Roll the Dice? 1988 BMW M5

The M5 might not have been the original super sedan. It wasn’t even the first hot 5-series. But just like the GTI is synonymous with the hot-hatch segment, the M5 became the standard by which all other super-sedans were judged the moment it rolled onto the scene in 1985. Power seemed other-worldly; 280 plus horsepower from the race-derived M88/3 hunkered down with beefy suspension upgrades and huge (for the time) alloy wheels linked with a limited-slip differential. At a time when “fast” cars had 180 horsepower, BMW’s first M-offering in the sedan range might as well have been a space ship.

BMW promised limited production for the U.S. market, too – and, indeed, only 1,200 were produced for the U.S. with the slightly de-tuned S38. Unfortunately, that was 700 more than BMW had promised to make, and that led to a lawsuit. It also wasn’t very long before the M5’s power reign was eclipsed; first by its replacement E34 model, then by the whole range of new V8 models emerging on the market, from the 1992 Audi V8 quattro to the 500E. Values quickly fell as these old-looking (even when new) boxy rockets fell out of favor, and they remained there for quite some time.

But recently there’s grown a much greater appreciation for all things 80s M, and though the E30 has grabbed the headlines as the market star, outside of the M1 it is the E28 M5 that was brought here in fewest numbers. Even fewer have survived, and finding clean, lower mile examples can be tough. It can also be very, very expensive – Enthusiast Auto Group currently has four great ones on offer, but the lack of listed prices is an indication of some of the market volatility. Hagerty now values condition 1 cars at $98,000, and even poor examples are quite pricey.…

Double Take: Grand Prix White Carrera Targas – Which 5-speed Will You Have?

If you find yourself desiring a classic 911 from the ’80s you’re immediately presented with a few decisions. The first of which, while seemingly the most straightforward, can actually present the biggest quandary: which model do you get, the 911SC or the 3.2 Carrera? Both are great and their similarities in design and performance are such that either model should fulfill your desires. But let’s say you’re set on the 3.2 Carrera. You want the improved performance and slightly more refined feel. You still have one more decision to make: would you rather find one of the earlier models (1984-1986) utilizing the long-standing 915 5-speed transmission or a later model (1987-1989) with the newer G50 5-speed transmission? It seems a minor detail, but the transmissions do make a difference. Most drivers find the G50 to be the nicer shifting of the two and it is a more stout transmission to begin with, a point that certainly could make a difference 30 years from new. However, the G50 also is heavier and typically the prices for the later Carreras, in part because of that transmission, tend to be higher. If you’re thinking strictly about adding one to a collection the G50 probably is the one to get. For a driver? It’s not so straightforward.

Generally speaking, unless you’re very patient most of these decisions will be made for you since you’re typically best off by buying the best available option from these years. A well sorted 911SC is likely to bring you more joy and fewer headaches than a 3.2 Carrera with some issues. Sometimes, however, the options are such that you really can have your choice and, in fact, in our case here your choice really is distilled down almost completely to the different transmissions.

Here we have two Grand Prix White 3.2 Carrera Targas with pretty similar mileage, pretty similar asking prices, and seemingly very similar condition.…

1988 Porsche 930 Targa

We’ve seen a couple of Turbolook Carrera Targas come up for sale recently. Lovely cars and very rare. What we haven’t seen are actual turbocharged Targas for sale. The last time I featured one was almost two years ago. The feature before that takes us back almost another two years. While it’s extremely unlikely I would have seen and featured every 930 Targa to come up for sale over those four years, that tiny number of posts stands in stark contrast to the abundance of 930 Coupes and Cabriolets that grace our pages. In any given week I can almost always find a beautiful 930 Coupe to write about if I so choose. To some degree the same goes for the Cabriolet. The Targa, not so much.

In part this rarity comes down to production time – the 930 Targa only was available for three years, though that’s also true of the Cabriolet and we still see many more of those – and numbers: the Targa was produced in far fewer numbers relative to Coupes and Cabriolets. Why? Presumably they were less desirable. Porsche produced fewer 911 Targas in general. Still the 930 Targa remains a relatively more rare machine.

