I’m not one to go around making blanket statements like some kind of high horse ridin’ pundit…but here goes; the E46 M3 is the M3 you want to buy right now. Before we go any further, I want to state that this isn’t my car, although I have one that is very similar in spec/ color /condition /miles…give or take. Suffice to say, I know what I’m talking about when it comes to M3s and I know a little bit about the M3 market…more later. Find this 2003 BMW M3 E46 offered for $9,500 in Oldsmar, FL via eBay.
You probably know that Audi/Volkswagen diesels as the modern and fuel efficient machines that cheat on emissions tests, but there was a time when Audi was known for cars that accelerated without warning (warning that youtube link has the most awesome vintage commercials but you can also watch this awesome Audi PR film with an detailed rebuttal by Bobby Unser)…but these next two cars aren’t going anywhere fast. First they were equipped with an 84 horsepower 2.0 liter inline-5 turbocharged oil burner. It wasn’t as slow as the non-turbo cars from 1980-82, but after a few decades in a barn…these things are not going anywhere quickly. Find these 1983 Audi 5000 TD s (two of them) offered for $600 in Pittsfield, MA via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!
What color is this car? Blue? Baby blue? Robin egg blue? Mercedes-Benz called it paint code 922 pastellblau, but I call it simply amazing. Imagine a new E-Class being covered in a shade of Cherenkov radiation instead of the boring grey/black/white you see on 99% of the new luxury cars on the road. Find this 1976 Mercedes-Benz 240D offered for $8500 in Fresno, CA via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!
The SL-Class Mercedes-Benz roadster has been a good looking 2-seater since it was launched in 1954. It was (and is) the go-to car for the rich man/woman who wants a balance between performance and style to lean towards style…but the AMG option (first released in 1995) turns the dial back towards the performance end of the spectrum. The R230 generation of the SL (2001-2011) was available in SL55 AMG trim that pushed 493 horsepower and 516 ft-lbs of torque from a supercharged V8 into a 5-speed automatic gearbox. Find this 2004 Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG offered for $13,000 in Evansville, IN via faceplace marketbook. Tip from Jeff.
This car is an interesting piece of used German metal. And I’ll start by admiting that I had the pleasure of owning and daily driving a used C36 AMG for a few years…and it wasn’t a bad car. The AMG tuned 3.6 liter M104 inline-6 is melodious instrument and it belted out 286 horsepower into a 5 speed slushbox that snapped off shifts like a SIG Sauer. It didn’t have the same steering feedback of an E36 M3 (had one of those too) and it wanted you to drive it more like a muscle car than a sports machine…but it wasn’t a bad vehicle at all, and I would recommend one to someone looking for a cheap future classic from Stuttgart. However…would I recommend one that needs to be towed home because the key was broken and the paint is covered in a vinyl wrap? Only if the price was…wow. That’s cheap. Find this 1996 Mercedes-Benz C36 AMG offered for $1500 in Denver, CO via craigslist.
I fully acknowledge my love of the BMW 3-series for everyday driven late model cars. And typically, I recommend people search for a used and abused M3 in their price range to get the best bang for the buck because BMW puts so much more love into their ///M models…but…BUT…sometimes the most basic barebones BMW 3-series is the best because who needs all those gadgets and turbos and flappy-paddle-gear-changers and things anyway. All you really need to have fun an a 3-series is a magnesium-alloy engine block and a 6-speed manual gearbox. Find this 2007 BMW 328i offered for $9800 in La Verne, CA via craigslist.
The Mercedes-Benz 190E is an entry-level luxury car produced from 1982 to 1993. Even though it was Mercedes first attempt at the compact car market they did not skimp on the W201. This platform introduced a 5-link rear suspension subsequently used in E and C class models, front and rear anti-roll bars, anti-dive and anti-squat geometry—as well as airbags, ABS brakes and seatbelt pretensioners. Find this 1986 Mercedes-Benz 90E 2.3-16V on eBay with a Buy It Now price of $12,900 in San Diego, CA with 16 days to go.
Guts, cojones, bollocks, che palle, chutzpah, sisu, etc. Every culture/language has it’s own word for when somebody does something that shows a certain sense of disregard for common sense. I don’t judge those folks for not exercising the same caution as the rest of us chickens, because sometimes the end result is land a man on the moon, or discovering the Peep. But this next car is going to take all of the combined guts, wherewithal, and arcane Mercedes-Benz knowledge to make it run again on all 12 cylinders…and my hat is off to the man, women, or eunuch who does it. Find this 1995 Mercedes-Benz S600 offered for $2900 in Litchfield, CT via craigslist. Tip from Cory.
Ohh…this is one is so tempting. Seriously, please buy this car before I do. It combines the sweet styling of an E28 with the inevitable torque of a small block Ford V8. Just need to change the plan from the current AOD/C4 to a T5 and we’re in business. Oh yeah, you’ll also need to assemble everything yourself because it comes like a Lego kit. Find this 1984 BMW 524TD Ford V8 Ready offered for $2850 in Santa Rosa, CA via craigslist.
I’m not one to perpetuate the rumor that the M28 V8 in the Porsche 928 isn’t a good motor…because it was for 1978 a phenomenal piece of technology. Think of what was in the average American car in 1978…or even what was in the Corvette — some lump of carburetted iron that barely pushed 150 horsepower to the pavement with 1950s technology, and here was this overhead cam equipped alloy block that pushed out 219 horsepower in North American neutered spec. Despite this…I find myself compelled to feature this next car because it has an engine upgrade that will make it faster and more efficient…and the asking price is good. Find this 1979 Porsche 928 with LT1 swap offered for $5000 in Hacienda Heights, CA via craigslist.