Back in March I took a look at two Audi A4s, comparing an early FronTrak example to a late loaded Avant. Though it looked to be in good shape, the running condition of the ’96 was in question. More problematic, it was a front driver, and hooked to the Tiptronic 5-speed automatic. As a result, despite the low entry price point, it was really hard to get excited about it.
Today’s A4 remedies many of the ailments afflicting that particular A4. It’s still in an Audi signature color combination from the 90s; in this case, Emerald Green Mica over Ecru leatherette. But the highlight here is the drivetrain, with the much more desirable 5-speed manual driving all four wheels through the combination of a Torsen center differential and an electronic rear differential “lock”. Best of all? It’s in great condition and the auction is no reserve!
Spring has sprung and convertible season is here. I type this as I look at my window to still see snow, but the calendar tells me it is officially spring so I’ll just go with that. What better way to start the warm seasons by picking up a relatively inexpensive roadster that won’t kill you in repairs/maintenance and maybe even make you a couple of dollars if you hold on to it long enough. If that is your goal, the R129 Mercedes-Benz SL320 might just be the perfect car. Fortunately, this 1996 up for sale in Maryland checks in with just under 94,000 miles and is a really good deal. How good?
The Golf Harlequin is the model that answers the question no one asked. It’s the model that proves Germans have a sense of humor. It’s also a model which defies logic. If you told your automotive-inclined friend you bought a 22 year old 2.0 automatic 4-door Golf with mis-matched body panel colors, he’d probably offer you the couch in his living room to sleep on for the next month. Things must be that hard for you, after all.
Now, tell him you paid a premium for that car. “How much?”, he’d most certain quip.
The stunned silence which would undoubtedly be followed by the most boisterous of laughter would be punctuated only by the whipping out of a phone and a call to the local insane asylum for an admit, or at the very least a consult. But who’s the joke on here?
In 1996, Volkswagen returned to its roots in the Golf lineup. While the GTI VR6 still grabbed the headlines and enthusiast’s dreams, they re-introduced the 4-cylinder GTI utilizing the 2.0 ABA shared with…well, every other A3 chassis car. Quickly nicknamed the “2.slow”, the 115 horsepower on tap wasn’t anywhere near the VR6 performance. 0-60 was 9.8 seconds versus 7.2, and the smaller engine never had the upper hand as soon as the key was turned unless you were measuring fuel burned. Consequently, the base GTI was really more of an appearance package, and in that regard it was pretty good looking.
The GTI set itself apart from the regular Golf and the Golf Sport it replaced with a new 2-bar grill with GTI badges, twin-chamber headlights and integrated bumper-mounted fog lights shared with the VR6. The signature roof-mounted Fuba antenna also appeared, along with smoked rear lights, 14″ “Flyer” alloy wheels and special interior items. At $16,000, it was hardly cheap at the time. For a few grand less, you could get yourself the class-leading Sentra SE-R which had better tech, better handling and more power. So the GTI made due by living on its reputation, and that meant it felt and looked water-down. Still, today it’s neat to see a clean example pop up, and they don’t come much more clean than this 1996 with only 19,000 miles. Of course, even though there’s no reserve on the auction, there’s still a price to pay.
The past few weeks I checked out top of the range Mercedes-Benz S-Class: the S600. Last week it was the W221 and the week before that it was the W220. Naturally, I thought it would be a good idea to seek out the first S-Class with a V12, the W140. Little did I know, a reader passed along not only a W140 S600, but one with much than what you are used to normally seeing.
This car is none other than a S70 AMG. It started out life as a standard S600 then was sent to the crazy folks at AMG Japan where it was converted from a 6.0 liter to a 7.0 liter. On top of that, they added front and rear AMG bumpers, some AMG wheels and enough wood for the interior to wipe out a small forest. It is in every way the most ultimate factory W140. (Well, maybe other than the S72 AMG) Just when I thought I had the whole story of this car, it got even crazier. You might notice that despite this car being listed on New Jersey’s Craigslist, it is still located in the (country of) Georgia. Does anyone remember a certain BMW E34 M5 from there? I promise this will all make sense. Just stick with me.
I’ve been on a run of yellow Porsches lately. I’m not sure I should be much surprised by that given that it is a color I enjoy quite a bit on performance cars, but at some point even I have to wonder if I’m giving them too much attention. Porsche does make some nice bright yellows and for whatever reason it seems like a lot of them have come up for sale recently. Take a great color and stick it on a great design and I must admit I’m going to struggle to pass it by without at least stopping in to see what the fuss is about.
That brings us to today’s example: a Speed Yellow 1996 Porsche 911 Turbo, located in Missouri, with Black interior and a very reasonable 60,730 miles on it. The 993, and especially the 993 Turbo, have long been highly prized by Porsche enthusiasts and as the last of the air-cooled models, generally one of the pricier options on the market. I think this one may be pushing those heights a little too far.
