Gemballa has been around for quite a while. Since the early 80’s they’ve been creating designs for a wide variety of Porsches with a few Mercedes and Ferraris thrown in as well. Honestly, most of their designs I haven’t much liked. I like over the top – I mean I’m a fan of RWB – but Gemballa has always seemed over the top in a way that I found unappealing. It’s a fine line for tuners to walk and built entirely upon subjectivity; some find the right balance, some miss the mark.
Here we have one that I do like. At least for the most part. Based off the 911 RS America, this Gemballa build was to serve as a showcase car and, if we’re to believe the ad, demonstrate the more refined style they were hoping to put forth once the excesses of the ’80s were behind them. It’s still fairly over the top, but not too crazy and its likeness to the Flatnose Turbo S makes it look like something the factory may have even produced. It’s sort of a melding of the Turbo S and the 3.8 Carrera RSR, both highly sought after machines that turn the heads of just about anyone who sees one. I imagine this Gemballa will do the same.
Model: 911 RS America
Engine: 3.8 liter flat-6
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 16,937 mi
Price: $99,500 Buy It Now
Before Singer’s amazing creations, before RWB’s wide bodies, before Magnus Walker officially made it cool to NOT be a typical Porsche guy, before TechArt, there was Uwe Gemballa.
The Gemballa’s of the 80’s were radical creations with massive body kits and interior customization. As Gemballa moved into the 90’s they evolved into a more performance focused company with more subtle streamlined body work.
Tuners all have their own unique style and personality, those aspects that let you know immediately what designer is responsible and what to expect from the build itself. Of course, even within a particular tuner’s portfolio there can be tremendous variation, but there always are identifying details. Though they can be subtle most 911 fans have little trouble recognizing a RUF 911. Such is the level at which RUF has risen over its many years.
Among Porsches RAUH-Welt Begriff perhaps is the most easily identifiable tuner and also perhaps the most divisive. The man responsible is Akira Nakai who designs each body panel for the individual car to produce some of the most head-turning 911s you will come across. They are not for everyone, especially given that – unlike a tuning house like RUF – the work is largely aesthetic with very little additional performance. As pieces of automotive art they are on another level. The one we see here has been dubbed RWB Hollywood and was based off of a 1991 Porsche 911 Carrera 2 Coupe. It would be very hard to miss if you saw it in a crowd.
Model: 911 Carrera 2
Engine: 3.6 liter flat-6
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 132,324 mi
Price: $149,999 Buy It Now
This beautiful Porsche 964, known as RWB Hollywood, was built by the world-renowned Akira Nakai-san of Rauh-Welt Begriff. The car is equipped with a 3.6L Air-cooled engine mated to a G50 manual gearbox. No expense was spared on this build, as you can tell by the extensive list of modifications below; Exterior: Complete strip-down repaint in it’s original color Grand Prix White, RWB 964 street kit (fenders, bumpers, rocker panels), Sunroof delete, RSR brake ducts, Clear turn signals, 993 aero mirrors, 993 door handles, Ducktail decklid, H4 headlights, New taillights, New body seals and window seals.
If Sunday’s A4 represented the new wave of Audi products, the C4 S6 was the end of the decade and a half dominance of the turbocharged inline-5 in the brand’s marketing. True, it continued on in other parts of the world a bit longer, but the writing was on the wall and the 1995 model year was the last in the American market. There’d be a big gap until the next S model launched in the U.S., which helped to solidify the legendary status of these stealthy super-sedans. Since there was no immediate replacement for half a decade, the S6 maintained its top-trump status among four-ring fans for longer than it probably would have been expected to.
The result of that was that they retained a strong fan base of owners and many more who wished, but could not afford, to grab one. As soon as they were out of warranty (if not before, in some cases), the wick began to be turned up – and those that know the AAN know that there’s a lot of wick there to burn. In recent years, the wave of electronic fuel injection tuning and aftermarket support has not waned but grown for these cars; like German Supra Turbos, they’re the evergreen forced-induction chassis you just never tire of seeing. Today’s example is no exception to the rule, and with 500 horsepower and a host of high-dollar upgrades, it’s ready to embarrass much newer metal.
