Continuing on the Volkswagen theme, and with the Roman Catholic-based holiday also in mind (our Orthodox friends celebrate next week!), let’s take a look at Volkswagen’s first foray into water-cooled products. The Golf was, of course, not marketed as the Golf in the United States, but the Rabbit. Ostensibly, the ‘Golf’ name followed in the convention of VW’s other wind-based products (Scirocco, Passat and Jetta) since Golf is German word for “Gulf” – it has nothing at all to do with the game, though a set of clubs would fit nicely in the back. But Volkswagen still won’t tell anyone why they changed the name to Rabbit in the United States. More concerning, they changed the name to ‘Caribe’ in Mexico. That’s a Piranha. At least our market had a more friendly mascot?
While the Beetle was certainly a tough act to
follow be sold alongside of, the modern, convenient and completely practical Rabbit sold in droves at a time when fuel-conscious Americans were looking for solutions to their 19 foot long Lincoln Mk. V’s inability to clear 6 mpg. It’s 7.5 liter V8 with a 4-barrel carburetor managed to squeeze a massive 208 horsepower out of all that capacity. And that was the optional upgrade engine. Standard was a 6.6 liter version of the Cleveland V8 rated at only 166 horsepower, yet not really getting any better fuel economy. Of course, the Mk.V needed these giant motors as it was itself a giant. Curb weight was close to 5,000 lbs. So while the Rabbit seemed fairly insignificant in its stature by comparison, the reality was that it was a much better choice for most motorists.
To capitalize on the popularity, Volkswagen moved production of Rabbits from Germany to the United States for 1978. The move was signified by a shift towards rectangular square-beam headlights, just as we saw with yesterday’s early A2 Golf.…
Alright, a crazy-low-mileage 911. We see these from time to time and they’re always a marvel in their own special way. Seeing a 911SC with this sort of mileage is almost bewildering as I wonder how it is we got here. I certainly wouldn’t have considered these a collectible at the time, but the buyer of this final-year 1983 Porsche 911SC Coupe certainly must have. Either that or some peculiar circumstance lead to it rarely being driven early on and then after a number of years someone packed it away in storage hoping for long-term profits. Apparently that time has come.
The exterior color is Platinum Metallic, the same color Porsche used for the special Weissach Edition released in 1980. It became a standard color in the years following the Weissach’s release. Unlike the Weissach, the interior of this 911SC is a fairly standard Black. But this 911 isn’t about the color, as nice as it may be. It’s all about condition and mileage, which appear excellent and extremely low. There may also be some interesting options. More on that below.
In Washington, we were experiencing some sort of weather condition classified as freezing fog this morning. It brought a lovely and slippery icy glaze to just about everything. I imagine it’s the type of thing we might see rising off a glacier in the South Atlantic while David Attenborough tells us about the journey of a penguin. This 911 would be right at home.
This is a Glacier Blue 1983 Porsche 911SC Coupe, located in North Carolina, with Black (or is it Navy?) interior and 134,671 miles on it. My question about the interior color should be apparent in the pictures. We don’t see enough to really tell the color though the seats definitely look black. However, the seller has referred to it as a navy interior and we can probably assume the seller has more familiarity with it than we do. Regardless, it’s the exterior color that is (mostly) the attraction here. It’s a rare color and one that shows quite well on the SC.
It is amazing what a color can do to a car. You could have identical cars, one with a really desirable color and another with a not-so popular color, and have their values be dramatically different. Today’s car, a 1983 Mercedes-Benz 300TD for sale in California, is a perfect example of that. Regardless of color, the W123 300TD is no slouch in terms of desirability and people willing to do anything to keep them on the road. But paint it in a color that everyone loves and suddenly you’ll be a little shocked to see what kind of money these can bring on the open market. This 1983 painted in Labrador Blue isn’t a perfect example by any means but that is the appeal of an example like this. You can enjoy it without obsessing over every single thing that might happen to it. But seeing as this is a 300TD and it is in Labrador Blue, how high could the price be?
My recent coverage of the 5-series BMWs seems timely. Just last week, I looked at a 1982 BMW 528e. Since it’s been so short a time, I won’t reiterate the major highlights of the model again – click HERE if you’d like to read those details. So why look at what many consider the least excited E28 so quickly again?
Well, in part it’s because of what occurred this past weekend. If you weren’t paying attention, a stellar 1988 BMW 535i came up on Bring a Trailer. It was probably the most impressive older 5-series I’ve seen in a long time. So it was expected to bring pretty big numbers when the auction closed, and like looking through the picture gallery, it didn’t fail to disappoint. The final bid was $50,000 – unfathomable to this point for most of the E28 lineup.
Admittedly, the example I have today isn’t as nice. But it shares many things in common. First, it’s not a top-flight model, though again the Eta motor isn’t what many would prefer. So what does it have going for it?
