I have always found this to be one of the more peculiar 911 models. This is a Midnight Blue Metallic 1992 Porsche 911 America Roadster, located in Miami, with a Tan/Black leather interior and 73,368 miles on it. These are pretty rare – only 250 were produced – and this one looks in very nice shape. The price is pretty high, but given their rarity these do tend to have a high price attached.
So why do I find them peculiar? Well, maybe because I don’t really know why the model exists. Were buyers clamoring for a wide body Cabriolet? Was the 911 Speedster based off the 3.2 Carrera so successful that Porsche felt they needed to produce something similar for the 964 as well? I don’t know, though the Speedster would return in 1994 after America Roadster production ceased so perhaps there was some desire for one.
Regardless, these are pretty neat even if I’m not quite sure about their appeal. The idea was to build a more driver-focused Cabriolet in the spirit of the 356 Roadster, which had replaced the 356 Speedster. As the Roadster moniker suggests, the rear seats have been removed. The rear is wider and the America Roadster received the brakes and suspension from the Turbo. It’s basically a Turbo-look Cabriolet and given that the 964 Turbo only came in Coupe form the America Roadster was your only shot at getting a Cabriolet with the wider rear.
In yesterday’s Corrado SLC post, I referenced both how Volkswagen’s coupe was another attempt to create the “poor man’s Porsche”. Of course, at the same time that VW was perfecting its craft with arguably the best of their front-drive creations in the Corrado with the VR6 in the nose, Porsche wasn’t exactly napping at the wheel. They, too, had perfected their own pauper Porsche. The problem was, of course, that not many paupers could afford it.
The 968 stormed out of the gates and straight into the early 1990s recession wielding 236 horsepower from its VarioCam-equipped development of the 3.0 inline-4 from the 944S2. Evolutionary bodywork linked the model more closely with both the 928S4/GT and the 911 range. But with more power on tap than the standard 944 Turbo had in the mid-eighties, the base price was pretty much out of reach for most mortals. In 1992, the MSRP was $39,950 for a stripper Coupe. If you wanted the Cabriolet, you’d pay more than $10,000 additional. And if you opted for a Tiptronic transmission you’d be at $55,000. In 1992, mind you! That’s over $100,000 in today’s buying power and nearly double what a base 718 Boxster stickers for today. Even the basic Coupe in 1992 was double the sticker price of the 968 hardtop.
That made the Corrado a lot more compelling to consider in period, even with the 968’s stellar poise and road manners. It’s no surprise, then, that Porsche only managed to sell 2,234 968 Coupes here – compared to over 14,000 944 Turbos imported. A bulk of the Coupes, 1811, were 6-speed manuals, thankfully. But as we discovered yesterday, just because they were really expensive when new doesn’t mean that holds true today:
I continue to be a bit grumpy about the Corrado market. Recently I recounted my story of encountering the Corrado G60, deciding ultimately that today it’s not the car I lust after. In part that’s because of its more desirable replacement, the SLC. Yet I have issues with that model as well, speaking back in July about not only how these cars were expensive when new, but often nice examples have pretty ridiculous asking prices vis-à-vis what you’re getting compared to alternatives today.
That brings us to today’s 1992 Corrado SLC. It presents better than most on the market today with only 74,750 miles. It’s a nice color combination of all black and wears the original BBS wheels. Unusually for these cars, there’s even what appears to be a pretty solid history of maintenance and a detailed hand-written log. Sounds great? Well, then there’s the price…
Last week I looked at a really cool 1993 Mercedes-Benz 600SL that took the early R129 styling cues and freshened them up a little bit thanks to some different wheels, tail lights and a little bit of paint. The price was more than reasonable for all you were getting and I think that you would probably do just fine when it came to keeping the value on that car. Today, I wanted to look at another early R129 that is nearly stock just to compare it when it comes to styling. This 1992 500SL up for sale in Alabama is painted in the classic Pearl Gray with dark gray lower cladding that is just a wonderful example of what these early R129s are. Nothing is aggressive or flashy, just a perfectly crafted Mercedes roadster that is built to pass the test of time. The best part about it? You can grab this one for under $10,000.
I’m going to have a lot of questions about this 1992 Porsche 911 Turbo, but I’ll start with the one that struck me immediately and isn’t necessarily related to this particular Turbo. Are we now at a point where the 3.3-liter 964 Turbo is a $200K car? Assuming we’re not talking about some ultra-rare sub-5K mile example, of course. I’m really not sure we’re there yet, but this one seems set on trying to get us there. I will say, I have been seeing a lot more high prices among 964s in general so I’m beginning to wonder if that market is shifting upward for some reason. I have in many cases offered these Turbos as a relatively inexpensive alternative to the collector-sought 1989 930, but if prices are moving up then that idea may no longer work.
