Double Take: 1980 and 1981 Audi 5000Ss

I wasn’t particularly effusive with praise for the Type 44 Audi 5000S, although it was almost certainly the car which kept Audi’s doors open and lights on in the U.S. during the 1980s. Part of the reason that the Type 44 was so successful was that it was a major step forward from the Type 43, a car designed in the 1970s that felt…well, decidedly like it was from the 1970s. It was big, boxy, not particularly efficient and not particularly technically advanced – especially when compared to the model which replaced it.

However, there were some great qualities about the Type 43. It was the model that introduced mass turbocharging to Audi with the 200 5T, a de-tuned version of which would appear in the U.S. as the Audi 5000 Turbo. Audi used that idea to launch the Quattro a bit later, and the rest is history. The Type 43 was also quite a handsome car, though like many from the period its looks were hampered by the DOT-approved bumpers. Although well reviewed by magazines and offering class-leading features and technology, the Type 43 never really sold in great numbers. A total of 163,442 sold here between its 1978 launch and 1983, the last model year before the Type 44 replacements rolled into dealers. That was just a bit better than the C1 Audi 100 had sold here, a car with a less-than-stellar reputation. Clearly, the Type 43 spent most of its time erasing the memory of the C1, and consequently it is important as it laid the cornerstones for the more successful Type 44.

Today C2s are pretty hard to come across, though we do see a regular flow of them across these pages. Today’s examples are the more pedestrian (and more common to find) 100 horsepower naturally aspirated versions rather than the early Turbo. Still it’s a bit of a treat to get two at the same time, so here we go:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1981 Audi 5000S on eBay

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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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1981 BMW M1

Update 7/29/18: After listing in May at $875,000, the seller has dropped the price to $725,000 – still high for the model, but not as far out of line. Will it sell this time around?

I give Audi a lot of credit for bringing the R8 to market. It took a fair amount of gall for a company best known for mid-range all-wheel drive luxury sedans to up and produce a supercar-beating mid-engine road car capable of being used year-round and every day. It’s a feat nearly without precedent. Of course, I said “nearly”.

That’s because BMW pulled off a similar trick the best part of thirty years before Audi did it. And arguably the development of what would become BMW’s fledgling Motorsports division was even more impressive than what Ingolstadt pulled off. The M1 burst onto the scene at a time of economic austerity, global oil crises and came from a company who not only didn’t have a history of producing such cars, but didn’t have connections to others who did (unlike Audi’s corporate Lamborghini partnership).

Speaking of Lamborghini, because of BMW’s lack of expertise in supercar design it was the Sant’Agata firm that was employed to produce the M1. But because of Lamborghini’s lack of expertise at being…well, a company capable of producing something on a schedule, BMW engineers had to first liberate the early molds from Italy and then find someone who could produce the car. Ultimately, it was a combination of ItalDesign in Turin, Marchesi metal working in Modena to build the frames and Karosserie Baur in Stuttgart that stuck the M1 together. Though it doesn’t exactly sound like a match made in heaven, and indeed the M1 was a relative sales flop, it has nonetheless grown to cult status as one of the most user-friendly supercars of the late 1970s:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1981 BMW M1 on eBay

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1981 Porsche 911SC Coupe

If you’ve been paying attention to the current crop of Porsche GT models you’ll notice that there seems to be a relative abundance of paint-to-sample cars on the market. Even with Porsche significantly raising the cost of the PTS option buyers are opting for it more and more. Perhaps the most surprising aspect of this influx of PTS cars is that Porsche’s standard color choices have dramatically improved as well. I guess everyone really wants color these days! It is a nice change though as Porsche is coming out of a long period where the color choices were less than inspired.

Part of what is great about all of these PTS cars is that we get to see more of the great colors from Porsche’s past. If you only began paying attention to Porsche in the current millennium you could be excused for thinking that Porsche, as a brand, was a bit boring. In fact, you might think that of every German automaker. However, Porsche has rarely been boring when it has come to its color palette. For better or worse, it has offered a wide array of options encompassing the entirety of the color spectrum going all the way back to the early years of the 356. In a way the current influx of PTS cars and better standard options simply is a return to the norm.

I mention all of this as prelude to this Light Blue Metallic 1981 Porsche 911SC Coupe, located in Florida, with Cork interior and 64,500 miles on it. Blue over Cork long has been one of my favorite historical Porsche color combinations. While some of Porsche’s brighter blues are my favorites, the ’80s saw a good number of lighter shades of blue that might not strike you for their brilliance, but which offered an elegant beauty that fit the lines of the G-series 911 quite well. This particular 911SC shows off those colors to good effect.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1981 Porsche 911SC Coupe on eBay

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Bamboo Beige 1981 Porsche 911SC Coupe

Those that have been reading here for a while know that I like to highlight Porsche colors that we rarely see. This is especially the case when the specific color in question is one that I have never come across. Such is the case today with this 911. Here we have a Bamboo Beige 1981 Porsche 911SC Coupe, located in Los Angeles, with 92,185 miles on it and which is up for auction without reserve.

I will be the first to admit that Bamboo Beige is neither the most exciting sounding, nor the most exciting looking color in the Porsche lineup. It’s a color that we’d expect to see in the late-70s or early-80s and its very short availability from ’81-’82 serves as testament to that. I can’t say I’ve ever seen it come up as a PTS option either. Sometimes a color is rare because of a lack of interest from buyers and with a reported 50 total examples produced that may be the case with this one. The desirability of a color is a fickle thing though. Guards Red and Speed Yellow both have seemed very desirable at times while at others we almost never see them. And nearly every color has some who do truly like it. I’m sure Bamboo Beige would be no different in that regard.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: Bamboo Beige 1981 Porsche 911SC Coupe on eBay

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1981 Volkswagen Scirocco S

It’s funny to follow yesterday’s GTI with this Scirocco S. The critique against the GTI was that it was primarily just an appearance package; underneath, effectively everything was shared with the more pedestrian Golf models, which were cheaper. For many, coupled with the automatic gearbox, that made that model quite undesirable.

Well, in all reality the Scirocco S was just an appearance package as well. The S model shared all of the basic aspects of the Scirocco, but the optional 5-speed was standard, it came with 13″ alloys, a special interior and a front spoiler. Doesn’t sound like much, eh? In all honesty, it wasn’t, and on top of that you only could choose from a few exterior colors. But while finding a clean and original Mk.3 GTI can be tough, finding an original S model Scirocco in good shape borders on impossible. That makes this model one of the most highly sought in the lineup from the 1980s:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1981 Volkswagen Scirocco S on eBay

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1981 Porsche 911SC Coupe

The 911SC remains one of my favorite Porsche models. It played an important role in the 911 establishing itself as the premier sports car in the Porsche lineup and without it this iconic rear-engine performer may have gone the way of Porsche’s many other former models. It also presents good value among the air-cooled line. While they played an important historical role, their relative simplicity has kept values down compared with some of the other models. So you can still get a good classic 911 in original condition without spending too much.

Or those values can allow you to follow another route. The 911SC becomes a canvas to build the 911 of your own. Along with the 3.2 Carrera these are the most commonly modified Porsches we see. However, unlike the Carrera, which builders tend to use as their foundation for building pretty highly priced back-dated 911s attempting to replicate the heroic Carrera RS of the past, the 911SC can be found in a wider variety of builds and generally much lower prices. It seems regardless of where they end up the 911SC keeps those values lower.

That’s more or less the situation with this 911SC. The owner bought it a couple years ago and began to transform it. The overall look is quite different, but it still maintains the basics that make it identifiable as one of these ’80s 911s. I’m not sure the price is quite right, but it’s not nearly as egregiously high as many of the Carrera builds we see. I think it provides a point we can work with.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1981 Porsche 911SC Coupe on eBay

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Homologation Special: 1981 Mercedes-Benz 500SLC 5.0

Lost in the sea of Mercedes-Benz R107s is the SLC that is one of those ”Oh yeah, I remember those” cars because honestly, you just don’t see them anymore. I’ve checked them out before, but none like this one for sale in New Jersey. This is the ultra-rare 500SLC 5.0 which doesn’t sound like much right now, but let me explain.

Mercedes-Benz actually ran the SLC in the FIA World Rally Championships and in order to do so, they had the homologate the cars as they ran 5.0 liter V8 SLCs in the races. Mercedes wwas only making the 4.5 liter cars at the time so a 5.0 liter car for the streets was necessary. Like most homologated cars, the production numbers were extremely low with just¬†1,133 500SLCs being made over a few years. None of these cars were ever made for North America, but somehow there is really nice for sale in America’s favorite state. But the price? All those creme puff 560SL owners will be jealous.

Click for details: 1981 Mercedes-Benz 500SLC 5.0 on eBay

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Feature Listing: 1981 Mercedes-Benz 280E

I give a lot of love to the Mecedes-Benz W123 and rightfully so, some think it is the best car ever produced. A few even claim that in these Benz models will be the only survivors of in a post-apocalyptic world. I’m not one to argue as I own a 1983 240D and drive it on a regular basis. It is far from perfect and has it flaws, but when I’m driving down the road in it I can’t help but think how satisfied I am in it. When I really think about it, my most my complaints are from the powerplant in the 240D. Sure, it is as dead simple and reliable as the day is long. But on the other hand it is loud, not that smooth, is dangerously under powered at times and leaves a film of diesel residue from the exhaust on the interior when I drive with the windows down. (I’m sure that isn’t great for my lungs either.) The 5-cylinder OM617 solves some of the problems, but it is still unrefined at times. So what are the other options then? How about a silky smooth inline-6? Luckily, Mercedes-Benz offered that option in the W123 and while not nearly as common as the diesel cars, they are still out there.

This 1981 280E for sale in Maryland offers up that inline-6 option. It has everything great about the W123 but also a 2.8 liter that makes a very respectable 185 horsepower! This is a far cry from the 84 horsepower in the 240D and the 125 horsepower in the 300D. The M110 engine uses a Bosch K-Jetronic injection system that is reliable, not overly complicated and though it won’t return diesel-level gas mileage, it won’t break your wallet either.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1981 Mercedes-Benz 280E on Hemmings

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1981 BMW M1

There are a few strange similarities between yesterday’s 1987 Volkswagen Scirocco 16V and today’s subject – the much more elusive and legendary BMW M1. Both were sporty cars developed from more pedestrian beginnings. Both featured high-revving dual-overhead cam motors. But the interesting part comes in the sublet of construction, and the design. Both have links to Giugiaro, but both also borrowed heavily from other designs.

In an article I penned for The Truth About Cars last year, I covered some of the development of the Wedge Era and how those spectacular show car designs channeled their design language down to more pedestrian models. One of the stars of that article were the cutting-edge looks from Giugiaro’s ItalDesign – the firm, and man, responsible for some of your favorites such as the basic shape for the Audi Quattro. But while the Quattro launched its brand into the luxury realm and redefined the 80s, the undisputed German star of the wedgey wonders was the BMW M1.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1981 BMW M1 on eBay

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