Drop-top Double Take: 1996 and 1997 Audi Cabriolets

Drop-top Double Take: 1996 and 1997 Audi Cabriolets

Every semester at the culmination of my teaching experience with the college students who have selected my course rather innocently, I let them in on my super-secret double agent identity as your author here. Having suffered through a few too many of my lectures already, most treat the news with about the same amount of enthusiasm and interest as they do when I tell them about the Sudanese Kush Pharaohs – which is to say, none (seriously, it’s a very interesting topic. Egypt basically denies they existed!). But occasionally I get a student who is much more interested in my double-life than in my lecture notes. One such student passed through was perhaps as unexpected to me as I was to him. He nonchalantly aced the class with seeming little difficulty, but upon seeing my announcement regarding German Cars For Sale Blog, he excitedly emailed me about his shared love of Audis. He revealed that he owned a ’97 Cabriolet, which proves two things: first, smart people buy Audis, and second, Audis turn up where you least expect them. And the Cabriolet might be the least expected Audi Audi made – coming from a manufacturer renowned for turbocharged inline-5, manual all-wheel drive coupes, sedans and wagons came a front-wheel drive, automatic only (in the U.S.) V6 2-door convertible. Expensive, a bit slow and soft compared to the competition, the Cabriolet sold slowly with only around 1,000 units moved per a year during its availability here with a total of 5,439 imported through 1998. I think a fair amount of fans view the B4 Cabriolet as the least interesting of the Audi lineup in the 1990s, but to me it’s always been a very pretty and underrated car. In particular, the rear 3/4 view is very attractive and the shape changed little with its progeny.…

Tuner Tuesday: A Tale of Twin Tornados – 1990 Volkswagen Corrado Magnum Wagons

Tuner Tuesday: A Tale of Twin Tornados – 1990 Volkswagen Corrado Magnum Wagons

We live in a world of soundbites and short attention spans. Some days it seems like a bit of a coup to remember just what you had for breakfast or where you left the keys last night – never mind to go back a week, a month, a year, or a decade. I’ve mentioned before that I’m a history teacher when I’m not doing this, and I’ve found it increasingly difficult to keep the attention of my students through the 1.5 hour lectures and if it’s a night class, forget it. The proliferation of the internet – the promise of limitless and immediate information – instead seems to be a flood which has washed away the interest, the researching, the enthusiasm for finding something new. But I came across something very interesting when looking for more information about an interesting duo of Corrados that our reader Jesse sent in. It was an internet thread on a forum – nothing special there. What was special was the timeline that thread covered and the subject matter. It started with the announcement of the purchase of the two prototype Corrado Magnum wagons in February, 2007. What followed was 15 pages of comments that spanned an amazing 9 years in what must be one of the longest threads out there documenting the owner trying to get these two unique G60 Corrados to the U.S.. If you want a snapshot of the development of the internet fora in one spot, look at the comments here. In typical VW Vortex style, there are insults tossed, claims the cars don’t exist, that the seller is a liar, threats to steal the cars and that they’re ugly. But there’s also adoration for the buyer who endured an arduous 7 years of storage in the Netherlands before finally getting the clearance to bring the forlorn Volkswagen prototypes to the U.S..…

4 Turbos, 10 Doors and 12 Speeds – Double Take: 2001 S4 Avants

4 Turbos, 10 Doors and 12 Speeds – Double Take: 2001 S4 Avants

With recent looks at both B7 and C4 S-cars, it was time to take a look at the middle child of the run – the much loved B5. For some time these were considered too heavy and complicated for long-term enjoyment, but a resurgence of interest in the model has been driven by a very active aftermarket that supports them. In the U.S., the most loved models are the 6-speed Avants and we have two to consider here today for a double dose of forced induction family fun. Which would be the 5-door you’d choose?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi S4 Avant on eBay

U.S. v. Euro Double Take: 1977 and 1978 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9s

U.S. v. Euro Double Take: 1977 and 1978 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9s

