Tuner Tuesday: 1995 Ruf BTR

From a poorly represented backyard creation of a tuned E28 BMW we’re heading for probably the most respected and coveted tuner in the world. Ruf cars are legendary and have been since new – grabbing headlines and turning heads wherever they go. By the 1990s, though, Ruf had some serious competition from within Porsche itself. Porsche not only had the monstrous 400 horsepower, all-wheel drive spiritual successor to the 959 in the Turbo, but it also had a stripped and widened GT2 model homologated for racing. Adding power was good, but Ruf really needed to set itself apart. The result was the wild CTR, probably the most famous of which I wrote up about a year ago. But behind the big splashing headlines of the power figures of the CTR was the successor to the Yellowbird – the BTR:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Ruf BTR on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: 1988 BMW 535is Turbo

When did the BMW tuning crowd become the new Volkswagen tuning crowd? I must have missed the memo, but it appears that it certainly went out. In my search for modified cars, I come across quite a few; it seems that for every well modified car, though, there are a few examples that leave you wanting for more. More attention to detail, more refined taste, and in some cases more money spent. That money doesn’t have to be spent poorly – we’ve seen, for example, cars which aren’t the best examples but have great photographs somehow be more desirable than good examples with bad photos. Heck, in one Volkswagen post I even pointed out how the seller was at a car wash (and photographed the car there being washed – a new, and also completely pointless, Volkswagen tuning crowd trend) but then failed to vacuum the car out. Well, it would seem that some of the hallmarks of the Volkswagen crowd are spilling out into the all-too-popular 1980s BMW bandwagon. List out loud the details of this E28 and you’ll have the enthusiasts drooling; Zinnoberrot 535is with black leather, Brembo brakes, M-System II throwing stars, Bilstein and Racing Dynamics suspension, Alpina cam and cluster, and a custom 400 horsepower M30 under the hood. But in this case, I don’t think the result is greater than the sum of the parts:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW 535is Turbo on eBay

Motorsports Monday: Porsche 911 Twin Turbo Cup Conversion

I’ve certainly been a big fan of the Porsche 911 Cup; today, it strikes me as not only one of the best deals going in racing Porsches, but perhaps the best all-around deal in the Motorsports world. The success of the 996 and 997 Cup chassis has to come close to the E30 M3 as one of the most raced and most winning German designs in history. They were so successful that they built a lot of them, making them today slightly devalued in the world of track cars. We’ve even seen full-blood, turn key factory race 911s up for auction below $50,000; simply staggering when you consider the original purchase price. Of course, also staggering are the running costs of the Cup cars; 40 hour engines are the max, and Porsche Motorsports recommends transmission refreshes as 20 hours. The costs add up; rebuilding your 996 or 997 Cup running gear will cost you between $15,000 and $30,000 – presuming nothing big is broken. Okay, so the purchase price is only the tip of the iceberg. But what if you took some of the aspects of the Cup design and incorporated them into the even faster and cheaper to run Turbo model?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: Porsche 911 Twin Turbo Cup Conversion on eBay

Motorsports Monday: 1974 BMW 2002

The BMW 2002 might just be the quintessential German race car. A squat 2-door sedan, it’s chunky looks match well with wide tires in a lowered race stance. The upright nature gives the driver great visibility, while short overhangs mean there’s not much to bash you and you judge where the front of the car is well. The engine is simple but effective; a torquey inline-4 that can be turned up for more juice if you’re willing to spend a little – or a lot. Of course, the manual gearbox and rear drive are enthusiast favorites. Plus, the 2002 wears the appropriate German national racing color – white – so well, it’s sometimes almost cliche but still looks great. The M-colors, though not age appropriate, always suit the design well, and of course you can just slap a set of Minilights on there. Our friends at Fast In Fast Out have a reoccurring Monday theme on Minilites, and my submission for the most frequent but never overused application of them is the 2002:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1974 BMW 2002 Race Car on eBay

1988 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC

While I’m sold that it’s worthwhile in most cases to buy a top condition car from a careful one owner home with a spotless record and no miles on the clock, there’s something that’s at least romantic about the idea of restoring a lesser example back to driving quality. In the case of some older German metal, this is certainly possible; it’s not necessarily the least frustrating way to do things, but one can take a certain amount of pride in resurrecting a car from neglected status back to the road. Today’s example is a great case in point; a W126 Mercedes-Benz is a well build, solidly engineered thing of beauty. Add the pillar-less SEC coupe to the mix and the end of the run 5.6 V8 and it’s a great combination, only heightened by the right sprinkling of AMG and Euro bits. And with a low “Buy It Now” price, this 1988 has me dreaming of a winter project:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC on eBay

Baby It’s Cold Outside – 10K Friday AWD-Off

Maybe you’re lucky, and it’s sunny and warm where you’re reading this. Or, perhaps you’re stuck under a rock – or in the case of Buffalo, several feet of snow. But like it or not, winter is upon us a bit early this year, and if you are in Buffalo you probably need some sort of snow-cat to get to the local store. Hopefully, that’s not the case for most of you but I wondered what sort of all-wheel drive car you could get on a $10,000 budget. As it turns out, you might be able to get a little more than you expected – so here’s a few offerings from the different manufacturers, starting with the folks that started it all:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 Audi A4 3.0 quattro on eBay

1978 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 Euro-Spec – REVISIT

The stellar looking two tone 1978 European specification Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 with unique Ronal Racing 3 piece Turbos is back on eBay, this time with a “Buy It Now” of $30,000. That puts it about about a condition 2 price level by Hagerty’s valuation guide, which overall seems pretty appropriate. Appreciation of these big Benz models is growing and it’s expensive to repair one to properly sorted level. Period mods can go very wrong, but somehow I really love the look of this car – it may be the coolest 6.9 I’ve ever seen. What do you think?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1978 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 on eBay

The below post originally appeared on our site July 2, 2014:

Dial “S” for Speed: 1995 Audi S6 Avant

Yesterday’s C5 S6 Avant was a great reminder of what we’ve recently lost from Audi – the fast wagon. But try as they might, even Audi themselves don’t seem to have managed to capture the magic and legendary reliability coupled with tuning potential of the original C4 S4 and S6 Avants. While we didn’t get the S4 Avant or the hotter out of the box V8 6-speed versions in the U.S., we did get the the fantastic turbocharged inline-5 mated to the 1995 Audi S6 in Avant form. A handful of these cars were imported to the U.S. originally, and most have been heavily used or thoroughly modified; few remain in clean, original condition with lower miles. They do pop up time to time, but today isn’t one of them. That’s because today’s Avant has been thoroughly upgraded and turned up thanks to 2Bennett Audimotive in California:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Audi S6 Avant on Audifans

Crockett or Tubbs? 1984 Mercedes-Benz 500SL Custom

There’s an absolutely classic scene in the Adam Sandler movie The Wedding Singer in which the Miami Vice obsessed character Glenn Guglia pulls up in his DeLorean DMC12 with the theme song from the popular show blasting. The character was the perfect caricature of 1980s excess, and the show was the pulse of the nation at that time. The brightly colored polos with white suits, dark aviator sunglasses and devil-may-care attitude of the protagonists are as classically ’80s as the bad plot developments and cliche catchphrases. And then there were the cars; the twin replica Ferraris are both notorious and inseparable from the show; the white Testarossa was the car to have – impossibly cool and improbably ostentatious at the same time. The period spawned an entire industry of cars; perhaps an unfitting tribute, but today they’re always a bit of a treat to see. It’s not so much that I want them; they’re just like perfect time pieces that throw you back to another time. And as with #ThrowbackThursday posts that seem to riddle the web, this 1984 Mercedes-Benz 500SL immediately reminded me of legwarmers, INXS and Vuarnet shirts:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Mercedes-Benz 500SL Custom on eBay

1987 BMW M535i

Enthusiasts as of late have complained that the “M” brand has been diluted; it’s now possible to get “M” styling bits on just about every variation of BMW, making them both much more common and a little less special to see than the “true” M cars from the 1980s. Well, the reality is that BMW has been doing this all along; one of the best early examples of this is the E28 M535i. Effectively a continuation of the thought behind the E12 M535i, the E28 version was effectively mechanically identical to the normal production 535i. It carried the same either catalyst or un-smogged M30 producing between 180 and 218 horsepower, depending on the version. The brakes, suspension and transmissions were all seen on other models, too. But outside, the M535i got the M-Technic body kit and special TRX wheels that helped to set it apart from the normal E28s. At the end of the day, though, the M535i was mostly an appearance package; a M5-light, if you desired. But, they’ve got “M” associated with them, they’re a 1980s BMW, and they were fairly limited production; in the case of today’s example, it’s one of roughly 1,000 “DC89” Japanese market models that were automatic only. It’s no surprise, then to see strong bidding on a car that isn’t even in the U.S. yet:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 BMW M535i on eBay