I’ve lost track at how many Mercedes-Benz W126 Coupes I’ve looked at because frankly, there are a lot of really nice ones out still there. I think maybe that has to do with it somewhat being see as the pinnacle of Mercedes-Benz large coupes as it didn’t get much better when you factor everything in. A lot of people don’t really like the next generation W140 Coupe and the prior generation, the R107 SLC, isn’t the prettiest car ever made. If you go even further back with the W111, you start talking about them becoming pretty pricey and they aren’t exactly setup to use on a regular basis because of how old they are. Today’s car, a 1986 560SEC, is probably the nicest W126 Coupe I’ve run across. In case you haven’t noticed, it has just a little over 10,000 miles on it and looks every bit the part. As for the price? Well, what are you expecting for a 560SEC with these circumstances?
I’m going to begin this post with a little bit of a tangent. In yesterday’s write-up of a Speed Yellow GT3 I mentioned that it is my favorite of the 996 GT3 colors. However, that’s only partially true because I knew even when writing that there is always an exception. The problem is that there is only one: a paint-to-sample Minerva Blue Metallic GT3. Paint to sample wasn’t really a popular option during the 996’s production. So while it seems like almost every GT3 produced today is paint to sample this wasn’t the case with earlier models and we so rarely see them that if I want to speak of favorites it makes more sense to refer to the primary colors that were available. But I know that Minerva GT3 exists and I, of course, began searching for it again just to remind myself of its beauty.
That more or less brings us to this Iris Blue Metallic 1986 Porsche 911 Carrera Targa. Obviously, it isn’t Minerva and Minerva is a better color, but the early Iris Blue – note that the color changed significantly on the 993 – possesses a similar level of beauty. Porsche blues are some of my favorites and I’m reminded of that nearly every time I come across one. There’s variety spanning the whole spectrum from seemingly black dark blues to the brightest blues we can imagine. Whether metallic or non-metallic they bring out some of the best in any 911. Whoever chose to build that Minerva Blue GT3 made an inspired choice.
Update 8/30/18: The car has been relisted at $3,000 Buy It Now.
I keep chuckling as I come across A2 Jettas. I’ve already professed that they’re not my favorite, yet interesting examples continue to pop up and they’re simply too good to pass on. Today’s may buck that trend, however, as it’s a non-original, non-running example. So what’s it doing here? Well, because of how it was built and how it appears today, it was worth a closer look. With a 1.8 PL 16V swap, a great set of Ronal wheels and some other VW-chic mods, is this a Jetta worth saving?
In the mid-1980s, Volkswagen aimed its market sights upwards and tried to gain more traction in a niche market by offering…well, more traction. Starting in 1986, Volkswagen partnered with Steyr-Damiler-Puch and made a unique alternative to corporate partner Audi’s quattro drivetrain utilizing a viscous center differential. Puch was also responsible for design and manufacturing of the T3 Vanagon Syncro, which used a different viscous coupling system because of the rear-drive platform and nature of the Vanagon. In addition to the transmission of power forwards, the T3 also offered a rear differential lock while both center and front were viscous.
But in 1986, there was a third option. Because the Volkswagen Quantum (née Passat) shared nearly all of its internal architecture with the B2 Audis, fitment of the quattro setup from the Quattro and 4000S/CS quattro was possible – so Volkswagen did it. As there was no Audi B2 Avant, Volkswagen offered the new Quantum quattro – also badged Syncro – in Wagon form, and only in wagon form. This meant that there was no competition crossover between the 4000 quattro and Quantum Syncro in the U.S. market. The Quantum also continued to run smaller 4x100mm hubs versus the Audi, which allowed it to utilize the same “snowflake” Avus wheels borrowed from the GTI. Pricing was on par with period 4000 quattros, though – base price was $15,645, but equip the Quantum similarly to the standard 4000 with power windows, mirrors, locks and sunroof and you’d quickly crest $17,000 – about $4,000 more dear than a standard GL5. Unlike the 4000, Quantum Syncro Wagons came standard only with power steering, brakes, cruise control and air conditioning. You had to opt-in the power package to get the other items.
That made the Quantum Syncro Wagon very much more expensive than, say, a Subaru GL 4WD Wagon or the Toyota Tercel SR5 4WD Wagon. But both of those cars were part-time 4WD; in order to get a car with similar build quality and seamless drive of all wheels, you’d need to pony up a staggering $30,000 for the Audi 5000CS quattro Avant. Volkswagen only brought over 2,500 1986s, making them a rare treat to see today. But the condition which this particular 1986 appears in is staggering:
Update 8/1/18: According to the seller, the car was stolen in the Chicago-area yesterday. See the updated ad here for information.
There are cars from the 1980s, then there are cars that are so 1980s that you’d think they are an actual parody of the decade and just dressing up for a 1980s themed party that one of your friends is having on a Saturday night. As you might have noticed, one of these cars is the Mercedes-Benz 560SEC by German tuner ABC Exclusive. ABC Exclusive was one of the many tuners in the 1980s that pumped out crazy creations from workshops in Europe only to fade away after the money dried up only leaving behind a handful of their creations. We actually featured a BMW E24 6-Series a few years ago by them and it was just as outrageous as today’s car. Most of the time, cars like these are in pretty rough shape by now thanks to the liberal use of fiberglass and body filler, but this 1986 seems to have survived the test of time. Now that cars like these are actually old enough to be retro and cool, would you pony up the cash this C126 is expected to bring?
