Saturday, April 21, 2012

Buick's Riviera

When I think of the "Mad Men" or Camelot era of the early 1960's several cars come to mind.  First and foremost are the Jaguar E-Type and Corvette Stingray, two cars that need no introduction.  

The other car is a Buick.

The Buick Riviera was originally styled by Bill Mitchell, the designer who also created the Corvette Stingray and oversaw most of GM's design work of that era.

The 1963 to 1965 model is a high watermark of automotive design.  It's clean, well-proportioned, and projects an aura of confidence.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The $15,000 Question: W210 E55 AMG

Twenty years ago there were two phenomenons known as "Hammer Time".  The first was a flamboyant rapper who sounded suspiciously like Rick James.  The second, more entertaining Hammer was created by Mercedes Benz's in house tuner, AMG, which shoehorned a 6.0 liter V8 into mild mannered E Class sedans.

The result was a Honda Accord sized sedan that could glide up to supercars on the autobahn, proclaim "U Can't Touch This" and vanish quicker than Vanilla Ice.

But unlike MC Hammer, the AMG breathed E Class has remained "Too Legit to Quit".  It is more like the Dr. Dre of supercars.  Understated most of the time with the ability to drop bombs on a moments notice and go back to his business.  And like Dr. Dre, it's given rise to other talent like the smaller AMG C-Class and CLK class.  

The E55 pictured in this post is the W210 version built from 1995 to 2003.  While it is possible to pick up the newer W211 series for $15,000, they generally have high mileage, are likely to have led hard lives and be in need of expensive repairs.  Better to find a pampered older model with lower miles and a complete service record.

What you'll get is the typical vault like, Teutonic sedan that dispenses mere Porsches and Corvettes at the drop of your right foot.  It is the ultimate Q-ship, not unlike Usain Bolt wearing a Tom Ford grey flannel suit.  And like any other Mercedes, it will stand the test of time and mileage as long as you maintain it.