Dealer Disinformation: 1983 Audi Quattro

Perhaps I’m being harsh in my title. But I have to say, this listing annoys me for a few specific reasons. We’ll get back there soon. Predictably, as it did with Mercedes-Benz Pagodas, Porsche 930s, 80s BMW M products and the original GTI, the quick rising of selling prices for the Audi Quattro has continued to bring good examples to market. Where we used to wait seasons between seeing any at all, today you seem to be able to view at least one pretty good one on the market at any given time.

Today’s furthers the recent line of ’83s I’ve looked at. We saw the $59,000 ask on a modded L041 Black one. Recent bids only hit $33,000, which tells us more where market value lies. We saw more of a project a month later with the Treser’d LA5Y Helios example. At $25,000, it was one of the cheaper examples to come to market recently. Then just last week the stellar L97A Diamond Silver Metallic one popped up. Priced right in the middle of the two at $40,000, it looked like the one to buy of the three.

Today’s ’83 comes in a fourth shade available that year. LA3A Mars Red was shared with the A1 and early A2 chassis Volkswagen GTI and GLIs (along with a few others), but is less frequent to see on the Quattro than the color that replaced it in 1984 – LY3D Tornado Red. It’s more orange in tone and distinctive as a result. This particular example is also claimed to be completely original and from a single owner – something none of the others could boast. Priced at $36,900, is this the one to get as a collector?

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1983 Audi Quattro

After looking again recently at the replica E30 M3, I still can’t help but shake my head. While it was an exacting clone of a real M3 in many ways, at the end of the day it was just that – an assemblage of parts made to reproduce the look of a legend. Despite that, and a slightly shady listing, that ad elicited ridiculous bidding and an even more outrageous $50,000 asking price. It makes looking at today’s car all the more refreshing, and helps to put the market into some perspective.

What we have is a L97A Diamond Silver Metallic 1983 Audi Quattro. It’s not a perfectly original example, nor is it heavily modified like a lot that we see. But with some weak areas addressed, a clean bill of health and a very good presentation, this is one of the more desirable examples that we’ve seen recently:

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1983 Porsche 911SC Coupe

I feel as if I have been neglectful. Truth be told I have not been overly enamored with a lot of the 911s I’ve been coming across lately. I think that is because I have been spending a lot more time looking at very nice (and very expensive) modern 911s, which has colored my view of many of the older examples that I typically hold so dear. When you spend day after day looking at pristine, never driven, garage kept, cars fewer than five years old it becomes easy to find flaws in older cars and dismiss them. But of course those older cars have more flaws! They’ve been driven and enjoyed and they are just older. Plain and simple.

These “flaws” shouldn’t dissuade me though and I’ll look a little closer. The one we see here, a Blue Metallic 1983 Porsche 911SC Coupe, I like quite a bit. I don’t know if I view it as pristine and “spectacular” as the seller, which isn’t too surprising, but it does look quite good and appears to be in very original condition. It isn’t perfect, but it doesn’t have to be perfect and that’s just fine.

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1983 Mercedes-Benz 500SE

Update: This car is back up for sale from a new owner with a nice detail and a laundry list of maintenance completed.  Almost no miles were added but the price has been raised to $11,500. Check it out here

It is all about the details for me. I have seen enough of the same cars day after day that all look they pretty much look the same to me. Unless of course a car sticks out for one reason or two. It could be a unique color, it could be a rare-spec with interesting options or it could be the entire car is something I haven’t seen pop up for sale. Today’s car, a European-spec 1983 Mercedes-Benz 500SE for sale in California, has the entire package of coolness that I just have to take a close look at it. Judging by the photo above, you can tell this one is going to be good.

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1983 Porsche 911SC Targa

Here we have a 1983 Porsche 911SC Targa that comes in a kind of unusual color. Unusual in the sense that I’m not quite sure what it is. The seller simply lists it as Gold, but that’s not terribly helpful. It could be Gold Metallic, which had been available in earlier years though I don’t think it was available in 1983. Platinum Metallic could be another option, which I believe was available in 1983. But it doesn’t really look like either of those colors. Or perhaps Casablanca Beige, a rare color we have seen before. To me, the color it looks most like actually is Lime Gold Metallic, but unless I’m mistaken that’s a relatively recent color. It, of course, recently could have been repainted Lime Gold. The seller doesn’t mention this and, unfortunately, because most of the pictures show it parked in the shade we can’t get a very good sense of how it truly looks. The interior is brown leather, which was available in the early ’80s and works reasonably well with this exterior color. Overall I don’t know that I’ve seen a 911SC with this color combination. It may not be original, but that’s something that should impact its selling price more than whether we dismiss it entirely or not. I think it looks pretty good!

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Tuner Tuesday: 1983 BMW 528i

As ’80s-All-Things-M-Mania’ has continued, getting into a clean E28 M5 is increasingly difficult – and expensive. Decently clean original M5s now start around $30,000 and can head up from there, with really exceptional examples selling for $50,000 or more. Didn’t this used to be the “cheap” M? Those days have passed and don’t show signs of returning soon.

What’s an enthusiast to do? Well, you could build your own. It’s not cheap or easy, but hey – if you’re in it to win it, why not see if you can source all the parts yourself? Or (and this is a much better option…) you buy one that has already been converted to M-specs. To maximize your investment, look for one with a rare set of parts attached, and preferably in European guise. Luckily, today we don’t have to look too far:

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1983 Audi Quattro

There was a point where it was very hard to find a clean Mk.1 GTI anymore, and consequently the values on them rose sharply and quickly. Predictably, the moment that occurred a bunch of really nice examples popped up for sale and have continued to emerge as the car has finally been recognized as a classic. Now, couple that scenario with the racing pedigree of the Quattro and sprinkle in a dash of ///Mania into the mix and you’ve got a recipe for some very expensive cars.

With only 664 originally imported to the U.S. and a fair amount dead, balled up in rally stages or repatriated to the Fatherland, the remaining cars that do emerge generally fall into two categories: well maintained examples that fetch high dollars, or needy chassis for the project-minded enthusiasts. Although today’s car looks quite clean at first glance, it’s not a perfect example. Yet it does sport some very rare (and very polarizing) period Treser bits, a great set of Fuchs wheels and is awesome Helios Blue Metallic. At $25,000 – the lowest price we’ve seen on a recent Quattro auction, is this a deal or a dud?

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1983 Audi Quattro

Update 7/19/18: Bidding hit $35,000 on this Quattro in June but failed to hit reserve. It’s back up with bids currently at $25,000 with two days to go. Will it clear reserve this time?

Quattros have been a hot commodity in the marketplace over the past year, and speculation coupled with their low numbers continues to drive prices up. This is especially true of cars that arrive to market in good to excellent condition with few needs since the pool of those candidates is remarkably small.

How much speculation? Cars that traded in the teens less than five years ago are suddenly – and regularly – hitting close to $50,000. A really pristine example hit $81,400 in January. And, the last time we saw a Quattro is was a desirable ’85 with some good modifications. Bids had rocketed past $35,000 before the auction was pulled because of a private sale.

Pretty much every time a Quattro comes up for sale, it’s worth a look. This one, at least on the surface, looks pretty great – so where does it fall in the market? Welcome to the ‘new norm’:

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Tuner Tuesday: 1983 Mercedes-Benz 500CE AMG

Pre-merger Mercedes-Benz AMG cars always seem to have a bit of mystery to them. Lots of times they pop up and don’t have any kind of documentation other than what you can actually see on the car and an overzealous seller shouting how it is an AMG car. The majority of the time the car just had some à la carte body parts and maybe some wheels, but was missing the big things like the AMG-modified engine and the actual AMG workshop building the car. Today’s car has none of that guessing. This is a car so unique and important to AMG that it had magazine features written about it and was even used in the brochures for AMG at the time. This is the 1983 500CE AMG.

This W123 Coupe started life as a standard 280CE before it was sent to AMG to be totally transformer into the best they had to offer in 1983. Everything was modified from the engine, the suspension, the bodywork and even the entire interior was changed to make this car a true one-of-one example. A M117 5.0 liter V8 was borrowed from the 500SEC and dropped into this car but not before being tweaked by AMG. The power number was raised from 230 horsepower to a little over 280 horsepower that propelled this car to 60 mph in just 6.5 seconds. At the time, that was enough to hang with almost every exotic on the market. Inside, nearly everything was changed including installing a crazy Pioneer stereo system and wrapping everything that was normally plastic or vinyl with leather. There is so much more to highlight with this car, but the photos can do all the talking.

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1983 Porsche 944

Update 6/7/18: The seller has increased the price again to $8,944 but with a no reserve $5,944 opening bid auction.

Update 5/23/18: The price of this Euro 944 has dropped from the original $9,440 ask to $6,944.

An interesting counterpoint to yesterday’s GTI is today’s early 944. They were produced at the same time; the waning days of the normal A1 production, while Porsche was at the same time accelerating production of its watercooled transaxle lineup to meet the demands of the heady 80s. There are other similarities as well; the shape is iconic, they have an oversized (for their class) 4-cylinder and a manual transmission. Both are no-frills, relatively speaking; few electronic or power gadgets adorn the interiors here. And both are heralded as driver’s car, with intimate connection to the road and experience through each corner.

But while the A1 GTI is pretty much universally lauded as a legend, the 944 remains firmly an “also ran” for enthusiasts – even within the water-cooled arena. Perhaps that’s because there were much more potent versions of the 944 out there. Beyond the mid-’85 refresh, 1986 saw the introduction for U.S. fans of the new Turbo model, 1987 saw the 16V version launch and a larger 2.7 8V – and, of course, then there were the 944S2, Turbo S and 968 models. Early 944s, then, are about as unloved as the Volkswagen Dasher.

If you’re an enthusiast, though, that means great return on your investment. And like the GTI, it’s not just entry price that is relatively low on these 944s; compared to the 928 and 911, repairs are far less expensive and the glut of examples (nearly 57,000) brought to the U.S. means used parts – or even entire parts cars – are quite easy to find. So while all of them are worth at least consideration, every once in a while a really neat example pops up that is worth a longer look:

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