Saturday, December 12, 2009

Weekend Quickies - Fast Sedans

1997 BMW M3 Sedan - I opened an e-mail at work last week and found a picture of an M3 convertible staring at me. I stared back at it for a few minutes. I was preparing for a meeting and had been crunching numbers all morning. It was a nice break from that.

Speaking of numbers... You don't need to make a lot of money to afford an E36 M3 these days. Nice, relatively low mileage cars can be found for under 10K. If you don't mind a high mileage car, you can pick one up for 6K or less.

For that money, you get a car that hits 60 MPH in 5.5 seconds and has an electronically limited top speed of 140 MPH. The car is built like, well, like a BMW. It's solid, reliable and with a bit of maintenance, it will run forever.

Find an M3 sedan and you'll not only have the ultimate driving machine, you'll also have the ultimate family car.

The 4 door E36 M3 was only imported for 2 years. They're not as easy to find as a coupe, but if you look around there are quite a few nice ones still out there.

The cars shown above is being offered by a dealer in Marietta, GA. The asking price is $6750.00. It has recently had a new water pump, thermostat and radiator put in it. That's an indication of a cooling problem. (Duh.) As long as the cooling problem didn't cause any engine damage, this car could be a nice bargain. Click here to see the AutoTrader.com listing.

For more information on the M3, click on the FAQ section of the BMW M Registry. You can find their homepage here.

1995 Volvo 850 T5R - This car is a lot like the Nissan 300ZX I wrote about a few days ago. It has very low miles, has been well maintained and the seller is asking top dollar.

Volvo needed an image booster. Volvo was known for building safe, dependable, but less than exciting cars (they first two statements were true, but Volvo had built some fun cars in the past, but very few people noticed.) So Volvo took their 850 Turbo, upped the boost on the 5 cylinder engine from 9.6 PSI to 10.9 and got 18 more horsepower out of it (240 vs 222). They then tricked out the body so everyone would be aware of this car's abilities. (The pale yellow color of this car was unique to the T5R. Less then 200 cars came painted this color. It's an acquired taste, I guess.)

This is a 22,000 mile car. It's completely stock, right down to the factory wheels and OEM Pirelli tires. If you're looking for a unique European sports sedan, one that can give BMWs, Audis and Mercedes' a run for their money, a T5R might be worth checking out.

Located in Pleasant Valley, NY, click here to see the eBay listing.

Lotus Omega (Carlton) - Good luck getting this one into the US. Known as the Lotus Carlton in the UK and the Lotus Omega in the rest of Europe, this was a Vauxhall Carlton / Opel Omega that Lotus turned into a super sedan.

Lotus took the Vauxhall / Opel 3.0 liter 6, bumped it up to 3.6 liters, added a pair of Garrett T25 turbochargers and turned the engine into a 377 HP monster. Power went to the rear wheels via a Corvette sourced 6 speed transmission. The Lotus Carlton hit 60 MPH in 5.2 seconds and had an electronically limited top speed of 175 MPH (Without the governor it was capable of over 190 MPH). The car had 12.5" brake rotors with racing calipers. It's said that it could go from 0 - 100 and back to 0 in 15 seconds.

All Lotus Carltons / Omegas were painted a very dark green. Body modifications were minimal. A rear spoiler, air intakes on the hood, some Lotus badges and wider wheel arches were the only differences between the Lotus Carlton / Omega and the standard Vauxhall / Opel versions. Less than 1000 were built.

This Lotus Omega is originally from Germany, but is now located in Oxfordshire, UK. The selling price is £29,995 - roughly $49,000.00. Click here to see the ad.

(Actually, you could get this car into the US with a little bit of effort and a lot of paperwork. Check out the "What is 'Show or Display' all about?" on Grey In The USA.)

The next generation of the Opel Omega was sold in the US as the Cadillac Catera. Imagine if they had sent us this car instead...

2 comments:

hoov23 said...

Awesome cars. Actually since the Opel Omega LHD is already on the approved "Show or Display" list, it's pretty easy to import one with minimal paperwork. Mileage would be limited to 2,500 miles per year until it's 25 years old (the ad calls it a 1997 based on the UK registration year, but doesn't mention model year like we use in the US - they're all 1990 to 1992). One simple "Show or Display" form is all you need, along with the standard "HS-7" form and photos of the car. Awfully expensive, though...

Richard said...

@Hoov23 - I am very happy if that can be done, that car is at the top of my wish list, the ultimate sleeper!

Thinking about it though, the Opel Omega was redesigned back in 1994 and by 1997 was introduced into the US as the Cadillac Catera. So is it the bog standard Opel Omega that's on the list or the first generation twin turbo crazy machine?

Lotus had a habit of sticking there names to cars back in the 80's, Google Lotus Talbot and you will see another fine car!