Tuner Tuesday posts usually focus on cars that have been turned up a few notches by aftermarket companies, but for some time Mercedes-Benz did all the magic internally. Indeed, if you go back to the 1920s and 1930s, Mercedes-Benz had a habit of taking the largest motor they could reliably produce and sticking it in their luxury cars. Such was where the legend of the 500 and 540K specials came from, but while the War postponed many further developments Mercedes-Benz were back at it in the W109 300SEL 6.3. Apparently not satisfied by that factory hot rod, engineers conceived its replacement with an even larger 6.9 liter V8 – mind you, in the midst of an international fuel crisis. Churning out 286 horsepower from the now legendary M100 V8, the 450SEL 6.9 was effectively a land-bound aircraft carrier and about as powerful. Long ignored by the market, the 6.9s have heated up over the past few years as large classic Mercedes-Benz models have become increasingly sought after and the rare 450SEL with the big motor is a solid draw. Today I have two examples to consider – a desirable European version and a less powerful and not quite as attractive American-spec car. Which is the one to choose?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1977 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 on eBay

Tuner Tuesday “What Not To Wear” Porsche Faceoff – 1977 911 Turbo Cabriolet v. 1994 Strosek 911 Turbo S Widebody Speedster

Tuner Tuesday “What Not To Wear” Porsche Faceoff – 1977 911 Turbo Cabriolet v. 1994 Strosek 911 Turbo S Widebody Speedster

Here’s something a little different for Tuner Tuesday! Last July and September respectively I wrote up two terribly expensive and terribly tuned 911 convertibles. The first was a Strosek 911 Turbo S Speedster back in July, and the second was a 1977 911 Targa that was converted into a 993-bodied turbo cabriolet that was simply marvelous if you believed the interior. In a not particularly surprising development, both are back up for sale having had no takers the first time around. The question I pose to our readers is which is a better (or worse?) deal? I’ve put my original posts below starting with the 1977 and I wasn’t particularly complimentary to either, but let me know in the comments which is really “what not to wear”?

The below post originally appeared on our site September 1, 2015:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1977 Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet…ish on eBay

Going up? Double Take: 1990 and 1988 BMW M3s

Going up? Double Take: 1990 and 1988 BMW M3s

That the E30 M3 has been on a stratospheric price rise is old news. So are the stories of “I could have bought one for $400 20 years ago”. You know what? I could have bought a really nice piece of land near the coast in Rhode Island for 10% its current value 30 years ago, but I didn’t. Old, too, are the stories of what floor some ex-M3 owners got off at; for unlucky examples, it was $10,000 a decade ago, but smarter sellers have cashed in on E30 mania in the past year. Thanks to some big number sales late in 2015, the E30 M3 market is stronger than ever which raises the question of how high it will go. At what point will people say “You know what? This is a 4-cylinder near-luxury economy car that I’m paying $100,000 plus for”? It would seem that every time someone raises the flag of THE END IS NEAR another shockingly priced example clears what appeared previously to be an insurmountable hurdle and Mr. Toad’s wild ride continues. While there’s been a slight cooling in the acceleration curve, it’s still pointed directly towards the Moon today. Hagerty’s Condition 1 price valuation for a 1990 M3 is now $115,000, and the average value of those insured is $55,800. But the market has realized that many of the examples coming to market weren’t condition 1, or frankly even condition 2. Lesser than top-tier example’s value has gone almost completely flat, and now it’s the really exceptional models that are rising to the top rather than the entire crop. So let’s take a look at two of the best out there today and muse over whether this trend will continue to new heights:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 BMW M3 on eBay

Double Take – High Mile Heros: 1991 BMW M5s

Double Take – High Mile Heros: 1991 BMW M5s

Let’s say you want to buy a 1980s BMW M car. Great! You have style, class and enthusiasts everywhere will applaud your discerning taste. You don’t just want to pose, you want race-track bred performance and build quality second only to Mercedes. Great! Now, look at the market. Shit! You missed the bandwagon by about 2 years. Not to worry, though – German Cars For Sale Blog is full of budget advice today! If you want the best affordable 1980s BMW M product, you just are looking in the wrong decade. You need to consider the 1990s E34 M5, and today we’ve got what should be two more affordable versions of the more affordable version of what you want. So, do either of these high mile heros have what it takes to make your 80s M dreams come true? Cue the theme to The A-Team and let’s take a look:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 BMW M5 on eBay

Nogoff 2: 2014 Audi S4 v. 2015 Audi S4

Nogoff 2: 2014 Audi S4 v. 2015 Audi S4

A good friend of mine rolled up for a visit yesterday in her B8 Audi S4. So much attention has been focused on the launch of the turbocharged M3/M4 that it’s easy to forget that the S4 is still a very good choice in the sport sedan market. If you believe that all Audis drive the same with terminal understeer, you haven’t been behind the wheel of the most recent generations from the four rings, whose clever computers, suspension and differentials have left them turning as well as they go. And they look as good as they go too, with signature top-tier interiors and lovely details. Audi recently offered a brief run of classic Nogaro Blue Pearl Effect on the S4 too, with a special edition that bathed the S4 in the purpley-blue. Today I have two such colored examples to look at – which is the one you’d nog off to?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2014 Audi S4 on eBay

Row Your Own? 2000 BMW 528iT v. 2003 BMW 540iT

Row Your Own? 2000 BMW 528iT v. 2003 BMW 540iT

I have a bit of an interesting comparison today, and I think in many ways it’s harder than it would first appear to be. If you said to most enthusiasts “Would you rather have a manual or automatic?”, the collective ire of autophiles towards self-controlled cars is akin to suggestion a revision to the 2nd Amendment at a NRA rally. And outwardly, today’s two E39 5-series wagons seem quite similar. But they represent two different directions for BMW and I think it will be interesting to see which foot enthusiasts land on. So, what would it be, then – a 5-speed 528i Sport Touring or a 5-speed (automatic) 540i M-Sport Touring?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2000 BMW 528i Touring on eBay

Double-Take: Porsche 911 3.2 Carrera Cabriolet

Double-Take: Porsche 911 3.2 Carrera Cabriolet

I have been enjoying my jaunt through the world of classic 911s looking at examples of the 911SC and 3.2 Carrera. We’ve seen a few nice, and reasonably priced, Targas, a couple very nice Coupes, and a very pretty Carrera Cabriolet. That last model will take our focus in this post as we look at examples from both the beginning and end of the 3.2 Carrera’s model run. 1983, the last year of 911SC production, was the first year Porsche produced a 911 Cabriolet and since there was only one year for those models, it is to the 3.2 Carrera that we typically must turn when looking for the combination of a fully-open cockpit with that classic 911 design. I wouldn’t classify the two we see here as especially rare colors since each is more a subtle variant of a common color, but the color combinations are not ones that we come across very frequently. Those combinations definitely bring with them an extra level of scarcity with these. We will begin with the example from the first year of 3.2 Carrera production, a Slate Blue Metallic 1984 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet located in California with Grey Beige leather interior and 48,133 miles on it.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet on eBay

Two For T: 2001 and 2002 Audi TT 225 quattros

Two For T: 2001 and 2002 Audi TT 225 quattros

I’ll get this out of the way off the bat; not everyone likes the Audi TT, and yes, it’s not really a sports car. But excusing that it’s not a 911 although it’s similarly shaped, is it really that much of a pretender? Tight body curves that were really avant garde in the late 1990s reveal a beautifully crafted interior with lots of special details to let you know you were in a premium product. Under the hood, in its most potent form the 1.8T was quite capable as well, with 225 horsepower resulting in mid-6 sec 0-60 runs in stock form and punchy delivery. And while the Haldex-driven but “quattro” branded all-wheel drive wasn’t as slick as Audi’s other all-wheel drive systems, it works just fine in most conditions. So let’s take a look at two nice examples of these budget sports coupes:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi TT 225 quattro on eBay

Double Take: Tangerine 911S – Coupe or Targa?

Double Take: Tangerine 911S – Coupe or Targa?

Time for some citrus. I’ve mentioned previously how the market for the long-hood 911 has plateaued, and perhaps even reached its peaked, but even if that is the case the 911S remains a special car that we must keep an eye on. These were some of Porsche’s first opportunities to show its ability to produce a top-level machine that could provide performance but also remain civilized. The 911S epitomized that focus and here we have two different variants, both of which come in the wonderful shade of Tangerine over Black. With values remaining mostly stable over the past year it’s not a bad time for those who really enjoy these early 911s to look for the right opportunity. Here we have both a Coupe and a Targa and both look in very good condition. Which would you choose? We will begin with the Targa, from the 1968 MY:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1968 Porsche 911S Targa on eBay

End of the Run: 1991 Volkswagen GTi 16v and 1992 Volkswagen GTi

End of the Run: 1991 Volkswagen GTi 16v and 1992 Volkswagen GTi

There’s something that’s just so right about the 1990-1992 GTis. The bigger bumpers gave a chunkier, more menacing look than the 85-89 cars had, and the swap to the 4-headlight grill worked so well. More power and bigger, better BBS wheels made these the best GTis in the eyes of many VW faithful. By 1990, the GTi 16V had gotten fairly expensive so Volkswagen reintroduced a more budget-conscious 1.8 8 valve version. It wasn’t a total poseur, though – Volkswagen made an attempt to differentiate the entry level GTi from the standard Golf. With 105 horsepower on tap (5 more than the standard Golf) and a 5-speed close-ratio gearbox, they channeled a bit of the original A1 GTi even if they didn’t sing up high like the 16Vs did. There were other subtle differences between the 16V and 8V; externally, they looked very similar except that the 16Vs wore appropriate 16V insignia front and rear and on the slimmed down side moldings. The 16Vs also got the larger and wider BBS RM multi-piece wheels with wider flares, while the 8V model wore the 14″ “Teardrop” alloys that had previously been the signature of the 16V. Both now wore roof mounted antenna and integrated, color coded rear spoiler with 3rd brake lights and color coded mirrors, along with the aforementioned 4-headlight grill, deeper rocker panels and integrated foglights. The 16V got beefier Recaro Trophy seats, while the 8V was equipped with the standard sport seats. Both wore the same sport suspension. And, both models now had the passive restraint “running mouse” belts. Today we’ve got one of each to look at, so let’s start with the big brother:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Volkswagen GTi 16V on Huntsville Craigslist

Double Take: 1993 Audi S4

Double Take: 1993 Audi S4

It’s been a while since I looked at some C4s, and a few popped across my computer screen in searches that I thought were worth taking a peek at. As the E34 M5 and W124 500E/E500 creep up in value, if you search you can still find excellent examples of the odd-ball turbocharged inline-5 all-wheel drive wonder from Ingolstadt. While the 1993 model in the U.S. didn’t sit quite as low as the 1992 model, some chassis fans love them because of the carbon fiber interior trim and as ’92s are quite limited and hard to find, coming across a ’93 or ’94 is a touch easier. Which one of these two excellent examples would you prefer to take home?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1993 Audi S4 on San Francisco Craigslist

Now Legal for Import Double Take: Mercedes-Benz 190E Sportlines

Now Legal for Import Double Take: Mercedes-Benz 190E Sportlines

Look closely and you might mistake these two Mercedes-Benz 190Es and you might mistake them for any other run of the mill W201. Dig a little deeper and you’ll notice they are sitting just a little bit lower on their haunches and a small badge on the lower front fender: Sportline. This was an option that added a tauter suspension and differing interior trim to the usual baby Benz package. While the 190E 2.3-16, 2.5-16 and Evo models carried the performance torch for the W201 lineup, the Sportline option gave buyers the ability to have something just a bit different than your run of the mill Mercedes sedan. First up, we have a 1990 190E 2.6 Sportline for sale south of Munich, Germany with just 53,000 miles on the clock.

Click for details: 1990 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.6 Sportline on Mobile.de