Showing posts with label rare. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rare. Show all posts

One of a Kind: 1995 Mercedes-Benz E300 Diesel Touring

Ah, the W124. Probably one of the all-around greatest cars of all time. And what a sight for sores eyes in this post-Bruno Sacco Benz-era lacking cohesive forms and themes! The W124 is of those rare cars that was better than both the model it replaced (W123) and was succeeded by (W210). And in the true Germanic spirit of frugality and efficiency, nothing is better than a diesel W124. Or is there?

Although the W123 turbo-diesels are the stuff of legend, the W124 diesels are slightly less so. For one, they appeared at a time when gas prices were coming down, and thrift was less trendy. Second, Mercedes fumbled with their introduction on the W124, at first offering a 6-cylinder turbo for just one year, before settling on the 2.5-liter 5-cylinder turbo, then lastly a non-turbo 6-cylinder, none of which seemed to hit the sweet spot for consumers, and very few of which (if any) were mated to stick shifts for extra sport and economy. By the 90s, diesels were the last thing on the minds of American drivers.

This late-model W124 (with an October '95 build date) does not have a turbo or a stick, but it does have the ample extra space the wagon body lends, which is a huge plus combined with a diesel engine. The W123 diesel wagons are now "cult" cars for their old-school style and extreme durability and functionality. But when it came time to replace it, Mercedes-Benz, tragically and puzzlingly, only offered the W124 diesel wagon for just one year, 1987. The W124 was a better car, but Mercedes sealed the fate of their legendary diesel wagons with that model. It was over (for North America, at least).

To make up for the loss of any diesel W124 wagon after 1987, some owner of this vehicle has transplanted a 1995-only non-turbo OM606 6-cylinder engine from the E300 sedan into a 1995 wagon body. Since 1995 was the final year of the entire W124 body, all the kinks were worked out, and some nice cosmetic touches were added like flush Euro-headlights. The seller, unfortunately, provides no details on how or when the swap was done.

Sure, the 6-cylinder is not "fast" and won't win any drag races, but that's not the point, especially in a wagon body. The car is transformed into a purer utilitarian hauler. Seating for seven adults. 35 miles per gallon. A relatively simple and extremely durable engine designed to last long.

The seller says this unique example has no rust and was never in any accidents. Mechanically, they say it runs and drives "perfect", with new glow plugs, belts, tensioner, and fan clutch. They list the odometer as reading 171k miles.

I would look into the exact nature of the engine transplant. Then I'd get any an all maintenance records. And after that...enjoy the envious stares and quizzical looks among aficionados. This is one rare but super sensible car.

Available here on ebay in Orange County, California with bidding starting at a whopping $14,500.

JDM Project: 1993 Honda Acty Pickup 4WD

I love Japanese domestic market vehicles. They offer all sorts of practicalities American and European manufacturers just won't touch. This is a miniature pickup truck. How many times has that enormous Ford F-150 blocked your view of traffic before it rudely cut you off? It makes you wonder if they are really necessary. And I'm sure they are, but I can't help but wonder if American pickup buyers wouldn't mind trying out something as compact as this Honda Acty. They like thrift just as much as the next guy.

Honda has been making variations of the Acty non-stop since 1977. This is a later and more modernized 2nd generation version from 1993.

The engine, rather amazingly, is a tiny 660cc straight 3-cylinder SOHC unit positioned in the rear and can be accessed via a removable porthole on the floor of the bed. This enabled the cabin to the spacious and the front to be short and gives the Acty its ultra-compact dimensions and quirky look.

This example features four-wheel drive for extra traction, and a 5-speed manual transmission.

Unfortunately this example has seen better days. It has visible wear, tear and scuffs. Mechanically, the seller states the timing belt broke, some valves are bent and the head gasket is off. This will need a lot of work to get running again, but it's definitely worth it. Not many are here, and this is otherwise a solid and reliable little cargo hauler that could be good for many more miles. I'd haggle the price way down, fix the engine, then give her a fresh repaint in appliance white.

Available here on craigslist in Tampa Bay, Florida for $1,450.

Mega Rare 1994 Cizeta Moroder V16T

Have you ever wondered what the godfather of synth music would drive if he could create his own vehicle? Look no further than this beast. The godfather is Giorgio Moroder and the car is the Cizeta.

If you think this looks a lot like a Lamborghini Diablo, it's no coincidence. When Lamorghini was readying to replace the aging Countach towards the end of the 80s, Marcello Gandini, creator of the original, offered a wild new design. But Chrysler had a controlling interest in Lamborghini since 1987 and softened the edges of what Gandini submitted. Gandini took it as an insult, so he and a band of employees quit and joined forces with Claudio Zampolli to create a new brand and execute his original, pure, undiluted vision of an all-out supercar.

Gandini's vision features harder corners, crisper lines and geometric shaped. There are no circles, except for the wheels. The rear tapers dramatically down to the nose, pulling the side windows with it. The front features four (!) pop up headlights in stacks of two, smoked turn indicators, and four fog lights below that. In a slight misstep, the cheese-grater side intakes are too similar to the Ferrari Testarossa, but later versions would have more creative vertical slots.

The seller provides one dark and blurry photo of the interior. It's all-business and no-nonsense, swathed in dark plastics and leather.

In the rear is the stuff of fantasy. The Cizeta is powered by a two transversely mounted 90-degree flat plane V8 engines in one 5,995cc block. That's right. This monster has 16-cylinders working to move it from 0-60 mph in 4 seconds!

The Cizeta was launched with a glittery presentation at the 1988 Los Angeles Auto Show, beating the Diablo by two years. The press was excited, and the idea of having synth maestro Moroder's involved upped the glamour and coolness factor by an infinite degree. The car was priced at $300,000. It made quite an impression, but this was out of reach for all but a select few. The economy was slowing down, and tastes were changing. As such, just a mere 8 were made until the company dissolved in 1994. It was also never made street legal for North America, and a red example was famously (and shamefully) confiscated by the U.S. government in 2009, with a local agent snootily claiming it posed a threat to "public safety and health". What a load of sh*t. Don't they have anything better to do than steal private property? Bill Clinton's infamous Show & Display law (to help pal Bill Gates nab a Porsche 959) still lets people import non-street-legal cars, but just not for use on public roads. So what gives?

It's not exactly clear what has happened to Cizeta in successive years. And although Moroder invested in the car and original press releases bore his name, it never actually appeared on the car except on the prototype. Sources say Moroder pulled out in 1990, and the original Italy-based Cizeta company went bankrupt in 1994, but a website is up and running and accepting orders of the vehicle at a build-on-demand basis. Zampolli was last heard moving to California and founding Cizeta Automobili USA. Did he own the red car that was confiscated? Is Cizeta still alive? Will they ever be road legal here?

Fortunately, this example is somewhere in Europe, where it must be legal to drive. The seller states it is one of 3 built in right-hand drive, and the only one in blue. They don't list an odometer reading, but say it is in excellent condition. I'm betting it's been barely touched.

This thing has enormous history, super-low production volume, and tons of style and power. The fact that it's such a naughty car to have here only makes it more seductive and elusive. I love it.

Find the dealer listing here in the Czech Republic, and a classic car site ad here, where they say the price has been reduced to $500,000.

1 of 192: 1969 Iso Rivolta Fidia

Feast your eyes on this!

In the late 1960s, Italian automakers were trying to catch up with the Germans in the race for the perfect upscale executive sedan. Mercedes-Benz had already mastered this segment, but their cars still wore a conservative, upright styling that, while now timeless and classic, was to be outdone at the time. The Italians already had an edge in the supercar segment, practically inventing the wedge with Gandini's iconic Alfa Romeo Carabo in 1968.

For the Iso Fidia, they asked up and coming designer Giorgetto Giugiaro, then of Ghia, to design their flagship sedan. Iso was an edgy post-war manufacturer who created the legendary Isetta bubble car. In the 60s and 70s, they turned to performance oriented sports cars, before launching the Fidia.

Giugiaro delivered. The Fidia wears a long and low shape that is well-proportioned and balanced, especially from the side. The front is a little less graceful and more muscular with quad square sealed-beam headlights (complete with French yellow driving lamps). The greenhouse is large and inviting, and the window profile swoopy. The whole thing is very sexy and somewhat ahead of it's time, as this shape is currently being revived to a degree in the Fisker Karma.

Inside, occupants are treated to polished wood and hand-stitched leather. This is the pre-'71 update interior, so the dashboard is clearer and less cluttered. The white-on-black guages and wood-and-aluminum steering wheel are pitch-perfect here.

Like the DeTomaso Pantera the Fidia engine was sourced elsewhere and had either Chevrolet or Ford V8 engines under the hood. Pre-'73 cars such as this one feature a 5358cc Chevrolet V8 that propelled the 3,483 lb. car to 0-60 mph in around 7 seconds, which is remarkable for the time and still really impressive today. Italy didn't have any Autobahn, but a day trip away and this could be seen ripping along speed-limitless highway.

Iso only made 192 Fidia before the firm went bankrupt in 1974.

This ultra-rare survivor is found in California where the seller says it has been for the past 30 years. Cosmetically, they say it was repainted once but does have rust, cracks, and fading. Mechanically, they say 350 HO engine has been rebuilt. It's mated to a 4-speed Borg Warner transmission.

The classic car elite see sedans as less collectible, but with a Giugiaro-carved body, big V8 power and super-low production numbers, this Iso Fidia definitely bucks that trend.

Available here on ebay with 12 bids at $8,400 and reserve not met.