The Mercedes-Benz W140 Coupe, or C140, is one of those cars that you might have forgotten about until you see one in the wild or stumble across one for sale. There is good reason for that seeing that Mercedes made a little over 400,000 W140 sedans while only producing 26,000 coupes. You can see that is quite a difference in production numbers and now that the youngest W140 is almost 20 years-old, they are only are getting more rare. Today, I wanted to check out the rarest W140 ever produced, the CL420. Just 2,500 CL420/S420 Coupes were produced from 1994 to 1998 and exactly zero ever made it to America. These Coupes used the 4.2 liter M119 V8 borrowed from the sedan and was the smallest engine choice available in the C140. This 1996 up for sale in Spain is probably one of the most well-preserved CL420s out there despite its 112,000 miles. I just wish I could bring it to America.
Update 9/18/18: This Alpina B5, claimed (believably) to be the only one in the U.S., is now up on SecondDaily.com with a $22,000 Buy Now. At that price it would seem much more in line with the market!
In my mind, Alpina’s mystique has dimmed slightly over the past decade. Still capable of producing monsterously powerful luxury machines, the proliferation of options that are also insanely fast and luxurious has meant that the company’s original niche has become substantially more commonplace. And while it’s been awesome that Alpinas started being imported through BMW dealerships in 2007 and now offer several models to U.S. fans who can stomach the serious price tags, it also made them much less exclusive.
While products have widened over the past few years to include the 6-series, most of what Alpina sent to the U.S. market was based on the 7. The supercharged B7 was quite potent, but didn’t solve the problem of the E65’s looks all that much. Arguably, no amount of anything could do that particularly well.
But the B7’s supercharged 4.4 V8 was also available to Europeans in a (slightly) smaller package – the B5. Based on the E60, what would have started as a 330 horsepower 545i was transformed into a 500 horsepower, 500 lb.ft torque weapon. In typical fashion, Alpina revised the wheels and suspension, exhaust and interior, and of course added body kits to the E60. With 133 lb feet more torque than the V10 M5 produced and at a more reasonable 4,000 rpm rather than 6,000, the B5 could actually out-accelerate the M product. 0-62 was tested to arrive in 4.6 seconds, and the fun didn’t run out until you were just 5 mph shy of 200. Best yet, you could have this speed in a wagon!
Unfortunately for U.S. fans, the B5 and even more powerful B5S weren’t imported to the U.S.. Production of the B5 was limited to only 428 sedans, and the quite believable claim is that this is the only one in the United States:
Update 9/27/18: This G-Wagen sold for $17,366.89
Few things in this world are undefeated. The internet is one of them, taxes, death and then the ultimate final boss, mother nature. You can hide or try to fight it all you want, but the world very rarely has mercy on vehicles. Today’s vehicle, a 2002 Mercedes-Benz G500, was spared no mercy. Granted, this G-Wagen lives in the harsh climate of Quebec, Canada, but what this poor W463 turned into will make anyone scratch their head as to what happened. This brick on wheels has an extreme amount of rust to the point where there are holes the size of your fist in the body panels. These Gs have somewhere of a propensity to rust in some common areas, but I don’t understand how this G500 got this bad. As what it did for the value? I suppose not much.
After B5 production ended, Audi continued to widen the pool for its small chassis. Joining the lineup for the B6 model was a new Cabriolet, and of course returning were the dynamic duo of the sedan and Avant models. Power now came from the BBK 4.2 liter 4 cam 40 valve all-aluminum V8. Fitting the motor into the small chassis necessitated dropping the belt drive in favor of the infamous rear-mounted chain. Still, though, with 340 horsepower on tap and weighed the same as the outgoing 250 horsepower V6 twin-turbo, with instant torque, the S4 seemed top of the heap. But it was still playing catch-up with the outgoing E46 M3, so when it came to the B7, Audi offered even more spunk, bringing for the first time after three generations their first top-tier offering in the small chassis – the RS4.