I’ve seen art cars in the past but today’s combination might take the cake. This 2007 SL65 AMG is the creation of a man who is considered a pioneer of digital art, Laurence Gartel. Gartel has done work with the likes of Andy Warhol, major household brands, celebrities, NASA, the Grammys and of course unique cars. This latest art car is none other than the torque monster itself, the W230 SL65 AMG. Of course, just being a regular SL65 isn’t enough. This SL was sent to RENNtech in Florida and came back with an always mind-blowing 670 horsepower and 840 lb·ft of torque thus probably making this the fastest piece of rolling art out there.
Model: SL65 AMG
Engine: 6.0 liter twin-turbocharged V12
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Mileage: 95,464 mi
Price: Buy it Now $39,500
RENNtech SL 65 AMG Art-Car by Laurence Gartel
Mercedes-Benz R230 – SL65 AMG
M275 – 6.0L V12 AMG Engine – up to 670HP | 840LB-FT
Equipped with following RENNtech Upgrades:
– ECU Upgrade
– V3 Digital Lowering Module
– Carbon Fiber Rear Decklid Spoiler
– 10.2 Deep Monolite Forged Wheels Finished in Gloss Purple. Front: 20″x9.0″; Rear: 20″x11.0″
– Brake Upgrade with Custom Painted Calipers in Aquamarine
– Fully wrapped by Laurence Gartel, official Artisit of the 57th Grammy Awards
– 041U – Designo Graphite Paint underneath Wrap
Milage: 95,464 (04-13-2017)
Laurence Gartel | A Digital Art Innovator
– Considered the Pioneer of Digital Art
– Created the first digital art-ad together with Andy Warhol for Absolut Vodka
– Taught Andy Warhol how to create Art via Amiga Computer
– Official Artist of the 57th Grammy Awards. Created official Artwork and Invitations
– Created Artwork for Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears
– Official Artist of the Newport Jazz Festival 2015
– Created Groundbreaking Artworks for the NBA, Walt Disney, Forbes, Coca-Cola and Phillip Morris
– Artist of the 2015 NASA Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission (MMS)
– Art Car Conversions include: 1957 Lincoln Premiere Convertible, 1959 Cadillac Fleetwood, Tesla, Scuderia Ferrari and Rolls Royce
– His Art was exhibited at: Museum of Modern Arts, Joan Whitney Payson Gallery, Long Beach Museum of Art, Princeton Art Museum, Norton Museum of Art, National Museum of American History, Bibliotheque National and Monaco International Film Festival
I’m not art aficionado by any means but Laurence Gartel is actually a name I’ve run across before.…
In a strange comparison to earlier’s 500SL 412, here’s another matte black car. It, too, is German. Outside of that, the two share little in common.
That’s because unlike the Mercedes-Benz which was primarily a piece of marketing, this is from the workshop of Alois Ruf. And Ruf’s cars are all about performance. So even though this 997-based turbocharged RUF RT12S is over a decade old, it still produces more power than the current 911 Turbo. Over 100 more. It’s faster, too – get the launch just right and mash the gas, and RUF claimed you’ll hit 60 m.p.h. in 2.8 seconds. When Road and Track tested it, the R12 did a standing mile in 28 seconds at 187.5 mph. In the time it’s probably taken you to read this first paragraph (35 seconds), the RT would be past 200 on its way to the 224 mph top speed. Yet it wasn’t just about raw speed; like all RUFs, it was beautifully built and full of exquisite detail work on par with leading manufacturers.
But while the speed is certainly impressive, it’s not the reason why I decided to feature this car…
For me, the perfect counterpoint to the questionably presented C2 from a few days ago is today’s B7 Turbo. Just about everything in the B7 was taken up a few notches over a standard E28 (or even an M5), and this example exemplifies that perfectly in comparison to that E30.
The B7 Turbo models were, quite simply, some of the fastest BMWs made to that point. More to the point, they were some of the fastest cars in the world in the 1980s; Alpina claimed the E12 B7 Turbo was the fastest sedan in the world, for example. The B7S had bumped up to the 3.5 liter M30. Strapping their special injection system along with a KKK turbocharger and a host of internal modifications, the B7S produced 911 Turbo levels of power which made it (unsurprisingly) 911 Turbo fast. The model continued after the changeover to E28 model, but with some differences. Instead of the bespoke injection on the early model, Alpina instead reprogrammed the Motronic in the E28 to work with the turbocharged M30. The B7 was available in both catalyst (/3) and non-catalyst (/1), both producing 300 or more horsepower. Alpina claims they ultimately made 236 of these beasts by the end of production, but the catalyst version – a large chuck of which ended up in Japan – was the more rare of the two. Today, one of these mega sedans is available, and while a high percentage of the Japanese-destined B7s ended up with automatics, this one has a manual:
In a very small subset of enthusiasts, early Audi chassis are nearly as legendary as the BMW E30. Robust, well built and refined, Audi over-engineered most of its small chassis starting with the B2 because it was the platform that launched the legendary turbocharged Quattro. While the normally aspirated versions lacked the punch of their bigger brothers and the acceleration curves could be somewhat laughable, they still offered plenty of entertainment when driven hard. I have a video of my Coupe GT at Watkins Glen – heading up the long uphill straight, we’re shouting out numbers as they barely increase from 95-100 before flinging the car with nary a touch of the brakes into the bus stop, maniacal laughs abounding as we leap the turtles.
Clearly, though rare the small Audis are always prime for more power, and converting those earlier cars to turbocharged Quattro specs – or later RS2 replicas – has been popular since they were sold new. Today’s example, though, has different and more modern motivation than the familiar inline-5 under the hood – but they don’t get much better than this presentation and build:
Market speculation about M values is nothing new. Indeed, head back to the launch of the U.S. M5 and you’ll find evidence immediately. In Europe, the M5 launched for the 1985 market year and was so successful, BMW announced in 1986 they’d bring 500 of the M5s over. They immediately were all spoken for, and consequently when the production actually started in 1987, BMW made more – not a lot more, mind you, but the 1,340 produced for North America was nearly triple what was originally forecast.
Consequently, owners who felt the collector value of their M5 had been dashed by this glut of examples sued the company in 1991. Further, the model was relatively abandoned by all but the most devoted enthusiasts in the 1990s for bigger, badder and faster modern sedans. But today it’s back with a vengeance, with clean examples fetching more than what they were priced at new. It therefore makes a little bit of sense that someone would have gone through all of the trouble to mimeograph the transformative super-sedan’s blueprint onto a lesser example:
In 1986, to commemorate the 100th year of the automobile, Audi released a series of designs to celebrate the occasion. The consisted of a series of interior and exterior color combinations which were unique to the Coupe GT, 4000CS, 4000CS quattro and 5000CS sedan. Each car had a different interior (with the exception of the GT/4000CS quattro, which both received ‘Mouton’ red leather) and were available in limited quantities and limited exterior color choices.
Their name, appropriately, was Commemorative Design.
Despite that, the Audi enthusiast world at large insists on calling these cars the ‘CE’ – Commemorative Edition – models, rather than ‘CD’ for the appropriate Commemorative Design. Perhaps this stems from some confusion with the Canadian market, where the 5000CS model was marketed as the 5000CD. Does it matter? Not at all.
The two most desirable of this run were the Coupe GT and 4000CS quattro examples with red leather interiors, especially in Alpine White. Though mechanically no different than the standard models, they always make the collective pants of the B2 community a bit tighter when they pop up for sale. However, this particular one might be close to ‘Not Safe For Work’ level, as in addition to the color scheme it’s got a turned up 2.2 liter 20V turbo under the hood. Is this B2 perfection?
RUF is a name which is among the most highly respected tuners in the world, creating legendary power, looks and speed among a series of cars that was already quite potent. But they’re very expensive cars, too – fully spec one out from Ruf, and you can easily double the price of your Porsche, sometimes more. These are not machines for mere mortals.
Yet value can still be found in, and today I’ve got 1,100 horsepower to prove it. This Double Take looks at two 2002 911 Turbos, both of which have been upgraded with the RUF 550 kit. Which is the winner?