While the name “Evolution” become synonymous with Mitsubishi’s WRX-fighting Lancer for the X-Box generation, the term had much greater meaning for racing fans in the 1980s and 1990s. That was the period where homologation really took off; in order to be eligible to race, the FIA stipulated a certain amount of vehicles generally matching the race version of a car would have to be produced. This resulted in some great race-inspired production cars, and in order to best each other on the race track manufacturers would be forced to modify those cars. In order to have the modifications legal to race, the maker would have to introduce those significant changes to the road-going model, too. Those changed models would be termed “Evolution” to differentiate their model changes. As a result, enthusiasts ended up with ‘Evo’ versions of the Ford RS200, the V8 quattro, the Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 and, of course, the M3.
The M3 Evolution I was first introduced in 1987 with only a slightly revised motor. The Evolution II followed in 1988, and signaled the first real changes in the lineup. Major alterations to the aerodynamics, bodywork, chassis, and engine netted more power, more downforce and less weight for the FIA-regulated 500 units sold to market. Iconic even within the impressive normal M3 production, these fan-favorites generate feverish bids when they come to market.
But there is an even more desirable variant: The Sport Evolution. BMW Motorsport GmbH maxed out its E30 development in an all-out attempt to dominate the world’s racetracks. A new 2.5 liter S14 cranked out nearly 240 horsepower, while the same ‘add lightness’ recipe was prescribed; lightweight glass and body panels were met with adjustable front and rear spoilers. Signature 7.5″ wide BBS wheels were now darker Nogaro Silver and 10mm closer to the body thanks to lower suspension, while special Recaro seats kept you firmly planted inside from the g-force they were capable of generating. It was as if BMW took all of the best aspects of the E30 and distilled it down into an even more pure form. Produced only in Jet Black or Brilliant Red, 600 of these super M3s were rolled out to fans and remain arguably the most desirable model in the run:
Perhaps one reason that the S6 Avant didn’t really take of on U.S. shores was because of the shoes it had to fill. Enthusiasts had enjoyed the B5 S4 in Avant form for a few years, and consequently as a popular model when the B6 launched it was almost sure to make a return, almost certain to have more power, and almost certain to be available in a manual. Those premonitions came true, and so if you were willing to wait two years between the B5 and B6 S4 Avant production you were rewarded with the 4.2 liter V8 mated to a manual and even more sporty feel. For lovers of fast Audi wagons, the S4 was the answer to the things that the S6 wasn’t.
But as time has gone on, the “OMG it’s got a V8 and a manual!!!” shine of the B6 has waned slightly as long-term problems have reared their heads with the powertrain. Like the Allroad and S6, those problems are probably overstated by the “‘Exaggernet’, but they nonetheless exist. So while the B5 to B6 represented a huge jump in power, there are quite a few fans of the older generation still. That grunt deficit is easily overcome with the twin-turbocharged V6, as well, thanks to clever tuning potential. Like the B6, you could of course have the B5 with a manual. And, in some wild colors:
Let’s return to the auctions coming up this weekend. When perusing the lots available, it is not uncommon to see a few Porsche 911T peppered in among the many rare and multi-million-dollar cars on offer. Even as the lowest rung on the Porsche ladder, these entry-level examples still show significant appeal. So I wasn’t surprised to see this one. It’s bright exterior attracted my attention immediately. Then I saw the estimate: $220,000-$260,000. For a 911T? What sort of insanity is this?!
It turns out there are a lot of reasons for the very high estimate and while we can never be sure whether such heights actually will be reached I am confident that this will be one of the nicest and most original examples of the 911T that we’ll come across.
Some people like to upgrade their cars with aftermarket parts or parts from other vehicles from the same manufacturer. Usually it’s a small part or maybe a set of wheels that satisfies their itch. Other people go a little bigger with maybe custom body work and paint. Then way on another level, we have what was done with this 1997 Mercedes-Benz S600 in Russia. It’s impressive enough to have a Mercedes tweaked by legendary tuner Brabus, that this car is, but it’s a whole other ball of wax once you see what is hiding inside this car and the special surprise hiding in the trunk. Here is a hint: It isn’t subwoofers.
