1967 Porsche 911S Soft-window Targa

Last week we featured a 912 Soft-window Targa that sat on the value-end of the scale for these peculiar models, even if that particular example was priced a bit high. Now we are going to move almost entirely to the other end of the spectrum. The Soft-window Targa was not only made for the 912, but also was available on the 911, including the top-of-the-range and highly sought after 911S. In this case we’re just stacking rarity on rarity with a rare color of a rare variant of a rare model. It should come as no surprise then that this car is priced at nearly $200K, 5 times the high price for last week’s 912. But this post isn’t about finding an interesting value, but rather about coming across one of the most interesting 911s made in the late ’60s. Here we have a Gulf Blue 1967 Porsche 911S Soft-window Targa that comes in at just under 125K miles and also sports an interesting classic rally pedigree.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1967 Porsche 911S Soft-window Targa on eBay

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Green with Envy: 1969 NSU RO80

You’d be forgiven for looking at the stats of the mid-1960s designed NSU Ro80 and thinking it was a much newer car. At the very least, it seemed quite futuristic compared to what was coming not only out of Detroit, but out of the rest of the world at the time. Aerodynamics were key to its slippery shape, unlike the rest of the world that relied on “jet” styling accents and fins to look fast. A tall, airy greenhouse provided excellent visibility for its passengers and driver. Underneath, power steering, 4-wheel independent suspension, 4-wheel disc inboard brakes and a semi-automatic gearbox with vacuum assisted clutch were the highlights – items that in some cases wouldn’t be found on mainstream cars until very recently. Then there was the engine; at only 1 liter, it didn’t sound like much to write about – but it was a twin-rotor Wankel engine with over 100 horsepower. Indeed, the power output wasn’t much less than most inline-6s of the day with 2 1/2 times the displacement. Couple that into a reasonably lightweight sedan and the performance of the NSU was certainly above average.

Looking at the NSU today, it’s easy to see design elements that were incorporated into later designs, mostly from the 1970s and 1980s. NSU’s parent Audi developed the exterior design elements further a decade and a half later into the Audi 100, most notably. Squint, and you can see it. But when I look, I also see elements from BMWs, Mercedes-Benz, Alfa Romeo, Citroen, Lancia, Fiat, and even Toyota, Mazda and Nissan – this was truly an influential design. For the most part, it was also a fringe automobile though, so not many people knew them or about the advanced platform that had been developed. They were also a bit too far ahead of the curve, suffering rotor-tip seal problems that wouldn’t really be solved for another decade by Mazda. On top of that, they were quite expensive at the time – meaning that for well-heeled buyers, the unreliability was even more unacceptable than normal. More recently in the past decade, the avant-garde Ro80 has finally been recognized by the world as a truly special page in history and a turning point in automotive design. That’s why it’s so special to see them pop up for sale, especially in America where they’ve always been rare:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1969 NSU RO80 on eBay

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The Meaty Part of the 911 Bell Curve: The 3.2 Carrera & 930

The 911 Carrera 3.2 was considered by many to be the final link to the original 911 before newer safety and emissions regulations started to take hold in the 1990s which would eventually see the phasing out of the air-cooled motor. It certainly is one of my favorites, with the ultra-rare Club Sport lightweight special being my favorite. While a Club Sport is one of the most valuable of all 3.2 variants, there are plenty of other 3.2s to consider as an optimal starting point for your air-cooled obsession. We’ll take a look at a few different examples, including a 930 of the same era, starting off with this Grand Prix White Targa for sale in Miami.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Porsche 911 Carrera Targa on eBay

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Motorsport Mondays: 1990 Porsche 944S2 Firehawk – REVISIT

The 1990 Porsche 944S2 Firehawk series car that I wrote up back in early August is back on eBay, having failed to sell its first time around. The price has been lowered $2,000 this time, but it remains pricey by 944S2 and track car standards at $23,100. That amount does buy you a solid race car platform with an interesting history with the look of a Turbo Cup car, but I’d guess it’s still a bit too expensive for most people’s blood. If it could be had in the mid to high teens I’d think there would be more interested parties.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Porsche 944S2 Firehawk on eBay

The below post originally appeared on our site August 4, 2014:

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Double Take: 1978 BMW 530i

I’d like to think that Paul Bracq winces a bit every time he sees one of his beautiful creations saddled with what the government deemed necessary to survive a 5 m.p.h. impact. It’s rather ironic, seeing as how today most cars can’t even rub up against another without deforming the plastic bumper covers. But back in the 1980s, the solution to the problem wasn’t aerodynamic, well integrated covers – no, as if to say “that’s not a real regulation, is it?” to the government, manufacturers went overboard. They adopted massive impact bumpers for U.S. markets, many extending improbably far from the body lines of the car. The E12 was a perfect example of this; of course, take a BMW from the 1970s, take the bumpers off and drive it at something and you’ll quickly learn what will hit first – the hood. The chiseled looks Bracq refined were great though, almost good enough to overlook the saddling of U.S. safety equipment. In many ways, I prefer the simplicity of the E12 to the refined E28; to me, the early car is prettier, a 5 series with some of the best parts of the 6 series design incorporated. But there were many drawbacks besides the look of the bumpers for E12s in the U.S. market. Most notably, the pre-catalyst engine used thermal reactors and air pumps to help superheat the exhaust to burn off pollutants – remember, these cars were delivered when leaded gasoline was still around, meaning catalytic converters would quickly be clogged. However, the thermal reactors wreaked their own havoc with the M30, sometimes resulting in warping the head. Coupled with diminished performance and a propensity to rust, it’s therefore become rare to find good condition E12s still floating around today – but there are two for sale on Ebay right now:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1978 BMW 530i on eBay

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