Ending Soon: What We’re Watching

Ending Soon: What We’re Watching

I’ve assembled another group of auctions that are all no reserve and should give us a good glimpse into several classic (or soon to be) models. This group is oriented more towards driver-quality cars, as many of the no reserve auctions often are. Still, there are some strong deals to be had if you look…

Click for Details: 1999 Porsche Boxster

I know, the Boxster isn’t for everyone. But the 986 brought Porsche into a new age of success and offered a lightweight, driver-oriented and simple, no-frills convertible to the masses. They were reasonably affordable new, but are quickly becoming the cheapest way into Porsche ownership full stop. While they’re not without their issues, this particular car is a nice color combination and has the dreaded IMS bearing resolved. The accident history and lack of a “S” on the back will keep bidding modest, but right now this car could you yours for $6,000.

Click for Details: 1976 Volkswagen Van Westfalia

The mid-1970s Volkswagen Vans weren’t the most popular in the run. Today, they take a firm third-fiddle to the more popular later Vanagons and classic earlier Sambas. Yet look past the model year, and you’ll have vansportation for a much more modest budget. This one has undergone a light restoration and looks like a nice driver and weekend van. Bidding is still under $10,000 – for reference, less than the Samba heap we linked last time.

Click for Details: 1966 Volkswagen Squareback

If a bit more classic Volkswagen is your style, how about this clean survivor Squareback? It’s not going to be perfect (*few are!) but with Beetle and Karmann Ghia prices on a sharp rise, the Type III lineup is suddenly the budget option. Bidding here is still below $6,000 with a few hours to go.

Click for Details: 2001 BMW 740iL

Last week it was a sub-$6,000 E32 740iL, but today we’ve got the more popular replacement.…

Hammertime Updates

Hammertime Updates

The recent “What We’re Watching” posts have given us a bunch of interesting data points for tracking values. We saw good buys in the 2000 E55 AMG and ’87 944 Turbo along with the ’93 740iL. The ’88 M5 sold at what is likely slightly under market value considering how much they’re appreciated; $24,001 seems almost low compared to some of the asking prices we’ve seen in the past year, but it’s not likely that many missed the auction. The ’88 320is, on the other hand, sold for about what we’d expect at $29,000. Over performing were the ’88 Jetta GLI 16V at $8,100 and the ’80 911SC saw strong continued strength in the air-cooled market at $36,011. For the DIYers, both the 2005 S4 that needed engine work and the Euro 928 that needed…well, a bit of everything, were had for reasonable value. And whoever snapped up both the S6 Avant and 80 quattro sure got one heck of a deal!

1989 BMW 320is – $29,000
1988 Volkswagen Jetta GLI 16V – $8,099
1992 Mercedes-Benz 300E – $3,850
2000 Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG – $8,250
1987 Porsche 944 Turbo – $6,400
1980 Porsche 911SC – $36,011
2002 Audi S6 Avant – $7,400
1960 Volkswagen Bus – $45,300
1981 Porsche 928 Euro 5-speed – $3,751
1993 BMW 740iL – $5,300
1988 BMW M5 – $24,001
2008 BMW 328i Coupe – $5,600
2005 Audi S4 – $3,800
2006 Audi A8L – $7,501
1988 Audi 80 quattro – $1,225
1982 Volkswagen Scirocco – $4,555

Double Dose of Insanity: 1988 BMW M3 v. 1994 BMW 325i

Double Dose of Insanity: 1988 BMW M3 v. 1994 BMW 325i

In my usual searches I had an interesting dichotomous reaction to one number: $16,500.

The first I came across was a 1988 BMW M3 with a no reserve auction bid up to $16,500. “Wow! That’s actually pretty reasonable! I thought. Next, I saw a 1994 BMW 325i with a ‘Buy It Now’ of the exact same $16,500. “What the hell is the seller thinking?!? How absolutely ridiculous!” I scoffed.

