2001 BMW 540i Sport Wagon

The E39 continued and expanded the 5-series wagon’s popularity by bringing bigger wheels, more power and updated looks to the mid-range Audi-challenger. Like the first generation, these were only available in rear-wheel drive in the U.S., so matching the all-wheel drive variants available from…well, everyone else, required a very good looking and potent package. BMW pulled that off, with the Sport versions of both the 528i and 540i wagons thoroughly encapsulating the ethos of the great Euro five doors.

But there was a catch.

If you wanted a manual gearbox, you had to select the lower output 528i model. For all its shouty V8-ness, the 282 horsepower 4.4 liter M62-equipped 540i only came with BMW’s Steptronic if you needed to haul ass and a family. Still, they’re highly sought packages and this has to be one of the nicer examples left out in the wild, or so it would seem at first glance:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 BMW 540i Sport Wagon on eBay

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1991 Audi 200 20V quattro Avant

Update 12/26/20: This 200 20V quattro is back up with better photos!

By my account, I seem to have the market cornered on writing up Bamboo Metallic 1991 Audi 200 20V Avants. When today’s example popped up near me in Connecticut, I thought at first that it was the same as the last 200 20V Avant that I looked at in the Constitution State:

1991 Audi 200 20V quattro Avant

An easy mistake, given that 1) they were both in Connecticut b) they were the same color combination and both have Euro headlights and III) there were only 149 imported, so what are the odds?

But that wasn’t the only Bamboo Avant I’ve looked at:

1991 Audi 200 20V quattro Avant

Amazingly, that car also had European headlights, but there were enough differences to tell me that wasn’t today’s car either. So welcome to the third installment of my continuing series that I call ‘1991 Audi 200 20V quattro Avants in Bamboo over Travertine for sale‘. Surely it can’t go to a fourth episode?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Audi 200 20V quattro Avant on eBay

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1995 BMW 320i Touring

We’ve covered just about every generation of 3-series wagon here, barring new ones. The E30 is most popular to import these days, and the E46 introduced the US market to the idea that BMW made smaller, fun wagons too; but in between, the rest of the world got to enjoy the neat looks of the E36 Touring.

So here we are; it’s 2020, and that means cars that were produced up through November 1995 are a lot easier to procure and import. And that’s exactly what someone did with this Calypso Red Metallic 320i Touring, produced for the UK market in April 1995. Now that it’s here, is it the one to get?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 BMW 320i Touring on eBay

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1995 Volvo 850 T5-R Wagon

As we’ve said before, a few select marques and cars get a pass when it comes to these pages, and one of my favorite exceptions is Volvo wagons. The Sultans of Square went a bit bonkers with turbocharging over a few generations; the 240, 740, 850, and V70 all had relatively high-performance turbocharged versions of their sibling sedans that were both practical and pulse-quickening. But when it comes to the top of the heap, the 850 T5-R and its replacement, the 850R, must certainly be in contention.

Launched around the same time Volvo was curb-hopping its Estate version of the 850 in the BTCC (replete with inflatable dog in the cargo area), the T5-R took a page from the Audi RS2 and E500 book and turned to Porsche to up the ante. Fiddling with the engine tuning resulted in 243 horsepower and 250 lb-ft of torque, and was met with a stiff suspension, 17″ wheels, and interior and exterior tweaks. Like the RS2 with its famous (and often mistakenly called Nogaro) RS Blue, the T5-R’s signature shade was T5-R Yellow. These were quick in period and are still pretty respectable today, though the quite limited production numbers mean you might need to look to other markets to find one:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Volvo 850 T5-R Wagon on eBay

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2013 Mercedes-Benz E350 Estate

Death, taxes, and Mercedes-Benz wagons holding their value. Few things in life are guarantees, but those seems to be a couple of them. Why people gravitate towards the W123 and W124 Estates is pretty self explanatory, but what really surprises me every generation after than seems to be following this as well. The general rule I’ve always gone by is that all things being equal, the cost of the sedan + $10,000 = cost of a wagon. Seems crazy for some extra cargo space, but the results don’t lie. I thought maybe this wouldn’t hold true for newer examples as Mercedes-Benz now offers eight (!) different SUVs in its current line up and just one wagon, but nope, still a premium. Worth it? Maybe.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2013 Mercedes-Benz E350 Estate on eBay

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GCFSB Alumnus: 2002 Audi allroad 2.7T Audi Exclusive Olympic Edition 6-speed

Way back in 2015, I looked at a special Allroad – one of ten that were used in the 2002 Sal Lake City Olympics. They were created through Audi’s Exclusive program and were finished in Sprint Blue Pearl Effect. Since they’re so rare, they don’t come up for sale often. But one did come across my desk this week, and it looked awfully familiar. That’s because it’s the same car I looked at back in ’15! So here it is again, about 70k more miles and not quite as pristine as it once was. But it’s still got the desirable 6-speed manual swap, it’s no reserve, and Sprint Blue is always an eye catcher. So let’s take a look at it today!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 Audi allroad 2.7T Audi Exclusive Olympic Edition 6-speed on eBay

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1986 Volkswagen Quantum Syncro Wagon

The B2 Quantum has always been an interesting car to me. As my first car was an Audi 4000CS quattro, there were aspects of its Volkswagen sibling that I really liked. First, while I wouldn’t say that the Quantum was more handsome than the 4000, it was certainly more distinctive looking. There are some downright odd angles on the Quantum, but somehow the design pulls it off. It’s also more rare to see them, or at least it felt so when I was driving around in the 4000. Then there were more practical things; for example, unlike Audi who ran the odd 4×108 pattern for slightly larger brakes, the Quantum stuck to smaller stock and retained 4×100 mm wheels. That made upgrades a bit easier and gave the Quantum a signature look with the GTi-sourced snowflake wheels. You could also get the 5-cylinder in front drive sedan configuration with the GL5; it was something Audi offered early on but had dropped, instead having only the Coupe GT be the front drive 5-cylinder. But the real trump card for the Quantum was undoubtedly the Syncro Wagon, as there was no Audi B2 wagon available in any configuration. Effectively, they took most of the oily bits from a 4000 quattro and stuck them in the Volkswagen with little fanfare. Outwardly, there was really only a single badge to tell them apart from a GL5 wagon.

Pricing was on par with period 4000 quattros, though – base price was $15,645, but equip the Quantum similarly to the standard 4000 with power windows, mirrors, locks and sunroof and you’d quickly crest $17,000 – about $4,000 more dear than a standard GL5. Unlike the 4000, Quantum Syncro Wagons came standard only with power steering, brakes, cruise control and air conditioning. You had to opt-in the power package to get the other items.

That made the Quantum Syncro Wagon very much more expensive than, say, a Subaru GL 4WD Wagon or the Toyota Tercel SR5 4WD Wagon. But both of those cars were part-time 4WD; in order to get a car with similar build quality and seamless drive of all wheels, you’d need to pony up a staggering $30,000 for the Audi 5000CS quattro Avant. Also unlike the Audi, the Syncro Wagon ran through the 1988 model year, but never sold in large numbers. Finding one today is a bit of a treat, even if it’s not without its needs:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Volkswagen Quantum Syncro Wagon on The Samba

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2006 Mercedes-Benz E500 Estate

Station wagon, estate, avant, whatever you want to call them, they are still popular. How did I come to that conclusion? Well, take a look at basically any German vehicle that is offered in both sedan and wagon and you’ll see that the wagon transacts at a higher price tag on the used market. This is especially true when it comes to high performance models like an Audi RS or AMG. A lot of that has to do with having your cake and eating it too, along with the exclusivity, as high performance wagons are made in extremely small numbers. However, even in standard base models, the wagons are still bringing premiums over sedans. Today’s car, a 2006 E500 Estate up for sale in California, follows that trend. Who says wagons are uncool?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2006 Mercedes-Benz E500 Estate on eBay

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2005 Mercedes Benz E55 AMG Estate

Hard to believe it has been over a year since the last time I looked at a Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG Estate. Time flies when you’re having fun I suppose, but I came across this 2005 up for sale in California that caught my eye immediately. Its really not any different than every other E55 Wagon I look at, but I thought it would be interesting to see where the market is at on these cars now that we head into 2020 and Mercedes-Benz is thankfully still gracing us with AMG wagons that are fast enough to put most exotics to shame. So are these still commanding strong money? Or are they starting to soften just a little? I think I have one of the answers to that question.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2005 Mercedes Benz E55 AMG Estate on Rennlist

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1989 Audi 200 quattro Avant

Its hard for me to believe that its been well over a decade since I bid farewell to my Audi 200. It was never meant to be; I had always admired the turbocharged Avants and so when one came up for sale for an incredibly low asking price, I jumped.

Turned out it was more than just me that needed a jump. And it turned out that the 200 needed a lot more than just a jump; the clutch was thoroughly fried, as were the brakes, and the fuel system, and a few other odds and ends. I patched it together and we enjoyed a memorable run of events. Of all my automotive calamity stories, about 50% revolve around both of my big body Audis. The V8 created more hair-raising events (such as the time the throttle stuck wide open and in an effort to stop it I managed to set the brakes on fire), but the 200 wasnt to be outdone.

There was the time I left the tollbooth on the Mass Pike. The car was running particularly well that day, so I gave it the beans leaving the gate. First to second and the nose was pointed at the sky! Surely, everyone must be saying “WOOOOOOOW!!!“, and it turns out they were because I had blown an oil cooler line and was crop dusting Sturbridge with a thick coat of atomized 10W-40. Another time the voltage regulator died, leaving me to switch various electrical items on and off to balance the charge between 11.5 and 14 volts throughout the 2 hour ride home from Cape Cod. It blew several tires while on the road, which admittedly probably wasnt its fault but was exciting nonetheless. I found out that the ABS worked well in an ice storm on 95 one time as I passed a braking BMW on the hard shoulder. The coolant lines froze one day a major feat, since there was at least theoretically antifreeze in them. It twice threw alternator belts, leaving me to drive home the length of Rt. 24 at 5am with no lights on. The air conditioner didnt work. Actually, basically everything electronic didnt work particularly well if Im honest. The radios blown speakers werent enough to overcome the wind noise created by the necessity to have the windows down at all times if the outside temp was over 60. But the kicker? The kicker was that the brake lines collapsed, leaving the calipers to randomly seize partially closed. As a result, you had to go full throttle to maintain 50 mph which, as you read at the beginning of this passage, occasionally presented an explosive problem. I gave up eventually, unable to stomach this car consuming more of my money.

Sound charming? It was. But most of my issues probably would have been remedied if I simply had bought a better example:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Audi 200 quattro Avant on eBay

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