As for this one: it’s certainly a very good looking example and appears to be in very good condition. I think the exterior is Tahoe Blue Metallic, a relatively uncommon blue that Porsche offered in the early ’90s. We’ve seen it before, but not quite with this contrast in the interior. It’s certainly a rare example, but enough so to command this sort of price?
Yesterday I looked at 1992 Mercedes-Benz 300E for the pure fact that is it the Sportline option that is pretty rare. Though Mercedes made about four billion W124 300Es, it feels like almost none of them are Sportline. Well, when it rains it pours, because I happen to come across the even rarer 1992 230CE Sportline. Before everyone rushes down to the comments and starts typing ”If only it had a manual transmission!”, hold your fingers, because it does. We North Americans were not graced with this model and surely never in the 5-speed even if it had come, so this one is a rare bird to say the least. Somehow, this 230CE Sportline is up for bid outside of Chicago. I just wish it was a better example.
Last week I went back-to-back with Mercedes-Benz V8 W124s with a high-mileage 500E and a 400E that ended up selling to one of our readers. I thought the 400E was a hell of a buy for the price it went for and probably one of the better deals I’ve seen in a while. Today, I figured I would round out the W124 sedan lineup with a 1992 300E. As you might have noticed by the title, this isn’t a standard 300E but rather the 300E Sportline. I’ve gone over what makes the Sportline special about a year ago, but the short of it is a bunch of suspension and steering changes along with a few interior bits to make this car feel, well, sporty. Sadly, no engine changes from the standard 3.0 liter M103, but you take what you can get when it comes to special editions and Mercedes-Benz. This example up for bid in Phoenix isn’t the most pristine Sportline I’ve come across, but it is rare enough to re-visit. As for the price, I think this one can be had for very little money.
Yesterday I wrote up a 911SC priced at top market (perhaps even above top market) and I will stick with that general theme here simply as an exploration of where some of these high priced cars are selling. That 911SC probably shouldn’t have been priced as high as it was given its overall condition and mileage. It’s a nice car, just not top market.
However, this Guards Red 1992 Porsche 911 Carrera Targa is befitting of that sort of price. The question simply is just how high the market has reached because the asking price here is quite a bit above the standard 964 pricing we typically see. That’s not unheard of for the 964 Targa because they’re pretty rare and from my experience the vast majority really don’t seem to be in great shape and have much higher miles. If we remove those issues do we have a six-figure car? Here is where we might find out.
Rubystone Red (Sternrubin) might be the most love/hate of the well known Porsche colors. I imagine there are colors within Porsche’s extensive catalog that have been less liked overall, but those colors disappear rarely to be asked for again. Rubystone, while we don’t see it very often, does still come around as a PTS option on modern 911s, especially on the limited production high performance models like the GT3 RS and 911 R. And when it does it looks just as stunning as it did upon its debut. A lot of buyers might not like it, but whatever its qualities, on cars that deserve a bold attention-grabbing color it’s a color that performs exactly that function.
Of course, it was on just such a model that it debuted: the 964 Carrera RS. We did not get the Carrera RS in the US market, but rather had to settle for the more tame RS America. With the passing of time it is now legal to import the true Carrera RS and we’ve seen quite a few over the past year or so. Here we have another one, fully restored and looking nearly immaculate, in that eye-popping color of Rubystone Red.
As we saw in last week’s Quantum (née Passat), underneath the Volkswagen was almost all B2 Audi. They had borrowed Audi’s full quattro setup in the Syncro model until 1988. That was the same year that the G60 supercharged engine had debuted in the Golf in Europe, but it wouldn’t be until late 1989 and the new Corrado model’s introduction that the G-Lader would become better known on these shores.
The PG G-Lader devoted to the Rallye, G60 and third generation Passat Syncro wasn’t the most powerful unit VW of the time period at 158 horsepower and 166 lb.ft of torque (the 3G 16V version in the Golf Limited had 50 horsepower more), but the combination of these items seemed awesome at the time to U.S. fans because, of course, in the midst of VAG’s early 90s sales slump they opted not to bring the package here. Like the Corrado, based on Mk.2 underpinnings the Passat’s engine configuration had moved from longitudinal in the B2 to transverse in the third gen, meaning that Audi’s quattro system remained unique to that brand. The Golf’s transverse engine placement precluded use of the Audi longitudinal design, which used output shafts and mechanical differentials. Instead, Volkswagen turned to Austrian company Steyr-Daimler-Puch for development.
Noted for development of four-wheel-drive systems and probably most recognizable for the Pinzgauer military vehicle, Steyr’s solution to the transverse problem was to utilize a viscous coupling similar to the AMC Eagle. However, while the Eagle’s system was all-wheel drive, all the time, Volkswagen’s system would only engage when the front wheels slipped. The Passat added new electronic features to the range topper, too – including anti-lock brakes and an electronic differential lock, and the new shape dropped the drag coefficient to .31.
The best part about the G60 Passat, though? You could get one in wagon form: