Kit cars don’t get much love on these pages. Well, to be fair, they don’t get much love, period. But kits cars do offer something; exotic(ish) looks on a pedestrian budget. And strangely enough, some kit car and limited-manufacture cars have begun to be considered collectable in their own right. So when I came across two unique Volkswagen-based bits, I thought “why not?”
So today we have two very limited production examples of fiberglass laid over a VW chassis. Which is the winner? Let’s start with the Bradley GT II:
I’ve been looking at a lot of new blues among Porsches lately. Or sometimes old blues on new cars (and I haven’t even posted all of them!). Let’s turn the clock back to look at an old blue on an old car. These are always fun to revisit if for no better reason than as a data point for those considering their paint-to-sample options. It’s always worthwhile to see what these very rare colors look like on an actual car. We’ve even had the pleasure of seeing this particular vintage blue on a recent GT3 RS. All the better for understanding our options.
Here it is on its original model: an Oslo Blue 1963 Porsche 356B 1600S Coupe, located in Long Beach, with 120,200 miles on it.
Update 2/6/2018 – Unsurprisingly, the 700LS remains available on reserve auction (it is $21,900 on their site)
Normally, our dual posts have two comparable cars to consider. But while typically that manifests itself in one model, one price point or one performance group, today it’s something very different.
Although both of today’s cars come from one marque – BMW – there is literally and figuratively a huge chasm of development between them. There’s also a vast gulf between performance, desirability and price. Yet each reflected the time point in which it was made; the austere 1960s, emerging from the fog of war into a bustling economy when average Germans could for the first time contemplate automobile ownership, and the exotic 1980s, with its new computer designs and technology rapidly forcing car designs forward. For the company, each car represented the future in many ways even if the results and their impact was so vastly different.
While I seldom remove the top on my convertible to enjoy some open top motoring I do occasionally yearn for those days. My favorite time of year for doing so has always been in the Fall. Living in one of the more humid parts of the country, Fall weather brings with it a welcome crispness and obviously the array of colors on display just above you in the trees makes even the dullest of roads much more enjoyable. Combine a good road with that crisp air and the fall colors and you have some of the best driving you can find.
The only way to really increase the greatness of that natural beauty is to enjoy it in a car that is equally as beautiful. Here we see just that: a Ruby Red 1963 Porsche 356C Cabriolet, located in New York, with Tan interior and a stated 21,804 miles on it. Just thinking about it makes me want to grab the keys and head out to the mountains for some driving.
After yesterday’s mega M6, I’d like to take a look at another favorite BMW coupe of mine. In many ways, it is the antithesis of the M6; simple, under-powered, rear-engine and decidedly ’60s while the M6 was oh-so-’80s. The 700 Coupe developed through an interesting route, as I described in an article for The Truth About Cars. While air-cooled power was associated with VW and Porsche, NSU and BMW also flirted with rear-engine designs of their own, and in their own right they were fairly successful.
From the diminutive Isetta grew the oddly-shaped 600, which then bore the 700 run. Available in 2-door sedan, Coupe or rare convertible, the 700 developed some 30 horsepower from its .7 liter twin in the rear. The handsome Michelotti design signaled the direction for the new BMW designs, with (for the time) modern lines penned to the standard 3-box formula. A total of nearly 200,000 700s were produced, but the Coupe version sold in much smaller numbers – only about 30,000 total Coupes produced. The departed from the more traditional 2-door sedan’s look with a sharply cut greenhouse and pronounced tail fins. While the combination of all these things seems like an odd recipe, it somehow worked very well and looked beautiful:
Continuing on my run of custom coachwork-built cars, this one might be one of the most practical and something that is actually has a mass appeal, as opposed to something like a hearse. Today’s vehicle is a 1963 Mercedes-Benz 190Dc Kombiwagen, a custom conversion by Binz Karosserie off of the W110 Fintail chassis. Surprisingly, this unique wagon resides in California where it awaits a restoration and a chance at many more miles of utility. Of course, I have to ask, is the time and effort worth it?
Model: 190Dc Kombiwagen
Engine: 2.0 inline-4 cylinder
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Price: Buy It Now $10,000
1963 Mercedes-Benz 190Dc Binz Coachbuilt Fintail Station Wagon
Binz Karosserie Nr. 2096
And now for something completely different….
Up for offer is a running, driving and solid example of an extremely rare Mercedes-Benz 190Dc Kombiwagen built by German coachbuilder Binz & Co Karosseriefabrik. There are less than 15 surviving examples of the Binz kombiwagen (non-ambulance) version w110 fintail ”heckflosse” known to exist in the world today.
Binz Karosserie in Lorch/Wurttemberg Germany has been working with Mercedes-Benz building custom variants of different models over the past 80 years. These models include ambulances, hearses, taxis, and the rarest of the rare, special ordered kombiwagens (station wagon) models built for private use as seen here. Other coachbuilders of the period included Miesen of Germany and IMA of Belgium, whose “universal” wagons are well known as over two thousand examples were built using several variations of the w110 chassis. Binz Karosserie was known for their quality build and high top roof design. The kombiwagen version seen here is actually the lowest of the different roof configurations offered by Binz for this series.
