2002 Audi S6 Avant

Recently I’ve several times bemoaned the death of the fast Audi Avant on U.S. shores; one of the culprits that helped to hasten that demise was unfortunately this car. It’s not really that it’s consumer’s fault that this occurred; after all, Audi did offer a manual, twin turbocharged fast version of the Allroad alongside the S6 that made the lack of inclusion of a manual an odd choice. Plus, out of the box, the Allroad arguably had more bling with the air suspension and nifty color contrasting trim that was all the rage amongst wagon manufacturers in the late 90s/early 2000s. We’ll blame Volvo for starting that popular trend, though. Regardless, the Allroad was substantially more successful in regards to market share than the S6 Avant; no surprise, then, that it was killed off to the U.S. market after a shockingly short run with not many sold. A decade on, though, the S6 offers a rare opportunity to get into a fast Audi wagon on a budget. Many of the pitfalls of the Allroad and other period Audi wagons didn’t appear in the S6; the neat but fragile air suspension was replaced by steel springs, and unlike the Allroad and A6 4.2s, the engine in the S6 was a cambelt driven V8. Long term, they’ve proven to be more reliable than the rest of the 2000s Audi V8s that have chains instead. The S6 got some unique features too, such as the grill, 8″ wheels and door blades that gave it a slightly more stately and classic appearance than the rest of the A6 lineup. The result is that you can grab one of these fast and unappreciated Audis for a song today:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 Audi S6 Avant on eBay

1987 BMW 735i 5-speed Euro-Spec

Much like the E23 that it replaced, we just don’t seem to see a lot of good condition E32s cruising around these days. In comparison to the E34 that was launched at the same time and shared much of the technology, it’s interesting that this is the case; is it that 7-series owners just didn’t care for their cars as well, or expected something different from them? Certainly the German ultra-luxury market witnesses the greatest depreciation this side of a Nissan product, resulting in expensive cars in the hands of those who sometimes can’t afford or aren’t willing to maintain them. We’ve certainly seen our fair share of 750iL wrecks, for example – cars that just could never be brought back from the brink. But it still surprises me that we don’t see more of the 735i, especially the fairly rare 5-speed variants. We’ve listed them before, and I think one of the comments was “does a 7 series really fit with a manual?” Having grown up with one in the household, I can say it’s an emphatic yes. It may not have been the preferred transmission for the E32, but it transformed it from a sedate luxury car to a sports sedan with a luxury bias. It felt much quicker than it probably should have and drove more of less just like a heavier version of the 5 series – which is to say, quite well. But they’re very rare to see, so when this 1987 European-spec model popped up I was sure excited:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 BMW 735i 5-speed Euro-spec on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: 1982 BMW Observer Coupe

The 1980s saw a fair number of interesting and innovative ways to chop the tops off of what would otherwise be lovely coupes; the Carelli 928 and Treser Quattro Roadster are just but two examples that we’ve written up. But long before the Porsche 993 Targa introduced a large sliding glass roof, in 1982 BMW combined with the automotive modeling firm MGA and some backing from The Observer to create a quite unique expression of topless motoring. Think of it as a BMW 635CSi Targa if you’d like; but boy is it unique and well done compared to some other 1980s creations. It’s also on sale, if you have a spare $50,000:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1982 BMW Observer Coupe on 4 Star Classics

1984 Audi Coupe GT v. 1986 Volkswagen Scirocco

I’ve always pondered how the Audi Coupe GT compared to the more popular Volkswagen Scirocco. For the past 17 years, I’ve owned one GT or another and obviously I’m a big fan; I think they’re massively underrated compared to many of their contemporaries. The Scirocco, similarly, seems to be the odd-man out in the Volkswagen lineup; yes, it has tons of fans, but most of the attention over the past few years has concentrated on the rapidly appreciating Corrado SLC models and earlier Giugiaro-designed first generation Scirocco. Of course, in appreciation of both seems to pale in comparison to the highly sought and much more common E30 BMWs, but in their own way each offers a unique alternative. In the Scirocco’s positive column is a slick design that’s low and lean; 16V models got the great motor coupled with 4-wheel discs and some cool teardrop alloys and a nice bodykit. In the GT’s positive column is a much more refined and polished package, capable of carrying 4 in comfort with it’s more upright sedan-based stature. The drivetrain is a wash; the Audi has more torque and horsepower from its inline-5, but then weighs a bit more than the Scirocco too. But mid-corner balance has to go to the Audi, plus the equal-length drive shafts eliminate the typical torque-steer prone FWD problems and the Audi feels more neutral on the fly than the Scirocco. The best of the bunch are the last run “1987.5” GTs with 4-wheel discs and the upgraded 2.3 engine with more torque and horsepower. Plus, the Audi has the better WRC soundtrack – at least, in my mind. While today I don’t have a 16V Scirocco v. 87.5 GT comparison that I think would be very interesting, I nevertheless have an interesting comparison – a later Scirocco that’s quite clean compared to an earlier GT that shared some of the traits of the Scirocco.…

Motorsports Monday: 1985 Audi Quattro Rally Car

Few motorsport images are quite as evocative as the legendary period of Group B; flying machines spitting stones and belching flames as they skirted trees and rocks at breakneck speeds with crowds only inches away. The ever more powerful cars hurtled their drivers in increasingly lighter and more delicate evolutions of cars towards immovable objects – an act which is some cultures would probably be akin to ritualistic suicide. By 1985 the writing was on the wall; it was a deadly sport that needed to be reigned in. But perhaps more than any other period, this is the time that rally fans and motorsports fans in general identify as one of the most memorable and important periods in racing history. Obviously, the big winner of the period from a reputation standpoint was Audi. The car that helped to define and end the period of wild turbocharged excess, the Quattro has obviously been the spawn of many replicas, such as this one for sale today in England:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Audi Quattro “Group B” Rally Car on eBay

Motorsport Monday: 2007 BMW M Coupe

The E86 Z4 was a fairly radical departure from the E36/8 that it replaced. In many ways, the Z3 was born out of a series of spare parts and in some ways almost seemed an afterthought. It wasn’t as innovated as the Z1 and while the original M Coupe has become a fan favorite, the Z3 just overall seemed the odd-man out in the BMW lineup. On top of that, the design just overall hasn’t aged particularly well in my mind. But in 2002, the redesigned Anders Warming penned E85 Z4 roadster launched. It was bigger in every dimension, with cutting edge new styling that managed to incorporate both round and angular designs into one fluid package that somehow worked well. Over a decade on, it still looks quite new to me – one of the best tests of the staying power of a design. Also one of the best tests is that it was somewhat controversial at the time, but by 2006 and the launch of the M models most critics were convinced that it was a nice package. The addition of the stellar S54 powertrain certainly didn’t hurt, and with just 1,800 examples of the new Coupe design in the U.S., it was guaranteed classic status. But that hasn’t stopped some from converting the coveted Coupes into race cars, such as this Fall-Line Motorsports built wide body:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2007 BMW M Coupe on Race-Cars.com

Avanttime: 1995 Audi S6 Avant Roundup

The C4 Audi S6 Avant is certainly one of the best packages Audi has ever produced as an all-around car; legendary reliability, tuning potential, all-wheel drive, go anywhere ability coupled with good classic looks in a versatile 5-door configuration. While I’d argue we didn’t get the best of the bunch with the S6+ Avant, most fans of the C4 love the AAN turbocharged inline-5 for its Group B soundtrack and grunt. Today, thanks to contributions from our readers Daniel and John, I’ve got a lineup of 5 different colored Avants; ranging not only the spectrum of color but also price. Which is the winner? Let’s start with the Emerald Green Mica example:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Audi S6 Avant on Craigslist

Feature Listing: 1992 Volkswagen Corrado SLC – REVISIT

The stunning original condition, low mileage 1992 Volkswagen Corrado we wrote up last month is up on eBay in a no reserve auction; the owner needs to move on before the snow flies and it’s coming! This is certainly one of the best condition Corrados we’ve ever seen, but will remain quite affordable compared to similar low mileage M3s. These cars are destined to be classics and buying the best one you can find will certainly save you money long term!

The below post originally appeared on our site October 16, 2014:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1992 Volkswagen Corrado SLC on eBay

1994 BMW 850CSi

I have a romantic vision that there will be some day that I’m able to go for a cruise on the weekend with my family in the fast GT car. Part of that stems from a childhood dream; my grandfather was lucky enough to own a Ferrari 250GT/L Lusso back in the 1960s and 1970s; it was long gone before I was any age to appreciate it, but I’ve always had a thought that I could buy one some day. Well, recent market changes have moved the Lusso from a $100,000 Ferrari to a $1,000,000 Ferrari – the chances of me ever buying one have gone from slim to none. Even the replacement models like the 365GTC/4 are also firmly out of reach too. So my dream of the classic Ferrari has moved on to more recent, affordable models. The 456GT is a great example – classic looks, perfect layout, and most reasonable examples can be had between $50,000 and $60,000. Great! The problem? Well, it’s still a Ferrari; frequent belt services seem to run between $6,000 and $10,000, the windows apparently fall out of place and are $1,000 to fix (if you can find and independent who can be trusted), even the brakes are multi-thousand dollars. What’s a reasonable option then? Well, I think the 850CSi is probably one of the best reasonable Ferrari replacements:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 BMW 850CSi on eBay

Feature Listing: 1984 Volkswagen GTi – REVISIT

How many times can you own an automotive legend on a budget? Normally on Friday, I try to look at some screaming deals in the German automotive world; but in terms of all around reputation, the original GTi is on par with cars like the Porsche 911. It was hugely influential not only on the market but on enthusiast’s expectations of what their everyday car could deliver. Practical, fun to drive, quick and relatively inexpensive, the Golf GTi is heading into its 7th iteration with the same basic formula as the original. Original, honest A1 GTis are now hard to come by, and this survivor is one of the better original examples we’ve seen with complete records and maintenance. Bidding is on its way up, but compared to some other German legends this car will remain a serious bargain.

The below post originally appeared on our site October 16, 2014:

You may remember this great looking, original and rare color combination GTi from last week. Although the car sold, the buyer failed to come through, so you get a second chance to pick up this awesome timepiece of history. Opportunities to own what many consider legendary cars don’t come along often, and usually aren’t very cheap – but these original GTis if left unmolested and in good shape like this one are near certain to appreciate over the coming years and offer you the chance to drive one of the best regarded cars ever made without breaking the bank. This car has some unbelievable records including a handwritten log from the first day of ownership by the original owner, and outside of the replaced windshield and gas cap, and a few mechanical parts is 100% OEM. This is a truly impressive survivor, and the seller has extensive shots that document the condition both above and below the car.…