Tuner Tuesday: 2004 Alpina B3S Cabrio

The prospect sounded promising, but I was left feeling lackluster at best about the 750 mile 2001 BMW 330Ci I wrote up a few weeks ago. Sure, it was nice and that interior certainly was to die for; so, too, was the basically as-new condition. But the 5-speed automatic transmission, coupled with the outrageous $32,000 asking price, had me thinking there were better options out there. So if I was in the $30K range for an E46, what are my options?

Well, obviously there are plenty of M3s to check out any day of the week, and I’ll be looking at one soon enough. But when our reader John sent through this seriously impressive Alpina, I couldn’t help but take a look. The B3 isn’t a model we often look at; in fact, I’ve only reviewed on prior, and it was a E36 chassis. The E46 took an unusual route for Alpinas; rather than a blank-slate motor, the Buchloe company selected the S52B32 from the U.S. spec E36 M3 for their basis. It was bored and stroked to 3.3 liters, netting 280 horsepower. In 2002, the “S” version of the B3 was released, with a bit more bore and a revised engine management and exhaust system. This brought the power to 305, 0-60 plummeted to 5 seconds and with a 6-speed manual you could come close to hanging with the M3. Why buy one, then? Well, the looks were a bit more discrete overall, and you could buy not only a sedan and Touring version, but an all-wheel drive one as well. Today, though, we have a lovely Cabrio with the 6-speed manual to check out:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 Alpina B3S Cabrio on Autoscout24

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Tuner Tuesday: 1981 Porsche 911SC Targa with 8.2 liter V8

Yes, you have read the title correctly. This 1981 Porsche 911SC Targa houses a 537 horsepower 8.2 liter V8 from a 1970 Cadillac Eldorado. A couple weeks ago I posted the Safari 911 and began that post stating, “Let’s get weird.” Little did I know just how weird things would get.

From the outside there actually isn’t too much to really distinguish this 911 from any other SC of the period. Observers might notice the extensive grill work on the boot lid, but otherwise it looks like a 911 that someone has stuffed a bunch of luggage in the back. The condition even looks quite good. If you start poking around though you’ll realize things are not quite what they seem. I imagine pulling up next to it at a stoplight would reveal a little bit as well!

This obviously isn’t a very traditional method for modifying any 911, but for the owner it was the culmination of a desire stemming from his teenage years. I’m not sure I’d ever consider such a thing myself, but as someone who does lust after some of the V8 Miatas that lurk the streets I can’t say I don’t totally understand the impulse. I’m not sure ‘unique’ even begins to describe it.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1981 Porsche 911SC Targa with 8.2 liter V8 on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday: 1985 Volkswagen GTI Callaway Turbo with 34,000 Miles

It’s always a bit of a surprise when something unique and special from the mid-80s VW catalog comes along. Pre-16V GTIs are pretty hard to find in decent shape. But Callaway Turbo models with period BBS body kit and low miles? When I came across this listing you could say it wasn’t the only forced induction. Callaway was the American tuner of the 80s, building supercar-slaying twin turbo Corvettes that generated almost as much press for their acceleration as their propensity to melt down faster than Chernobyl. But on the less exotic end of the spectrum, Callaway’s turbo kits made VWs pretty potent machines. They switched from K-Jetronic to KE-Jetronic and dropped compression to 7.8:1 by adding a thick head gasket. Then on was bolted a turbocharger generating 10 lbs. of boost, pushing the GTI’s power from 105 to 150 in an instant. This resulted in low 7-second 0-60 times and a higher top speed. Callaway generally outfit his cars well with BBS body kits and wheels, and for good measure a Nissan 300ZX Turbo hood scoop for the intercooler on top of the motor too. They cost a pretty penny; a base GTI was only around $9,000 in 1985, but the turbo system in stage II configuration cost $4,000 and the BBS body kit another $1,000. Pop for some BBS wheels and tires and you were another $2,000 lighter, and some owners went farther with steering wheels, seat and radio upgrades. The result could be over $18,000 and few were sold, but then this GTI would give a more expensive Porsche a run for its money.

Amazingly, we’ve gotten to see a few of these rare GTI Turbos for sale over the past few years. Most recent was the all-white ’87 Neuspeed , but back a bit further we saw a nearly identical ’85 hit over $20,000. This lower mile example is on offer currently for only about half that amount:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Volkswagen GTI Callaway Turbo on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday: RUF Auction Roundup

It’s August and that means it’s car auction time. Much of the car-collecting world will be out in California this weekend either at Monterey or Pebble Beach – maybe even Carmel. A lot of cars will change hands and some of those will help set the market over the next six months. I always like to highlight a few that seem particularly fun.

As usual, there are a lot of Porsches on auction, though truthfully there is less this year that really grabbed my attention than in years past. But there is always good stuff even if there are fewer of them. For instance, if you’re a very esoteric Porsche fan, Gooding & Company will be auctioning this 1 of 1 1966 Porsche 911 Spyder. This post will not be about that car, in part because I don’t even know where to begin with that car, and, in fact, this post will be slightly tangential to Porsche. We’re going to look at RUF because there are a few very cool RUFs being auctioned. These are the real deal; these aren’t conversions carried about by shops here in the US nor even are they conversions carried out in Pfaffenhausen at the RUF factory. All three of these have a RUF VIN. They are all insanely rare and like all RUFs insanely fast and focused.

We’ve seen a lot of RUF 911s come up for sale over the years, but the three we have here are some of the best examples available. They all come from the 911’s air-cooled days and are a mix of almost unknown and iconic. Let’s begin with the icon: a 1989 RUF CTR, the model famously tested as the ‘Yellowbird’ and which put the rest of the tuning world on notice:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 RUF CTR at RM Sotheby’s Monterey Auctions

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Tuner Tuesday: 1983 BMW 528i

As ’80s-All-Things-M-Mania’ has continued, getting into a clean E28 M5 is increasingly difficult – and expensive. Decently clean original M5s now start around $30,000 and can head up from there, with really exceptional examples selling for $50,000 or more. Didn’t this used to be the “cheap” M? Those days have passed and don’t show signs of returning soon.

What’s an enthusiast to do? Well, you could build your own. It’s not cheap or easy, but hey – if you’re in it to win it, why not see if you can source all the parts yourself? Or (and this is a much better option…) you buy one that has already been converted to M-specs. To maximize your investment, look for one with a rare set of parts attached, and preferably in European guise. Luckily, today we don’t have to look too far:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 BMW 528i on eBay

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Stolen in Chicago: 1986 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC ABC Exclusive

Update 8/1/18: According to the seller, the car was stolen in the Chicago-area yesterday. See the updated ad here for information. 

There are cars from the 1980s, then there are cars that are so 1980s that you’d think they are an actual parody of the decade and just dressing up for a 1980s themed party that one of your friends is having on a Saturday night. As you might have noticed, one of these cars is the Mercedes-Benz 560SEC by German tuner ABC Exclusive. ABC Exclusive was one of the many tuners in the 1980s that pumped out crazy creations from workshops in Europe only to fade away after the money dried up only leaving behind a handful of their creations. We actually featured a BMW E24 6-Series a few years ago by them and it was just as outrageous as today’s car. Most of the time, cars like these are in pretty rough shape by now thanks to the liberal use of fiberglass and body filler, but this 1986 seems to have survived the test of time. Now that cars like these are actually old enough to be retro and cool, would you pony up the cash this C126 is expected to bring?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC ABC Exclusive on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday: 2001 Porsche 911 Turbo RUF RTurbo Conversion

How do you take one of the Porsche’s best performance values and make it even better? You send it to…RUF? To be honest that would not have been the answer I’d have thought was correct. A RUF conversion isn’t exactly a cheap enterprise to undertake so while the performance and overall appeal certainly will be increased those improvements typically come with a significant increase in price. Such does not appear to be the case with this 2001 Porsche 911 Turbo, which in 2012 was converted to RUF RTurbo specs.

Granted we are a few years down the road and pricing for a RUF conversion always has been significantly lower than for one with a true RUF VIN so perhaps it does make sense that the pricing here seems quite reasonable relative to the performance. But in a world where we frequently see a 996TT with the X50 package priced higher than this (with the caveat that those are asking prices and not necessarily selling prices) I think this one represents kind of a nice bargain.

It also looks phenomenal. Ordered in paint-to-sample Bugatti Strong Blue and then enhanced by the various RUF additions, this 996TT stands well apart from others of its kind. I’m not sure if this sort of lighter, non-metallic, blue will appeal to everyone, but it most definitely is unique. I happen to love it!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Porsche 911 Turbo RUF RTurbo Conversion on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday: 1983 Mercedes-Benz 500CE AMG

Pre-merger Mercedes-Benz AMG cars always seem to have a bit of mystery to them. Lots of times they pop up and don’t have any kind of documentation other than what you can actually see on the car and an overzealous seller shouting how it is an AMG car. The majority of the time the car just had some à la carte body parts and maybe some wheels, but was missing the big things like the AMG-modified engine and the actual AMG workshop building the car. Today’s car has none of that guessing. This is a car so unique and important to AMG that it had magazine features written about it and was even used in the brochures for AMG at the time. This is the 1983 500CE AMG.

This W123 Coupe started life as a standard 280CE before it was sent to AMG to be totally transformer into the best they had to offer in 1983. Everything was modified from the engine, the suspension, the bodywork and even the entire interior was changed to make this car a true one-of-one example. A M117 5.0 liter V8 was borrowed from the 500SEC and dropped into this car but not before being tweaked by AMG. The power number was raised from 230 horsepower to a little over 280 horsepower that propelled this car to 60 mph in just 6.5 seconds. At the time, that was enough to hang with almost every exotic on the market. Inside, nearly everything was changed including installing a crazy Pioneer stereo system and wrapping everything that was normally plastic or vinyl with leather. There is so much more to highlight with this car, but the photos can do all the talking.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 Mercedes-Benz 500CE AMG on eBay

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Qualified Quattro: 1985 Audi Quattro 20V

Audi landmark Quattro has finally moved beyond cult status and into the greater automotive consciousness as a desirable model. That creates many problems, though. The first of these problems is that there just aren’t many Quattros out there. Audi only imported 664 examples of the original, meaning you’re statistically a little better than twice as likely to see an E28 M5 cruising around than you are a Quattro.

But in actuality, you aren’t. The chance is probably more akin to three or four times as likely, if not more. That’s because of the second problem – though the Quattro existed as a cult car since new, the fact is that for a long time they were pretty cheap. Pretty cheap cars generally don’t make collector cars, or at the very least receive collector treatment. You can see that in the M5; cheap for a long time, plenty have high miles and are basket cases though from the start they were touted as collectable. But the Quattro? This was a car intended to live in harsh conditions. Oh, and they didn’t apply any undercoating, or even fender liners. Problem three creeps into every seam on the car.

And then there’s an unpleasant truth: in its original U.S. form, the Quattro wasn’t a stellar performer. Toting around 2,900-odd pounds of early 80s tech, the lag-prone engine developed only 160 horsepower. The result was a car that could be caught off-guard by most economy hatches: 0-60 in 7.9 seconds, the quarter mile in 16.1 at 85. Forget the typical Camry or Accord joke; this is the kind of performance you get today from a Hyundai Accent.

Of course, the Quattro wasn’t about straight-line speed, and cars from the 80s all fall short compared to modern technology. This car, then, is more a time-warp to another dimension. A personal expression of devotion to rock-flinging rally monsters and television stars that liked to do things a bit differently. And those that have survived have been loved by their owners. Often, they’ve been upgraded, too, with later parts that solve the performance gap to their original European form. The result? Wow:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Audi Quattro on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday: 1989 Porsche 911 Turbo RAUH-Welt Begriff

I’m not sure I know where to begin. There is A LOT going on with this 911 and, in this case, that’s a good thing. I first saw this 1989 Porsche 911, modified by RAUH-Welt Begriff and Turbo Kraft, on Rennlist near the end of last year. It looked great and I actually thought it might sell pretty quickly even with its very high price. It had all the right attributes to attract the right sort of attention for what is a pretty over-the-top machine. Then I didn’t see it for a while so I thought it had sold. Lo and behold it had not sold so this time I wanted to take a closer look.

RAUH-Welt Begriff can be pretty divisive among 911 enthusiasts. Not only are Akira Nakai’s designs pretty wild, but many of his creations entirely consist of cosmetic modifications. They are cars that hearken back to many of Porsche’s early race cars with huge power, preposterously wide rear fenders, and massive wings all designed to keep the rear tires firmly glued to the ground. That sort of design in a road car isn’t always appealing and when there isn’t enough grunt to back up the looks the appeal is lessened further. However, there are exceptions; there are builds that possess the wildness of RWB’s designs AND the power to go along with it. This RWB is one such machine. The claims: 600 horsepower, 2,400 lbs. I don’t think outright performance will be an issue.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Porsche 911 Turbo RAUH-Welt Begriff on eBay

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