South America has been in the news quite a bit recently, if you haven’t been paying attention. But when you think about South America today, you’re probably thinking of the upcoming Olympics, perhaps the Zika virus, or if you’re well versed maybe the crumbling country of oil-rich Venezuela. Maybe you watched the Top Gear specials and you saw Argentina, Bolivia or Chile appear on your screen for the first time. One country you probably don’t consider is Paraguay. Paraguay sits alongside more famous Bolivia as one of the two land-locked countries in South America. It’s also one of the countries which attracts the least tourism in the West, a legacy of a government that adopted isolationist policies following its independence from Spain in 1811. It’s relatively tiny, too – with a large percentage of the 6 million inhabitants focused in a small area around the capital of Asunción. The top two exports Paraguay is known for are soybeans and frozen meat, and most of those go to neighboring giants Brazil and Chile, along with some to Europe. In short, it’s a religious, agrarian, isolationist country with no ports. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some with money. And those with money have bought cars in the style of the West. In fact, it might just be the best place to buy…an E30 M3 Convertible?
Having visited Finland earlier this year for the first time, I was struck by one characteristic that all Finns seem to share. The racing driver gene. Every person I was in the car with in Finland was aggressive on the throttle but were very quick and calculating in traffic. These people mean business. Not surprising then the drivers’ exam is a bit more stringent than what we are used to stateside. To get a drivers’ license in Finland, you must pass both a summer and winter driving test. This is a great idea which should be universal. Once licensed, what should the Finn who wants to drive fast in all conditions opt for? How about this rare red rocket? The Audi RS2 Avant. This RS2 Avant for sale in Helsinki is the perfect runabout for the speed freak who needs a bit of space for family or recreational activities.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Audi RS2 Avant on Classic Driver
I’ll just get this out of the way: properly speaking this 911 isn’t really a RSR build, meaning it hasn’t tried to replicate the mechanicals of those very special cars. What this build has done is take a 911T and completely alter its personality in a way that the RSR did during its time. The description provides a basic overview of the work, but the biggest item, and what I think differentiates this from a lot of the builds we see, is that this 911T now houses a 3.6 liter flat-six from the 964. This quickly distinguishes it from the 3.2 Carrera based builds that are much more common. The pictures aren’t the best for appreciating the metallic grey paint, but the appearance looks quite promising. That this car currently resides in Japan will make things difficult for a lot of buyers, but for those willing to put in the effort this 911 could be a pretty great.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1973 Porsche 911T – RSR build on eBay
Another week, another diesel Mercedes-Benz. This one has a little more rarity thanks to fewer features than what we normally see. Manual transmission, manual windows, non-turbo diesel engine, cloth seat inserts but what you do get is European lights and bumpers finished over the wonderfully period-correct Thistle Green. So if you are looking for a bare-bones W123 diesel with a little bit of European flare, then this 300D north of Philadelphia might fit the bill.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Mercedes-Benz 300D on eBay
On a recent visit to Coventry Motorcar I was shown the “Tuning Drawer”: one pull-out drawer in an admittedly large and cool rolling tool chest full of cords, plugs, and modules. Today, that’s what it takes to tune a car; not cams, throttle bodies, head work or a high pressure fuel pump. Designing those parts to fit into modern motors and still have them leap through the hoops of getting certified by the EPA means that only the richest and most respected tuning firms can produce parts to fit into these complicated motors, and even then they’re more often than not highly reliant upon computer reprograming rather than internal rebuilds. Today’s GTi may not look particularly outrageous from the outside, but it brings us back to a more simple time in tuning, an analogue age where jumps in horsepower were measured in single digits, not in groups of 100 or more: