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Automotive Classifieds of Interest German Cars For Sale Ramblings

Two 90’s Modern Classic Convertibles for Under $15k: What’s the Worst that Could Happen?

I still haven’t replaced the M Roadster, but as you may have guessed, I’ve been looking at ads almost nonstop since it sold. Our local market within 300-400 miles hasn’t turned up much in that time that I considered a must buy. And when I contemplate long distance spotting’s, not only does the cost of shipping come to mind, but of course the uncertainty and anxiety of buying remotely — without seeing it in person. I know a PPI is usually available by a nearby shop, but another expense to factor in.

Maybe all that this hesitation demonstrates is that I’m not ready to be a committed collector yet. But here are two interesting examples that have popped up for sale (nearby for once), and with asking prices well below my budget for the next enthusiast car in the driveway. Maybe I can be a pretend collector and enthusiast in the meantime as I soak in the details of these two contenders.

$12,500: 1997 Mercedes-Benz 500SL 40th Anniversary Edition for $12,500 with 83k miles

1997 Mercedes-Benz 500SL Anniversary Edition

rare find, 40th Anniversary Edition, 500 made (imported 250 to US), looks new, runs great, crimson metallic ruby red, parchment leathers seats, chestnut wood dash, never wrecked, all options, new soft top and lifts, separate hard top, 81,000 miles, 12,500, garage kept, never driven in winter, excellent maintenance upkeep

Once upon a time, I test drove a 97 500SL Sport in Portland with almost the exact same miles and a mountainous stack of receipts. It was in truly amazing condition inside and out, and I didn’t buy it for the mere $10,500 then asking price because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to afford to keep it in that shape. It didn’t deserve my ownership. I have regretted making that adult decision for years though. I routinely check the R129 listings around the web and wonder if I should pull the trigger now as they’re just starting to appreciate but still very affordable to attain. Of course these do require a significant amount of maintenance and care to stay in nice condition, but the asking price is barely over $10k to start and already has a new top and hydraulic top cylinders (an expensive and expected cost of doing business with an R129). After owning the W202 C43 AMG of roughly the same period, and enjoying the hell out of it with minimal expense during the two years of ownership, I’m thinking it’s worth budgeting several thousand a year in maintenance and repairs to get one of the best built cars of it’s time.

{if you’ve ever contemplated R129 ownership, this video should do the rest…}


$13,500: 1991 Mazda Miata M Edition with 25k miles

Greetings everybody here’s your situation if you had a bad 2020 make up all for it with this 1991 Mazda Miata hardtop convertible with only 25,000 original miles garage kept four-cylinder manual transmission British racing green rare color combination runs and drives like a dream everything functions clean title time capsule piece

NA Miata Hardtop BRG

If you’ve read this self-indulgent post this far, you are likely the kind of person who has driven, or even owned, an NA Miata in the past and longingly appreciated it as one of the most affordable, best executed, and graceful sports cars of it’s time. How many sports cars in this price range can claim that in the past 30 years of ever expanding safety and emission standards?

This particular example isn’t the nicest I’ve seen but it meets the criteria of being local, low miles, and cheap. You can spot comparable or better examples on Bring A Trailer routinely for about the same price, and being what it is, I’d feel a lot more comfortable about a long range purchase if that’s the best we could do.


One more to consider?

No Reserve: 2002 Porsche Boxster S 6-Speed, 113k miles, sold on Bring A Trailer for $10,250

Another obvious contender in this modern classic segment is the 986 Porsche Boxster S, like this one that sold a few weeks ago on BaT. Definitely an easy car to find in the same price range and condition, many even with the hardtop. This example has more miles than I’d usually consider but was well represented and a fair sale price. But if I’m honest, the one time I test drove one I was really underwhelmed. The journals of the time all basic said the same thing because the 996 Porsche 911 of the era was really the one to have with an appropriate 315hp on tap from the start compared to the Boxster’s 240hp. On the other hand, if one comes up in your backyard at a good price, you should check it out and see if you feel the same way.

Closing thoughts

During this world-wide pandemic I’ve been finding it difficult to pull the trigger when I consider I could be taking advantage of someone’s misfortune or the fact that I’m lucky enough to still hold a rewarding career job that affords me such leisurely considerations. But at this price point I tend to allow myself the opportunity to consider one of these on a Thursday night after work. After all, in 2020, what’s the worst that could happen?

dc

Categories
Automotive Classifieds of Interest

Loaner Car: 1984 Honda CRX

2019 Toyota Tacoma Limited QuicksandOur Tacoma was recently loaned out and without any other cars at the moment, Julie was kind enough to let me borrow her CRX for a few days to get around.