Yet, neither car was as it originally seemed once the descriptions were opened, and suddenly a comparison was in order…

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW M3 on eBay

Feature Listing: 1981 BMW 745i Turbo with 31,700 Miles

Feature Listing: 1981 BMW 745i Turbo with 31,700 Miles

To go up against the established Alpha executive from Germany – the S-Class Mercedes-Benz – BMW’s engineers had to think outside of the box. It wasn’t simply good enough to mimic the go-to large luxury sedan. They’d have to outperform it, to be better than Stuttgart’s best. That was a tall order for the Munich firm, since its last truly large sedans were the 501/2 series cars; the Baroque Angels of the early 1950s. Though they launched at roughly the same time as BMW’s microcar craze, they were really holdovers from another era. The same wouldn’t work in the late 1970s, but primed with the success of their 5- and 6-series models, BMW was ready to face the challenge.

Though the E3 had offered a sizeable sedan, the new E23 really stretched BMW’s platforms. The new 7-seres was 6 inches longer overall, most of which fell in a longer wheelbase versus the E3. It was also wider by a few inches and lower, too. Paul Bracq again provided the styling and it was nothing surprising; it carried the torch of many of the design elements of the 3-, 5- and 6-series cars, and that certainly wasn’t a bad thing. But what BMW hoped would help to set it apart from the competition was technology and performance, along with a high-level of material quality in the cabin. Options included Buffalo leather, an on-board computer system, anti-lock brakes, heated and reclining power seats front and rear, and even an airbag late in the run; standard fare today, but way ahead of the curve in the late 1970s and early 1980s. BMW matched this technology with a thoroughly modern driver-oriented cockpit which made the W116 Mercedes-Benz competition feel immediately antiquated.

Where the E23 really established itself, though, was in keeping with the “driving machine” motto of the company.…

Ending Soon: What We’re Watching

Ending Soon: What We’re Watching

Last week’s What We’re Watching post seemed to be a hit, so I’ve lined up another group of auctions. This time, they’re all affordable no reserve classics (or soon to be?). Care to wager on what each will sell at? Let’s start with a 5-speed Euro Porsche 928.

Click for Details: 1981 Porsche 928

It’s far from perfect, but here’s a 1981 Porsche 928 5-speed in Euro trim. The BBS wheels might look more at home on an early E39 540i, the paint is tired and the engine hasn’t run in some time (and what the heck is up with that shifter surround???) but hey, at time of writing the whole package can you yours for $3,000. Certainly it’s worth at least that in parts?

Click for Details: 1960 Volkswagen Bus

I said “affordable”, right? Well, with VIN tags of 23 Window Sambas selling for upwards of $11,000, this no reserve auction on a lovely restored ’60 seems like a deal. The color combination and condition are spot on, and it will be interesting to see where it ends.

Click for Details: 1993 BMW 740iL

Back to great values, and this 1993 BMW 740iL seems ready to please. It’s got lower mileage, the great E32 shape, a nice color combination and very good overall condition. Usually the big money has been reserved for the follow-up E38, so I think someone will get a great deal on this very nice ’93.

Click for Details: 1988 BMW M5

There’s been a lot of speculation on the 80s BMW M market, so seeing a no reserve auction on an M5 is both rare and offers us the chance to litmus test the market. Usually the cars that come up in no reserve format aren’t the nicest ones out there, but this one generally looks great.…

1982 Volkswagen Scirocco

1982 Volkswagen Scirocco

Yesterday’s 1985 Scirocco was a well modded driver. But if you wanted to win a preservation class – or, just liked the original configuration the car came in – it wasn’t for you. Today’s car answers those critics with a very clean first-year model of the second generation design. Though the shape of the new Scirocco was modern for the time, underneath the specification changed little from the outgoing model. It was still a Mk.1 underneath, with a 1.7 liter, 74 horsepower inline-4 providing adequate motivation to the 2,000 lb. coupe. Where the original Giugiaro design had held lovely nuance, the Karmann-penned follow-up borrowed heavily from the Asso di Picche design (ironically, also from Giugiaro) meaning it was all angles, everywhere. But it pulled it off reasonably well, and the second generation was quite popular, selling about a quarter million units in total. There were rolling changes throughout the years as more power, bigger spoilers and wheels, and even a more traditional second wiper appeared. But in terms of purity, the simple design shows through well despite the clunky U.S. spec bumpers on the early models like this 1982:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1982 Volkswagen Scirocco on eBay