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This Mercedes 190Dc Binz Kombiwagen has spent most of it’s life in California, so the rust issues are less than normal in the scope of fintails.
We don’t really do revisits much anymore, but I wanted to make an exception here because it’s such a great car, so rare and beautiful, and the price has changed dramatically from when I originally featured it last November. The original listing for this Oslo Blue 1963 Porsche 356B Carrera 2 Coupe had it priced at $839K. I said at the time that the price was higher than just about any other Carrera 2 auction I’d seen and it remained on eBay for a while going nowhere. It also had been listed with no description and that wasn’t helping. Here it is priced somewhat more reasonably at $565K, and we’re provided with some of the car’s history to help support its (still) very high price. At the very least we’re off to a much better start.
Model: 356B Carrera 2
Engine: 2.0 liter flat-4
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Mileage: 73,426 mi
Price: $565,000 Buy It Now
This nicely optioned T6 Carrera 2 was originally delivered to Hanover, Germany, but delivered to the United States in 1966 to its second owner and active PCA member, Arthur Foyt. In 1971 German, Eugene Deutsch, bought the Carrera 2 and retained it for most of it’s life.
The car underwent a lengthy restoration beginning in 1998. It was stripped to bare metal and repainted to its original Oslo Blue, which remains in great shape today, and the interior has been redone by noted 356 experts. This spectacular 356 is powered by a correct 587/1 four-cam engine that was built by the best; the late Billy Doyle of Rennwagen Motor Company and runs fantastic. His work lives on!
Though restored over 10 years ago, this Carrera 2 remains in superb overall condition and performs as well as any 356 you will drive.
While legend has it that Audi popularized all-wheel drive with the Quattro, it would not have been the case were it not for the 1970s Volkswagen Iltis – a military vehicle that utilized a normal Audi 100’s underpinnings to create an all-wheel drive vehicle with lockable differentials which easily outpaced Audi’s normal production line cars in inclement conditions. It was this story which sprung the idea for the Quattro to be created, but the Iltis itself had inspiration drawn heavily from another car – the DKW Munga. As Auto Union struggled to re-establish itself post-War under first the leadership of Mercedes-Benz and later Volkswagen, the company’s diminutive DKW brand led the way with economical, smart designs. One of those designs was the paradoxically-named 3=6 model, which had a .9 liter 2-stroke inline-3. Produced in Düsseldorf, DKW helped to keep the Auto Union’s name alive in the early 1950s. Part of that rebuilding included new Auto Union facilities in Ingolstadt, and one of the first production vehicles to make it out of there was the Manga. German for Mehrzweck UNiversal Geländewagen mit Allradantrie (basically, go anywhere all-wheel drive vehicle), the Manga utilized F91 (3=6) underpinnings mated with new all-wheel drive capability. Up front, the four rings of the Auto Union reappeared proudly on the roughly 47,000 models produced between 1956 and 1968 – a full decade prior to Iltis production:
When we feature the Porsche 356 the point isn’t typically about performance. And, in a certain way, it isn’t about performance here either. But like the Speedster and its lightweight no frills philosophy the 356 Carrera 2 brought with it a more performance-oriented mindset and in its day was very much so about performance. The Carrera 2 featured a larger 2.0 liter flat-4 four cam engine producing 130 hp, which gave it a significant boost in power over its 1.6 liter siblings. Add to that disc brakes at all 4 wheels and you had better stopping power to rein in those extra horses. These were a technologically sophisticated model that provided Porsche’s customers with some of the best performance available all the while sporting the same elegant curves of every other 356. The one we see here comes in the particularly wonderful color combination of Oslo Blue over Tan.
When one thinks of classic air-cooled, rear engine German cars, BMW does not come to mind. The much more famous relatives from the Western side of Germany do, of course, and Volkswagen is obviously linked therein too. How about tail fins on a car from the Vaterland? Again, the most recognizable car to sport them is the Mercedes-Benz 220s – the so-called “Heckflosse”. And super-minis from the 1960s? Well, you might even be more inclined to think of DKW rather than the Roundel. But in the 1960s BMW nearly failed as a car company, and the automobile that helped to keep it afloat was the versatile 700 series. The answer for the company was not to launch expensive luxury cars into a depressed economy, but instead to look at alternative economical platforms. Based upon the company’s roots of motorcycles, the 700 incorporated new technology for the company which would later be seen across the board and help to point the company in a different styling direction that the Neue Klasse would continue and expand upon. To me the most attractive of the 700s by far is the Coupe. We’ve looked at a handful of these diminutive and distinctive two-doors over the years, but two clean examples popped up this week and it was definitely worth a look: