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Archive for January, 2011

Market Update – January 28, 2011

January 28th, 2011 Comments off

This week’s overview of what’s happened in the M Coupe market.

Currently Listed: 61
S52: 41
S54: 20
Average Asking Price: $23,964.03
S52: $20,207.26
S54: $31,289.75

Most Popular Sales Listings

These are the cars that have been viewed most often this week:

2001 Imola Red over Imola Red in Boyertown, PA

2001 Imola Red over Imola Red
Boyertown, PA - $28,000

2002 Titanium Silver over Black in Orange, CA

2002 Titanium Silver over Black
Orange, CA - $30,000

2000 Cosmos Black over in Pointe Tapatio, AZ

2000 Cosmos Black
Pointe Tapatio, AZ - $18,000

2000 Titanium Silver over Imola Red in Grand Junction, CO

2000 Titanium Silver over Imola Red
Grand Junction, CO - $25,000

Best Deals

These are what I think are the best deals still available that are not already on the most popular list.

2001 Black Sapphire over Black in Tucson, AZ

2001 Black Sapphire over Black
Tucson, AZ - $27,000

2001 Titanium Silver over Black in Woodridge, IL

2001 Titanium Silver over Black
Woodridge, IL - $24,950

1999 Cosmos Black over in Detroit, MI

1999 Cosmos Black
Detroit, MI - $8,800

2000 Estoril Blue over Estoril Blue in Richmond, VA

2000 Estoril Blue over Estoril Blue
Richmond, VA - $23,000

Sold This Week

Here are the cars that appear to have gone to lucky new owners this week.

Categories: Market Updates Tags:

Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery

January 21st, 2011 2 comments

Ferrari FF Profile

Ferrari FF Back

Ferrari FF Back

Rumors about the Ferrari 612 Scaglietti replacement being a shooting-brake styled hatchback have been swirling for a while. When spy photos surfaced showing a large rounded back, people called it camouflage. Today Ferrari released the first official photos of what they call the Ferrari FF (Ferrari Four) and it is indeed a shooting-brake. The four could stand for four seats or four wheel drive. As you can see in the image above, the Ferrari FF profile bears a pretty striking resemblance to our humble BMW M Coupes. I think it is all the better for it.

Ferrari FF Front

Ferrari FF Front

The styling is about the only thing it shares with the M Coupe. For one, it uses it’s hatch space for a second row of seats. It’s engine is twice as big (6.3 liters), with twice as many cylinders (12), and twice as much horsepower (660). It’s also a much larger car at 193″ long, 77″ wide, and 54″ tall which dwarfs our cars 158.5″ long, 68.5″ wide, and 50.4″ tall. It also has all wheel drive, a Ferrari first. Finally, it’s expected to be priced at nearly $300,000.

The previous four-seat Ferrari, the 456 GT, was nice to look at but never very popular. The current 612 Scaglietti is not much to look at, nor is it selling well. This is the first four-seat Ferrari that has ever remotely appealed to me. I think it will be far more successful than its predecessors based on styling alone. It is admittedly love-it-or-hate-it, but at least people care. I, as you can imagine, love it!

This is the first production Ferrari shooting-brake, but there have been others done by custom coach builders. It’s definitely the nicest looking.

Ferrari 250 GT Breadvan (1962)

1962 Ferrari 250 GT Breadvan

Ferrari 365 GTB4 Shooting Brake (1975)

1975 Ferrari 365 GTB4 Shooting Brake

Comments on the magazine articles have been mostly negative, but it’s not like any of those people are in Ferrari’s customer base. Many compare it to the Z3 Coupe both favorably and not. I think this will only increase interest in our cars and help secure them as future classics. Here’s hoping it’s a success!

Market Update – January 21, 2011

January 21st, 2011 Comments off

This week’s overview of what’s happened in the M Coupe market.

