Remember the old saying, “The fastest car is always a rental”? While that might be true in a lot of cases, there are cars that are faster: the “Corporate Executive” vehicle. Why? These cars operate with the same philosophy as the rental cars, but are actually fast to begin with, and not Chrysler 200s from the airport rental parking lot with stale donuts under the seats. They are treated with the same disregard for ownership as the rentals, although usually luxury cars with way more power than Ted the CFO at the oil and gas company actually needs. Case in point? This 2013 Porsche Cayenne GTS up for sale in Texas with over 205,000 miles on it. Yes. One owner and 205,000 miles in 10 years. Over 20,000 miles a year on this GTS, which isn’t exactly a beacon of cheap running cars or reliability. I hope the write-off was worth it on this one.
I give Audi a lot of credit for bringing the R8 to market. It took a fair amount of gall for a company best known for mid-range all-wheel drive luxury sedans to up and produce a supercar-beating mid-engine road car capable of being used year-round and every day. Itâ€™s a feat nearly without precedent. Of course, I said â€œnearlyâ€.
Thatâ€™s because BMW pulled off a similar trick the best part of thirty years before Audi did it. And arguably the development of what would become BMWâ€™s fledgling Motorsports division was even more impressive than what Ingolstadt pulled off. The M1 burst onto the scene at a time of economic austerity, global oil crises and came from a company who not only didnâ€™t have a history of producing such cars, but didnâ€™t have connections to others who did (unlike Audiâ€™s corporate Lamborghini partnership).
Speaking of Lamborghini, because of BMWâ€™s lack of expertise in supercar design it was the Santâ€™Agata firm that was employed to produce the M1. But because of Lamborghiniâ€™s lack of expertise at beingâ€¦well, a company capable of producing something on a schedule, BMW engineers had to first liberate the early molds from Italy and then find someone who could produce the car. Ultimately, it was a combination of ItalDesign in Turin, Marchesi metal working in Modena to build the frames and Karosserie Baur in Stuttgart that stuck the M1 together. Though it doesnâ€™t exactly sound like a match made in heaven, and indeed the M1 was a relative sales flop, it has nonetheless grown to cult status as one of the most user-friendly supercars of the late 1970s:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1981 BMW M1 on eBay
Here is a real odd ball. This is a European-spec 1978 Mercedes-Benz 240 for with some really interesting modifications. The early W123 looks to be fitted with some kind of aftermarket bumpers and side skirts, European hubcaps from a W126 S-Class, a bunch of painted black trim, and probably the worst placement for a third brake light I’ve ever seen. It supposedly has just 51,000 miles and is even fitted with Michelin XWX, a tire that if fitted to a W123 can often double the value of the entire car. I have a whole lot of questions, and it looks not like many answers.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1978 Mercedes-Benz 240D on eBay
In an article I penned for The Truth About Cars back in 2016, I covered some of the development of the Wedge Era and how those spectacular show car designs channeled their design language down to more pedestrian models. One of the stars of that article were the cutting-edge looks from Giugiaro’s ItalDesign – the firm, and man, responsible for some of your favorites such as the basic shape for the Audi Quattro. But while the Quattro launched its brand into the luxury realm and redefined the 80s, the undisputed German star of the wedgey wonders was the BMW M1.
Like the Quattro, the M1 redefined and refined BMW’s core mission, helping to launch the Motorsport division along with the 3.0 CSL and 2002 Turbo. While Giugiaro had also had his hand in the M1’s design, the genesis of the shape lay in the much earlier Paul Bracq designed Turbo concept. Bracq, in turn, had undoubtedly been influenced by the late 1960s creations of both Giorgetto Giugiaro (at Ghia and ItalDesign) and Marcello Gandini (Bertone), as well as the efforts and splash rival Mercedes-Benz had made in 1969 with the C111 concept and record setter.
But while Daimler was hesitant to enter serial production with such a departure from their tried and true sedan designs, the M1 proved to be just the spark BMW was looking for to ignite the fire in driving enthusiast’s minds. It was, at the time, the Ultimate Driving Machine:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1979 BMW M1 on eBay
Edit 10/01/2017: After fixing a few more things and covering about 10,000 more miles, the buyer of this unique 325iT has it back on the block again in a no reserve auction. – Ed
The E46 wagon has emerged as perhaps the last bastion of good, clean, simple German longroofing. Modern wagons are bulbous, overstuffed with features, and crazy expensive. The biggest options on today’s 325i Touring are color choices, while the mechanicals and general usability remain refreshingly simple: no sunroof, inline-6, 5-speed manual, manual seats. Manual, but in Tanin red leather, just the kind of curveball reader/seller Rob clearly likes. A nice, plain white exterior? Why not add discreet M-pinstriping and anything-but-discreet Creamsicle Orange lower valences? The 7-spoke Style 4s are nice but plain – leave them for the all-season tires and you get summer-rubber on blackened Style 68s! The colors may jump all over the place, but if anything they draw attention to a sweet car that represents a simplicity we have all but lost.