Monthly Archives: December 2011

1978 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL: Big Whole Lot of Car for Cheap..!

If you’ve read this blog with any regularity, it’s no secret that I like Mercedes – especially those of the big stinkin’ V8 variety. To the subject of today’s post, the W116-bodied Mercedes S-class was the first Mercedes I can recall seeing on the showroom floor. It was a black one on a turntable, and it was glorious. Released in 1973, the W116 brought Mercedes (and with them dozens of other manufacturers through osmosis) into the modern era. Performance, safety features, and styling (in my book) were head and shoulders above the competition from the likes of Cadillac, Jaguar, BMW, and frankly even Rolls Royce. These days they look somewhat dated but can represent a tremendous value to the buyer looking for that special saloon car to stand apart from the crowd that stands a chance of starting every time you turn the key. Find this lovely yellow example here on eBay in Redwood City, California with a buy it now price of just $2,950.

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1983 BMW E23 733i 5-speed: Teutonic Sports Barge

Once upon a time the term “sports sedan” referred to a four-door automobile whose driving characteristics engaged the driver in the actual act of driving through steering feedback, a taut suspension, and (gasp!) a manual transmission whereby the driver actually went through the process of selecting the appropriate cog and engaging it through a shifter and a clever foot pedal that released the gears. It is arguable whether BMW invented the concept of the sports sedan, but they worked hard through the late 1960s and te 1970s to hone it. By the time this car made the scene in 1983, BMW was at the top of the sports sedan heap. Find it here on eBay in Salem, New Hampshire with a starting bid of $200.

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Sub-$10K Steal: 1968 Porsche 912 coupe

A lot of folks tend to dismiss the Porsche 912 as nothing more than a VW Beetle with a Porsche body tacked onto it. To those who know better, the 912 more accurately represents the true spiritual descendant to the Porsche 356 series with its Porsche body and chassis mated with a mildly updated version of the 356’s flat four-cylinder motor. We stumbled across this beauty on the Pelican Parts classified forum and were immediately drawn to the period color scheme, apparently straight and solid body, and the recent work it’s had. See it for sale here on Pelican Parts for $9,000 firm in Port Orange, Florida.
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Garage Corner: The 1993 Mazda MX-5 Miata gets a Pass

The rules for roadworthiness or safety inspections here in the U.S. vary widely by state (and even county, for that matter). The great State of Virginia has one of the more comprehensive state safety inspections, comparable to the British MoT and the German system. Inspectors (are supposed to) poke and prod, flick switches, test horns, wipers, lights, defrosters, check brake pad thickness, and generally look for anything that will make the vehicle unsafe to operate. Failure is not an option, and the only route for exemption is a special use tag such as an “antique vehicle” plate, which requires a vehicle be at least 25 years old, not the owners sole means of transportation, and places a restriction on the number and type of miles logged per year (type = commute, for example).

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1994 Dodge Viper RT-10: Think Cobra

For my money, the American automobile industry has produced very little that is unique or interesting since about 1969. Sure, that new Cadillac CTS-V Wagon is a little different, but beyond that..? If you look back, American cars had the stronghold on brute muscle. We weren’t refined, but we could power our way through everything. Hmm.. I guess you could say that about pretty much our whole culture, but I digress. In 1992 Chrysler, to just about everybody’s surprise, introduced what many considered to be a modern-day Cobra complete with participation from none other than Carroll Shelby himself in its development: the Dodge Viper. That the Viper ever made it past the show car stage was a testament to the fact that the Big Three can deliver, when the mood strikes them.

This low-mileage red example here on eBay in Chesaning, Michigan with a buy-it-now price $28,495 could very well represent an increasingly rare opportunity to get an “as new” Viper for less than the price of a new Camry. We think they’ll only go up in value from here.

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Find them for Yourself: Where do the Cool Cars Come From?

My wife and I were married fifteen years ago this year – the happiest years of my life. We’ve had two wonderful children, seen each other build healthy careers, and we’ve had about 80 cars. That’s right, 80, eight-zero, EIGHTY. Suffice it to say, we tend not to get too attached to cars around our house. Well we do, but everything has a price. Having written about many of these cars here and in other venues along with those cars that I’d like to have but for my lack of the funds, the space, or the guts to buy them, a lot of people ask me where I find them. It’s not rocket science, but timing is key.

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