Currently Listed: 63
S52: 41
S54: 22
Average Asking Price: $24,492.85
S52: $20,299.59
S54: $31,926.36

Most Popular Sales Listings

These are the cars that have been viewed most often this week:

2001 Imola Red over Imola Red in Boyertown, PA

2001 Imola Red over Imola Red
Boyertown, PA - $28,000

2002 Steel Gray over Imola Red in Arvada, CO

2002 Steel Gray over Imola Red
Arvada, CO - $46,995

2001 Titanium Silver over Imola Red in South, NJ

2001 Titanium Silver over Imola Red
South, NJ - $25,000

1999 Cosmos Black over in Detroit, MI

1999 Cosmos Black
Detroit, MI - $8,800

Best Deals

These are what I think are the best deals still available that are not already on the most popular list.

2001 Black Sapphire over Black in Tucson, AZ

2001 Black Sapphire over Black
Tucson, AZ - $27,000

2002 Titanium Silver over Black in Orange, CA

2002 Titanium Silver over Black
Orange, CA - $30,000

2001 Titanium Silver over Black in Woodridge, IL

2001 Titanium Silver over Black
Woodridge, IL - $24,950

2000 Estoril Blue over Estoril Blue in Richmond, VA

2000 Estoril Blue over Estoril Blue
Richmond, VA - $23,000

Sold This Week

Here are the cars that appear to have gone to lucky new owners this week.

Categories: Market Updates Tags:

S54 M Coupe vs Aston Martin V8 Vantage, Acura NSX

January 16th, 2011 Comments off

Bill Phillips is fortunate to have owned three of my all time favorite cars (he’s a man of good taste). Here’s how his S54 M Coupe compared to his 2006 Aston Martin V8 and 1992 Acura NSX:

I sold my Cosmos Black S54 powered M Coupe in 2009 after 2 years of stewardship. I have been blessed with the ability to own this car, a 1992 NSX (since 1995) and a 2006 V8 Vantage (since new) simultaneously.

M Coupe

Primarily a track day pleasure, I only put 7-8K miles on the M Coupe. I added the TC Kline D/A suspension, some track pads and enjoyed several lapping sessions in the car. I would recommend this setup to anyone looking for a ride or performance improvement.

It’s a bit twitchy for most, the short wheelbase being the primary culprit.  Softening the rear dampers helped, but it is still a car that can get out of shape in a hurry.  Lurid slides at 95 MPH were not uncommon, as were ass-first-both-feet-in forays into the weeds.

I liked the M Coupe for it’s rough and tumble demeanor. If you want to be a hooligan, this is a pretty good car to do it in.  The S54 has power everywhere in the rev range with ample grunt to break the tires.  Great sight lines for picking your apex due to the high seating position and low beltline.  Loved the controversial look, too though this is certainly subjective!  Wouldn’t dream of owning the convertible version of the car or the less endowed versions.  Rarity was a plus along with the definite front engine / rear drive dynamics.

Dislikes?  The M Coupe is not very comfortable for those 6″-0″ or over due to the close proximity of the rear bulkhead. There are driveline concerns over the rear subframe, and the clutch takeup is a little squishy.  The Z3 architecture doesn’t lend the feeling of specialness, and the curb weight seems a little high for a car of this size. The sunroof delete model would be preferred if track time is in the cards not only for the weight savings but for helmet clearance.  As most BMW’s do, the car has a “heavy” feel derived from the large steering wheel, manly gear change and porky curb weight.

I sold the car (along with a MkV R32) due to economic conditions and other priorities. I have inquired with the young man that purchased the car as to the possibility of getting it back. No dice. I still visit the M Coupe buyers guide to see what’s out there and possibly get another. I miss this little car.

Aston V8 Vantage

Bill's 2006 Aston Martin V8 Vantage

Bill's 2006 Aston Martin V8 Vantage

I waited almost 2 years from initial deposit to receive the first customer car delivered in the U.S.  It’s a stunningly beautiful car and remains one of the best sorted designs on the road. With other track day weapons around, I have not tracked the car, as it might feel “abusive”. I have tracked factory Vantages and I can report that the handling is predictable, stable and easy to control with a muscular soundtrack The curb weight spoils the fun here at near 3600 pounds.  I think the early cars need a better low speed ride, and the later models addressed this issue. Unlike many, I am not a fan of the 2007 and later seats and think the 06 seats look better and are more comfortable, though access to the package area is via a poorly placed lever that is a little aggravating.  Spec on the early cars is a little sparse by modern standards, lacking dual climate controls, adjustable dampers or even an automatic gearbox (like you want one anyway) in 2006.  Visibility is great, once you learn to judge where the front of the car is. No B pillar sets up an easy swivel of the head to check blind spots, and the wing like mirror mounts leave a nice opening at the base of the A pillar. Most modern cars can eclipse the moon with the mirrors integrated into the pillar.

I feel the Vantage is more of a reasonably priced (second hand!), exclusive tourer than sports car. Maybe this is down to how I use it, but to drive this car at 10/10th’s will be expensive and not, in my opinion, especially rewarding. Dynamics are much like a 944 Turbo I once owned with similar drivetrain layout, with easy to read slides and slow rotation.  The first thing you will notice about the powerband is that there isn’t much poke down low and the throttle feels as if there is slack in there somewhere. Definitely lacking the edgy feel of a current 911S or even the M Coupe.  The lavish ambience of the car and sense of occasion are it’s most redeeming values. A dinner out with the valet not handing you a ticket is cool.  Admiring glances on every corner are appreciated at times.  Being challenged by every hot Camaro and Mustang and knowing you will be left for dead is not cool. The Vantage is competent in every way, beautifully constructed, even reliable. But Aston was caught off guard by the Horsepower wars of the past decade and handicapped by the existing VH architecture to be at the top of this segment.

Acura NSX

Bill's 1992 Acura NSX

Bill's 1992 Acura NSX

This is a car that forced the sports car establishment to pay attention. Still great to drive with the best view forward of anything out there. The 3.0 liter VTEC motor is a gem, with a mad rush to the 8K redline that brings to mind a good sport bike. More exciting to listen to than any cooking Porsche or BMW.  Once acclimated to the cabin, it is a comfortable car for trips and will even hold 2 golf bags in the trunk….  take that 911.

In the track, this car sounds and steers like a race car.  Better suited to fast sweepers than hairpins with the longish wheelbase, the handling is less forgiving than the M Coupe if tire pressures are off.  Depending upon rims sizes chosen, the tail can be very snap happy at speed. Careful in the rain !  I think the transverse engine placement might leave the car with a bit too much rear weight bias, but you couldn’t convince a Porschephile of that.  The steering is very detailed and lets you know what’s going on up front. Early models have no boost, so parking maneuvers might find the wife choosing another car for a run down to the mall….  darn it!

If you compare this car to its contemporaries from 1991, I think this might be the best sports car money could buy. NSX race cars won races for many years past its prime.  I’m disappointed that Honda has chosen not to update this car and provide a Japanese 911 alternative.  Drive this car back to back with any similar age Corvette, 300ZX, RX-7, 348, 911, 944 and most will feel like trucks by comparison. Indeed, it does feel almost fragile, but it’s most definitely not.  Oh, if you track the car, you will want a brake upgrade, and you may go through a few clutches if driven poorly. The 5 speed gear ratios are too tall for quick acceleration, so short gears, 4.35 ring gear or 6 speed from a later car would be advised.  If you are a purist, leave the targa alone. You can tell a rigidity difference in the first 50 feet of driving, and the top off experience is just not that good.  If a prospective buyer could find a ’97 or later coupe (good luck) it would provide the extra poke of the 3.2L, the additional ratio, plus the pure driving experience of the coupe. In 15 years of ownership, I have repaired the CD changer, the AC coil, a speaker and one clutch. A man on a tight budget can own and enjoy an NSX.

Think about this. The Lotus Evora is 20 years newer than the NSX, but doesn’t significantly improve on it in any area, given modern tire / wheel sizes are applied to the Acura.

Out to nice dinner? Vantage
Out to the track? M Coupe
Need one car for both? NSX

So where do I go from here? I’m thinking of a late model GT3, but if the McLaren MP4-12C comes in as a 220K car and not an “almost 300K” car, I might take the plunge.  Seems it could combine the best attributes of all the above machines in a 2900 pound package with 600 HP.  It’s what a 2011 model NSX should be given proper evolution of the species.

If you have a comparison to share, please send it to me at jon@mcoupebuyersguide.com and I’ll post it.

Categories: Coupe Comparisons Tags:

Market Update – January 14, 2011

January 15th, 2011 Comments off

This week’s overview of what’s happened in the M Coupe market.

Currently Listed: 63
S52: 42
S54: 21
Average Asking Price: $24,561.38
S52: $20,309.85
S54: $32,659.52

Most Popular Sales Listings

These are the cars that have been viewed most often this week:

2000 Estoril Blue over Estoril Blue in Richmond, VA

2000 Estoril Blue over Estoril Blue
Richmond, VA - $23,000

1999 Arctic Silver over Dark Gray in Bay Area, CA

1999 Arctic Silver over Dark Gray
Bay Area, CA - $12,000

2001 Titanium Silver over Imola Red in South, NJ

2001 Titanium Silver over Imola Red
South, NJ - $25,000

2002 Steel Gray over Imola Red in Arvada, CO

2002 Steel Gray over Imola Red
Arvada, CO - $46,995

Best Deals

These are what I think are the best deals still available that are not already on the most popular list.

2001 Black Sapphire over Black in Tucson, AZ

2001 Black Sapphire over Black
Tucson, AZ - $27,000

2001 Titanium Silver over Black in Woodridge, IL

2001 Titanium Silver over Black
Woodridge, IL - $24,950

1999 Cosmos Black over in Detroit, MI

1999 Cosmos Black
Detroit, MI - $8,800

2000 Cosmos Black over Black in East Valley, AZ

2000 Cosmos Black over Black
East Valley, AZ - $18,000

Sold This Week

Here are the cars that appear to have gone to lucky new owners this week.

Categories: Market Updates Tags:

Market Update – January 8, 2011

January 8th, 2011 Comments off

This week’s overview of what’s happened in the M Coupe market.

Currently Listed: 67
S52: 43
S54: 24
Average Asking Price: $24,724.51
S52: $20,309.85
S54: $31,739.58

Most Popular Sales Listings

These are the cars that have been viewed most often this week:

2002 Steel Gray over Black in Laurel, MD

2002 Steel Gray over Black
Laurel, MD - $16,500

2001 Titanium Silver over Imola Red in South, NJ

2001 Titanium Silver over Imola Red
South, NJ - $25,000

2002 Steel Gray over Imola Red in Arvada, CO

2002 Steel Gray over Imola Red
Arvada, CO - $46,995

2000 Estoril Blue over Estoril Blue in Richmond, VA

2000 Estoril Blue over Estoril Blue
Richmond, VA - $23,000

Best Deals

These are what I think are the best deals still available that are not already on the most popular list.

2001 Titanium Silver over Dark Gray in St. Louis, MO

2001 Titanium Silver over Dark Gray
St. Louis, MO - $27,900

2001 Titanium Silver over Black in Woodridge, IL

2001 Titanium Silver over Black
Woodridge, IL - $24,950

1999 Cosmos Black over in Detroit, MI

1999 Cosmos Black
Detroit, MI - $8,800

1999 Arctic Silver over Dark Gray in Bay Area, CA

1999 Arctic Silver over Dark Gray
Bay Area, CA - $12,000

Sold This Week

Here are the cars that appear to have gone to lucky new owners this week.

Categories: Market Updates Tags: