1987 BMW 535is

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Ah, what a fun car to find right around the holidays. This 535is, resplendent in Santa’s Sleigh red. It’s about as clean as his sleigh would be leading up to the holidays too, with a decently redone interior and excellent respray sometime back. The E28 535is is an outstanding car, bringing a significant portion of the legendary M5’s allure at significantly reduced prices and a much wider selection of colors. It’s been a while since we’ve seen one this clean, with just 119k miles, but the huge caveat is the single-axis shifter, meaning it will be much more comfortable cruising rather than sprinting in the hills. But Santa needs something stylish, fast, and comfortable, and this E28 hits all the bases.

Click for details: 1987 BMW 535is on eBay

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Double Take: Red E30 M3s

Ahh, red E30 M3s. Sure, these boxy bulldogs look good in just about any hue, but red as a symbol of lust and speed is not the exclusive property of the Italians. Red also plays an interesting part in the E30 M3’s history, as the striking, orange-tinted Hennarot was discontinued after one year in the US and supplanted by Zinnoberrot, a deeper and more classic hue. Both are beautiful in their own right, but Hennarot’s intensity and rarity has elicited more fandom and desire in an already-vociferous market.

Today we have two beautiful M3s from the same seller and in the same price range, each a shining example of its chosen red with a couple of unique touches.
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Click for details: 1989 BMW E30 M3 on eBay

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1988 BMW M3

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Unless there was a surprising flaw in the engine, I’m not sure why you’d pull it and rebuild on a 76k-mile E30 M3 other than the fact that it’s likely to take a car that’s in the top 10% of the market and make it a little more elite. Probably not going to lose you money, as it’s hard to top an M3 this clean with a brand-new engine in a seller’s market. Along the lines of the rebuild, it’s not entirely original with BBS RKs, an Evo lip, and a Momo steering wheel. It’s all nice, though I think it’d be even better without them. It doesn’t matter what I think, however; the enthusiast with this kind of cash can make whatever choices they want.

Click for details: 1988 BMW E30 M3 on eBay

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1988 Volkswagen T3 Tristar DoKa

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It’s always a fun day when you see a DoKa in real person. These funny Vanagaminos definitely cut a unique profile, always looking like they should be a commercial vehicle delivering for a home-made hipster artisan honey and hand-hewn furniture outfit. Today’s example was imported from Germany and given a full mechanical restoration along with a new GoWesty engine. That all sounds pretty great until the seller comes right out and says he’s going to break the cardinal rule of used-car pricing: ask for exactly what he put in. It was clearly quite an undertaking to ship this thing from Germany and then get all of its moving bits redone, but that doesn’t mean that you’re going to get all of that money you spent on labor, shipping, etc. back in your pocket. Exterior blemishes underscore the point, showing that this is a nice but imperfect DoKa proposition.

Click for details: 1988 Volkswagen T3 Tristar DoKa on eBay

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Inexpensive Vanagon Campers

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The fact that many camping Vanagons are going for $40k and up can be daunting for those of us who have aspirations of living the van life. Today we’ll take a look at a couple of 1991 vans that severely undercut the general Vanagon camper market – one pop-top and one rare example that has all the camping accoutrements but no pop-top.

Click for details: 1991 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia on eBay

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1988 BMW M3

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This E30 M3 is an interesting proposition thanks to reversible decisions. The owner has taken some liberties, mainly surrounding his love for the color red and some minor modifications to the running gear, but with some diligence this car could easily be returned to a very stock exterior look (the red valve cover is probably here to stay for a while). One thing that is not reversible is the salvage title, which clearly contradicts his claim of a “clean MN title.” This confusion along with a lack of explanation as to why the engine was disassembled at 196k miles without doing a full rebuild raises question marks that E30 M3 buyers don’t like seeing these days. On the other hand, question marks can also keep it from smashing through the $30-$40k barriers we’ve seen many E30s surpass.

Click for details: 1988 BMW E30 M3 on eBay

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1990 BMW 520i Firecar

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One of the people that really helped me see the legitimacy in having cars as a hobby is my uncle, who has had an eclectic collection of Chevys as long as I can remember. In my early days, many were Raiders-themed, from the black and white Nomad to a metallic black Chevy Van with fully-embroidered Raiders interior. The one that has lasted longest and remains one of the coolest, however, is an homage to old fire chief’s cars (he was an LA fireman his entire working life), made from a ’56 4-door Bel Air with goldleaf type, working sirens, and a V8 so loud I got my first experience of one car setting others’ alarms off. My M5 takes care of that last endeavor these days, but “Chiefy” does leave a soft spot in my heart for today’s E34 Firecar. The 2.0 liter may not be setting off any car alarms, but the utilitarianism of the various vehicles used as emergency assistance cars in Europe has always been cool to me. With less than 90k miles, three pedals, and an interesting cloth/leather interior combo, it would be a fun car. Probably not worth importing unless you’re a fireman who happens to be obsessed with BMWs – if you’re that guy, you’re my hero.

Click for details: 1990 BMW 520i Firecar for sale on ClassicDriver

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1991 Volkswagen Vanagon Carat Weekender

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I’ve always dug the Carat edition of the Vanagon. This top of the line non-Westy version came stacked with all the options and exudes a classy aura, helped by the great 5-spoke blocky wheels and a cladding/bumper combination that makes a more cohesive look. Today’s example is a Weekender, so while it doesn’t have the pop-top, the rear seats fold flat into a bed. Looking at the pictures of the passenger area, it looks so comfortable I kind of just want to use it as my living room. With 150k miles on the original engine and transmission, it still has some good life left in it, but as is the case with Vanagons, a fun engine swap is always a possibility. The non-Westiness helps keep the price extremely reasonable, especially compared to most nice Vanagons you see on the market.

Click for details: 1991 Volkswagen Vanagon Carat on eBay

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10K Friday: 1992 Volkswagen Jetta GLI with VR6

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One of the things that initially intrigued me so much with VWs back in the day was the concept that Volkswagen Auto Group parts were much more like Lego than other makes; you could grab different pieces and improve and modify as you pleased. This Jetta takes that concept to 11, OEM+ing the heck out of 1992 Jetta GLI. With enough specific year-model-piece details to make your head spin (88 Jetta bumper, 92 GLI spoiler, Italian grill, 97 GTI shifterbox, etc…), it’s essentially a greatest hits of Volkswagen performance. Yet unlike a greatest hits set from auteurs like Pink Floyd or the Beatles, which remove the context which amplified the songs’ greatness, this GLI makes all the pieces work in harmony for a result greater than the sum of its parts. I’ve said before that the Mk2 GLI reminds me of a frugal E28 M5/535is, and this is no exception. Looks great all around, must go great with the VR6, and is all clearly chosen for specific gratification. If any Mk2 Jetta is going to pull $10k, it might as well be this one.

Click for more details: 1992 Volkswagen Jetta GLI on eBay

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1989 BMW M3

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It takes a bit for me to be interested in writing up E30 M3s. Maybe it’s the popularity, or the expensive-and-rising values, but the topic seems a bit overcooked these days. Today’s is an interesting package though, matching the common S52 swap with the E46’s 6-speed manual, all wrapped in a very clean and stock body with a cleanly redone interior. Pretty complete for those who don’t care about the technicalities of being all-original but love ///M with a passion. This is about the most attractive modified E30 M3 I’ve seen in a while, and it’s price is accordingly ridiculous.

Click for more details: 1989 BMW M3 on eBay

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