All posts in Tuner Tuesday

Tuner Tuesday: 2006 Hartge H50

While engine swaps on BMWs seem downright commonplace, there are the normal engine swaps (the well played out S50/52 comes to mind) and then there’s Hartge. The history between the two premier BMW tuning firms in Germany – Alpina and Hartge – is interesting. They’ve vied for the top spot for several decades with slightly different design philosophies. During that time, they’ve also seemingly flip-flopped; originally, Hartge took a more conservative route than Alpina, whose wild turbocharged creations challenged BMW’s own offerings. But after they were granted full manufacturer status in Germany in 1985, Hartge really came into its own and hasn’t looked back since. While like many firms they offer a line of aerodynamic tweats, wheels, exhausts and engine management chips, their party-piece is taking motors from the larger BMWs and popping them into the 3-series models. None of these conversions is more notable than the E90 H50 though. While the E46 H50 took the V8 out of the 5 series, the E90 had a V8 available in the lineup in the M3. Hartge therefore moved up the food chain to the E60 M5’s S85 V10. With a staggering 500 horspower out of the box and even 50 more with Hartge’s tuning, they transformed the rather mundane small executive sedan into a supercar:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2006 Hartge H50 at Turner Motorsports

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Tuner Tuesday: 1988 BMW M3 S52

I’d like to try a social experiment if you’ll allow me; I’d take an E30 M3 listing and say absolutely nothing about it. My hypothesis is that it wouldn’t matter; the car would still generate lots of comments both positive and negative, outlining both the strengths of the E30 and the rapid appreciation of the market. The convergence of factors that has resulted in the M3 market as we see it today is the evolution of not only a naturally occurring timeline coupled with a increase of personal wealth vis-a-vis the ownership group juxtaposed with those who actually ponder ownership. This, in turn, can be viewed as in part the skeuomorphic racing details of the M3 coupled with the natural analogue interface of the E30 chassis. Immersion in the marketplace has resulted in datafication as we try to quantify the various appeals of the models and even sub-models, while the scalability of the marketplace seems to utilize fuzzy logic – models constantly morphing in and out of vogue as the relative price of ownership fluctuates. Modularity in the E30 platform has not helped but convoluted the matter. Coupled with the emergence of internet fora the M3 is the first truly viral car. The rapid influx of various examples in order to take advantage of these previously stated confluence of factors has resulted in, ironically, crowdsourcing in an effort to elicit an explanation:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 BMW M3 on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday: 1985 Volkswagen GTi Callaway Turbo

Very recently, Hagerty ran an article in which it declared the Mk.2 GTi an endangered car. It is undeniable that the amount of clean and original second generation GTis is dwindling. For years, they were just like the E30 BMW – a popular tuning platform, with lots modified to inches of their life and even more wrecked or neglected by owners. Funnily, when you speak to people that owned them, nearly all wish they had them back – but unlike the budding E30 market that is fulfilling those dreams, it seems hard to come by a Mk.2 GTi for sale that isn’t a wreck. This is especially true of the very early 8V models; in my comment on the Hagerty article posted on our Facebook page, I asked when the last time someone had seen a clean and original ’85 or ’86 GTi around. The answer, unsurprisingly, was that there just weren’t many left.

As if to answer my question, though, mere weeks after that post the market is delighted to welcome this gem. True, this is not an original 1985 GTi – it’s better. It’s a lot better. Why? Well, not only was this a joint adventure between Volkswagen and BBS, but turbo wizard Callaway joined the party as well. The creation has left this Mars Red GTi better than original, and with only 48,000 miles on the clock is probably also one of the cleanest early Mk.2s out there:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Volkswagen GTi Callaway Turbo on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday: 1988 BMW 535is Turbo

When did the BMW tuning crowd become the new Volkswagen tuning crowd? I must have missed the memo, but it appears that it certainly went out. In my search for modified cars, I come across quite a few; it seems that for every well modified car, though, there are a few examples that leave you wanting for more. More attention to detail, more refined taste, and in some cases more money spent. That money doesn’t have to be spent poorly – we’ve seen, for example, cars which aren’t the best examples but have great photographs somehow be more desirable than good examples with bad photos. Heck, in one Volkswagen post I even pointed out how the seller was at a car wash (and photographed the car there being washed – a new, and also completely pointless, Volkswagen tuning crowd trend) but then failed to vacuum the car out. Well, it would seem that some of the hallmarks of the Volkswagen crowd are spilling out into the all-too-popular 1980s BMW bandwagon. List out loud the details of this E28 and you’ll have the enthusiasts drooling; Zinnoberrot 535is with black leather, Brembo brakes, M-System II throwing stars, Bilstein and Racing Dynamics suspension, Alpina cam and cluster, and a custom 400 horsepower M30 under the hood. But in this case, I don’t think the result is greater than the sum of the parts:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW 535is Turbo on eBay

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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

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