1988 Audi 5000S Avant

Were you to buy this Audi 5000S Avant, exactly zero people would run up to you and give you a high five. But more likely than not, as you were at a gas station topping off the ginormous 21 gallon fuel tank, you’d have time to hear at least one snicker accompanied by a “hey, ain’t that the Audi that accelerates by itself?” 60 Minutes, the Donald Trump of high-brow journalism in the 1980s, so thoroughly managed to destroy the reputation of Audi that the brand was nearly extinguished from the U.S. market. Never mind that the owners had hit the wrong pedal because the automatics had a normal sized, normally placed pedal instead of the “EXTRA BIG-ASS” pedal ‘Merican cars gave you at the time. Never mind that 60 Minutes had to rig the on-air segment to demonstrate the Audi’s brakes failing. Never mind dealers would demonstrate – even in the turbo models – that if your foot was to the floor on the brakes, no amount of throttle could overcome them. You could stand there and argue yourself blue in the face, and still the person will walk away laughing about the Audi who acts like Stephen King’s Christine. It probably doesn’t help that it’s Tornado Red, though….

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Audi 5000S Avant on eBay

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1976 Porsche 912E

An enduring myth in the car world is the old lady. You know, the car whose current owner – and ideally this is long-term ownership – is an older woman who has only used the car sparingly for shopping trips and other weekly tasks. These cars will be low mileage and have been very well maintained. Many times they are also well documented. The car will have seen almost no inclement weather during her ownership. To be clear, this is not myth in the since that such cars don’t exist – they most certainly do – and seeking them out can lead to some truly good bargains and fantastic cars. Why bring this up here? Because it’s exactly the case we have with this 1976 Porsche 912E located in Oregon. All of the basic typologies are present: 33 years of ownership, driven lightly on the weekends, excellent cosmetic condition, a huge stack of receipts. Perhaps even better? It’s a no reserve auction and bidding remains quite reasonable.

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1996 Volkswagen GTI

The third generation Volkswagen GTI 2.0 might just go down in history as the least appealing of the brand name. Starting with the move to 16 valves in the second generation, the 8 valve models would play second fiddle as mostly an appearance package slapped onto an economy car. But while the second generation had the benefit of butch good looks, flared arches and the signature quad-round headlight arrangement to make you feel that you had gone upscale, when it came to the third generation’s base GTI it was a bit of a head-scatcher. It wasn’t that you didn’t get equipment; your $16,000 got you lots of standard items such as air conditioning, an upgraded stereo, power sunroof and door locks, and a few other premium-feel items (An alarm! Specially colored seat fabric!). The meat of the GTI was the appearance changes, though – from the 14″ alloy wheels to the dual-chamber headlights and projector fog lights, along with smoked tail lenses and a roof-mounted antenna, the special grill held the all-important letters “GTI”. But the performance of the ABA 2.0 inline-4 was standard Golf fair and the suspension wasn’t upgraded – this was, after all, just a Golf. That meant 0-60 in a lethargic 10 seconds unless you fried the front tires and knocked .2 seconds off – the result of all those “luxury” item additions. The 2.0 was a poser, then, and lived fully in the shadow of the high-output VR6 model which packed a full 50% more power in the same package but with upgraded brakes, suspension and wheels. The premium to jump to the VR6 was about $3,500 – a lot of money. But the leap in performance well paid off for your additional indebtedness, and consequently the 2.0 seemed to be popular only with college-bound Jersey girls who were convinced their compact economy hatch was actually a bumper-car ride at an amusement park. Few survive in the condition of this one today:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1996 Volkswagen GTI on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday: 1990 Alpina B10 BiTurbo

While I’ve recently covered quite a string of impressive Alpina models, the reality is that all of them leave me a bit wanting. It’s not that they aren’t lovely, or full of incredible and beautiful detail. It’s not that they’re in bad condition, misused or abused. It’s not salvage titles, accident history or even poorly presented advertisement. No, for me, it’s what you get for your money. I understand the nature of exclusivity and certainly the Alpinas offer that. They, for the most part, also back up that exclusivity with well-engineered increased performance, so while the appearance package helps to set them apart, few Alpinas are posers. But when the asking prices for aftermarket E30s are $50,000, $60,000 – even $90,000 dollars, for you not to question the sanity of the market would be seriously worrysome. That’s especially true since you can get Alpina’s arguably most impressive product from the same period for less:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Alpina B10 BiTurbo on eBay

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1983 Porsche 911SC Cabriolet

On the surface this may look as if I’ve come across another regular 911, very similar to yesterday’s 3.2 Carrera. And in some ways that’s true. The colors are the same and they’re a pretty common combination for these ’80s 911s. There also aren’t any exclusive options or other rarely seen items that would attract notice. This one is all about condition and mileage. With a mere 18K miles on the clock this Guards Red 1983 Porsche 911SC Cabriolet certainly qualifies as one of the lower mileage examples we’ve seen and looks like it’s been well cared for as well. While the 911SC typically doesn’t excite quite as much as its successors the 911SC Cabriolet is somewhat of an exception. This was the first year a Cabriolet was produced as part of the 911 line ending a nearly 20-year absence of Cabriolets from the Porsche lineup dating back to the 356. As the first 911 Cabriolet and only year they were available for the 911SC these 911s are a little extra special and tend to attract greater notice.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 Porsche 911SC Cabriolet on eBay

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