Categories
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 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
Automotive German Cars For Sale

Introducing my 2006 BMW Z4 M Roadster!

I’ve been very out of touch with this website for years but I’m hoping to change that in 2017 with the introduction of my new to me 2006 BMW Z4 M Roadster!

This is the first picture I took of the car, while I was still on the test drive actually. We drove a few cars that day and within 5 minutes of seat time in this car and I knew we were buying it that day.

Some details about the car:

  • 41k original miles
  • 2 owner car
  • Set up for track days with H&R springs, Strong strut brace, solid transmission mounts, and camber plates.

With those modifications, the car has a little extra presence with it’s stance and backs it up with very quick direction changes at any speed. I’m sure it’ll eat up tires pretty quickly but then again I only put about 7k miles on my cars a year so not too worrisome.

My first order of business was to take care of the BMW Inspection II service which was due. This includes all fluids, filters, spark plugs, and the S54 engine valve adjustment. This service was expertly carried out by J&J Werkstadt in Albany, Oregon. This shop is owned by my lifelong friend Paul Breen, who has always been the best tech I’ve ever known, and also BMW certified when this car was new. The service took all day but I was pleased when Paul gave her a clean bill of health and provided a baseline for me to work from. While records were included with the car, with just 41k miles there hasn’t been much work to report on either and it was nice to eliminate concerns of a car that has obviously been sitting for extended period.

In terms of condition, the car is excellent mechanically but does have some exterior blemishes. A handful of tiny door dings, a few scratches, and some curbing on all the wheels show what life must have been like with the first owner in Santa Barbara. But the 2nd owner kept this car garaged as his weekend fun toy and track day warrior. I’ll be signing up with the local BMW club again to make sure I can get it on the track as well!

This feels like the right place to put an apology for not maintaining this website for the past 4 years (gulp!) but I’m eager to get back in the saddle so to speak. I’ve already got some more updates and look forward to sharing what I’ve been up to in the meantime and how I’d like to move ahead. Thanks for reading and chime in below with your comments.

dc

Categories
Automotive Classifieds of Interest German Cars For Sale Photography

1977 Volkswagen Rabbit Track Day Car For Sale SOLD!

Rabbit GTi Track Car Wallpaper

It is time to part with our faithful ‘77 Rabbit that has served as a great entry into amateur motorsports over the last 7+ years. We’ve done numerous track days at Portland International Raceway (where the Indy cars used to race), autocrosses, and several runs at the Larison Rock Hillclimb. Unfortunately the car has been sitting for a couple seasons and just isn’t being used anymore with other projects in the stable. It’s time for a new owner.

This car was built by a professional Volkswagen mechanic who was working at Independent Auto Werks (Bug Werks) here in Corvallis at the time. Together we carefully pieced together all the proven parts for this MK1 platform:

– Engine is an MK2 2.0L bottom end with 1.8L 16 valve head. This combination is well documented to provide an immediate 15hp gain over the base 2.0L 16v configuration for 155hp total. At around 1850lbs it really scoots! We opted for the simpler CIS-E fuel injection as it’s easier to work with than the later Motronic setups. While the motor has seen action over the years, it still provides lots of power. It is still fitted with stock cams to maintain reliability and driveability to and from the track.

– Exhaust is optimized with a dual outlet manifold for reliability, then routed to a Techtonics race downpipe and on to a matching Techtonics exhaust with Magnaflow muffler. Yes it’s noisy but not in a ricey way. Very distinctive tuned 4 cylinder VW water-cooled sound.

– Engine is coupled to a lightweight VW Motorsports flywheel and Sachs clutch combo which allows the motor spin up with ease. Power is sent through an 84 GTi close ratio transmission. The transmission makes some noise on deceleration but has since we built the car some 7+ years ago. I expect it’ll be fine for limited track usage as there is no issue finding or using all the gears, but may require a rebuild at some point considering.

– Suspension is simple but well sorted. An H&R Cup Kit consists of matched springs and shocks (non-adjustable) for a mild drop and more sporting ride. Front upper and lower stress bars are fitted along with a rear strut tower brace. Also a heavy duty rear sway bar is fitted. All bushings were refreshed when fitted. The ride is very flat but not harsh. This combination helps to dial out a lot of the understeer and cornering is easily controlled with gentle throttle response.