At the heart of the new addition to the fleet was, of course, a special motor. Dubbed the BNS, Audi ditched the 5 valve heads but added FSI direct fuel injection. In reality, little was shared or untouched between the seemingly similar 4.2 V8s in the S4 and RS4, but the result of the fiddling was impressive. The engineers at Ingolstadt managed to crank a 420 horsepower screamer out, and coupled with the revised, more rear-biased quattro drivetrain in the B7, a completely different beast was born.
But while there was celebration that another RS model joined the lineup for the United States, there were some fan groans that once again Audi had skipped its party piece – the RS Avant. But that not-insignificant setback didn’t stop some enterprising individuals from making their own:
Update 9/26/18: This V8 quattro sold for $1,775.
We’re going from one of the best 200 20V quattros out there to the more typical comparison point for an early 90s Audi – a project. I won’t bore you with all the details of what made the V8 quattro unique because I did so back in August when we looked at a very clean and tidy ’90 in Indigo Blue Metallic. Sufficed to say, they’re neat cars that all too often are parted out rather than going through the laborious task of keeping them afloat.
So here we have a ’90 V8 quattro. Like the majority, it is a 4-speed automatic in Pearlescent White Metallic. Generally speaking, I mentioned in my last few V8 posts that the cars to have are the rare 5-speed manuals, the less often seen 4.2, or the absolute best 3.6 you can find. But there are a few reasons to be interested in this particular one – let me tell you why:
Update 12/30/18: This car is now on Bring a Trailer.
I’ve proclaimed my love before of ultra-high mileage Mercedes-Benz by fawning over a 2003 G500 with 318,000 miles and a 1980 300D with 585,000 miles, but today’s car is something I didn’t expect to see with a ‘3’ as the first digit on the odometer. I shouldn’t be all that surprised since it is a W124 and there is a probably one right now being used as a taxi somewhere in Africa with somewhere over 600,000 miles on it. You think I’m kidding?Â What did surprise me is that this particular W124 with over 350,000 miles is none other than the legendary 500E. This is the highest mileage .036 I’ve run across in as many years as I can remember because since the day this car rolled off the production line inÂ Zuffenhausen, they’ve always been expensive and collectible cars. The nearly $82,000 window sticker in 1993 and the current market prices for these cars have kept them in the hands of loving owners who often have more cars than they have pairs of shoes. This of course keeps miles off these in general because of how special they are and also the fact that some 500E specific parts are rather pricey and not the easiest to source thanks to a lot of little pieces being no longer available. From afar, this DB702 Smoke Silver over Parchment 500E up for sale in Portland, Oregon doesn’t show one-bit of its mega miles and I’m quite impressed with its condition even for being in California for almost its entire life:
About two weeks ago I looked at a really nice Mercedes-Benz 400SEL up for sale in Canada that I felt was just a sublime car. Nothing was crazy or ostentatious, it was just a beautifully built car. Today, I wanted to look at another 1993 V8 Mercedes up for sale in Canada but this time it is the slightly smaller 400E. I’ve gone on before about how the W124 400E/420E is often lost in the crowd thanks to the legendary 500E and always in-demand E320 Cabriolet, but it seems like the really nice examples of these cars are starting to pop up more often. This one painted in Dark Grey Metallic with black leather interior is not a perfect car by any means, but is just as functional and probably a lot more fun than the 400SEL from a few weeks ago. My advice? Snag one of these now if you want one because they aren’t getting any cheaper.
Probably one of the most overlooked or even forgotten supercars of the last decade is the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Stirling Moss. Lots of people thought it was only a concept car or maybe didn’t even know this car exists. That is totally understandable because only 75 of these cars exist and its lack of a windshield doesn’t scream factory production car. The quick backstory on the SLR McLaren Stirling Moss is that it is obviously based off the SLR but with totally radical styling done by Korean designer Yoon Il-hun. This car still has a bite to back up its bark with a 0-60 mph time of 3.5 seconds and a top speed of 220 mph. The only way to obtain one of these cars was to be a current SLR owner and write a check for an even $1,000,000. If you are wondering why you’ve never seen one of these cruising around Beverly Hills or South Beach, Miami, it’s because they were never sold in America so a trip to Monaco is in order if you want to see one of these trying to squeeze into a parking spot surrounded by a crowd of people filming it. The good news is that if you were thinking about importing one to the United States, it is possible with the proper paperwork and even more money. Want to import this example for sale in Germany? Bring a pen with a fine tip on it so you can fit all the zeros inside the little box on the check.