1988 Audi 80 quattro

1988 Audi 80 quattro

The Audi 80 quattro was a great replacement for the 4000 quattro in many ways. And, in many ways, it was a complete let down. It was more quiet with better interior materials and better technology. It also had more power with the 2.3 liter inline-5, but additional sound deadening and more technology all meant more weight, so the new 80 quattro felt slower than the 4000 had. That technology meant it wasn’t quite as “cool” as the 4000 had been, either – you could only lock one differential thanks to a new center Torsen unit, and then at 15 m.p.h. the rear diff would unlock electronically. BOOOO, Audi, BOOOO! How am I supposed to channel Hannu Mikkola if your electronic nannies are undoing my sick slide?

Did it matter that the second generation of quattro was probably better in most conditions for the majority of drivers? Not really. It didn’t matter that fundamentally the 80 was a better car, either. The 80 had three strikes against it before it even went on sale here. First was the price; at around $24,000 out the door with a few options, it was considerably more expensive than even the expensive 4000 quattro had been. Second was that it was no longer top fiddle; the 90 quattro was the upscale model, meaning that if you wanted body-color bumpers, for example, you needed to pony up even more for the “nicer” model. Heck the 4000 had body-color bumpers in 1985 for less money. What was Audi thinking? And to top it off, there was the whole 60 minutes fiasco.

Those factors combined to doom the B3 here, no matter how good it was. In 1988, with the release of a fresh model, Audi barely managed to outsell the antiquated 4000 quattro. The 80 and 90 quattro combined to sell just 94 more examples than the 1987 4000CS quattro had (3,023 v.…

1985 Volkswagen Scirocco

1985 Volkswagen Scirocco

Like the Rabbit Pickup from a few days ago, today’s Scirocco won’t win you a trophy in preservation-class at your local Euro show. But will it draw attention? Absolutely. The Scirocco 2 may not have been the landmark design the original Giugiaro-designed first generation was, nor was it as pretty, arguably. It was interesting that Volkswagen chose to farm the design to Karmann rather than pay for Italdesign’s follow up, because that resulted in the Scirocco’s competition. The Isuzu Piazza (Impulse) took the Italian’s lines to a new level with cleaner execution, cool wheels that looked ready for a auto show, plus you got the automotive equivalent of Thor’s hammer to impress your friends with trim levels like the “Turbo RS” and “Handling by Lotus”. Show up at a party in a Impulse Turbo while one of your friends drove a Scirocco, and you’d go home with the girl and Simple Minds playing in the background.

Okay, maybe it wasn’t that easy. And honestly even if the Scirocco was a little underpowered and had clunky bumpers and poor headlight execution here, it still was a compelling choice. This car fixes some of the second generation’s problems, too – Euro bumpers and headlights slim it down, the removal of the rear spoiler tidies up the design a surprising amount, and under the hood lies more motivation in a trusty ABA 2.0:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Volkswagen Scirocco on eBay

1980 Volkswagen Rabbit Pickup G60

1980 Volkswagen Rabbit Pickup G60

Often we complain about the numerous times German manufacturers have failed to send models enthusiasts want to U.S. shores. But in the case of the Volkswagen Pickup – affectionately nicknamed the “Caddy” after the model that was released later in Europe – was first debuted out of the American Westmoreland, PA plant. The chassis was lengthened and unique bodywork and rear axle were fit, and the Rabbit Pickup was marketed as a comfortable, car-like utility vehicle. Between 1980 and 1982, Volkswagen even offered the Rabbit “Sportruck”. While most would presume this was primarily an appearance package, the Sportruck actually was quite a bit more sporty than the diesel options in the rest of the lineup. You got a 5-speed manual (opposed to 4) hooked to a 1.7 liter 8V, a front spoiler and special “Rally” wheel trim, along with a 3-gauge console and bucket seats with a Scirocco steering wheel. It wasn’t a GTI, but it was a half step in between.