Turns out they reviewed the 1984 Honda CRX on Motorweek back in 1983 or 84, and it’s exactly the same spec and colors as my loaner car:

Julie and I went up to Portland to get her a Honda Civic in February 2011. We wanted a 90’s Civic HF, the super economy model, but even by 2011 these were in high demand because they really were 50+mpg cars. Unfortunately we ended up looking at 3 cars that morning, none of which were HF models, and all were in terrible condition and repair. Embarrassingly so in fact. But we decided to get a late breakfast and take a quick look at Craigslist for new entries before leaving town. That’s when we spotted her CRX for less than half of what were planning to spend. A quick test drive revealed it was by far the nicest car we had seen that day and we quickly paid the asking price, leaving with the same car she drives everyday nearly 10 years later.

After mostly driving the Tacoma since last Thanksgiving, piloting this tiny car is quite the contrast. But it is absolutely hilarious. You are always the smallest car on the road and you sit so low I swear you could reach past the steering wheel and touch the pavement in front of the car. No power steering or brakes actually makes it really easy to understand the car’s capabilities. And the first to second gearing, combined with the super low weight of 1,800lbs, still makes it really fun to whip around town under the speed limit.

Her car shows a mere 160k miles now and is a real time capsule being nearly all original. It was a fun time machine for a few days. Thanks Julie and Nick!

dc

Categories
Automotive Classifieds of Interest Corvallis German Cars For Sale Motorcycles Oregon

Empty Nest: All my enthusiast cars and bikes are sold!

I’ve been a little radio silent since stating I’d try and make a comeback on this site, but I find it’s hard to be inspired during the pandemic. Shana and I take this situation very seriously and we’re both lucky to be able to work our career jobs from home — and I’m truly grateful. But when COVID-19 first hit I thought we’d be working from home a few weeks, maybe a couple of months. Five disciplined and socially distant months later, Oregon is starting to show signs of turning the tide from our first major surge in cases. Even still, it’s pretty clear at this point that life isn’t going to return to normal anytime soon. I’d even go so far as to speculate that we’re likely to see another surge nationally as the winter months set in — but I hold out hope that I’m wrong.


Credit: KGW

Since late March when we were all sent home, I’ve slowly been clearing the stable. I had been thinking about a fresh start on all moto fronts for nearly a year but wanted to wait for spring to get started for best values. My experience has always been that April and May hit the enthusiast buyer sweet spot after a cold winter and sale prices seem to spike early on. While there was some early bargains on the market due to COVID-19, the analytics on both my enthusiast buying sites showed there was more collector marketplace activity than I expected this year. I figured I might as well try to turn over my collection after observing these trends and in the end if for no other reason: to avoid boredom and look forward to shopping again soon!

I started with the sale of the Z4 M Roadster. The market for these models is currently way undervalued compared to the e46 M3 CSL that it shares most of the suspension, braking, engine and drivetrain with. The M Coupe typically commands another $10k over the M Roadster as well. On the other hand this is partly what compelled me to purchase the Z4 M Roadster in the first place as an amazing value then and now. Luckily a very happy father and son agreed, snapping it up pretty quickly for about what I paid for it 3 years ago, then $21k. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t missing it, but what I’m really missing is the convertible sports car, not so much for the awesome 330hp beast that it was.

Next up we sold the 2003 BMW X5. This was a car Shana always wanted since it was new and I had always wanted to get it for her. 6 years ago we found a perfect one in Medford with just 55k miles and we happily bought it for $15k. A little over market at the time but it was by far the best example we had seen in a 300 mile radius. 6 years later the resale plummeted and we ended up selling it for $6k with 100k miles on the nose. It felt like a bit of a gut punch but after averaging out the deprecation and maintenance, it only ended up being about $300/mo. I like to think of it that way anyway as almost any repair on the car was at least four figures and sometimes those came several times a year.

Replacing that vehicle for Shana was a tough choice but we decided we didn’t want to pay that much again just in maintenance. After several out of state trips in 2018 and 2019, we realized most rental cars had far more everyday features that we enjoyed more than having the best SUV BMW ever produced (and the associated cost of ownership). Enter our 2019 Toyota Tacoma Limited in Quicksand:

It’s definitely no BMW, but it has plenty of the everyday features we love and it’s been very helpful already in the first year as a pickup we can put to use.

Back to my stable, the Ducati 750SS was next on the block. I’ve loved owning this bike but it is rarely ridden now. Even during the pandemic when it was used as a housebound pain reliever, I ended up returning home thinking it was time for something new. For starters something fuel injected that wouldn’t be as worse off for sitting long periods without loving care. A great local guy I know from the enthusiast motorcycling circles in Corvallis bought the bike soon after listed and has great plans for it alongside his 900SS/Superlight and other Duc’s in his own collection. Thanks Bert!

So what comes next? We’re still in semi-lockdown to some degree with COVID and I have some time on my hands. But for once I’m entering the off-season with a wad of cash on hand and ready to pounce on a listing that I would usually groan, “if I had the money it would be mine”. This time it will be, and with COVID and a sketchy economy on the horizon, it might be a great time to act. Let’s see what happens next!

dc

Categories
Corvallis Oregon Photography

I rented a Canon 300mm F4L and I loved it!