– Brakes are upgraded discs up front from an MK2 GTi and we retained the drums in the back. We had originally fitted rear discs as well but had issues with lockup in the back due to the light weight. Willwood proportioning valves are installed for fine tuning.

Two sets of wheels are included. The car is currently riding on “snowflake” GTi rims with mismatched tires to get you to and from the track. Also included are aftermarket alloys with used road racing slicks. Available for separate negotiation are some very rare, period correct Intra 14×6 German alloys that replicate the look of early Porsche 928 rims. The Intra rims would be perfect if you’re considering this car for a GTi restoration.

Interior is stripped and focused on only what is needed for track work. An early Passat steering wheel is fitted for better feel and textured race pedals are in place. A Sparco Pro 2000 race fixed back bucket is fitted for the driver and a generic aftermarket seat is in place for the instructor. Both seats have 4 point Schroth harnesses. The stock dash is removed and a custom console is fitted with gauges to monitor oil, water, charging, and revs. The heater core is still intact but it blocked off at the moment. Can be reactivated to warm the interior on cold mornings. Rear defroster works as does instrument lighting. Most carpet and sound deadening is removed, so it’s very loud inside the car and you hear every creak, rattle, bang, and bump. But with a helmet on it’s just part of the experience.

– The exterior is a decent 5 footer. In honesty it’s a poor Maaco paint job that was applied before we acquired the car, but it can be made to look decent as seen in the photos. There are lots of chips, dings, dimples, and yes surface rust. I have tried to capture the worst of it in the photos. This car is not ready for the show circuit but plenty presentable as you make your entry into amateur motorsports. Features GTi fender flares and aftermarket replica European bumpers. All lights work. Headlights are European H4’s with city lights in the park position. Color matched GTi airdam is also fitted.

The good: This car is very well sorted and should clear inspection for autocross, trackday or hillclimb. A simple tuneup should be applied but runs fine with no stumbling and tracks straight. To be used for road racing or rally you’ll need additional safety equipment like a rollbar or cage, fuel cell, window netting, fire suppression, etc… But even after sitting for a few seasons it is running well with just a new battery and a full tank of gas. I also put new tags on the car today so it’s registered until 2013. I drove the car in a spirited manner this afternoon and it made me wish I had space to put it on jack stands and come back to it someday.

The bad: It does have some surface rust on a 5 foot paint job and a couple holes in the floor boards. But for what it was built for it’s ready for more action with just minor TLC. After a thorough once over, I wouldn’t hesitate to drive up to Portland, track it, and drive back like we have numerous times over the past several years.

This car is perfect for someone who is looking to get into local amateur racing or a GTi restoration project. Please email me for more information or to arrange for a look in person. Here are links to my personal blog with stories about how we used the car (note the time stamps):

Please email me if interested in more information or a closer look at the car. I am asking $2350 obo and the Intra wheels mentioned are available at additional cost. With a full price offer I’ll include a used but legal autocross helmet, magnetic numbers, and the fire extinguisher. I’d love to see this car find a home that will appreciate it and the time spent putting it together. Thanks for looking.

dc

Categories
Automotive Classifieds of Interest German Cars For Sale Motorcycles On The Job

Check Out What’s Up on My Other Websites

Here’s my March 2011 summary of interesting posts on my other websites. Yep, shameless self-gloss!

Rare Sport Bikes For Sale

1992 Kawasaki KR250C3 KR1-S still in the crate!

This post has generated the most comments ever on a single post on my website. The seller is quote eccentric in his presentation and demands of the potential bidders. It’s a very rare opportunity to own a new 1992 KR1-S for sure!


Rare Sport Bikes

Mike hits the Las Vegas Mid-America auction and files his report. He is definitely inspiring me to make this a company trip next year! Great post Mike, thanks so much for the first hand account!


German Cars For Sale Blog

Steve McQueen’s 1970 Porsche 911S is being offered soon at auction and the classic car blog world is abuzz. We didn’t miss it either! We’ll be keeping an eye on the result of this sale for sure.



Classic Italian Cars For Sale

1958 Fiat Fiat Abarth Zagato “Double Bubble”

dc