VRffordable Double Take: 1997 Volkswagen GTI VR6

Tired of seeing high prices for Corrado SLC VR6s? Today is your day, because nearly all of the fun offered in the 6-cylinder Corrado was also slotted into the GTI. For a hair under $20,000, you got the same thrilling 2.8 liter VR6 mated solely to a 5-speed manual. Did you want an automatic? Well, then buy the Jetta. Sure, that motor and the bigger body of the Mk.3 meant it was quite a bit heavier than the previous GTIs had been – by 1995, the ‘hot hatch’ had bulked up with 700 additional lbs of super-weight gain Mk.3000 versus the A1. But faster? Without a doubt. With nearly double the horsepower of the original U.S. market model, 0-60 was sub 7-seconds and you could hit 130 flat out. Coupled too with VW’s ‘we don’t care if you think it’s broke we’re not going to fix it’ styling attitude, the Mk.3 might have not looked as slinky as the Corrado, but underneath it was still a Golf and as such, practical.

So while the Corrado pretended to be a Porsche, the GTI remained the answer to the ‘what if’; you wanted a Porsche, but you a) didn’t want to (or couldn’t) pay for a Porsche, and 2) you occasionally needed a car that you could actually use to transport things other than your smile. This was the recipe that made the first two generations successful.

It was no surprise then that the third generation GTI remained a niche hit for Volkswagen even in relatively dire times for European imports. While finding a nice GTI VR6 can be quite difficult, it was a bit of a Thanksgiving treat to see two pop up in my feed. So which is the winner?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1997 Volkswagen GTI VR6 on eBay

1974 Porsche 911 Carrera 2.7 MFI Coupe

I’ve been showing a bunch of very expensive 911s lately so I figured why not one more. I’ve had my eye on this 1974 Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe for a while now. It’s a pretty special car. It’s a unique and very pretty color combination with a leather-to-sample interior that was originally purchased by the Prince of Bahrain! So if you’re feeling a little extra regal around the holidays then this may be the Porsche for you.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1974 Porsche 911 Carrera 2.7 MFI Coupe on Excellence Magazine

1999 Mercedes-Benz S500 Grand Edition

As a send off to the Mercedes-Benz W140 S-Class in 1999, Mercedes gave 600 S500s the treatment of the Grand Edition. All painted black, these cars had 18 inch AMG Monoblock wheels, the same hand stitched seats and steering wheel from the S600, a special birdseye maple woodgrain trim, privacy screens on the rear and back windows and illuminated door sills on top of all the standard things you got on the S500. Sticker price for these 600 cars was $89,500, a mere $2,000 more than the regular S500 — which is totally worth it in my eyes. Most of the time these older Mercedes-Benz ”special edition” cars haven’t had any impact on their value once they are past their warranty limit. But for this W140, it has been just a little different.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1999 Mercedes-Benz S500 Grand Edition on eBay

1997 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S with 1,096 miles

I’ll admit this post is kind of silly. The universe of interested buyers for this 911 is going to be vanishingly small. It’s very high priced and has so few miles you pretty much can’t allow it to leave the garage. Yet here I am writing it up. It’s been for sale for a little while. I’m not sure if it’s been continuously for sale, but I first came across it two years ago and I feel like I see it now and then. I suppose the problem is that every time I do come across it I’m attracted. I was on the hunt for 993s to feature after coming across a Turbo that immediately reminded me why these 911s are so beautiful and captivating. During that hunt this one popped up again so I went with it.

This is a Speed Yellow 1997 Porsche Carrera 4S, located in New York, with a ridiculously low 1,096 miles on it. It’s also well optioned with hard-back sport seats and factory Aerokit. It is nothing other than stunning.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1997 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S on Excellence Magazine

1979 Mercedes-Benz 300SD

I love a really well-kept Mercedes-Benz W116. Maybe because I own one, but I can’t be alone in feeling this way. These cars feel as solid as anything when everything is sorted and won’t cost you a ton of money to buy and maintain one. All the gas-powered W116s are fine cars and the first ever production turbo diesel car to go on sale in the United States in 1978, the 300SD, was a gem as well. I have a hard time justifying ever selling my 300SD because for the money, nothing can replace it equally and frankly, there is nothing wrong it. So when I see these W116 300SDs come up for sale now and then I always take a closer look to see how other owners treat theirs. Today’s 1979 model for sale in Oregon has me envious and jealous thanks to a few OEM upgrades.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1979 Mercedes-Benz 300SD on eBay

1998 BMW 540i Sport

Following on the lineup of 540is I’ve featured recently, I ran across this early production 540i Sport package car. It’s interesting for a few reasons. First, I’ve always really liked the clean look of the early sport package cars with either the turbine Style 32 wheels or the multi-piece BBS Style 19s as shown on this example. Something really worked for me about this wheel on this body style. An early 540i Sport, it’s missing some of the later additions I covered last time around, but still carries the aforementioned 17″ wheels and M-Sport suspension. However, this car is a bit different than the usual one that you’ll come across.

Having covered only 65,500 miles in its life, the seller claims the car was special ordered for European delivery. It also doesn’t have the standard sport seats that would have accompanied the sport package. It was ordered in fetching Canyon Red Metallic (343), too. And, of course, it’s got the all-important 6-speed manual transmission. Here, the pre-facelift orange directionals and less fussy taillight design work in harmony with the lack of body kit and beautiful exterior hue. Is it a winning combination?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1998 BMW 540i Sport on eBay

2005 Porsche 911 Turbo S Coupe

Last week I featured this Cobalt Blue 996TT. I said in the post, and most of you agreed, that even with its rare and eye-catching color the price was too high given its mileage. Some of you thought it was way too high. Much of the problem is that it’s a Turbo without the X50 performance package, but priced like a Turbo with the X50 performance package. If you’re looking for performance value, you might as well maximize the performance side of that equation, right?