A few months ago I checked out a 1989 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC AMG Widebody that had everything and a price tag to match. Today’s car is styled similarly, but unlike that 560SEC, this one doesn’t have the same punch and thankfully no where near the same price tag. This is a 1983 Mercedes-Benz 500SEL. You are probably asking right now ”This is an AMG car, right?” Well, not really. See, this is a really nice European-spec 500SEL with some AMG body parts, AMG wheels and an AMG steering wheel. You might of noticed I left out the part about a massive engine. This car looks every bit the part of a really good pre-merger AMG car, but without the heart. The thing is, I’m totally fine with that.
I focus a lot on the final model in the 928 line, the GTS. For good reason: as the final evolution of the model’s 17 year run the GTS is a very attractive car that brings with it the highest levels of performance and refinement that we covet so dearly in any GT.
However, they also can be very expensive. So for the Grand Tourer on a budget we need simply to turn the clock back a little and look at one of the early 928s. From there prices become much more reasonable. Which brings us to this: a Black 1983 Porsche 928 S, located in Missouri, with an interesting Berber cloth/tan leather interior and 76,161 miles on it. 1983 was the first year of the S for the US market and along with some minor aesthetic evolution it brought with it an increase in displacement from the original 4.5 liter V8 to a 4.7 liter V8. Naturally power was up slightly as well to 234 hp. This one also is equipped with a 5-speed manual.
Over the last few weeks, we’ve gotten to see the rewards of a new trend in water-cooled Volkswagens. For a long time, years if not decades in fact, if you wanted a clean A1-up chassis your only hope was that you’d stumble across an unknowing candidate. But the advent of the internet and a greater appreciation for 1980s automobile designs has finally resulted in a market where it’s become possible to restore these cars and not (entirely) lose your shirt. What does that look like? Well, we’ve seen some lightly restored Sciroccos bring pretty good money:
Wild or Mild? Double Take: 1978 and 1980 Volkswagen Sciroccos
But what about the heavy-hitter from Volkswagen? The GTI has name recognition outside of the brand; heck, even outside of European cars. Guys with Camaros and Ram Trucks know what a GTI is. They may not like it, but often I think they respect the hot hatch. As a result, outside of mega-clean Sciroccos and camper vans, GTIs have generally been the best bet for bringing strong money at an auction and if you were hoping for a resto-flip, it’s the likely candidate to choose to come out on top:
Normally a Paint-to-Sample 930 would get my heart all aflutter, but this one, while indeed PTS, doesn’t quite stir my emotions quite as much. The reason should be obvious: that rare paint-to-sample color is black metallic, not exactly the most unusual choice along the spectrum. There aren’t a lot of black metallic 930s out there relative to its non-metallic black counterparts so even if the color doesn’t seem particularly rare it’s not very common either. But still, I was surprised to find out this was Paint-to-Sample.
With that bit of confusion out-of-the-way this is still a pretty nice looking 930. As those familiar will realize immediately, this is a RoW model since the 930 was not available in the US in 1983. The mileage is pretty low at 48,410 and it appears to be in excellent condition.
Like anyone, I love rare and interesting colors. So when I saw this 1983 Mercedes-Benz 380SL in the great China Blue, I just had to take a closer look. Upon taking that closer look, things got even better when I found out this car was a federalized European specification car. From there, it got even more interesting, but maybe not for the best…
Engine: 3.8 liter V8
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Mileage: 158,800 km (98,673 mi)
Price: Reserve Auction
VIN Number: WDB10704512000498
498th 380SL off the assembly line
Ultra rare factory optioned China blue paint (color code 934)
True grey market import european version
Owned by German Mechanic and maintained to highest standard
158,800 Kilometers (About 98,700 miles)
Functioning Vacuum headlight adjustments and working clock on the gauge cluster
Dry, Rust free, Accident free Car
$8,000 spent in professional rebuild of a Mercedes 420 engine with the original euro 380 heads (the 380 heads have bigger valves and mechanical idle system with no idle computer.) This solves the 380s issue of being underpowered. It is now very responsive, yet still nimble and light. Giving the car 215HP vs 185HP (380SL). Just as powerful as the 500SL. The car was previously owned by German Auto in Phoenix, the largest independent Mercedes mechanic shop west of the Mississippi. The shop owner personally rebuilt the engine and spared no expense. This car has power!!!!
$25,000 in records dating back to 1983 when it was sold new in Scottsdale, AZ by Young Motorcars. Original loan documents, purchasing agreement, and sale documents included along with the other stack of records. Over $3000 in work in 2017 alone.
Ice cold AC
New kenwood head unit
Clean Arizona Title
Located in San Diego, CA
Overall this is an amazing car.