Feature Listing: 1990 BMW M3 Sport Evolution

While the name “Evolution” become synonymous with Mitsubishi’s WRX-fighting Lancer for the X-Box generation, the term had much greater meaning for racing fans in the 1980s and 1990s. That was the period where homologation really took off; in order to be eligible to race, the FIA stipulated a certain amount of vehicles generally matching the race version of a car would have to be produced. This resulted in some great race-inspired production cars, and in order to best each other on the race track manufacturers would be forced to modify those cars. In order to have the modifications legal to race, the maker would have to introduce those significant changes to the road-going model, too. Those changed models would be termed “Evolution” to differentiate their model changes. As a result, enthusiasts ended up with ‘Evo’ versions of the Ford RS200, the V8 quattro, the Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 and, of course, the M3.

The M3 Evolution I was first introduced in 1987 with only a slightly revised motor. The Evolution II followed in 1988, and signaled the first real changes in the lineup. Major alterations to the aerodynamics, bodywork, chassis, and engine netted more power, more downforce and less weight for the FIA-regulated 500 units sold to market. Iconic even within the impressive normal M3 production, these fan-favorites generate feverish bids when they come to market.

But there is an even more desirable variant: The Sport Evolution. BMW Motorsport GmbH maxed out its E30 development in an all-out attempt to dominate the world’s racetracks. A new 2.5 liter S14 cranked out nearly 240 horsepower, while the same ‘add lightness’ recipe was prescribed; lightweight glass and body panels were met with adjustable front and rear spoilers. Signature 7.5″ wide BBS wheels were now darker Nogaro Silver and 10mm closer to the body thanks to lower suspension, while special Recaro seats kept you firmly planted inside from the g-force they were capable of generating.…

Feature Listing: 1996 Porsche 911 Turbo

I do so love a black 993. I know I take particular interest in Porsche’s wide variety of available colors, especially the many pastels they have made available over the years, but my heart will always belong with black. Were I a collector wanting to showcase my cars and Porsche’s iconic selections, then pastels are great, but for an everyday driver I prefer the seeming anonymity of a black car. I also happen to think they can be extremely beautiful when looking their best. There is always that caveat – a black car must be looking its best – but they can be stunning.

The 993, and especially the 993 Turbo with its wider rear, showcases the color very well as it reflects off the car’s well drawn curves. These are the prettiest 911s – a point that doesn’t always sit right with me when thinking about the Turbo. The 930, such an icon of 911 excellence, hardly is a pretty car. It’s almost aggressive appearing to a fault and the 993 softens much of that. In the flesh they are stunning though and it’s easy to appreciate those curves.

As you can probably guess, I like the look of this 911 quite a bit: a Black on Black 1996 Porsche 911 Turbo with 65,508 miles on it on offer from Lusso Fine Motorcars in Scottsdale.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1996 Porsche 911 Turbo at Lusso Fine Motorcars

Feature Listing: 2017 Audi TT Roadster

As I looked at in my recent write up of a 2016 Audi TTS, if you’re willing to forgo some of the wow-factor and horsepower of the RS models, the standard 8S TT offers plenty of thrills and smiles. That awesome MQB-platform is paired with the 2.0 TSFI turbocharged inline-4 pumping out 220 horsepower at 4500 RPMs and 258 lb. ft of torque at an unbelievable V8-esque 1600 revolutions. Carrying the same S-Tronic DSG dual-clutch 6-speed as the TTS and RS models as well as the same all-wheel drive system, the 3,300 lb Roadster is good for 0-60 sprints in the mid-5 second range and yet will still return 30 mpg on the highway. While those numbers may sound tame in today’s mega-horsepower market, you don’t have to go far back in time for them to be leading-edge performance for sports cars.

Excellent chassis dynamics are paired with a beautiful exterior and interior design, as well. I’ve long admired the Audi TTs for their clever packaging and taunt, no frills design. They just look better to me than the fussy lines from both BMW and Mercedes-Benz. They are thoroughly modern without looking cliché, cutting-edge yet unpretentious. The performance is here married with a package that can enjoy top-down weather yet remains usable year-round, even when the weather turns as snowy and cold as it has here in New England this week. This particular Roadster is even a bit more special than the standard TT. Outfit in Mythos Black Metallic with Admiral Blue leather interior and well specified, this car carries a color combination and set of options that can’t easily be replicated in a brand-new 2018 model:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2017 Audi TT Roadster on Audi Cape Fear