Anyway, here is one! A 1988 Porsche 930 Targa, located in New Jersey, with 68,100 miles on it:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Porsche 930 Targa on Rennlist

1988 Porsche 944 ‘Celebration’ Special Edition

Update 3/9/18 – The asking price has dropped from $19,900 to $18,500.

In my recent double Porsche 924 post, the rhetorical and problematic question posing entry-level Porsches arose – ‘why not just get a 944’?

It’s a very valid question. Indeed, why would you choose a 924 – even a very nice, limited production one – over a 944? The answer is simple. Price.

When the 924S Special Edition was last on the market in 1988, you could stroll down to your dealer and pick one up for around $23,000. If you wanted to step up to the 944 – which offered no practical improvement in performance, mind you, as it was actually slower than the 924S – you’d have to shell out an additional $10,000. In many ways, that gulf of value perception remains today; it’s possible to find deals on 944s, but equal 944s to the two 924s I looked at? They don’t come cheap, at least not in asking price.

Yet while I’ve spent considerable time talking about the 924S Special Edition and what a cool package it offered you on the cheap, we never really look at its 944 equivalent. Often referred to as the ‘Celebration Edition’, just like the 911 and 924S the 944 received a Special Edition package in 1988. Built to commemorate the 250,000th 911 produced but coinciding with 100,000 944s made, too, Porsche officially referred to the 944’s trim as the “Special Edition Package”. What did you get?

For $2,437, Porsche equipped your car with option code M757. This gave the car “a unique leatherette/gray-plaid cloth interior, silver velour carpeting, and a commemorative plaque which may be personalized with the owner’s name” according to Porsche. You also had to select metallic paint, a $645 charge, in one of two colors; Satin Black Metallic or Zermatt Silver Metallic.…

Face Off: 1980 Porsche 924 Turbo v. 1988 Porsche 924S Special Edition

Increasingly as some of our childhood (or, adulthood) heroes get priced out of sensibility for weekend warrior on a budget status, there are still some bastions of hope for the shoestring enthusiast. One of the best must undoubtedly be the underrated Porsche 924. As Sciroccos, GTIs, 944 Turbos, Quattros and the like take off in value, here lies a plethora of well-cared for, well-built and fun-to-drive cars that have good parts accessibility, reasonable repair costs and surprising amounts of practicality. Sure, it’s ‘just’ a 924, and Porschephiles will probably poo-poo your choice. So, too, will most of the rest of the automotive world. Their loss is your gain. Try as they might, outside of some very special 924 Carreras, these models that helped to keep Porsche afloat in the 1970s and 1980s still haven’t caught on with collectors.

So today I have two special 924s to consider once again. The first is a lofty Turbo model; finicky even in period, they’ve developed a reputation for lack of reliability and expensive repairs, but then have you ever seen the bill on a proper flat-6 rebuild? I’m going to compare it to the end-of-the-run 924S, and this one is the lightweight Special Edition model, too. Both are quite affordable and both appear to be in great condition, so which one is the winner?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1980 Porsche 924 Turbo on eBay

1988 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet Commemorative Edition

It’s been a while since I’ve seen one of these 911s. This is the Commemorative Edition (aka the Jubilee Edition), which Porsche released in 1988 to celebrate the production of the 250,000th 911. Like other special editions of its time the special enhancements were almost entirely cosmetic. In this case that meant special exterior and interior colors: Diamond Blue Metallic for the exterior, with color-matched Fuchs wheels, and Silver Blue Metallic in the interior (the seller refers to it as Diamond Blue in the interior as well though I’ve always seen it called Silver Blue). It makes for an attractive combination that’s quite elegant as these things go.

You also got Dr. Ferry Porsche’s signature stitched into the seat headrests, a shorter shifter, and an electronic top for the Cabriolet. I suppose the most unique aspect of this particular Commemorative Edition is that it’s had the model designation deleted. You probably don’t care about that. These 911s are pretty rare with only 875 produced in total. I believe the seller’s statement that this is 1 of 100 imported to the US refers to the number of Commemorative Edition Cabriolets rather than the number of Commemorative Edition 911s imported in total. Still, there aren’t a lot of them.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet Commemorative Edition on eBay

Motorsports Monday: 1988 Porsche 944 Turbo Cup

Continuing on the 944 theme, there are of course a few transaxles that actually are worth some big bucks right now. The development models – the 924 Carrera GT, GTS and GTR – are pretty well priced out of this world. In the 944 run, the Silver Rose cars are highly valued, too – but value-wise, they’re relative bargains compared to this car. Yet I’ll still claim that this car is a relative bargain compared to its contemporaries. Let me explain.

As a promotional series in 1986, Porsche teamed with Rothmans for sponsorship of a one-make support race series in Canada. The result was the 944 Cup, which ran normally aspirated lightweight examples of otherwise stock 944s in 1986 and 1987. Every once in a while, one of these rare rides (there were only 31 sold) pops up and we’ve covered them before. The big draw on these cars are the lightweight aspect thanks to no sunroof and manual windows, and of course the Rothmans livery.

But the series proved successful and in 1987 Porsche followed up with the more developed, more powerful and more excited Rothmans 944 Turbo Cup. In fact, the Turbo Cup cars were developed for single-race series around the globe – in total, there were 5 series and just shy of 200 Turbo Cup cars produced. Like the prior 944 RC, the formula was pretty simple – lighten a 944 Turbo, leave the engine “stock”, and fit it with race equipment. But Porsche, being Porsche, went a bit above and beyond.

Though the Turbo Cup looked for all intents and purposes like just a 1987 Turbo with racing colors and a cage, the reality was far from that. The engine retained most of its stock components, but Porsche fit magnesium oil pans and intakes to lighten the load.…

1988 Porsche 911 Carrera Targa

If you feel like you have seen this car before, you’re not wrong. I have come across it a couple of times recently for sale, though that’s not quite what I mean. When I saw it I didn’t immediately feature it precisely because I thought it looked familiar and I planned to come back to it and see what was up. As it turns out, we’ve featured it before making this somewhat of a revisit.

About 2.5 years ago we featured this Cassis Red Metallic 1988 Porsche 911 Carrera Targa when it was offered for sale by one of our readers. It’s now come back up for sale. I think it is in the hands of a new owner – based on the stated location of the car – and the mileage is up slightly from last time. It now sits at a still very reasonable 72,450. Mostly, I thought it was worth another post because it looks really great!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Porsche 911 Carrera Targa on eBay

Double Take: Open-top G50 Carreras

I’m forcing the issue a little bit here as I will freely admit there aren’t great reasons for lumping these two 911s together. So why? Basically because I think each is worth consideration for those in the market for a 3.2 Carrera, but neither is really distinguished enough that I think one is obviously superior to the other, nor are they distinguished enough to write up separately. So why not look at them both?

These two 911s each present as similar examples of a late classic 911 and since neither is a Coupe they also present the choices for those who prefer a bit of open-top enjoyment. Each comes from the final three model years after Porsche fitted the G50 5-speed manual transmission and I think their condition is pretty comparable. While the mileage of each is a bit different neither is crazy high nor crazy low. Lastly, I think their selling prices should be pretty close. So if you’re in the market for a G50 Carrera and want a little wind in your hair these both should be worth further investigation.

I’ll go chronologically and begin with this Grand Prix White 1987 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet, located in New Jersey, with Dark Blue leather interior and 68,050 miles on it.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: 1982 Alpina B7S Turbo Coupe with 20,000 Miles

Continuing on today’s green theme and moving up the pecking order a few notches from the E12 duo from the other day, here we have something of a monster. Alpina offered E24 fans a special treat with a turned up turbocharged variant of the 635CSi that was good enough not only to rival BMW’s own M6/M635CSi, but indeed to better it.

The M88 was already a bit of legend before BMW offered derivatives in the /3 and catalyst-equipped S38. With 256-286 horsepower depending on tune, it was about as good as non-exotic normally aspirated motors got in the 1980s. But Alpina had always had a knack for outdoing the cars their creations were based upon, so in went the turbocharger. The result was impressive in any form; the Turbo Coupe/1 was good for 300 horsepower and could match the acceleration of the M cars. But matching wasn’t enough, so Alpina upped the power with the B7S. Now up to 3.4 liters and good for 320 plus horsepower and nearly 400 lb.ft of torque, it was a car which could rip your face off anytime, anywhere. Like all Alpinas, they were lovingly crafted and full of exquisite detail work and limited to only 30 examples:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1982 Alpina B7S Turbo Coupe on Enthusiast Auto