Earlier this week I checked out a 1984 Mercedes-Benz 380SL that was in a cool European-spec setup. I don’t mean to focus too much on R107s, but one just happened to pop up that I couldn’t overlook. This is a 1986 420SL. Yes, a 420SL. If that number ‘420’ followed by ‘SL’ seems odd, you aren’t wrong in thinking that. In North American, Mercedes only sold the 350SL, 380SL, 450sSL and 560SL offically through their dealerships. Back in the 1980s, some people were bringing in the 280SL, 300SL and 500SL through grey-market channels before that was put to a stop by ironically, Mercedes themselves. For whatever reason, I can’t recall ever seeing the 420SL for sale in North America and they are even not that common in Europe. They use the same 4.2 liter M116 from the W126 420SEL and is generally thought of as ”not the 560” the same way you think of the 420SEL sedan. Either way, one popped up for sale Florida and it doesn’t look like a bad example at all.
As a brand Porsche is known for a lot of things: Production of sports cars that meld luxury, performance, and livability better than most any other marque. A prestigious racing history dating back more than 40 years. And, of course, their most iconic production car utilizes a physics defying rear-engine rear-wheel drive layout. I’m sure there are more. Among the long-time fans and enthusiasts Porsche also is known for its variety. For a price, customers can choose from a wide array of custom options for both the exterior and interior. Even when certain limitations are apparently placed upon such options, certain buyers still might manage to get around these in order to produce their custom Porsche. These programs have gone under the name of Sonderwunsch (Special Wishes) and Porsche Exclusive.
The most common of these options is paint to sample, which typically draws on classic colors from Porsche’s past (though the color doesn’t HAVE to be a Porsche color) made available alongside whatever standard options are produced at the time. As prices for collectible Porsches have increased it appears that the number of buyers selecting a paint-to-sample exterior also has increased. Among air-cooled 911s it is very rare to come across a paint-to-sample example; among current production they are still rare, but you will have no trouble finding one. Some of that certainly is down to recency and increased production more generally, but I think there’s more to it than that.
This 1986 Porsche 930 is not a modern Porsche so we remain in the realm of the extremely rare. It also has not stuck to only a paint-to-sample exterior.
I almost feel like I’ve taken a hiatus from classic 911s of late. So I shall return to them with this Guards Red 1986 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet, located in Massachusetts, with 46,900 miles on it. We see Guards Red pretty frequently on the 3.2 Carrera, less so on the 964, and then even less on the 993. After that? It almost seems to disappear. We do occasionally see red Porsches still today, especially as a PTS option, but it’s certainly a color that seems much less in style than it once did.
Here in the District we’ve been mired in an interminable cloud of rain with plenty of lightning and wind thrown in for good measure. It has been the sort of rain that doesn’t even allow for the barest hint of the sun’s existence. It has me dreaming of the days when blue sky and bright sunshine will return and that has me thinking about Cabriolets again. In the meantime all we can do is plan and wait and try to stay dry.
Audi’s attention to detail in 1986 was…well, poor. Contrary to the never-wrong-Internet’s common belief structure and commentary every time an 80s Audi appears on a site, this had nothing to do with the quality of the cars they built. They were, in fact, very nice cars, and they have generally withstood the test of time as well as their countrymen and better in aggregate than the majority of 1980s cars.
So what was their problem with detail work? Well, notoriously Audis from the 1980s stood a good chance of being in some unusual specification which didn’t conform to what Audi claimed was available. Let’s take this 1986 Audi Coupe GT for example. According to Audi’s literature, if you bought the Commemorative Design 2-door in 1986, you got a special electronic digital dashboard with accompanying “Audi Electronic” oil temperature/voltmeter in place of the typical VDO 3-gauge center dash readout.
Except that wasn’t the only way to get the electronic dash. Because even though it apparently wasn’t an option you could select, Audi must have had a surplus or stock in ColecoVision, because they installed a bunch of these dashboards in a random selection of 1986 and some early 1987s. I know, because I have one of them. Here’s another, and this one only has 28,000 miles:
The lineup of unlikely VAG survivors continues today with this second generation Volkswagen Passat, of course badged the “Quantum” for the U.S. market. This model replaced the lovely and popular Dasher model which had been available in several configurations. Briefly, the new B2 continued that and if you’ve ever seen a 1982 Quantum 2-door hatchback in person in the U.S., you might be alone. The model was dropped quickly, though continuing on was the Variant (VW-speak for wagon) model. And because the underpinnings were shared with the B2 Audi, things started to get pretty interesting for the upscale VW. And, confusing.
Volkswagen was happy to tout the Quantum as the sole “German engineered Grand Touring car sold in America that was available as both a sedan and station wagon and came equipped with a 5-cylinder, fuel injected engine, front-wheel drive, power assisted rack and pinion steering, four-wheel independent suspension AND cruise control”. You don’t say, VW? Seriously, I think they could have left a few modifiers off that description and it still would have been true. The weird part is that the upscale Volkswagen actually tread on the toes of its even more upscale competition – the Audi 4000. Though early 4000s had the 5-cylinder available as an option, when it came to the mid-80s Audi saved the inline-5 only for the quattro models and Coupe GT/5000 front drivers. The 4000 grabbed the engine from the GTI, instead. But you could still get a 5-cylinder Quantum, and you could get a wagon version. Heck, you could even get a Syncro version of it, but only as a wagon!
Here’s where things get even more confusing. The 5-cylinder is usually associated with the moniker “GL5” – the upscale sedan with alloy wheels. And indeed the base Quantum Wagon in 1985 came with the 1.8. But in 1986, you could get a base Wagon with the 2.2 liter inline-5, and I believe the wagon was never officially badged the “GL5”. Weird? That’s VW.