Tag Archives: 5-speed Manual

1992 BMW 318i Convertible: Disposable Sports (Sporty??) Car #12

1992 BMW 318i - 1

So first things first: how can I call this a disposable sports car when it’s so upright and seats four life-sized humans? Well, I suppose the true definition of “sports” car is debatable, but for me it is simply something that I can drive with gusto, I can row my own gears, and puts a big grin on my face every time I get behind the wheel. My sports cars aren’t required to have sloped front ends and 3″ or less of ground clearance, neither must they be limited to a carrying capacity of 2.5 people. But that’s just me. If it makes you feel better and we can move on to the car, then think of this as a disposable “sporty” car.
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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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