I do so love a black 993. I know I take particular interest in Porsche’s wide variety of available colors, especially the many pastels they have made available over the years, but my heart will always belong with black. Were I a collector wanting to showcase my cars and Porsche’s iconic selections, then pastels are great, but for an everyday driver I prefer the seeming anonymity of a black car. I also happen to think they can be extremely beautiful when looking their best. There is always that caveat – a black car must be looking its best – but they can be stunning.
The 993, and especially the 993 Turbo with its wider rear, showcases the color very well as it reflects off the car’s well drawn curves. These are the prettiest 911s – a point that doesn’t always sit right with me when thinking about the Turbo. The 930, such an icon of 911 excellence, hardly is a pretty car. It’s almost aggressive appearing to a fault and the 993 softens much of that. In the flesh they are stunning though and it’s easy to appreciate those curves.
As you can probably guess, I like the look of this 911 quite a bit: a Black on Black 1996 Porsche 911 Turbo with 65,508 miles on it on offer from Lusso Fine Motorcars in Scottsdale.
Let me start by saying that I do like this 911. I like it quite a bit actually. It’s a Black 1996 Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe with Tan interior and 38,769 miles on it. It looks to be in very nice condition, the mileage is low, it appears well cared for, and the colors – while not bold – are a combination I enjoy on almost any car. Even the modifications look to have been carried out well and pretty thoughtfully and the ad states that all of the original parts come with the car. So if you want to revert it to full originality, or just change out a couple of things here and there, then you have that option. I imagine it’s quite nice to drive as well!
All of that is good and I’ll go into some more details below. The problem: price. High asking prices aren’t an uncommon thing in the air-cooled 911 world, but this one just seems so high that I’m not sure what to make of it. You should easily be capable of finding a good 993TT for this money. I do wonder if part of the issue is the recency of the modifications, all stated to have been performed in the last 1K miles. Is the seller simply trying to recoup all of that expense? It’s the only thing that would make sense, but as we know you’re not getting your money back on modifications. So we have a nice looking, but high-priced 911. I feel like I’ve been here before.
I was thinking about how to relate my feelings about the first few generations of water-cooled small VWs, and I came up with the analogy of the BBC Doctor Who! reboot in the 2000s. The first generation was Christopher Eccleston; edgy, completely different from the prior generations with a fresh face, impossible not to view with a smile but also something you didn’t completely trust. The second generation? David Tennant took ‘The Doctor’ to new levels of popularity; more refined, more fun and with an infectious smile, he was quirky but somehow much easier to live with than Eccleston had been. He also developed a rabid fan base that consider him the best (this author included) even if he had some faults.
Then came Matt Smith. There’s certainly a fanbase who appreciates Smith’s rounder, softer and…well, weird portrayal of the Doctor. I’m not a fan personally, and often find myself pleading with other Who watchers to go back farther because the earlier variations were much, much better. Yet floppy and oddly proportioned, Smith was nonetheless very popular and took the show to a wider audience. See the Mk.3 VW.
Not really the best at anything aside from being pretty expensive relative to its contemporaries, the 2.0 inline-4 ABA-equipped VW’s nonetheless outsold the prior versions. The were poorly built and even more poorly owned; this was clearly a move towards disposable automobiles for the company, and it worked. I never really got the appeal of the third generation until I somewhat reluctantly owned one. And you know what? It wasn’t as good-looking as my ’86 Golf was to me, but in every aspect it was better. It was more reliable (amazingly), got better mileage, had a nicer interior, was faster and had both heated seats AND air con. And both worked! Plus it had fog lights and more stuff fit inside.…
Back for round 2 for a Mercedes from across the pond: I present to you a little bit of an odd-ball S-Class and at the same time, an infamous one. This is a 1996 S280, a car that North America was never graced with because of it’s rather spartan equipment — if you could even use that term when talking about a S-Class. This W140 is graced with the wonderful Malachite Green paint and even better 18 inch Eltanin wheels. Surprising to me, despite how great everything looks, this S280 is really cheap. How cheap?
Engine: 2.8 liter inline-6
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Mileage: 103,000 mi
Price: GBP 2,499 ($3,252 Buy It Now)
This Mercedes S280 is solid and the general condition of the paint work is great, with the exception of very few age related marks. The wheels are 18″ Mercedes alloys and they all have recently changed, low profile tyres with a good amount of tread depth.
The interior of the S-Class is renouned for its luxury feel and comfort during every journey. This example has lots of features which add to the comfort, including double glazed windows, heated beige leather seats, cruise control, automatic windscreen wipers, electric windows, central locking and centre arm rest. Considering the car was built over 24 years ago, it has more optional extras than most cars do today!
There are some service receipts and previous MOT certificates present with the vehicle, although the service book has been lost over time. The current MOT has no advisory items on the certificate, and the previous certificate had no advisories either.
This is a great example of a classic Mercedes, which is still just as much of a pleasure to take out on the road now as when new.