Feature Listing: 2003 Mercedes-Benz CLK55 AMG Brabus 6.1

Ever check out a car and think ”How can they possibly make it better?” Well, this is what we have today in the 2003 Mercedes-Benz CLK55 AMG Brabus 6.1. What started life as a CLK55 AMG – already a really good platform – was transformed by German tuner Brabus into something much more unique and much more powerful. The beauty of these creations is that while almost every piece of this car was tweaked and the dial turned up, you’d be hard pressed to find any faults in them. The unity of the package retained the understated but aggressive nature of the stock example. The craftsmanship and quality are just as good if not better than what comes out of the Mercedes factory and the livability is retained just as you were driving a totally stock car. But all the little details are what makes this car so special. Scratch that – the big details are pretty special, too! This one up for sale in Dallas is no different.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Mercedes-Benz CLK55 AMG Brabus 6.1 on Dallas Craigslist

Feature Listing: 1981 Mercedes-Benz 280E

I give a lot of love to the Mecedes-Benz W123 and rightfully so, some think it is the best car ever produced. A few even claim that in these Benz models will be the only survivors of in a post-apocalyptic world. I’m not one to argue as I own a 1983 240D and drive it on a regular basis. It is far from perfect and has it flaws, but when I’m driving down the road in it I can’t help but think how satisfied I am in it. When I really think about it, my most my complaints are from the powerplant in the 240D. Sure, it is as dead simple and reliable as the day is long. But on the other hand it is loud, not that smooth, is dangerously under powered at times and leaves a film of diesel residue from the exhaust on the interior when I drive with the windows down. (I’m sure that isn’t great for my lungs either.) The 5-cylinder OM617 solves some of the problems, but it is still unrefined at times. So what are the other options then? How about a silky smooth inline-6? Luckily, Mercedes-Benz offered that option in the W123 and while not nearly as common as the diesel cars, they are still out there.

This 1981 280E for sale in Maryland offers up that inline-6 option. It has everything great about the W123 but also a 2.8 liter that makes a very respectable 185 horsepower! This is a far cry from the 84 horsepower in the 240D and the 125 horsepower in the 300D. The M110 engine uses a Bosch K-Jetronic injection system that is reliable, not overly complicated and though it won’t return diesel-level gas mileage, it won’t break your wallet either.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1981 Mercedes-Benz 280E on Hemmings

Feature Listing: 1983 Volkswagen Rabbit Convertible Wolfsburg Limited Edition

In the early 1980s, there were precious few options for open-air German motoring. Sure, there was the tried and true Mercedes-Benz SL; a luxury car aimed more at boulevard cruising and polo club grand-standing than the Sport Licht moniker would indicate. Porsche’s 911 Cabriolet was certainly more sporty, but also too expensive for most to contemplate as a fun second car. BMW and Audi? The latter was over a decade away from having a factory convertible, and the former took until the mid-80s to introduce its drop-top 3-series. For the plebeians, then, the only real option was Volkswagen’s Rabbit convertible.

Rabbit Convertibles were produced by Karmann in Osnabrück, Germany – about a two and a half hour drive west from Volkswagen’s Wolfsburg plant. As they did with the Scirocco, Karmann’s distinctive badge adorned the model, here on the front fenders. The intensive construction process laden with chassis strengthening and bespoke items like the added roll-over bar meant that VW’s normal production line couldn’t handle the task. Although these were the heaviest of the A1 models, compared to today’s metal they were downright lithe; a manual early Convertible like today’s, even with air conditioning optioned in, weighed less than 2,300 lbs. While never the most powerful in the lineup, the light weight and manual transmission made the original Rabbit convertibles one of the more entertaining ways to experience compact German engineering and open-air motoring in the notoriously malaise early 80s.

While the persona surrounding the model, and more generally the people who bought the model new, tends to steer away from the typical ‘enthusiast’, the Rabbit Convertible has nonetheless moved solidly into collector territory. It’s a smart-looking, practically packaged and fun to drive convertible that can be run on a budget, fit four people in relative comfort and generate smiles throughout. In a world of increasingly serious automobiles, the Rabbit Convertible and Cabriolet models were just simple fun.…

Feature Listing: 1989 Porsche 930 Cabriolet

At the end of my post yesterday of a Carrera Targa Supersport I mentioned that the asking price was such that you could pretty easily find yourself an actual Porsche 930 in very nice condition for less money. Lo and behold we just so happened to receive this 930 for a feature and I think it does a pretty good job of demonstrating what I discussed with the Targa Supersport. I fully admit it’s an apples to oranges comparison (different market, different model, different mileage, etc.), it just struck me as nice and timely.

Anyway, let’s get to it:

Here we have a Grand Prix White 1989 Porsche 930 Cabriolet with 64,500 miles on it. An ’89 930 always gets our attention. As the only year the 930 came equipped with a 5-speed manual transmission these are incredibly desirable and when one is in good condition it’s always worth further investigation. This one even has a very subtle and unique attribute: Porsche script cloth seat inserts. The first I’ve seen!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Porsche 930 Cabriolet at Auto Kennel

Year: 1989
Model: 911 Turbo Cabriolet
Engine: 3.3 liter turbocharged flat-6
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 64,500 mi
Price: $124,990

1989 Porsche 930 911 Turbo Cabriolet
G50/50 5-Speed Gearbox/Limited Slip Diff.

1 of 600 Built for North America

Past PCA President Owner

1-Owner for 23-Years
Stock #0827

VIN: WP0EB0938KS070124

ENG# 68K00178 (930/68)

Numbers Matching

64,500 Original Miles

Grand Prix White on Blue Leather & Porsche Cloth with Dark Blue Top
5-speed G50/50 Manual Transmission
Clean and Clear Arizona Title
No Accidents/Mostly Original Paint
2-Southwest Owners from New
Past PCA President Owned
Clean AutoCheck Background Report
Porsche Certificate of Authenticity (COA)
Offered at $124,990
More and more enthusiasts are beginning to see not only what wonderful cars the 930s are to drive, but also how important they are to the history of the 911.

Feature Listing: 1996 Porsche 911 Turbo

Given the significant love shown to the 993 in general, and especially the 993 twin-turbo, it might seem strange that I would have to be brought around on them. Yet, that’s exactly the case. Don’t get me wrong, I need no convincing that these are phenomenal machines and their status as the last of the air-cooled 911s brings with them obvious additional layers of allure. But I was a kid in the ’80s so it is the ’80s 911s and the ’80s 930s that really tug at my heart. In the case of the 930, they aren’t sexy cars; they attract by a seeming brute force. In that regard, the 993 almost seemed too pretty. The all-wheel drive and twin-turbocharging features further served to tame the beast. The wildness seemed…not gone, but tamped down.

If I’m honest, when I see a standard 993 these feelings largely remain. They’re very pretty, but my mind still drifts back to the classic 911 or, with increasing regularity, to the 964. The Turbo is different. I’ve been brought around. The wide rear and massive tail pair well with the 993’s curves to produce something that is indeed pretty, but also clearly not to be trifled with. I kind of don’t know what took me so long to figure this out, but I’m glad to present this low-mileage example in the classic colors of black and tan: a Black Metallic 1996 Porsche 911 Turbo with Cashmere leather interior and just 28K miles on it.…

Feature Listing: 1986 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16

Creating the W201 series was a monumental undertaking for Daimler-Benz. Design and prototyping ran through the early days of the 1980s as the company spent 2,000,000,000 DM in development costs for the small chassis to compete against the 3-series. This amount included construction of a new factory in Bremen to help produce the W201. Bruno Sacco, head of Mercedes-Benz styling in the late 1970s and early 1980s, created a compact rendering of the S-class formula which worked well. The chassis brought new refinement to the small executive market, with multi-link independent rear suspension and anti-dive front suspension, along with increased levels of sound deadening and lower wind noise from the aerodynamic design.

Mercedes-Benz wasted little time demonstrating that the new “Baby Benz” was, indeed, worthy of the three-pointed star. The culture within the engineering department was still very much funded with an open checkbook, so no stone was left unturned to created a sedan of unparalleled quality and without compromise. To prove this point, shortly after its introduction Daimler-Benz took three of the newly launched, high-performance 190E 2.3-16 variant to the Nardo test track in Italy. At a time when not many family sedans were able to exceed much more than 110 mph, the diminutive Benz topped 150. But it wasn’t just for a moment; over ten days, the W201s lapped Nardo at a fevered pace, conquering world records in distance over time. First fell the 25,000 km World Record time, then the 25,000 mile one. Ultimately, along with a slew of class records, the 190E 2.3-16s averaged 154 mph for 31,000 miles – yet still returned over 10 mpg.

That achievement signaled the launch of a new level of small sedan performance which soon would be met with improved models from BMW and other marques. And while those subsequent models would go on to be more famous on the race track, the 190E made its mark nonetheless.…