A coupe days ago for our feature of this 993 Turbo I spoke about the particular desirability of a black car and specifically why I like them. But what if you want to maintain the darker palette without going the full dark of black? Then this 911 might be more what you’d want. This is an Ocean Blue Metallic 1997 Porsche 911 Turbo, located in California, with tan interior (Cashmere Beige I’d guess) and 77,267 miles on it. Seen out of direct light that Ocean Blue exterior almost will look black, but step closer or add a little sun and that metallic blue paint shines through beautifully to provide just enough differentiation. The black wheels add to the darkly aggressive look. If you don’t like them, have no fear the original wheels come with the car.
This is a new one more me. No, not the gorgeous Mercedes-Benz 190SL, but a car that is so perfect that is actually has its own hardback book with glossy pages showing off how beautiful it is. That is the level of perfect we are dealing with today with this 1960 W121. This isn’t an original time capsule or forget gem that has been buried away for 50 years, this 190SL actually has over 65,000 miles on it. Of course, this roadster has had a full nut and bolt rotisserie restoration done to it and by the looks of it, it wasn’t time or money wasted. Everything about the 190SL is perfection and of course, the price tag reflects that. So how much for all this perfection?
Boy, it’s been a bit too long since we looked at a Volkswagen Van. In fact it’s been over a year since I last looked at a Vanagon. For shame! Because while I often lament the lack of good 1980s Volkswagens to consider for these pages, there are predictably two models you can find at any time. One is the Cabriolet.
Okay, admit it. While you tell your Corvette-owning friends that the Cabriolet was a travesty you’d never be seen in, they’re actually kind of neat and certainly have their place. After all, what other cheap manual German convertible can you buy….a Boxster?
The other model that’s ubiquitous with 80s search parameters is the T3. They occupy an interesting subculture within the German automobile ownership community. And once in a while, one pops up that I really take notice of:
I can’t say that I’ve really considered a brown car for myself, nor do I tend to specifically look for them. Not surprisingly, they’re fairly rare outside of the late-70s when the color apparently was more in vogue so whether I was looking for one or not the opportunities would be few and far between.
There is something about them though. Maybe it’s that they’re a natural color, even in one of the darker hues, which produces an affinity in us we didn’t anticipate. I do know I have a strong preference for metallic brown over the non-metallic variants. There are exceptions to that, but they are truly exceptions.
This one, a Cognac Brown Metallic 1989 Porsche 911 Carrera Targa located in Colorado with 67,754 miles on it, doesn’t bother with being an exception. It’s metallic and even though the lighting does not do justice to it this 911 looks really good.
I do so love a black 993. I know I take particular interest in Porsche’s wide variety of available colors, especially the many pastels they have made available over the years, but my heart will always belong with black. Were I a collector wanting to showcase my cars and Porsche’s iconic selections, then pastels are great, but for an everyday driver I prefer the seeming anonymity of a black car. I also happen to think they can be extremely beautiful when looking their best. There is always that caveat – a black car must be looking its best – but they can be stunning.
The 993, and especially the 993 Turbo with its wider rear, showcases the color very well as it reflects off the car’s well drawn curves. These are the prettiest 911s – a point that doesn’t always sit right with me when thinking about the Turbo. The 930, such an icon of 911 excellence, hardly is a pretty car. It’s almost aggressive appearing to a fault and the 993 softens much of that. In the flesh they are stunning though and it’s easy to appreciate those curves.
As you can probably guess, I like the look of this 911 quite a bit: a Black on Black 1996 Porsche 911 Turbo with 65,508 miles on it on offer from Lusso Fine Motorcars in Scottsdale.
Alright, a crazy-low-mileage 911. We see these from time to time and they’re always a marvel in their own special way. Seeing a 911SC with this sort of mileage is almost bewildering as I wonder how it is we got here. I certainly wouldn’t have considered these a collectible at the time, but the buyer of this final-year 1983 Porsche 911SC Coupe certainly must have. Either that or some peculiar circumstance lead to it rarely being driven early on and then after a number of years someone packed it away in storage hoping for long-term profits. Apparently that time has come.
The exterior color is Platinum Metallic, the same color Porsche used for the special Weissach Edition released in 1980. It became a standard color in the years following the Weissach’s release. Unlike the Weissach, the interior of this 911SC is a fairly standard Black. But this 911 isn’t about the color, as nice as it may be. It’s all about condition and mileage, which appear excellent and extremely low. There may also be some interesting options. More on that below.