2006 Mercedes-Benz E350 4Matic Estate

My never-ending quest for a replacement for my dying Land Rover for a winter vehicle (it is still ongoing) saw me look at a W210 Mercedes-Benz E320 Estate 4Matic and then went back a generation to look at a W124 Mercedes-Benz E320 Estate. It seems like most preferred the W124 and I can’t say I disagree, but I thought it might be interesting to head the other direction and look at a W211 E350 4Matic Estate. Mercedes made the W211 a little softer, a little sleeker and the biggest change was going from the M112 V6 to a M272 V6. The M272 was based on the M112 but with a bunch of little upgrades like continuous variable valve timing, the elimination of a mechanical thermostat and a dual variable-length intake manifold. Everything that sounds great on paper, but these early M272s had one major flaw that basically turns vehicles radioactive and unfortunately this wagon suffers from that. Of course I am talking about the dreaded balance shaft gears.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2006 Mercedes-Benz E350 4Matic Estate on eBay

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2005 Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG Estate

Last week I looked at a 2006 Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG Estate that drew quite of bit of reaction from the comments. I say that as a good thing because most were pretty happy with the condition but thought the price was a little high (which I can say I don’t really disagree with). Well wouldn’t you know it, another W211 E55 AMG Estate popped up for sale with even fewer miles, in the same area and an even a cheaper price. I thought this might be an answer to what everyone was looking for. There’s just one slightly big problem with this one though: it is by far the worst condition E55 Estate I’ve ever come across.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2005 Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG Estate on eBay

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1999 Mercedes-Benz E320 4Matic Estate

Update 11/29/18: Although it was listed as sold a few weeks ago, this E320 4Matic has been relisted with a Buy It Now of $2,950. Maybe another good chance to get a cheap winter beater if you have access to a steam cleaner!

Update 11/16/18: This E320 Estate sold for $1,757.

Winter is mere weeks away and I’m still on the hunt for a new-to-me winter vehicle to battle the snow and ice. My current winter beater, a 1997 Land Rover Discovery that I’ve had for the past 13 years, is on life support. Both front fender wells are rusting away at an alarming pace, the 4.0 liter V8 that has been around since the mid-1960s (!) is sounding awfully crunchy and I swear it gets around 11 mpg. I told myself I was going to buy something reliable to replace it, so I started hunting for a Toyota Land Cruiser/Lexus LX470/GX470 only soon to find out that you can’t buy one for $2,200 like you can Land Rovers. They aren’t all that plentiful on the used market thanks to people taking them to their graves. Well, the time is ticking and I might have to consider options. One of those options is a Mercedes-Benz W210 4Matic because I might as well stick to what I know. Even better, an E320 4Matic Estate would fit the bit quite nicely with the extra cargo space and no one would confuse it with my E55 if I bought one in silver. Well, wouldn’t you know this 1999 popped up for sale that would fit my needs quite well. The only problem is that it is 2,600 miles away. Such is life.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1999 Mercedes-Benz E320 4Matic Estate on eBay

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2006 Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG Estate

During my daydreams I always try to run through my head what relatively modern Mercedes-Benz is going to desirable and collectible in the near future or beyond. I’ve racked my brain plenty of times and the list I always come up with usually isn’t very long. It is not like there are not a bunch of good cars out there, but almost every one of them is a mass-produced vehicle that was made to be the best for the first few years then discarded quickly for whatever is new. That is how the entire car business is now and I don’t think it is going to change any time soon. It is even more true with newer AMG cars because their astronomical running costs just don’t make it feasible to keep long-term. Of course, there are exceptions to everything and one of those exceptions is the W211 E55 AMG Estate. The combination of the M113K in an estate body, which everyone seems to love, has proven to be one of the most desirable Mercedes of the past dozen years or so. It isn’t just because it is a wagon, because AMG keeps blessing the US market with these super wagons, but rather it is reasonable enough to live with when it comes to repairing and maintaining this estate. Thus, demand stays high, prices stay high and you have a vehicle that will go down as a young classic. This 2006 up for sale in New York is just one of these examples and given its price and mileage, is probably a pretty good deal.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2006 Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG Estate on MB World

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1983 Mercedes-Benz 300TD

 

It has been some time since I’ve looked at the world’s most favorite wagon, the W123 Mercedes-Benz 300TD. We’ve been at the point with them for a while where unless it is an absolute heap, they are all worth saving or at least maintaining to the point of usable service. Sadly, some of the S123s ended up being used as work horses or straight up beater cars that took them to the point of no return. Today’s car, a 1983 in New Jersey, is one of those cars. Cosmetically, this one is pretty far gone and thanks to an odometer that stopped working who knows how many moons ago, mechanically it is a bit of a question mark as well. Question is, if it is cheap enough, is it worth it?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 Mercedes-Benz 300TD on eBay

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2001 Audi S4 Avant

It seems appropriate to follow yesterday’s S8 with this model. In just a few years, Audi went from only one S model with very limited production imported in the C4 S6 to three models. Top of the range was the S8, but it shared its running gear and sonorous V8 in a slightly detuned state with the new C5 S6. For Audi enthusiasts, though, big news came with the launch of the new S4.

It was unrelated to the first S4 because of Audi’s renaming strategy in 1995. That meant that the new S4 was based on the small chassis B5, and U.S. enthusiasts finally got a taste of Audi’s M3 competitor. Performance came in the form of a new 2.7 twin-turbocharged V6 30V and was mated to either a 5-speed Tiptronic transmission like its bigger siblings or a 6-speed manual. Like other B5s, the S4 made use of the 4th generation of quattro technology driving all four wheels. This utilized a Torsen center differential with open front and rear differentials, both of which employed the ABS sensors to electronically ‘lock up’ the slipping wheels when a speed differentiation was detected. Like other S models, some light revisions to the bodywork and more pronounced exhaust were present, along with polished mirrors and 17″ Avus-design wheels. Most notable was the large front bumper cover with 6 gaping grill covers which hid the twin intercoolers for the motor. With 250 horsepower and 295 lb.ft of torque, you had an all-weather 155 mph warrior. And, it was available as an Avant:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi S4 Avant on quattroworld.com

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1995 Mercedes-Benz E320 Estate

Last week I took a look at a rather haggard 1999 Mercedes-Benz E320 Estate in my never-ending quest for a daily driver when the snow starts flying. Reaction to this car was mixed and it ended up selling for $1,757. A fair price for the condition. In the comments on the S210 one of our readers (Thanks, Doug) pointed out that a really nice W124 Estate would be a much better option compared to the W210. Naturally, I took a look at the car and I can’t say I disagree. This 1995 E320 Estate up for sale in Virginia isn’t painted in the most desirable color and even has the love them or leave them chrome wheels, but I’m totally smitten for it.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Mercedes-Benz E320 Estate on eBay

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USP Tax: 2004 Audi A4 1.8T quattro Avant Ultrasport

A few of us sat baffled several months ago as we watched auction results come in. The model in question was the E46 330i – in particular, the “ZHP” performance package. The ZHP was basically halfway between the regular Sport package and the M3, utilizing unique body bits and wheels, a slightly hotter motor, and the transmission borrowed from its bigger brother. Your only option for a 4-door performance 3-series in this generation, not many bought the over-$40,000 price tag. What’s interesting is that while these cars were sold alongside the M3 for far less money when new, today they can actually command a premium over the real-deal M.

Case in point – a 33,000 mile Coupe traded for $26,000 earlier this year, and it wasn’t alone. It’s been labeled the “ZHP tax”. There are reasons why a proper ZHP brings M3 money, mind you – they’re cheaper to run and they’re quite a bit more rare than the M, especially in good shape. And BMW wasn’t alone offering them.

Audi, too, had a “Diet S4”. Dubbed the Ultrasport Package, for $3,000 it included RS-inspired “Celebration” 18″ wheels with summer tires, the lowered 1BE suspension that was part of the normal Sport package, a unique quattro GmbH/Votex body kit, and a nicely wrapped leather steering wheel and shift knob. It also limited your interior option to black, and a fair chunk of them appear in Light Silver Metallic – also a popular choice on the S4. Unlike the 330i, the USP A4’s engine choices weren’t upgraded, but you did at least have two – the AWM 1.8T rated at 170 horsepower, or the AVK 3.0 30V V6 good for 220 horsepower. Both were available with choice of 6-speed manual (*5-speed for the FWD models) or automatic, and the basic 1.8T model was about $10,000 less than the 330i. While there was no convertible/coupe USP to compare to the 330i, Audi maintained its trump card on sporty wagons. Just like the ZHP, today the USP A4s command a strong premium in the used market, especially as Avants:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 Audi A4 1.8T quattro Avant Ultrasport on eBay

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2001 BMW 325xi Touring

Although my recent experience with a BMW wagon wasn’t the most endearing of my automotive life, I have to admit I still keep an ear to the street every time an interesting one comes up. If nothing else, the promise of what BMW offered in their wagons was compelling – at least, until very recently. That’s because in addition to the 5-doors from the 3- and 5-series appearing on these shores in the E34, E39 and E46 generation, so too came all-wheel drive. “BUT, AUDI!” the internet insists. And right they’d be. Except that as the 2000s drew to a close, so too did the performance versions of Audi’s Avants – and with it went the manual option. So if you wanted to row-your-own, you had to turn to BMW to get what we see here – an all-weather faithful 5-door companion. While the “M” versions of the wagons didn’t come this way, what we did get was what you see here – the option to have the classic inline-6 mated to a manual transmission with near perfect weight distribution. Equip the package with the Sport option, and you got some nice alloy wheels and fantastic seats too. Even 17 years later and with a not insignificant amount of miles accrued, this is a package which stirs the soul:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 BMW 325xi Touring on Santa Barbara Craigslist

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Feature Listing: 1986 Volkswagen Quantum GL Syncro Wagon with 43,000 Miles

In the mid-1980s, Volkswagen aimed its market sights upwards and tried to gain more traction in a niche market by offering…well, more traction. Starting in 1986, Volkswagen partnered with Steyr-Damiler-Puch and made a unique alternative to corporate partner Audi’s quattro drivetrain utilizing a viscous center differential. Puch was also responsible for design and manufacturing of the T3 Vanagon Syncro, which used a different viscous coupling system because of the rear-drive platform and nature of the Vanagon. In addition to the transmission of power forwards, the T3 also offered a rear differential lock while both center and front were viscous.

But in 1986, there was a third option. Because the Volkswagen Quantum (née Passat) shared nearly all of its internal architecture with the B2 Audis, fitment of the quattro setup from the Quattro and 4000S/CS quattro was possible – so Volkswagen did it. As there was no Audi B2 Avant, Volkswagen offered the new Quantum quattro – also badged Syncro – in Wagon form, and only in wagon form. This meant that there was no competition crossover between the 4000 quattro and Quantum Syncro in the U.S. market. The Quantum also continued to run smaller 4x100mm hubs versus the Audi, which allowed it to utilize the same “snowflake” Avus wheels borrowed from the GTI. 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. Volkswagen only brought over 2,500 1986s, making them a rare treat to see today. But the condition which this particular 1986 appears in is staggering:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: Email seller of 1986 Volkswagen Quantum Syncro Wagon

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