If you’ve watched enough YouTube or read enough car editorials, you’ve almost certainly run across the concept of buying a deeply depreciated used luxury car for the same price you could buy some brand-new cheap car you don’t really want. Sure, you could spend $16,695 on a Mitsubishi Mirage, but why do that when you could buy something with twelve whole cylinders? You know what, forget about even pulling 166 of your finest Benjamins out of your pocket. I mean, what are you, some kind of rich folk? We’re going to scrape the very bottom of the barrel of depreciated luxury. Before we do that, we should check in on yesterday’s unique Shitbox Showdown between two innovative, trashy, and imaginary Jeeps drawn by the Bishop:
Looks like approximately 61.6 percent of you would rather drive the rad 1987 Jeep Honcho OffRoadster Pickup over the 1987 AMC Jeepster that definitely doesn’t look like AMC stole some Fiero designers from General Motors. The part about this vote that scares me is the fact that the trucklet was more rusty than the Jeepster. This thing has a dying frame and weight-reduced floors thanks to water leaks from that hopelessly complex roof panel! Does David Tracy really have the effect of making people choose the vehicle that’s in worse condition? Looking back, yes he does. I did buy a crashed and rusty Volkswagen Touareg VR6 because David had a pretty Lexus LX 470. Oh gosh, the rust is contagious.
I’m going to ignore this fact and get to today’s showdown, instead.
Engine/Drivetrain: 5.0-liter M70B50 V12 making 296 HP and 332 lb-ft torque. Four-speed ZF automatic transmission and rear-wheel-drive.
Location: Holland, Michigan.
Odometer Reading: 93,000 miles.
Runs/Drives? Runs…in limp mode.
The words “cheap” and “V12” should cause any reasonable person to run for the hills, but we are far from reasonable here. Legend says you could summon Bloody Mary by saying her name three times in front of a mirror. If you say Candyman five times in a mirror, you’ll summon that character. Apparently, this is supposed to be a great way to get murdered, but of course, it’s not at all real. Anyway, I wonder what would happen if you stood in front of a mirror and said “cheap BMW 750iL” three or five times. Will a mechanic wake up in the night in a cold sweat?
When this Beemer was in its prime, it represented the latest and greatest technology that BMW could put out. From BMW:
Under the design leadership of Claus Luthe, the second BMW 7 series model incorporates harmonious lines and dynamic, confident style elements. The wide kidney on the front, for example, or the imposing rear, whose L-shaped taillights further underline the look. The BMW 7 series now comes with ABS as standard together with optional Park Distance Control and dual pane glass, which significantly reduces noise levels and ensures mist-free windows.
BMW further notes that this V12 is the first of its kind used in German cars since 1945. Additional luxuries available to the E32 included a car phone and refrigerator. Later models had Xenon headlights. Spiffy!
This BMW 750iL has fallen far out of its prime. The seller’s photos show the car in a forest sitting in front of a camper that also probably isn’t doing too hot. The seller doesn’t say for how long this car has been in the woods, but the dirt buildup around the vehicle would suggest that it wasn’t a short stint. The seller also put a ton of Seafoam in the engine, which is another sign of the car having been with nature for a while.
Why was this car abandoned in a forest? We’ll never know. A Dinan badge also appears on the decklid, but the seller doesn’t tell us what Dinan parts may be on the vehicle. The car’s definitely wearing a body kit for sure.
More concerning is the vehicle’s engine problems. The seller states the vehicle is stuck in limp mode. The seller thinks they put in the wrong spark plugs. Apparently, some M70 engines are sensitive to spark plug resistance. Of course, the easiest way to figure that out would be for the seller to purchase the correct plugs and see if the vehicle gets out of limp mode. But, I suppose that’s for you to play roulette and figure out.
Remarkably, the car looks to be in pretty ok condition aside from the engine issue. The interior looks like it could use a cleaning, but look at that, no tears to be found!
Engine/Drivetrain: 6.0-liter W12 making 420 HP and 406 lb-ft torque. Five-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel-drive.
Location: Manassas, Virginia.
Odometer Reading: 31,500 miles, probably not.
Runs/Drives? “Car runs.”
What if a 1989 Beemer is just too old or too common for you? I understand, I also love stupidly rare German cars. Apparently, less than 500 Volkswagen Phaetons made it over into America equipped with the fabled 6.0-liter W12 engine. Despite the modernity, this one might actually be worse for your wallet than the BMW. I briefly owned a Phaeton V8. I paid $2,500 for the car and my bargain luxury cruiser broke immediately. It overheated, the air suspension failed, heck, and the decorative cover for the dome light hit me in the face! I ended up selling it to my mechanic, who dropped $6,000 in parts alone and the car still wasn’t perfect. Mind you, he gets free labor.
Oh wait, I’m supposed to be selling you on the car on your screen, here. I have just the thing. The Volkswagen Phaeton was the work of madman executive Ferdinand Piëch, a grandson of Ferdinand Porsche, engineer, and real-life James Bond villain. The Phaeton is considered one of the three vehicles of the “Piëch Trifecta,” the other two being the Volkswagen Touareg V10 TDI and the Volkswagen Passat W8. Somehow, I’ve owned all three of the Trifecta, but not all at once.
I detailed the crazy history behind the Phaeton before:
Piëch allegedly set ten standards for which the Phaeton was to meet. Apparently, most of these standards never reached the public, but the few that did perfectly illustrate why the Phaeton is adored by hardcore Volkswagen fans. One requirement doesn’t sound all that sexy, but it was that the vehicle needed a torsional rigidity of 37,000 N·m/degree.
Another is that the Phaeton needed to reach 190 mph without vibrations. And maybe the most absurd, but the Phaeton needed to be able to drive all day at 186 mph in 120-degree temperatures while keeping the cabin at a cozy 71.6 degrees.
Yep, these were designed to storm down the Autobahn while keeping you in ultimate comfort. To date, I haven’t driven a car nearly as comfortable and nearly as quiet as my old Phaeton was. Piëch was mad just for thinking people would want to buy a Volkswagen with the bank vault feeling of a Bentley.
The seller of this W12 concerns me with what little information is provided. Once again, pictures suggest this car has been sitting for some time. However, clearly some part of the vehicle’s expensive air suspension system works because the car is sitting at its correct ride height. Of course, the seller could have just started the car before taking this photo, hiding any major air leaks.
The vehicle’s paint also isn’t faring too well. This seems to be a problem with Phaetons as they age. My mechanic tells me that the clearcoat has started fading on the Phaeton I sold him. Also, is that a 2016 inspection sticker?
An interior photo does suggest this car has just 31,500 miles, but I don’t believe it. This Phaeton looks like it has traveled perhaps 131,500 miles. I mean, aside from the rough paint, check out the missing fog light, hazed-over lights, and cracks in the taillights. Still, it’s a $5,500 Phaeton W12 that theoretically runs and drives! This is like one of those situations where you know something is bad for you, but you want to do it anyway.
The choice is yours. Do you want the BMW 750iL that’s lived in a forest for an unspecified time and now has a sketchy-sounding limp mode problem? Or, do you want the exceedingly rare and luxurious Volkswagen Phaeton W12 with its massaging seats, fading paint, and unbelievable odometer reading? Maybe it’ll be better to just walk to wherever you’re going.
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