To Force or Not To Force 2: 1993 968 Coupe and 1992 968 Cabriolet Supercharged

In my post from earlier today, I looked at the dilemma in my fictional enthusiast life; the Porsche 944 Turbo versus the 944S2. To throw a monkey wrench into that theoretical debate, there is of course the car that replaced the 944S2 – the 968. With updated styling, the addition of the Variocam variable valve timing and a 6th gear, the 968 is arguably one of the best front-engined water-cooled Porsches. Now with better fuel economy, modernized looks and 236 horsepower, it was really a match for the 944 Turbo. However, as I’ve covered before, most of the competition left it behind; in the marketplace, the 4 cylinder Porsche not only squared up against the V8 Corvette, but the refined trio of Japanese turbocharged cars in the RX-7, 300ZX Twin-turbo and Supra Turbo. If you just wanted performance, it was hard to argue that your money was best spent on the 968. However, a few decades on, the 968 is really starting to come into its own as a potential collector and is widely recognized as a great driver with classic Porsche attributes. Today, I have an interesting pair; a cheap 6-speed coupe and a supercharged cabriolet. Which would you choose?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1993 Porsche 968 on eBay

To Force or Not to Force? 1987 944 Turbo v. 1989 944 S2

For some time, there has been an ongoing conflict in my head. All of me agrees that the Porsche 944 is a pretty awesome car; great looks, handling and performance in a bargain package with classic Porsche reliability and build quality. But I fight with myself over just which of the Porsche 944s I prefer. Some days, the forced induction Turbo captures my imagination; there’s been a 1989 Turbo in my family now for two decades and it’s a wonderful car. But I have to admit that it’s not been without its problems, and while it’s a cool package it seems almost too predictable as the “go to” “cheap” Porsche. Should it be criticized for being a spectacular performance bargain? That may not be fair, but just like the BMW E30 represents a good balance of performance and practicality, it’s sometimes just too popular for me. What’s the alternative? Well, the 944 has its own answer: the 944S2. Visually, the two are nearly indistinguishable to most non-enthusiasts. But the driving experience is quite different; the M44/51 turbo motor is legendary as a tuning platform and offers typical ’80s lag-prone explosive launches, while the M44/41 big 3.0 16V motor has seemingly effortless torque at your disposal but loves to run up the tach as well. Stand on it in a drag race, and the Turbo will win – nearly a second faster to 60 miles per an hour and 5 m.p.h. faster on the top end. But if you’re a clever S2 driver and catch the Turbo slightly off-guard, you’ll be right with them – and the S2 isn’t about drag racing, it’s about making a better all-around driver. So the S2 is the better choice? Well, perhaps – but then there’s the mystique of the Turbo model. Who doesn’t want to say they own a Porsche Turbo, really?…

Feature Listing: 2001 Audi A8L

This car has been sold – we hope to see the seller back again soon!

Update 11/7/2014 – the seller of this pristine A8L contacted us to let us know one of the three issues – the backordered O2 sensor from Audi – arrived and has been installed, correcting one of the very few flaws on this stunning car. Despite the $500 bill, the seller price has remained the same. Don’t you wish all sellers were like this one?

Earlier today I wrote up a brace of Audi S4s – undoubtedly, one of the best performance values going in classic German motoring today. However, if you move forward a generation, there’s a similar stunning value in the S4’s big brother – the Audi A8. Available in three configurations, the D2 chassis pioneered some new technology for Audi – the Aluminum Space Frame which stiffened the structure and kept weight down. The A8 was also completely new outside; while it’s easy to point towards it as looking like a big A4, the reality is the opposite – the Audi space frame concept car actually predated the B5 A4 chassis and the first iterations of the D2 were near exact copies of the show car. First available in front drive 3.7 V8 configuration and 4.2 quattro, the D2 A8 was initially offered only in short wheel base before 2000. Styling was revised in 2000, which also saw the U.S. introduction of both the sport-oriented S8 model (2001) and ultra-luxury oriented A8L. Equipped with special wheels and fully optioned out, these cars were anything but subtle – commanding serious presence on the road. But that weighty look didn’t necessarily translate to physical weight; despite the long wheel base and luxury bias, the A8L hit the scales only around a hundred pounds heavier than the C4 S4/S6.…

Feature Listing: 2003 Volkswagen GTi 1.8T Show Car

I’m a huge fan of many forms of motorsport, but I consider Formula 1 to be the pinnacle of the sport. But, of course, Formula 1 is an unrealistically expensive form of racing for nearly all, and even within the sport there are only 5 or 6 that could win on any given Sunday. On what many would consider the other end of the sport, NASCAR offers millions of adoring fans a spectacle beyond anything Formula 1 can offer. The engineering is kept more affordable and the racing is much closer; even towards the end of the season, the title is often up in the air as nearly any one of the top teams could field one or two drivers that might win. It’s specifically the variation and show that bring fans to NASCAR and will keep them coming. Are the two mutually exclusive? No, I don’t think they are – I might not be the biggest fan of NASCAR, but I can appreciate that it takes a serious talent to be able to drive those cars in the manner in which they are driven.

In many ways, the European tuning scene is very similar. Track enthusiasts typically baulk at the show cars, but there is something that unites them; a passion for cars. That passion can be different and manifest itself in many ways. For some, the ultimate car is a perfectly original example in pristine condition; others modify their cars for track use, compromising their daily driveability. But there is another group of enthusiasts that create show pieces – individualized cars with exhaustive detail work to set themselves apart from the crowd and draw smiles from enthusiasts. These show cars have become and increasingly popular and widespread and show both the range and breadth of expression in automotive passion.…

2006 Audi S4 Avant

A few weeks back during our “Wagon Week” theme, I wrote up Audi’s last stand in the Avant market; a steadily decreasingly number of offerings in the 2000s. I looked at three nice versions of the Avant that were available in 2008. My unfortunate conclusion, though, was that none of them would be the car that I would want. The S4 Avant was certainly tempting, but the automatic wasn’t the transmission I’d want in there. However, change a few details and suddenly that B7 becomes much more appealing. Add some great option BBS CH wheels and a manual transmission along with a caring owner, and the B7 S4 was a package that really had no rivals. It looked as fast as it went and remains on the best all-weather people haulers made:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2006 Audi S4 Avant on eBay

1993 Volkswagen Corrado SLC – REVISIT

Time to look at another Corrado SLC that’s crossed these pages before; back in July, I wrote up this very clean looking 1993 example with some stellar BBS RSs. Unfortunately, the car is an automatic and the big stereo was a turn off; I guessed this car would likely trade hands in the high single digits. Well, it’s back up for sale with a different seller, a pretty extensive gallery of photos showing the very good detailing job they did and a new higher price. It also inexplicably now has 26 miles less than it did last time. Now for offer at $10,900, I don’t see any reason that it’s worth more than it was the first time around. I’d still peg the value between $8,000 and $9,000; for nearly $11,000, I’d much prefer to offer a bit more and try to nab the pristine 1992 5-speed we featured with 100,000 miles less. What do you think is top dollar for this car?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1993 Volkswagen Corrado SLC on eBay

The below post originally appeared on our site July 14, 2014:

1974 BMW 2002 S14

The surge in popularity of the E30 M3 has drawn into stark contrast what an incredible deal you can get on classic BMWs, and the 2002 is not only a fan favorite but also a great example. In many ways, the E10 spawned the idea of the small German performance sedan and since inception they’ve not only been popular choices as transportation, but indeed great tuning and racing platforms. However, a recent surge in prices have brought many to the market as owners try to capitalize on the increased value, so we’ve seen some great labors of love turn up for sale. This is one such case; a restored and resto-modded 2002 with a great match for a powerplant – the venerable S14:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1974 BMW 2002 S14 on eBay

1983 Audi 5000S with 33,000 Miles

If you think that the early BMW 7 series – the E23 chassis – is a rare sight these days, they’re downright common compared to C2/Type 43 Audis. The first “5000”, in the rest of the world this was the Audi 100 and 200 in turbocharged form. The C2/Type 43 replaced the innovative but not particularly reliable or quick 100 and was a major step towards building the modern Audi. It introduced not only the familiar inline-5 to the large family sedan, but also turbocharging and even diesel motors to Audi’s lineup. However, the platform never saw the introduction of the quattro all-wheel drive platform – all of the Type 43s were front drive, and a fair amount were automatic. By 1983, the writing was on the wall – Audi had its new C3 platform full of more innovation and trumped aerodynamics – parked next to the C2, you could see the resemblance but the new car looked downright futuristic compared to the box on box design of the C2. Though the best part of a million of these sedans were produced, they’re one of the rarest Audis to see stateside these days – depreciation, rust and time have taken their toll. Properly cared for, though, they’re still a nice looking large sedan and a treat to see – especially in this condition:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 Audi 5000S on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: 1979 Porsche 930 Andial/Ruf

For all of the crazy tuner modified cars of the 1980s, there were very few that came out the other side looking better than what the factory produced. However, I think two tuners consistently managed to outperform what came directly from the manufacturer. Alpina is one; the subtle spoilers, large but somehow fitting stripes and perfect wheels always make those models modified by the exclusive tuner really stand out. The second for me is Ruf; it’s simply amazing what just a set of Ruf Speedline wheels can do. It is literally as if the 930 shape was made specifically to match those wheels – not the other way around. You can add in the other Ruf bits, ducts and pieces and really make a masterpiece; but the wheels almost make the car special all by themselves. Of course, if you happen to have a bunch of other period-awesome modifications from top companies, that doesn’t hurt either:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1979 Porsche 930 Andial/Ruf on eBay

Sacrilegious or Spectacular? 1999 BMW 540i 6-speed LS1

Another week, and another opportunity to highlight a car that will tick off the purists; but this one is pretty unique! While most LSx swaps start with a car that didn’t originally come with a V8, today’s BMW 540i originally had just that; the M62 4.4 liter V8 with 280 horsepower is gone, replaced by a modified LS1/LS6 hybrid with a T56 transmission. Of course, you’d never know that unless you looked under the hood – or provoked the driver to hit the loud pedal:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1999 BMW 540i LS1 on eBay