Another similar comparison is with the car we see here: an Atlas Grey Metallic 2005 Porsche 911 Turbo S Coupe, located in Delaware, with Grey natural leather interior and 29,700 miles on it. Outside of its single-year production there isn’t too much difference between a Turbo S and an X50-equipped Turbo. While the comparison with the Cobalt Blue Turbo isn’t really direct given this Turbo’s much lower mileage it still makes for an interesting point to consider. And, of course, it is also interesting enough in its own right given how rarely we see a Turbo S Coupe come up for sale.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2005 Porsche 911 Turbo S Coupe on eBay

1991 Porsche 911 Andial/Porsche Motorsport Pikes Peak 3.8 Turbo

I’ve seen this car for sale for a little while and have kept meaning to come back to feature it. There’s just so much to take in initially and I’ve pulled up the listing a few times. It’s obviously far from anything original and is an extensive build, though it does possess interesting historical characteristics that should give it appeal beyond the typical custom build. It’s very bright, probably pretty loud and raucous, and sure to be very fast.

So let’s get the basics down. Effectively it sounds like this build began as a way to find a home for a very special engine: a 3.8 liter single turbo flat-6 producing 550 hp developed by Andial that served as the engine in a Pike’s Peak winning 964 Carrera 4 back in the ’90s. To house the engine a 1991 Porsche 911 Turbo with around 90K miles on it was found and work began. Those are excellent pieces to build upon. A suitable paint was needed so the designers reached back to the ’60s to source one of Porsche’s earliest pastels to show up on the 911: Pastel Blue. Combine all of that with a whole host of parts to improve upon the suspension and braking, along with a new interior, and you get the final product we see here.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Porsche 911 Andial/Porsche Motorsport Pikes Peak 3.8 Turbo on eBay

Double Down – Vegas Style: 2017 Audi R8 V10 Plus

We’re pretty used to the formula here: take a limited edition or special production 911, slap a neat color on it, and watch the price rise. Even brand new cars – ones that you can roll down to the dealership and order up yourself – are demanding a strong premium in the used marketplace. Insanity? A ‘bubble’? Bad economics? It doesn’t matter what the cause is, it’s the way life is for the foreseeable future.

But it’s not a trend which follows across the board. Take today’s twin Audi R8 V10 Pluses. The ‘Plus’ adds a serious amount of sport to the standard V10 R8, itself no slouch. Kicked up 70 horsepower to 610 and driven through a 7-speed S-Tronic it’s capable of sub-3 second sprints to 60, can obliterate a standing quarter mile in less than 11 seconds from a 5.2 liter normally aspirated V10 capable of spinning north of 8,500 RPMs. Both can hit 205 mph flat out. Both are presented in the searing shade of Vegas Yellow that will generate enough stares to make a GT3 jealous no matter how red its wheels are. . Both feature the upgraded 20″ wheel option and a host of other special carbon fiber touches that come along with the ‘Plus’ package. Despite being able to rip your face off and producing supercar performance from just a few years ago, both are also able to be used in a daily commute – even in winter. They’ll even return above 20 mpg on the highway. They’re astonishing automobiles.

And yet, both are ‘affordable’.

Look, they’re not really cheap. In fact, they’re massively expensive for any car, but many would argue especially so for an Audi. The sticker price on the V10 Plus is $192,000 before options, taxes and destination, after all. Yet with less than 3,000 miles on each of their odometers, this duo hasn’t appreciated like the 911 market – it’s fallen quite substantially.…

Federally Fixed: 2001 Audi RS4 Avant

From time to time, we look at European-market cars. Considering the number that were brought here through ‘Grey Market’ channels, we actually get to sample the more original versions of these cars on a semi-regular basis. But that pool of Euro candidates dries up once you crest the 1986 model year. And for that, you can thank the ‘Fed’ and their kill-joy laws, right? Well, sort of. But left to their own devices, they likely would have never done anything. So why did the government get all antsy in the mid-80s to put an end to importation of what amounted to a pittance of cars? For that, you can thank Mercedes-Benz.

It turns out that Mercedes-Benz was more than anyone annoyed by the second-hand importation of its more powerful and prettier European-specification cars. To a lesser extent, BMW was also losing market share, and the two importers – who, it should be noted, paid a fair amount of money to the government in importation duties and taxes on the sale of their cars – claimed they had lost in the vicinity of 50% of their sales to the alternate European crowd. Now, in a true ‘Free Enterprise’ market, one would have looked upon these complaints and said “Well, Mercedes and BMW, produce better cars at a lower cost for your consumers and you’ll solve the problem!” But, of course, the United States is not a free enterprise market, and there are lots of regulations and rules which have been in put in place in part by high-paid lobbyists for certain industries. Mercedes-Benz and BMW had these lobbyists on their side, and the importers did not. As a result, in 1988, the Motor Vehicle Safety Compliance Act was passed. Also called the Imported Vehicle Safety Act of 1988, it’s what you know better as the ’25 Year Rule’, which basically excludes you from individually importing any car on your own unless it’s really old.…