Monthly Archives: October 2012

1997 BMW E36 M3 Coupe: Clean as they Come

The original BMW M3, based on the now cult favorite E30 3-series,was built as a homologation special aimed at taking-on the likes of cars like the Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16 and Ford Sierra Cosworths which dominated German Touring Car Championship racing in the late-1980s. Not only did it take them on, but from a sheer racing and driving standpoint, it trounced them. As an owner of a Mercedes Cosworth I can say that. I still maintain that the Merc is a better daily driver, but that’s not what we’re talking about here.

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I’m Being Stalked By A 1991 Alfa Romeo 164S

This car has been haunting me. It keeps showing up in searches, rearing its attractive Italian face whenever I start meandering about Craigslist and I think it’s following me. Continue reading

Fleet Update: Perfection or Patina?

I have this awful habit of buying old cars in varying state of disrepair with delusions of making them perfect while at the same time hardly spending a dime in the process. Admittedly, my DIY skills are good enough for oil changes, maybe a valve cover gasket or shock absorbers, and detailing. Much beyond those and I rapidly fall out of my element. I do keep spreadsheets on my project cars, and I can say that I am ahead of the game when you look at the big picture, but only just.

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1978 Saab 99 Turbo: Old School Rally Rat

I once saw a rally-prepped Saab 99 in dark blue with yellow wheels, and ever since then I’ve had a fantasy of buying a 99 for myself and doing it up with a similar treatment. The problem is these days vintage Saab 99s generally fall into one of two categories: complete rotboxes not worth their weight in scrap value or collector-quality cars that you wouldn’t want to screw-up by doing dumb things like painting the wheels yellow. This car, which can be found on CraigsList in Green Bay, Wisconsin for $6,250 is much closer to the latter than the former, but is right at that point where a buyer could make the decision to rally it up or restore it to pristine. Given the demise of the brand, one could speculate whether nice Saabs will spike in value or whether they will flounder and eventually fade into obscurity.

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1991 Mercedes-Benz 300SL 5-Speed: Putting the “Sports” back in “Sports Leicht”

The original Mercedes-Benz SL-series cars were true sports cars: hard-edged, performance-oriented, and they took some skill to drive. In fact, the designation “SL” originally stood for “Sports Leicht” or in English, “Sports Light” referencing the sporting nature of the car and its lightweight construction. Subsequent models, starting with the 190SL and carrying through the R113 “Pagoda” models and on to the iconic Beverly Hills Housewife R107 convertibles, steadily became less sporting and less light. Quality remained top-notch in true Mercedes fashion and only improved as the years progressed, but “Sport” was a concept that seemed to get lost in translation, especially on U.S. shores where buyers could not even buy a manual transmission-equipped Mercedes SL after the last of the R113 Pagodas rolled off the boat from Sindelfingen. Until, that is, the R129 300SL came along. The new 300SL could be had with a stick shift – like this car on eBay – but very few made it over here.

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