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I’ll put almost any Mercedes-Benz from the golden era of the 1960s up against other car from that time period and say it was better. There is a very distinct feeling when you open the doors to one of these cars and it usually says to you “this feels different.” Everything is heavier, thicker, and more robust. Plastic? Very little if any. This is a car made of wood, leather, and steel. You pilot them as much as you drive them. Chances are, it is going to outlast you if cared for properly. Today, we have one of those cars.
This is a 1964 Mercedes-Benz 220SEb coupe. That unofficial lowercase ‘b’ is very important as it signifies this is a fuel-injected inline-six car rather than a twin-carb of the standard 220SE. Not that the dual carbs are bad, but rather the fuel-injection system is much easier to live with and of course much smoother. This car in Chicago is finished in a wonderful shade of red with the matching hubcaps, a black leather cabin, and that all-important wood instrument cluster binnacle. Just to add some more goodness, it’s a sunroof example as well and has a four-speed manual gearbox. What isn’t to like?
I am a really big fan of “time capsule” cars. Not barn finds or cars that have sat and haven’t moved in X number of…
The E36 M3 Sedan holds a very special place in my heart and played a large part in turning my attention away from Audis and VWs towards BMW M-cars. Colloquially known as the M3/4/5, one car specifically turned the tide: an Estoril Blue M3 with 4-doors, 5-speeds, and some Dinan bits that was the fastest car I’d driven up to that point. It was smooth, connected, and aggressive, packed in a beautiful sedan that is subtle enough to blend in but aggressive enough to put plenty of distance between it and the base-model E36. I had a chance to buy that car a few years back with 47k miles for $14k but I didn’t have the money. A few years on, this red on black example with similar miles is asking almost $11k more. The red/black isn’t quite as sexy as the Estoril/Caramel combo, but the M Double Spoke II wheels are personal favorites. Despite (or because of?) high production numbers, most E36 M3s have been run hard and disrespected. This one looks to be in great shape but not perfect. Are low-mile E36 M3s chasing the E30s, or is this seller hitting the pipe?
The 318is usually receives praise for being the entertaining baby of the E30 family, underpowered but a handling master. This Wee30 has received the popular S52 swap from an E36 M3 automatic, thankfully mated here to 5-speed from a 328i. The modifications don’t stop there as the seller went OEM+++ with items like E36 M3 front control arms, E30 M3 rear suspension and brakes, and a tight Z3 steering rack. The list continues with great non-OEM upgrades like Ground Control coilovers and a custom intake on the cold side with new headers and a straight pipe on the hot. The slicktop body is straight despite a rear-end collision in its history, and the whole thing received a decently-done fresh coat of Brilliantrot two years ago.
With a reserve auction and Buy It Now of $10,500, this extremely well-done E30 will likely go for less than $10k.
I’ve been daydreaming about the lightweight tossable treat known as the 318is a lot recently, fueled by a couple of nice examples that didn’t end up selling on eBay. While those were higher-mileage, driver-quality baby E30s that retained their M42 four-cylinder, this beautiful Brilliantrot example has the swap most E30 owners dream about with an E36 M3’s silky S52 3.2-liter inline-6 shoehorned into the earlier chassis. This one’s running gear has been tweaked all around to supplement the extra 110bhp with coilovers, 3.25 LSD, brakes from both the E36 and E30 M3s, etc. We don’t get any pictures of the inside, but it sounds nice with aggressive Recaros and other racy touches. Small OEM+ touches spice up the rare slicktop exterior, most notably some almost-too-big but always sexy 17″ Style 5s. The main flag is previous collision damage, but all panels were professionally replaced with OEM parts. All in all, it sounds like a well-sorted little rocket.