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1996 Volkswagen Passat GLX TDi Variant

Something really strange happened to me about a decade ago; I got old. Sure, part of it was the numeric figure I associated with my age, but the bigger problem was that I had a job that I was paying the gas bills for, and I needed to drive – a lot. I was adding between 45,000 and 55,000 miles a year to the odometers (when they were working). My preferred mode of transport to that point was Audis, and while they were quirky, fun, and neat looking compared to a Kia, the fuel mileage was nothing to write home about. My 200 Quattro Avant struggled to get 25 m.p.g., and my V8? If I could manage 20, that was a good day. So, despite my desires for a high performance steed, increasingly as gas prices rose my thoughts kept shifting towards how I could maximize my fuel mileage. One thought I had was to take something like the 200 and swap in a TDi drivetrain. Would it be slow? Sure, it wouldn’t be nearly as quick – but the prospect of 40 plus m.p.g. was infinitely appealing to easing my multi-thousand dollar gas bills. It seems I wasn’t alone in my thinking:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1996 Volkswagen Passat GLX TDi on eBay

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2002 Audi S6 Avant 6-speed

The other day it seemed as though I switched sides, abandoning my preferred Audis for the dark star of Mercedes-Benz with the E55 AMG Estate. Don’t get me wrong, I do like the S6 Avant, but perhaps the lack of manual and the mere existence of the hotter and not-for-U.S. market RS6 Avant just takes the edge of the C5 for me. Plus, the transmissions in the Audis are notorious – correctly or incorrectly – for being a bit weak and expensive to replace. The solution? A 6-speed manual converted car, of course! And this particular example even steps up above that single massive advantage with a host of RS6 upgrades as well:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 Audi S6 Avant on eBay

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1967 BMW 2000CS

If you like the classic BMW E9 coupe, odds are that you also think the earlier New Class Coupe is pretty awesome too. Granted, some don’t appreciate the more delicate look of the 4-cylinder big pillarless coupe, but most of the design features that Wilhelm Hofmeister penned into the 2000C and 2000CS were directly translated into the E9 coupe. That means, of course, that the design language was effectively the same for over twenty years until the last of the similar designs – the E24 – finally left production in 1989. Even then, the “Hofmeister Kink” remained a styling cue that was incorporated into the new designs from Munich. The 2000CS, though, held some unique details such as the front end which looked distinctly different than the models that followed. Shared with some of the New Class sedans, the dual beam lights hid behind a glass cover – something that wouldn’t occur again until the 1990s. But the profile was classic BMW coupe; a long hood and delicate A and C pillars with plenty of glass along with a sharply cut tail. Squint, and you can still see some details that are incorporated even into modern BMWs:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1967 BMW 2000CS on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday: 1995 Ruf BTR

From a poorly represented backyard creation of a tuned E28 BMW we’re heading for probably the most respected and coveted tuner in the world. Ruf cars are legendary and have been since new – grabbing headlines and turning heads wherever they go. By the 1990s, though, Ruf had some serious competition from within Porsche itself. Porsche not only had the monstrous 400 horsepower, all-wheel drive spiritual successor to the 959 in the Turbo, but it also had a stripped and widened GT2 model homologated for racing. Adding power was good, but Ruf really needed to set itself apart. The result was the wild CTR, probably the most famous of which I wrote up about a year ago. But behind the big splashing headlines of the power figures of the CTR was the successor to the Yellowbird – the BTR:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Ruf BTR on eBay

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To Force or Not To Force 2: 1993 968 Coupe and 1992 968 Cabriolet Supercharged

In my post from earlier today, I looked at the dilemma in my fictional enthusiast life; the Porsche 944 Turbo versus the 944S2. To throw a monkey wrench into that theoretical debate, there is of course the car that replaced the 944S2 – the 968. With updated styling, the addition of the Variocam variable valve timing and a 6th gear, the 968 is arguably one of the best front-engined water-cooled Porsches. Now with better fuel economy, modernized looks and 236 horsepower, it was really a match for the 944 Turbo. However, as I’ve covered before, most of the competition left it behind; in the marketplace, the 4 cylinder Porsche not only squared up against the V8 Corvette, but the refined trio of Japanese turbocharged cars in the RX-7, 300ZX Twin-turbo and Supra Turbo. If you just wanted performance, it was hard to argue that your money was best spent on the 968. However, a few decades on, the 968 is really starting to come into its own as a potential collector and is widely recognized as a great driver with classic Porsche attributes. Today, I have an interesting pair; a cheap 6-speed coupe and a supercharged cabriolet. Which would you choose?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1993 Porsche 968 on eBay

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