During the pandemic lockdown, we’ve been heading out to the Finley Wildlife Refuge quite a bit to get out of the house and enjoy the birds. I previously rented the Nikon P1000 super zoom and visited the refuge. After returning that camera, I turned back to the Canon 80D I already own. I use a 70-200mm F4L for that camera but wanted something with a bit more reach to get the small birds and prehistoric herons. I ended up renting a Canon 300mm F4L IS and a 2x teleconverter.

Right off the bat, the teleconverter wasn’t really for me. I’ve seen some nice results posted online from other users but running around hand-held, I wasn’t able to get sharp results. It also disabled most of the 80D focus features and required going with manual focus in most cases. Here is probably my best shot with the 300mm and 2x converter:

Spring 2020

This quick hand-held of Pepper also turned out well:

Spring 2020

The ten day rental with both the 300mm and 2x converter, only cost $141 with a discount. I didn’t use the teleconverter for the rest of the rental but at that price I didn’t get too upset.

Here are the other shots I got that really turned out great. One of the best features of this lens is that it’s not only great for reach, but also can focus at 5ft for awesome macro images as well. These are processed through Photoshop with mild RAW filter adjustments and some cropping:



My conclusion for this lens is that I want to buy it! The image stabilization is a little slow, but once used to it, the hand-held quality of these shots is awesome! It’s an older model at this point, debuting in 2015 I believe, and brand new it comes in around $1,100. While I’ve seen some used for about 60% of that on eBay, the rental I had was quite noisy and I’d want it brand new so I could care for it appropriately. I’ve been tempted by the similarly priced 400mm F4L, but it doesn’t have the stabilization. Cropping pictures from the 300 turned out to have very little loss of sharpness and detail, even on a crop body and hand-held.

If you’d like to try out a rental before buying, check out LensRental.com and this discount for first time users. They make it easy to rent through the website, and the shipping back is a breeze with everything included. I get a perk from you clicking that link but I also have had great experiences renting from them.

dc

Categories
Corvallis Oregon Photography

Nikon P1000 Wrap Up and COVID-19

My intention was to make use of the Nikon P1000 in different situtations each afternoon and evening for the week I had rented it. Then the COVID-19 curtailments hit the OSU campus (my day job) and my plans were out the window as we all shifted into high gear to accomodate. Unfortunately I didn’t really have time to make full use of the camera during the rental period. I even extended the rental after realizing it was going to be busy but the situation unfolded very quickly and the spare time never really materialized.

With the pity party out of the way, I did still learn alot about the camera.

First of all, this is not a camera for beginners or casual shooters. You have to have a pretty good idea of what you’re intending to capture and how you’ll prepare to get the quality that many P1000 users publish on social media. I followed the Nikon P1000 Photography group on Facebook and was routinely impressed with the quality and professional results shared. Unfortunatley I was largely unable to match the effort during the 10 rental.

Here is what I was able to produce with limited time under the circumstances:

This is Mary’s Peak. just outside Corvallis
My family moved to Corvallis in 1980 and this backdrop was ever-present in my childhood. The view still stops me dead today and invokes memories of my youth.
This was taken on Sunday after a week or so of rain and clouds, but a very cold morning to follow. This always rinses the atmosphere and the following day has the clearest sky.
This is from the same location fully zoomed, no digital crop. It’s handheld, but with a tripod you’d easily be able to see the weather station at the top much clearer.
We went to the Finley Wildlife Refuge to catch the migrating geese but they had already moved on. These ducks were about 300 yards out.

Here’s what it looked like earlier on March 1st:

My best of the week was this video of the super moon. While the result was good, it would’be been better out in the country. I got this in my back yard just over the neighbors roof. The heat rising off her roof distorted the edge in particular, and the focus wasn’t perfect. On the other hand, I was exhausted after a few days of intense work and just put the tripod in place and pressed go. All things considred, not a bad result:

My main takeaways:

  • This camera takes time to master, not only in it’s technical abilities, but your time to adaquately prepare. Tripod, location, remote trigger, weather, etc… But get everything right and this camera produces pro results. I wish I had had the time to master it.
  • I can now see how an even more robust tripod could’ve yielded even better results. Again, you have to know what to plan for.
  • In the end, it’s $1,000 dollars and while it’s trump card is the amazing 125x zoom (3000mm equivalent), it’s not really a “bridge camera” in my mind.

In the end, the results from my Sony HX400V are still so comparible, it doesn’t warrant the additional purhcase. Further it makes me wonder what I could do to take advantage of my Canon 80D and 70-200mm f/4L to get similar results and at a higher quality.

But I’m glad lensrental.com had this avaialble to try out. Their service was easy to use, thought out, and safe both ways with a hard case and return shipping in the same box. I’m not being paid for that endoresement, but I appreciate a well designed online business. Edit: If you use this link, you’ll get $25 off your first rental.

Being quarantined is rough but does allow for self indulgent exploration of abondoned hobbies. Be well,

dc