I always thought of the B6 as the compact executive sedan for people a little too quirky to buy a 3-series or a C-class (a bit like a Saab). The handsome, turn-of-the-millennium design has aged well and continues to exude a note of well-heeled class even today. While humdrum four and six cylinder examples can be picked up very cheaply for everyday commuting duties, it’s the high-performance S4 version that really gets the pulse racing. Wearing some sporting exterior upgrades – door blades, redesigned bumpers, chromed wing mirror covers and, usually, 18″ Avus wheels – it remains a rather understated car in outward appearance. But squeezed under the hood is a thumping 4.2 liter V8, good for nearly 340 hp and 155 MPH on the Autobahn. Rev it hard and this thing pulls like a freight train. While the drawback of the B6 was always its questionable reliability and build quality, that motor, combined here with a six speed manual gearbox in a wagon bodystyle, might just be enough to make up for it.
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It is an interesting update to our Hammertime value guide this week with a mixed bag of results. On the low end relative to its condition was the stunning all-green 1979 Porsche 928, while a few 911s stuck to the middle ground. Trading hands too were two well bought big BMWs, but the two Audis struck fairly high numbers – especially the 1980 Diesel which had run up in price substantially and traded for what I believe it a high water mark for some time at $9,000.
1979 Porsche 928 – $23,035
1983 Porsche 911SC Targa – $46,400
1980 Audi 5000 Diesel – $8,995
1995.5 Audi S6 Avant – $8,800
1989 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 – $35,901
2001 BMW 740i Sport – $11,500
1970 BMW 2800CS – $23,063
I spent a lot of bandwidth covering the many changes from the B2 to the B3 chassis Audi yesterday. However, there was a transitional model between the two chassis in the 1987 Audi Coupe GT Special Build. The Special Build carried many items that would appear in the production B3 front drive 90 the next year. As with yesterday’s 90 quattro, motivation came from the 130 horsepower 2.3 liter NG inline-5. This represented a substantial power upgrade over the outgoing KX 110 horsepower unit. The rear brakes were upgraded to discs, as well – the only Coupe GT to have this setup, which again would be seen on the B3. The interior was revised, too, with the Savoy Velour replacing the Kensington Velour. The easiest way to tell the difference was the triple (opposed to double) striping of the fabric, though several Special Builds were optioned with leather interiors.
In what was a mostly unnecessary move, Audi beefed up the standard gearbox with larger output shafts. The Special Build cars also came with a unique exterior treatment. The spoiler, B pillar and window surround, and mirror housings were all painted in the exterior color choice. This had partially been seen on the 1986 Commemorative Design cars, which often causes confusion between the two. However, the easy way to spot the difference without popping the hood or peering between the fourteen spokes of the Ronal R8s in back is that the rear spoilers on the ’86 models weren’t body color. As with the ’86 CD, color options were limited to Black, Alpine White, or Tornado Red. Also lightly revised was the digital dash, which changed color from Red in the ’86 CD and limited run non-CD models to an orange backlit unit.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Audi Coupe GT Special Build on Central New Jersey Craigslist
The B3 was a much needed update to the very old small Audi chassis in the late 1980s. Although the addition of the 4000 quattro was only a few model years old and the Type 85 B2 had undergone a pretty comprehensive update in 1985, the reality was that it was a chassis which had been designed in the mid 1970s and was antiquated compared to the BMW E30 and Mercedes-Benz W201 chassis, both of which it was out of sync with in terms of launch. While both of those cars were in mid-life in 1986, Audi launched its new B3 platform with a heavily revised, updated and aerodynamic replacement for the popular 80 and 90. This was interesting, as the B2 would continue alongside in production for several years – notably in Coupe form – until the new 2-door was prepared.
The U.S. market’s offerings also didn’t mesh with Europe either in nomenclature or trim scale. The 4000 quattro had only come in one form – 4000S in 1984 and 1985, and 4000CS in 1986 and 1987. They were relatively loaded and all powered by the venerable JT inline-5. However, Europeans had enjoyed several different configurations; the basic 80 and more upscale 90, with many different options. Audi would continue the 4000CS in 1987, but in 1988 the new models rolled out, with two options like the Europeans had. As in the Fatherland, a prospective buyer could get the basic 80 quattro or opt for the more luxurious, upscale 90 quattro. Many of the design elements of the U.S. spec 4000s carried over into the 80 – such as the rear urethane flush spoiler and even the standard Ronal R8 alloys. But the 90 came with nicer bits, such body color bumper covers with integrated fog lights, wood trim inside, a more pronounced rear spoiler and BBS alloy wheels. You could also opt, for the first time in the small chassis, for the signature Audi color of Pearlescent White Metallic paint at an addition charge and power seats on the 90 quattro.
Mechanically, the 80 and 90 quattros were twins until 1990, and many of the options – ski sack, sport seats, heated seats, onboard computer – were shared between the two, but the 90 always felt a bit more upscale than the 80. Power came from the NG 2.3 inline-5, generating 130 horsepower and 140 lb.ft of torque; modest, given the near 3,000 lb. curb weight of the B3 – a result of the many luxuries and new protective technologies Audi introduced in the 90. The 80 and 90 beat the 200 to the market in 1988, meaning they were the first to debut the new second generation of all-wheel drive quattro to the U.S. market. It featured a driver-actuated lockable rear differential that automatically deactived at 15 m.p.h., but the center differential was now an automatic Torsen unit. The B3 also brought anti-lock brakes to the small chassis, as well as body galvanization. It was really a huge step up from the antiquated (if much loved) B2, overall:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Audi 90 quattro on eBay
We have quite a lineup of heavy hitters for this edition of Hammertime Updates. There was the mighty Alpina B10 BiTurbo, which once again sold for a reported $55,000. A great 1971 280SL Rob wrote up hit close to $70,000, while the rally-bred Quattro cleared $40,000. Twin 80s 911 Targas (a Targa and a one-year-only SC Targa) hit $41,000 and $47,500 respectively. Despite that there were some deals to be had. The neat Laguna Seca Blue M3 seemed like a good deal at only $18,000, and the Rabbit Caddy didn’t strike $4,000 while the Audi A6 4.2 Quattro hit only $3,350. Finally, across the pond the clever sleeper Coupe Quattro sold at just over $8,000.
Which was the winner or surprise to you?
1982 Volkswagen Rabbit Pickup GTi – $3,795
1990 Alpina B10 BiTurbo – $54,988
2001 BMW M3 – $18,100
2003 Audi A6 4.2 quattro – $3,350
1983 Audi Quattro SCCA Rally – $41,050
1986 Porsche 911 Targa – $41,000
1985 Audi Coupe Quattro RE2500 – $8,270
1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SL – $69,900
1983 Porsche 911SC Targa – $47,500