This Caddy, though it isn’t one of the Sportrucks, is a huge leap for Caddykind:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1980 Volkswagen Rabbit Pickup G60 on eBay

Ending Soon: What We’re Watching

Ending Soon: What We’re Watching

Occasionally we don’t have the time to get to all the auctions that catch our eye. With that in mind, we’re going to be putting together some auctions that are interesting and may offer you a good value – or we’re just curious where they’ll end up!

Click for Details: 2000 Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG

This 2000 Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG looks great with only 93,000 miles on the clock. Condition throughout seems to be very good and records are present, as well as a clean bill of health on the CarFax. But the real draw is the no reserve auction format – at time of writing, the car sits under $6,000!

Click for Details: 1987 Porsche 944 Turbo

The 1987 Porsche 944 Turbo isn’t the most desirable model year, but this one looks nice in Guards Red over Linen leather. While it’s a TMU car, there’s a healthy bit of recent service history and the overall presentation looks like a nice driver. The TMU and 1987 build status should keep bids down, but the auction is no reserve. It will be interesting to see where a 944 Turbo driver ends up!

Click for Details: 1992 Porsche 911 Turbo

It’s a strange world we live in when you can ask close to MSRP for a 25 year old car and it suddenly seems reasonable. But that’s the case with this 1992 911 Turbo. Technically, it’s a no reserve auction with a $95,000 Buy It Now, but a single $85,000 bid would win it unless the seller ends the auction early.

Click for Details: 1992 Mercedes-Benz 300E

We looked at this Glacier Green 1992 Mercedes-Benz 300E before, but it’s back on a no reserve auction with a starting bid below $2,000. Though it’s got a lot of miles and isn’t 100% original, it still seems like a nice driver with a lot of work done.…

1988 BMW M6 with 32,000 Miles

1988 BMW M6 with 32,000 Miles

What is the price for perfection? That’s a difficult question to answer, but increasingly when it comes to 1980s cars, the level of preservation, originality and lower miles in low-production, desirable models has translated into quite an exacting price. Yet while lofty asking prices have become the norm on many of the hottest performance models from the 1980s, are their figures always justified?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW M6 on eBay

Motorsports Monday: 2006 Volkswagen Rabbit

Motorsports Monday: 2006 Volkswagen Rabbit

This is a $18,000 11 year old Volkswagen Golf. And, by Volkswagen Golf, I mean Rabbit, because for a short time VW North America apparently decided to resurrect the small fuzzy bunny name which dated back to the first generation. Hey, it had worked with the Beetle, right? Except that most people had negative associations with the Rabbit which outweighed the negative associations with the Mk.4 Golf. It was a strange choice that was pretty quickly abandoned. Whatever, it’s the same car with a bunny symbol on it so you’ll make Playboy fans all excited to see a kindred spirit driving. Yes, that’s why they’re giving you a thumbs up.

Okay, back to the price. It won’t take anyone long to see that you can pop over to Volkswagen and buy a brand new Golf for under $20,000. This one is 11 years old and has nearly a quarter million miles on the chassis. I know Golfs retain silly residual value, but this is a bit ridiculous – or, is it?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2006 Volkswagen Rabbit on eBay

