I will always have a soft spot for the 1982-1991 Audi C3 sedan, better known as the 100, 200 and 5000. They were attractive and comfortable, a solid but valid step away from the typical BMWs of the day. They were quirky and unreliable. Like Saabs, but German.
We had one. My friend Becky’s parents had one. Ferris-goddamned-Bueller had one! How much more cred do you need? None. Move along. Continue reading
Having been produced from 1971 through 1989 in no less than eight engine configurations, Mercedes-Benz R107 roadsters are hardly rare. In fact, for many of us children of the 1960s, 1970s, and even 1980s, when someone references “Mercedes SL” these are the cars that come to mind. Here in the US, however, we only really got three “official” versions of the R107: the 450SL (and 350SL 4.5 which was the same car) from 1972 through 1980, the 380SL from 1981 through 1985, and the 560SL from 1986 through the end of production. That leaves a lot of SLs that never made it to our shores, including anything across the range that came with a manual transmission. That’s what makes this Euro-spec car
on CraigsList in Fort Lauderdale, Florida a rarity. That, and its low $4,400 asking price.
One of our favorite sayings around the TTS offices is that “nostalgia is a funny thing.” Meaning, often times we recall the cars of our past with a special fondness, often focusing on the parts of them we enjoyed – looks, smells, handling, colors, you name it – as opposed to the parts that made us sell them or otherwise move on. Of the TTS crew, I am the one who repeatedly drinks from the same well. I’ve owned multiple Mercedes W123s and W126s, two green Alfa Spiders, and even a pair of grey 1985 Honda Preludes. With the Mercedes I seem to be on a never-ending quest to find the perfect example. With both the Alfas and the Hondas I think it’s some subconscious effort to reclaim a part of my youth, the first of each having been my first and third car, respectively.
We at TTS have a history of wrenching on our cars. My cohort has schlepped Fiat engines and can probably install European headlights on a Mercedes-Benz W123 in his sleep (assuming the kit was complete). In fact, he’s pretty handy around all manner of Benz products. I’ve built some silly cars in my day, whether it be race-ready BMWs or a Datsun out of Bondo. I still change my own oil, and actually enjoy the Zen-like state one can achieve during a four-wheel brake job.
Fun projects, all of them, in their own ways. But sometimes, you have to lay hands and wrenches on your ride to keep you from stomping a kitten. Continue reading
A friend and colleague of mine recently passed-away. He was an old-school Brit who had been in journalism, public relations, and public affairs for longer than most of us have been alive – combined. He had a story for every occasion, having been a WW2 kid in London, a Korean War vet, and even a reporter sharing office space with the likes of Andy Rooney at CBS. He also looked and sounded a little like Emperor Palpatine from Star Wars, but I digress. He was also a car guy, although you’d never have guessed it. A couple of years ago I visited John at his horse farm in rural Virginia, and parked in a corner, without license plates and looking a little forlorn, was a Range Rover Classic. It had seen better days, but he was attached to it. As it happened, John had done some PR work for Range Rover when they finally came to the US in 1987, and his was one of the early trucks to our shores. It was also the truck his daughter grew-up with. He wanted to get the car fixed up one day, but never got the chance. Besides, that one may have been a losing battle.
My Dad’s 1969 Fiat 850 Spider is my oldest automotive memory. 850 spiders were also the cars that my TTS co-conspirator and I first bonded over, at the approximate ages of five and three, respectively. Suffice it to say, we both have a soft spot for Fiat 850s, especially clean, original ones like this which are essentially non-existent at this point. They were cheap when new, and most were driven hard (you sort-of had to) and left outside. Combined all that with their propensity to rust, like all Italian cars from the 1960s and 1970s, and you’ll find that nice 850s are nearly impossible to find, and the few you do find are usually out there for all the money. Find this clean survivor
on CraigsList in New York for a reasonable $5,995.