By on July 12, 2021

1987 Porsche 924S in California junkyard, LH side view - ©2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsWhile Porsche provided the (relatively) inexpensive 914 and 924 to American buyers during the 1970s and into the early 1980s, the debut of the 944 here in the 1983 model year resulted in the price tag on the cheapest possible Porsche starting at $18,980 (about $52,240 in 2021 dollars). While the white-powder-dusted 928S listed at $43,000 that year (about $118,360 today), it must have pained the suits in Stuttgart to have nothing to compete for sales with the likes of the affordable Mitsubishi Starion and Nissan 280ZX. So, for the 1987 and 1988 model years, American Porsche shoppers could buy a 924 with a detuned version of the 944’s engine, keeping the cheap(-ish) price tag of the 924 while ditching the VW engine that— humiliatingly— went into American Motors economy cars and even DJ-5 mail Jeeps. This car was known as the 924S, and I’ve found this one in a San Francisco Bay Area self-service yard. (Read More…)

By on June 4, 2021

Recently Rare Rides featured a very clean example of the DKW Schnellaster van from 1956. The front-drive and transverse-engine layout of the Schnellaster previewed in the Forties the basic format of the family minivan that would arrive over three decades later.

Among the standard Schnellasters produced, there was an even rarer variant: An electric version, as DKW experimented with the possibilities of early EV tech.

(Read More…)

By on May 25, 2021

Rare Rides has featured a DKW vehicle only once previously, in a little Brazilian-made version of the mass-market 3=6 wagon. Today’s DKW van also occasionally wore 3=6 badging, but was known as a Schnellaster or F89 L.

(Read More…)

By on November 20, 2020

In 2000, shortly before the ill-fated revival of the Maybach brand into a gauche purveyor of S-Class Baroque Editions, the 12-cylinder S 600 resided at the top of the Mercedes-Benz model hierarchy. This example in particular was ordered with a unique feature at the behest of a very well-heeled original owner.

(Read More…)

By on October 27, 2020

Mercedes-Benz has been committed to building many of its vehicles in North America for some time, and has bestowed an important and ultra expensive new version of the GLS upon its plant in Alabama. At around $200,000, it will be the most expensive passenger vehicle produced in the United States. It’s an on-trend holiday gift for your spouse in The Current Year!

(Read More…)

By on October 27, 2020

Today’s Rare Ride was the ultimate display of Germanic automotive wealth in the early Nineties. Always rarer than its sedan brother, the SEC was the S-Class with two doors and no pillars.

Let’s check out a hardtop from the arguable height of modern Mercedes-Benz engineering.

(Read More…)

By on August 25, 2020

Today’s Rare Ride joins the exclusive club of ultra-expensive V12 SUVs presented in this series. Thus far, the population was one: the Lamborghini LM002.

Today we take a look at a limited-run SUV that Mercedes made as expensive and gauche as humanly possible.

(Read More…)

By on April 28, 2020

Today’s Rare Ride wears styling so classic it needs little introduction. Its finned, upright grille, chromed bumpers, and collection of front lighting could only mean one thing: Mercedes-Benz.

Let’s learn more about a spectacular 220 SE hailing from 1960.

(Read More…)

By on March 16, 2020

1977 BMW 320i in California junkyard, LH front view - ©2020 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsWhile I may be guilty of not photographing all — or even most — of the interesting BMWs I find in the car graveyards on my appointed rounds, I’m making an effort to get the complete set of discarded 20th-century 3 Series cars. In fact, once I remember to shoot the next junked E46 I find (which will be easy, as these cars have become plentiful in the yards I frequent), we’ll have the complete junkyard history of the 3 Series from 1977 through 2006.

The first-ever 3 Series, the E21, has become something of a junkyard rarity in recent years, but I found this ’77 in Central California back in December. (Read More…)

By on October 2, 2019

Before Audi revolutionized rallying and four-wheel drive cars with the Ur-Quattro circa 1980, the company made front-drive vehicles underpinned by Volkswagen platforms (some things never change). Today’s Rare Ride 5000 hails from the waning days of Audi’s front-drive era, not long before an all-new 5000 set the template for aerodynamic sedan design.

(Read More…)

By on April 25, 2019

They’re large, expensive, and hail from a time when the sedan was king of the luxury pyramid. German exclusivity personified in three flagships — but which will you burn?

(Read More…)

By on December 27, 2017

Image: 1993 Porsche 911 CarreraAh the Nineties. Lots of cylinders, reliable new technology, and wide-track styling. But enough about Pontiac and the 3800 V6, because we’re talking today about German cars from the era.

Which German vehicles from the best decade really caught your eye?

(Read More…)

By on October 9, 2017

E-Class, 5 Series, A6, Panamera - Images: BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche“I think the British do a pretty good job — they seem to produce cars that look British,” Ford Motor Company’s retired design chief J Mays says.

Given that Minis essentially look the same as they’ve always looked, Mays makes a good case.

But Mays tells Automotive News he’s “a big stickler for cultural relevance.” And while the man whose influence can still be seen across much of the Ford lineup — he retired three years ago — credits the Brits for bringing culture to car design, he gives no such credit to the Germans. (Read More…)

By on July 17, 2017

1976 Audi 100LS in Colorado wrecking yard, LH front view - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars
The Audi 100 was the car that made most Americans aware of the Audi brand for the first time. The 100 wasn’t particularly reliable in American hands, to put it mildly, and most examples were long gone by the time the 1980s came to a close.

Here’s a long-neglected ’76 that just showed up in a Colorado Springs self-service wrecking yard. (Read More…)

By on August 19, 2015

00 - 1978 Porsche 924 Down On the Junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

Many Internet Car Experts believe that any Porsche, no matter how battered, is worth big money. Spend some time around the 24 Hours of LeMons and you’ll learn otherwise, and of course you can always find 924s, 944s, 914s, and even the occasional 928 in the cheap self-serve wrecking yards. The 944 is the most common, but for some reason I have never shot one for this series. I’ll remedy that soon, but for now here’s a much-abused 924 I spotted in Denver not long ago. (Read More…)

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