Update 8/8/18: An interesting follow-up to the clean V8 quattro I posted the other day, this 1991 V8 5-speed has returned in a no reserve auction format with a $5,500 opening price – down $1,000 from May.
Back to big Audis! The early 1990s were, as I’ve described in the past two posts, a period of change for the Ingolstadt firm as they closed down production on the Type 44 to introduce its new replacement, the C4. That led to a dizzying assortment of models from the one chassis. There was the aforementioned 100 and 100 quattro. You could move up to two turbocharged models, too – the 200 Turbo gave you 165 horsepower through the front wheels, and the new-and-only-for-91 in the U.S. was 200 20V quattro. Europe and the rest of the world got even more options; production lasted right up through 2006 in parts of China, where they even made a crazy long-wheel base 4-door convertible version of the Hongqi.
But the top of the heap for the U.S. market was a derivative of the Type 44, the D11 chassis. Of course, that was Audi’s foray into the top-tier luxury market with its new all-aluminum 32 valve double-overhead cam V8. Body revisions to the front and rear along with flared fenders made the V8 quattro seem like a completely different car to the slab-sided 100. V8s had, and have, serious presence. Big news, too, was that for the first time Audi was able to match its all-wheel drive quattro setup with a new 4-speed automatic transmission.
For die-hard Audi faithful, though, for a short while you could still opt to row-your-own with the 240 horsepower 3.6 liter V8 singing to your right foot. These manual V8 quattros are legendary because of their rarity and that they are the only car Audi brought to market with twin Torsen differentials. The combination of a more rearward weight bias, big and instant torque from the V8 and those clever diffs made for one of the best driving experiences in a big sedan from Audi:
When it came to the late 1980s, Audi’s monopoly on the all-wheel drive market was coming to an end. Not only were new turbocharged pocket-rockets being born seemingly every day, but Mercedes-Benz had introduced their new “4Matic” designed by Steyr-Daimler-Puch. While you could make a pretty convincing argument that Audi’s design was superior in extreme conditions, there was at least one aspect of the Mercedes-Benz that trumped Ingolstadt’s design – you could get an automatic.
Now, to most enthusiasts that probably sounds like a bad idea. But when it came to selling car – especially expensive luxury cars – the overwhelming majority of buyers wanted the car to do most of the heavy lifting. Audi’s response was the next generation of quattro drivetrains; like Steyr’s system, with a series of clutches in the center differential that helped to transfer power and allowed the car to be mated to an automatic transmission. That transmission – the ZF 4HP24A – was a derivative of the 4HP24, the same automatic found in the V12-equipped BMW 750 and 850s. Like the Mercedes-Benz, Audi employed Bosch ABS and a locking rear differential. But unlike other Audis with their manual- or electronic-locking rear differential, the V8 quattro used a Torsen rear differential with helical gears which would automatically split torque in up to a 3:1 ratio to the wheel with grip.
But the V8 quattro wasn’t only about its unique new form of all-wheel drive. The moniker obviously indicated there had been a change in motivation, too, and indeed the V8 launched a new all-aluminum 4 cam, 32 valve V8 displacing 3.6 liters dubbed the PT. Rated at 240 horsepower and 254 lb.ft of torque, it was the most powerful Audi for sale in the late 1980s and brought the brand to a luxury level it had previously not competed at. In the U.S., these mega-Audis were met with mixed success. The 1990 launch of the V8 resulted in reasonably good sales; Audi sold 2,823 between late 1989 and the end of 1990 which represented over 10% of their yearly sales. Consider that the legendary Quattro never even broke 1% of Audi’s annual sales here; in its most successful year Quattros comprised .62% of the overall sales for the company.
But it was downhill – sharply – from there, as Audi nearly left the U.S. market and top-flight executives hit a notoriously bad sales patch. That meant that in total only 3,868 V8 quattros were sold in the U.S. This might be one of the best ’90s left: