A ‘M’ by any other name: 1987 BMW 745i

BMW has teased us with competitor’s to Audi’s S8 and the Mercedes-Benz S63/5 AMGs, and there’s no doubt that the current M760i is a weapons-grade executive. With over 600 horsepower and a 3.4 second 0-60 time, drives to you your business lunches will be brief to say the least. But BMW has stopped short of coming out with a full-fledged M7 to this point, and it turns out they’ve been teasing us all along.

The first 7-series was a big step forward for the company, and just like today’s top-shelf offering, the 745i was a turbocharged variant that offered the best performance. That is, of course, unless you were in South Africa. That’s because South Africa got a very special E23, and it all had to do with the right side – of the road, and of the motor. On the M102 and 106, performance of the M30 was boosted by a big KKK K27 turbocharger on the right side of the motor. The placement conflicted with right-drive steering columns, and as a result BMW didn’t build right-hand drive 745i turbos. But South Africa was having none of that, and decided to build their own super-saloon. Instead of turbocharging, BMW SA installed a M88/3 in a claimed 209 of their E23s, matching the performance with M5/6 brakes and a stiffer suspension, along with BBS wheels:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 BMW 745i on Car and Classic

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1987 Porsche 924S

Rounding out my trio of affordable VAG 2-doors is, of course, the Porsche 924. Not that one would consider the 924 very affordable by the end of the run, mind you – but, then, it was cheap by Porsche standards. In 1987, the Scirocco had grown 8 more valves and was a competent performer – more than the match for most of the competition. Base price had also grown to almost $14,000, and equip one with power options to match its more luxurious Audi and Porsche cousins and suddenly you were close to $16,000 out the door. But it was still a big leap to the Special Build Coupe GT, which crested $21,000 with a few options. While it offered a bit more luxury than the 16V, there wasn’t any improvement in performance from the 130 horsepower NG 2.3 10V. To get more grunt, you had to turn to Porsche.

Porsche’s “budget” 944 had also grown in price, and by ’87 you were looking at – no surprise – a $5,000 increase over the Audi to get a more prestigious badge. So to bring the 944 back to its sub-$20,000 base price roots, Porsche brought back the 924. The car that was originally suppose to be the Scirocco and was, for some time, the bread and butter of Porsche’s sales was a 924 in body only as it now had 944 underpinnings. The Super 924 was therefore a bit of a sleeper, offering slightly better performance than the base 944 due to better aerodynamics of the pure design and lighter weight. Base price was briefly $19,900, so in dealerships that sold both Audi and Porsche products, this was a heads-up competitor to the late GTs. And though they ostensibly had similar missions, they were remarkably different cars. Today, little has changed but that the two remain in the same price bracket:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Porsche 924S on eBay

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1987 Audi 4000S

Update 9/26/18: This pristine 4000S has sold to a reader!

While I’m a big fan of the Audi B2 chassis, I don’t spend much time looking at or for the low man on the totem pole – the 4000S. If you read my Audi badging rant from a while ago, you’ll remember that there was no model below the “S” offered here, so the 4000S was the base model. Although these were the least powerful B2s on offer, in manual form they could keep up with the Coupe GT because they were also the lightest of the chassis here. Power came from a 1.8 inline-4 borrowed from the GTI and GLI Volkswagens, but it was mounted longitudinally like all B2 motors. Even though they were down on power to the 5s, the inline-4 also had 20% less motor hanging out front, making them fairly nimble. Like their 5-cylinder GT brethren, you had a choice between a 5-speed manual or the venerable 3-speed automatic that appeared in everything from the Vanagon to the Porsche 944. They were also the cheapest Audi you could buy in the 1980s. Though we often look at 4000 quattros, the reality is that about 75% or more of any given model year’s sales were front drivers. 1987 saw 9,043 out of 11,972 sold in this configuration. These appeared to be bought primarily by older women who wanted a more refined sedan but weren’t ready to buy the W201 Mercedes-Benz or E30 BMW. Much more often than their all-wheel drive counterparts, or even the GT, clean examples of the prolific 4000S pop up for sale:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Audi 4000S on eBay

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1987 Mercedes-Benz 300GD

Now that it is the middle of August and it could snow next week for all we know, I have to start thinking about my winter vehicle situation. My trusty Land Rover Discovery 1 that I’ve had for the past 12 years probably won’t see the flakes fly because I think some coolant is leaking into the cylinders and that is a problem. Because a Discovery with 180,000 miles that has been in Pennsylvania for the past 12 years is worth roughly the price of a used lawnmower, which I’m sure people on Craigslist will offer up for trade, it isn’t worth pulling the heads and fixing. This of course has led me to shopping for G-Wagens. The sensible decision would be to find a decent Land Cruiser/Lexus LX and never lose a dime on it while being 100% reliable, but the crazy person in me says go find a G-Wagen because that is what I really want at the end of the day.

During my search for the perfect G, I came across this wild example up for sale in Canada. You might notice it is quite a bit longer and has a few more seats. This  W460 300GD was cut up and lengthened a massive 32 inches. This added room for another row of seats while still keeping a healthy amount of space in the rear. The fit and finish look great along with basically everything else on this G. But I have to ask, why?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Mercedes-Benz 300GD on eBay

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1987 Porsche 944 Turbo

I think this will be the first 944 I have posted, which is kind of weird. Any time I find myself looking at a model I don’t typically write about the first thing I do is search through our archives just to make sure we didn’t already feature it. And then a funny thing happened. I was reading through a few of Carter’s old posts on the 944 and how the model never really has commanded the attention of enthusiasts the way the 911 and 928 have. Whether we think of the 944 during its actual production or on the present secondary market they aren’t the Porsches people dream about. They never were a poster car. Suddenly I found myself nodding my head. He might as well have been explaining my own thoughts to me.

I write about the 911 a lot and the 928 somewhat frequently. Those are the cars that attract my notice; they are the Porsches that linger in my mind; I notice them on the road. The 944? Not so much. I typically pass them by. Even if I see one on the road today I might only give it a second glance if it’s in very nice shape. So how did we end up here with this Alpine White 1987 Porsche 944 Turbo appearing as one of my posts? Pretty much for exactly the reason just mentioned: it looks really good and comes in a pretty eye-catching color combination. Bright red interiors were quite the thing in the ’80s and it doesn’t get much brighter than Can-can Red. Contrasted with Alpine White it really stands out!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Porsche 944 Turbo on eBay

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1987 Porsche 928S4

Last week I posted a 928S as a potential roll of the dice project. Like a lot of high-end cars, the 928 doesn’t always make for the best roll of the dice given how complicated they can be to work on and the cost to get everything back in proper order. But the color combination and general cosmetic condition really made me want to love it and for some it might be unique enough to take the risk.

This 928 seems a lot more secure and while we can never fully trust a seller without verifying that everything is as it should be, the level of detail here looks such that further investigation should be worthwhile. This is a Guards Red 1987 Porsche 928S4, located in Pennsylvania, with automatic transmission and 72,996 miles on it. The price certainly is higher than last week’s project, but you could easily invest more in that project without returning it to this 928’s apparent condition.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Porsche 928S4 on eBay

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1987 Mercedes-Benz 420SEL

In case you missed or forgot about the totally rad 1986 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC ABC Exclusive, take a look again at a big piece of the 1980s projected in a car. That C126 is a well-preserved look back in time at how extreme popular aftermarket car styling was, and how much our tastes have changed over the years. I was most impressed at how well that car held up because once that kind of styling fell out of favor, often they were dumped off and left to fester. Today’s car, a 1987 420SEL, is one of those cars. This car at one point was probably just as stylish and cool as that 560SEC with its massive fender flares and high dollar wheels, but sadly has fallen in to disrepair and probably won’t ever recover. Let me tell you why.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Mercedes-Benz 420SEL on eBay

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1987 Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe

Back to basics for me here. This isn’t a special model, nor is it a special color or equipped with unique options. It’s not even terribly modern. In that regard it’s a relatively basic ’80s 911, but that does not mean it isn’t an exceptional example of what it is. This is a Guards Red 1987 Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe, located in Pennsylvania, with what I believe is a Linen leather interior. The condition looks excellent, the mileage, which comes in at just 45,085, is quite low and it appears to be almost entirely original. The only obvious non-original equipment is the aftermarket radio, but the original unit is said to come with the car. We aren’t shown the option sticker nor the CoA so we can’t say for certain that the equipment we see is its original specification, but it is purported to be and we can hope that a little more thorough perusal will lead us to one of those items. Overall, this appears to be a very nice example of one of my favorite air-cooled 911s.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe on eBay

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Radwood Ready: 1987 Volkswagen GTI Callaway Turbo by Neuspeed

Recently, in my 1989 GTI post, I referenced the Radwood show in California. A celebration of all things 80s (being liberal to accept items both older and newer, too!), Radwood has become the newest and hottest show to consider. Why? Well, to head to Pebble Beach, Amelia Island or Greenwich Concours, you’ll need a car of significant stature. But you can roll up to Radwood in a 4000 quattro you literally just pulled out of a field (seriously, someone did), and you’ll find fans to celebrate both the model and your insistence that it’s a cool car worthy of being saved. Because, ultimately, it was!

But the GTI I presented was a headscratcher because it was so expensive and subtle that most would probably walk right by. Sure, it had little details that were neat, but not THAT neat or THAT particularly 80s. But today’s GTI takes 80s To The Extreme, killin’ your brain like a poisonous mushroom as you ponder if anything less than the best is a felony:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Volkswagen GTI Neuspeed/Callaway Turbo on Gainsville Craigslist

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1987 Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe Backdate

I would like to make an argument for subtlety and I will use this 911 as my cue. Granted this is still a 911 so it’s not like we’re talking about a sleeper sedan or something of that sort. But within the realm of backdated 911 builds I do think this one has taken a much more subtle approach and the result might just be my favorite of the bunch. There are no decals, there is no ducktail spoiler, there are no fancy Recaro seats in the interior. It isn’t crazy wide or a wild color. This 911 is built in such a way that those with only passing familiarity with the car might not even realize it has been modified at all. I think there is appeal in that.

The 911 design is a beautiful design on its own even when stripped of many of its more aggressive cues. These are performance cars, there’s no doubt about that, but that pedigree doesn’t always need to be shouted. Sometimes simply letting an attractive design look its best is enough to stop observers in their tracks. And I do think this 911 accomplishes that quite well. It’s well balanced, appearing both elegant and sporty, maximizing the better parts of the long-hood 911 and the 3.2 Carrera to produce something that might be better than either one on its own.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe Backdate on eBay

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