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.
As I’ve more frequently turned my attention to modern 911s, largely in an attempt to locate better performance value, I am still reminded of the 930. The 911 has become quite refined over the years. Porsche has now long been a luxury brand and it is expected that its 911 Turbo will carry on that luxury. While the 930 wasn’t exactly a no-frills 911, it also would be hard to describe as refined. It was more than capable of biting a ham-fisted driver and strictly on appearance refinement hardly would be its calling card. That path lay for Porsche’s own venture into very high dollar territory with the 959. The 930 remained a menace.
It is that quality which always brings me back to it. Modern 911 Turbos are faster and more capable performers in almost any conditions, all while being able to serve as a daily driver. In many cases on the second-hand market they’re cheaper too. So why the 930? For me it just takes one look.
Just beautiful. I can think of no other appropriate way to describe this Iris Blue Metallic 1986 Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe. It isn’t perfect, it isn’t entirely original, nor is it an ultra-low-mileage garage queen. It’s just beautiful.
The version of Iris Blue Porsche gave us in the ’80s – note that it did change dramatically when the color came back in the ’90s – is one of those shades of blue that we’ve seen variants of throughout the 911’s history and it always captivates. It exists on the lighter side of the spectrum, which differentiates it from other great metallic blues like Gemini Blue and Minerva Blue, but it makes no sacrifices to its appearance. For those who are a fan of that lighter shade it makes for a very nice option. On a classic 911 it’s a crowd pleaser.
I’ve been on a little bit of a 930 run lately so let’s continue that. This one isn’t a Slantnose, though it does look a little sad. And I mean that in a fully anthropomorphized sense. I think we can see why so many owners replace the standard headlamps. It does have the rear quarter vents and strakes like the Slantnose and it’s when we get into these areas that my interest rises.
This 930 presents us with a little bit of a puzzle. At least, it does if you’re like me and thinking about 911 values and markets and whatnot. The seller goes to great lengths about this being a show car. At first, I wasn’t sure what he was on about and why the insistence on mentioning it. A lot of older 911s and 930s appear at these events. That’s where the puzzle begins: This 930 isn’t in the vain of a SEMA-style show car, but it isn’t a regular 930 either. It’s modifications aren’t hugely significant, but they do seem purposeful and intended to attract a certain level of attention. The mileage is quite low and it looks in really good condition. The show car emphasis then began to make sense to me. The question I wondered: will prospective buyers have a similar level of appreciation?
We last got to look at a modified E30 through the disappointing realization that finally after years of trying to sell with different dealers, the car listed as an Alpina C2 2.5 was just a very convincing replica. But as noted, the car was clean and wore a lot of really expensive Alpina bits – so while the price tag of $22,800 seemed high for a replica, it was in some ways amazingly justified.
So what happens when the car in question is a real Alpina? We find out when we look at an actual Alpina C2. The asking price in that case was nearly double at $39,500. And when you factor in that the C2 is one of the less desirable E30 Alpinas out there, that’s drawn into sharper contrast.
So here we are again with another Alpina to consider, but it’s not alone. One of our readers spotted a Hartge H26 – an even more rare to see variant of modified 1980s E30. And to kick the rarity up a few notches, both are 4-doors instead of the usual 2-door sedans. So how do they compare in terms of pricing, and are these cars all that they seem?