E at Mechatronik
There area bunch of oxymorons in the automotive world. Reliable Fiat. Quality Maserati. Leak-free Land Rover. Inexpensive Porsche. Today, we have another one to add to the list: Restored G-Wagen.
Long before the housewives of the world used the G-Wagen as a grocery-getter and mall crawler, this box on wheels was a utilitarian masterpiece. It was meant to be used and abused, and for the first 21 years of production, they basically were. Then in 1990 when the W463 rolled onto the scene, they got very posh, very fast. However, if you still want that utilitarian experience, there are plenty of them out there. To no one’s surprise, people like to have their cake and eat it too. They want old, but they also want comfortable and luxury. That is exactly what this 1991 G230 is. Someone actually went through the trouble and expense of restoring a G-Wagen with a naturally-aspirated four cylinder that made 123 horsepower when new. I guess that is all you need when the speed limit on Nantucket is only 25 mph.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Mercedes-Benz G230 on eBay
I really love how these cars sometimes send you down the rabbit hole. What attracted me initially to this E24 was that it was a European-spec car and it had a pretty high asking price at nearly $23,000. Alone that wouldn’t be enough to warrant a post, especially given that from the first photo I glanced at, it doesn’t look spectacular.
But there’s a lot more than meets the eye when considering this car, and it has a lot more to do with the personality behind it than the current condition.
The name Albert Mardikian probably doesn’t mean much to you. Mr. Mardikian is a partner and the Chief Technology Officer behind ReGreen Organics, a company which deals with a lot of shit, for lack of a better term. I’m not being flippant. They’re an organic solid waste management company.
And it is in this capacity that Mr. Mardikian’s philosophy is particularly interesting when considering this car. He proclaims that he has a “passion for bettering our world”, yet his past would seem to have little to do with environmental improvement. That’s because in a past life Mr. Mardikian was also the proprietor of Trend Imports. Ring a bell? If not, perhaps a perusing of the Tom Cruise movie Rain Man would help you out. Mr. Cruise’s character’s subplot – an importer of exotic cars held up by the EPA – is based upon Mr. Mardikian. Because if you were in L.A. in the early 1980s and you wanted a gray market car, Trend Imports was where you went. And just like the main character in the movie, Mardikian got in quite a bit of trouble for the Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Rolls Royce and other models he imported by skirting EPA emissions laws.
Though his troubles with emissions laws dated back to 1981, Mardikian continued to be the turn-to source for ultra-exotics in the early days of importation. He also built custom convertible versions of some of the most famous 80s icons – Mercedes-Benz 500SECs, Lamborghini Countachs, Ferrari 512BBis, Porsche 930s. How about those replica Daytonas for Miami Vice? Mardikian. And he made more more neat creation – he married the turbocharged M102/6 from the European version of the BMW E23 745i with the slinky shape of the E24, creating his own “745CSi Turbo”:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1979 BMW 645CSi Turbo on eBay
Yesterday I looked at 1992 Mercedes-Benz 300E for the pure fact that is it the Sportline option that is pretty rare. Though Mercedes made about four billion W124 300Es, it feels like almost none of them are Sportline. Well, when it rains it pours, because I happen to come across the even rarer 1992 230CE Sportline. Before everyone rushes down to the comments and starts typing ”If only it had a manual transmission!”, hold your fingers, because it does. We North Americans were not graced with this model and surely never in the 5-speed even if it had come, so this one is a rare bird to say the least. Somehow, this 230CE Sportline is up for bid outside of Chicago. I just wish it was a better example.