2007 Audi A4 2.0T quattro

2007 Audi A4 2.0T quattro

Okay, let me get this off my chest first: I don’t like the A4. My reasoning is most likely completely irrational from the standpoint of being an Audi fan. Quite simply, the A4 made Audi popular, and I didn’t like that. Each successive generation made it more popular, too, to the point where my neighbor “Tiffy” (no joke) bought (of course) a 2007 Dolphin Gray Metallic sedan brand new. Predictably, it was Tiptronic. Tiffy represented to me the sale of the soul of Audi to the heartless masses of New Jersey housewives that replaced their Honda Accords, Acura TL, Lexus ES, or BMW E36 with the new flavor du Jour. Seeing gray A4s actually causes me physical discomfort to this day. The only point of solace in the situation was that I knew, at some point, these A4s would go “all Audi” on Tiffy and her cohort of hair-flipping, bleached and over-makeup’d friends in heels that fit them ten years ago, and they’d be left with a dash full of warning lights and a laughing AAA driver transporting them to the local dealership. There, their knock-off Louis Vuitton purses would be emptied, as their local authority on all-things-Audi-repair would literally take the Armani Exchange shirt off their backs.

Then there’s the group of 2nd/3rd/4th-owner bros with flat-rimmed hats and a long line of credit with APR that have modded these A4s to the hilt. They’re a whole other level of discomfort for me.

I recognize it’s a problem, and at some point I’ll probably seek therapy over it. Needless to say, I won’t be owning an A4 at any point soon. Or ever, likely.

With some disdain, then, I consider an A4 2.0T quattro sedan. To me, there’s but one reason to consider an A4, and that was that (until recently) you could get an Avant.…

1998 Audi Cabriolet

1998 Audi Cabriolet

Looking for a performance car? This isn’t it. It’s also about as far from a classic Audi as you could get in the U.S. market; there was no turbo, no inline-5, no manual and no quattro drivetrain. But the B4 Audi Cabriolet was ironically the last 1980s holdover for the company, and it survived until somewhat amazingly 1998 here, with the basic chassis construction from 1985. To the end, it remained a competent and handsome convertible, a conservative alternative to the more expensive Mercedes-Benz drop-tops and the flashier BMWs. The Cabriolet really only came in one configuration here, with the 2.8 liter V6 linked to the 4-speed automatic driving the front wheels. On the fly, this was a fine setup and certainly potent enough to rustle your hair, though it was far from lighting it on fire. Pricing at the end of the run was surprisingly high at $34,600 base price. Added to that were the packages many came with for the 1998 model year; Premium Package added a power roof, burled walnut wood trim; Kodiac leather seat upholstery, remote locking and alarm. Ironically for the convertible, the “All Weather Package” added heated front seats, heated windshield washer nozzles, and heated door locks. Also optional for the end of the run were the Votex Competition 16″ 6-spoke alloy wheels and even high backed sport seats; both (especially the latter) are very rare. Today the market ignores these last B4s, and often they can be had for a song:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1998 Audi Cabriolet on eBay

Hammertime Updates

Hammertime Updates

We have some heavy hitting Porsches gracing this edition of Hammertime updates. The big sale was what I feel is the best value; the ex-Holbert 1981 Porsche 924 Carrera GTR hammered at auction for $220,000 – a stunning value for a car of this provenance and in that condition. More relevant to most mere mortals was the continued ascension of the 964, with a near $105,000 bid selling the low mileage 1989 Carrera 4 Coupe. GTIs continued to bring good money, with a $7,200 1983 that wasn’t quite perfect. Strong, too, was the $18,400 offered for a 1995 M3 and $16,000 for the higher mileage 2004 S4 Avant. On the value end, we saw a reasonably priced Mercedes-Benz 400E, E23 BMW 735i and 2002 Beetle Turbo; affordable commuters for sure. Mods brought a mixed bag; the well executed 1.8T swapped Audi Sport 90 quattro sold for just under $6,000, while the RS backdated brought a surprising $77,700.

1981 Porsche 924 Carrera GTR – $220,000
1992 Mercedes-Benz 400E – $2,000
1995 BMW M3 – $18,400
1995 Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe – $41,093
2007 Mercedes-Benz S550 – $9,300
1983 Volkswagen GTI – $7,200
1989 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 Coupe – $104,900
1985 BMW 735i – $7,800
2002 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo S – $3,500
2004 Audi S4 Avant – $16,000
1981 Porsche 911SC “RS Backdate” – $77,700
1995 Audi Sport 90 quattro 1.8T – $5,800