10K Friday – Still the Best Deal Going: 1992-1994 Audi S4

While the Type 44 turbo quattro paved the way for the C4 platform, the brand new 100 and S4 were a real revolution for Audi. It needed it, too – Audi was in dire straights in the early 1990s and was nearly pulled from the American market all together. Audi needed a major update to its top of the line-ranging 100, which in 1991 effectively was still the same car with minor updates from 1984. Of course, Audi wasn’t going to completely walk away from the Type 44 and the crown jewel of performance, the 200 20V turbo quattro. So, in 1992 the “brand new” S4 was launched. Underneath it shared many parts with its sibling V8 quattro and the earlier 200 20V. Even inside it didn’t look much different from the concurrent V8 model. But step outside and an entirely new aerodynamic body cloaked the extremely capable motor and drivetrain. That motor – now with some minor updates that allowed for slightly more power than the 200 had enjoyed – would quickly become legendary for not only reliability but for specific power output; 400 horsepower is almost commonplace amongst modified versions; 500 horsepower isn’t unusual and above 1,000 isn’t unheard of. Despite the extreme tuning potential, go anywhere chassis and incredibly good build quality, these sedans are still a remarkable bargain in the classic German motoring market. While normally in a 10K Friday post I’d compare different models, today I’ve got four different examples of the same car to take a look at – which is the best bargain?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1993 Audi S4 on eBay

Double Take: Modded or Stock 1983 Audi Quattros

For some time, the Quattro remained an undercover legend amongst enthusiasts. Saddled with an unfair reputation from media hype and enthusiasts’ misconceptions, the Quattro was remarkably affordable until very recently – especially so when you consider the ascension of other ’80s icons. But Audi’s acknowledgement that they built cars prior to the A4, coupled with some star power from the British show Ashes to Ashes and universal acknowledgement of the car’s impressive stature in the halls of automotive history mean that it’s still a star on the rise – especially in Europe, where the car is seriously coveted. Americans are just catching on in the grand scheme of things – and their delay means that many of these turbocharged all-wheel drive wonders have gone the way of the Dodo. It’s not as if there were many to choose from initially, with only around 11,500 of them produced and a majority of those remained in Europe. The U.S. only saw a few years of importation; a reported total of 664 made it here – and though they’ve maintained a devoted fan following since they were pulled from these shores in 1986, it’s nevertheless been difficult to find good examples of these cars today. They’ve become regarded as quite cool; the mystique of the turbocharged, box-flared World Rally Championship car for the road – the original Quattro is unsurpassed in the realm of cool Audis. Today, we’ll look at a mild and modded example and see which is the one to grab:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 Audi Quattro on Craigslist

1986 Audi Coupe GT

About a week ago, Paul sent me a link to Daily Turismo which was reviewing this very Audi Coupe GT. In the comments were the all too predictable Audi stereotypes; nothing electric will work, it’s overpriced, not worth getting unless its a quattro, I didn’t maintain mine well and so it was unreliable, etc.. The truth about the GT could not be farther from those descriptions; those that have driven them almost always report enjoying the experience, and those that have owned them and have moved on still pontificate how great of a car they are. To me, it’s cars like this that exactly underscore what’s wrong with the e30 market – here’s a very nicely styled, classic GT car. It’s well balanced and fun to drive. For the purists, it’s a 5-speed and has a race-bred soundtrack. They’re notoriously long-lived, with many (including this author’s) well in excess of 200,000 miles. There simply isn’t much electronic equipment to break on them. Yet, even a shining example such as this can be had for only $2,500:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Audi Coupe GT on Craigslist

Heap of the Week: 1951 Bristol 401

We’ve gotten some flak lately whenever we post a non-German car, so I fully expect to be reminded that the brand Bristol does, in fact, not originate from Germany. Okay, now that we’re over that hump, why is this heap of a Bristol here? Well, if you’re in the know, you already are aware why the Bristol 400 and 401 might make an appearance here; if you’re not, prepare for a bit of a history lesson. Post World War II, many British companies moved in to run German businesses or took advantage of some of the very advanced designs. Two in particular, Frazier-Nash and Bristol Aeroplane Company, involved themselves with BMW. Now, pre-World War II, BMW in truth wasn’t much of an automobile producer. However, BMW had great success with motorcycles especially in the early to mid 1930s, and the success of both Auto Union and Mercedes-Benz spurred BMW’s efforts in sports cars. They ended up producing some fairly stunning designs right before the outbreak of the war, including the Mille Miglia-winning 328 sports car. Featuring a lightweight body and stout 2 liter inline-6, the 328 was an instant fan favorite. The success of BMW’s sporting car designs didn’t go unnoticed by the British companies; notably, BAC decided to develop its “own” car based upon the BMW designs. They utilized the BMW 326 chassis and 328 engine to create a larger grand touring car than the 328 had been. Outside, park it next to a BMW 327 and the Bristol appeared to be nearly a identical copy. Bristol didn’t even bother to hide the lineage, proudly displaying the distinctive kidney grill BMW fans are so familiar with. While the 401 started to deviate the styling slightly from the 400 it replaced, outwardly early models just appeared to be slightly refined and still showed a very similar design to the BMW 327:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1951 Bristol 401 on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: 1996 BMW M3 LS1

Why do I like posting American V8 swaps to German cars? Well, in part it’s because they’re a fantastic performance value. In dollar per horsepower produced, it’s just downright hard to beat a package like the GM “LS” line. Yes, they’re a blunt tool compared to the precision work that typically characterized the stock motors the original car came with – but sometimes, you just need or want a big hammer. The “LS” wasn’t just a a unintelligent lump of iron, though – with aluminum construction, they’re often lighter than the engines that they replace. Two of the favorite chassis to stick these engines in are two of the best regarded, best handling chassis out of the box that enthusiasts love to modify – the Porsche 944 Turbo and the BMW M3:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1996 BMW M3 LS1 on ebay

Wagon Week: 1991 Audi 200 20V Turbo Quattro Avant and 1995 S6 Avant

What would “Wagon Week” be without some fast Audi wagons? Starting in the mid-1980s, Audi cornered the market with its turbocharged all-wheel drive fastback “Avants” – starting with the 5000CS Turbo Quattro. The 5000 was replaced by the 200 in 1989, resulting in effectively the same car – now with BBS wheels and a revised interior and lacking the manual differential locks, but otherwise primarily unchanged. There was a minor revision in 1990 – the engine code changed from MC-1 to MC-2; the cam was slightly different and the engine ran higher initial compression and a lighter flywheel in order to drop boost for quicker response – but ultimately, it wasn’t a major change. The big change came in 1991 with the release of the heavily revised double overhead cam version of the venerable inline-5. Dubbed the 3B, it gained about 50 horsepower over the standard 200 turbo. The 20V version also sported “UFO” floating brakes, upgraded suspension, 7.5″ BBS wheels instead of 6″ and some subtle flares. As I mentioned previously, the 200 20V was perhaps the ultimate “Q-Ship” – it had no external badges, so you had to know those flares and wider BBS wheels in order to differentiate it. The 200 20V was a one-year model, replaced in 1992 by the again heavily revised S4 with another revision of the 20V turbocharged engine. We didn’t receive the initial C4 Avant version of the S4, though it was available in Europe in both turbocharged and V8 form. Audi finally corrected the problem in 1995 by releasing the S6 Avant; again revised with temporary overboost providing a bit more power through the AAN version of the inline-5 and with freshened bumpers, the limited run S6 Avant has become just as much a legend as the 200 20V version – if not more so.…

1993 Porsche 968

For some time, the 968 has enjoyed a stellar reputation as one of Porsche’s best all around cars. Comfortable yet quick, great around town and on the highway, perfectly balanced and capable of carrying a greater load than the 911, the 968 is a supremely versatile chassis coupled with a great motor. While it wasn’t quite as explosive as the Turbo S models were out of the box, the 968 with the 6-speed nevertheless was a more flexible package – easy to loaf around town in but also capable of dashes up the tach. The torque is constant and omnipresent; there’s no ‘floor it and wait for the boom’ of the Turbo here. Yet despite the great reputation for longevity, the nicely updated looks with integration of the 928 lineage, and being the last of the front-engined Porsches until the Cayenne and Panamera, the 968 has not grown in value anywhere close to the 964 and 993 have. That means as an enthusiast you get one heck of a bargain in performance:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1993 Porsche 968 on eBay

Motorsports Monday: 2000 BMW M Coupe LS2 Swap – REVISIT

The wild LS2-swapped M Coupe has popped back up on eBay, now with a substantially lowered price to $36,500. There’s a lot of custom engineering that you’re getting for free at that price, and it all looks very well executed. I originally incorrectly believed the car was vinyl wrapped but was corrected by the seller that it is in fact painted matte orange. I love the audacity of the build and it’s just not possible to get more speed for less money in the German car world. This is one really cool setup for a track car and much more unique than the typical M3 or Porsche Turbos!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2000 BMW M Coupe LS2 on eBay

The below post originally appeared on our site September 15, 2014:

Double Take: 1989 Porsche 944 Turbo

While the other day I wrote up two great looking early examples of one of the best performance bargains in classic German motoring, 944 Turbo. Now we’re going to look at the end of the run – the 1989 944 Turbo. Often mistakenly referred to as “S” by even enthusiasts (I’ve been guilty more than once myself), the ’89 did in fact gain all of the upgrades that the 1988 Turbo S received. Today we have two seemingly equal examples – but as we know, not all things are created equal. Which white over black ’89 is the one you’d choose?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Porsche 944 Turbo on eBay

1988 BMW M5

The term “Q-ship” was created by the British, originally not to describe super sedans – but rather to describe a class of disguised merchant ships that were in fact heavily armored and carrying weapons. They were intended to fool German U-Boat crews into revealing their location – prior to unrestricted submarine warfare, U-Boats operated by a gentleman’s agreement where they would surface, let the crew of the ship know they were going to attack the ship and get off, and then they would sink the ship. However, these “wolves in sheep’s clothing” would later lend their name to an entire group of “unassuming” sedans equipped with larger engines and with sporting intentions. Often, the BMW M5 has been lumped into this category but I feel this is an incorrect name for it. The E28 M5 was anything but unassuming, with deep front and rear spoilers, large and wide BBS wheels, M5 badges front and rear and of course looking quite menacing in all black. To me, the Audi 200 20V is probably the ultimate “Q” ship – from the factory, only the slightly wider and slightly flared arches distinguished it from the normal 200 model; no badges, no spoilers, and sedate colors meant the performance under the hood was more or less completely hidden. Perhaps in 1985, when the M5 launched in Europe, people didn’t know what sedans were capable of – but by the time it hit U.S. shores in 1988, rest assured that every enthusiast knew what those all black E28s were:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW M5 on eBay