1996 Volkswagen GTI VR6

6/6/2017 Updated with a new listing from a new seller – click HERE!

The Mk.3 Volkswagen GTI is in a pretty tough spot right now. For many, they’re too new to consider a classic in the making. But let’s take a breath on this one right now – the first VR6 powered GTIs can legally be registered as a vintage car in some states. Now that your mind is blown, move on to the next step – when was the last time you saw a really nice, clean and original VR6? Right, what was it – 2002? Sure, the Mk.3 didn’t have the best interior quality or the best build quality. But then, neither did the Mk.1 or Mk.2, and the GTI versions of those are firmly into collector status. The third generation may suffer from not being a Corrado and looking a little less special overall than the first two, but the addition of the VR6 into the chassis made for one thrilling driving experience. This might be the perfect time, then, to snap up a nice VR6 and get ready to rock some antique

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Tuner Tuesday: 1996 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Ruf BTR Conversion

We’re all pretty familiar with Ruf’s long history of producing automobiles derived from a Porsche chassis. Their ethos falls similarly in line with Porsche itself, though with everything turned up a notch (or in some cases many notches). Whether they are Ruf-modified Porsches or possess an actual Ruf VIN, these cars combine the best of high performance and refinement. One of the cars we see most frequently is the BTR, which used the 3.2 Carrera as the basis for producing a variant of the 911 Turbo. The successor to that model, generally called the BTR2, was produced for the 993 and is the car we see here. They could use most any configuration of the 993, whether the rear-drive Carrera 2 or the all-wheel drive Carrera 4 (though I’ve even come across one based off of a Turbo S) as their base and from there received the typical Ruf treatment that provided a single turbocharger, modified suspension and braking, and a redesigned interior with integrated roll cage. Since either the Carrera 2 or Carrera 4 could provide a base, Ruf was providing either an alternative to the 993 Turbo in its all-wheel drive configuration or a toned down version of the GT2 with rear drive. The example we see here began life as a Carrera 4S prior to being shipped off to Pfaffenhausen for its conversion and features a fairly interesting interior showing off what seems to be a cross between houndstooth and tartan inserts. I’m not sure what we’d call that, but it’s quite eye catching!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1996 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Ruf BTR Conversion on eBay

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1996 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S

I’m always curious when colors change within a marque, especially when they are colors that I particularly like. Here we have an Iris Blue 1996 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S, located in Indiana, with 39,975 miles on it. Iris Blue is a color that we’re fairly familiar with here as it’s been seen on the 3.2 Carrera quite a few times. It’s a really nice shade of blue that veers to the lighter end of the spectrum and one of my favorites available during that time. As should be quite clear, the shade of Iris Blue available for the 993 was quite different, no longer a light blue, but now a dark blue that shows hints of purple when under direct light. The pictures here bear that out fairly well. The full name of the color is Iris Blue Pearl and it is that pearl effect that gives the color is shifting possibilities. I will admit, as someone who loves the original version of the color, that it looks stunning here and seems to work particularly well on the curves of the 993.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1996 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S on eBay

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1996 Volkswagen Passat TDi Variant

If I told someone in the general public that a 21 year old, cloth interior Volkswagen rolling on steel wheels would be worth $10,000 on the open market, they’d probably laugh. After all, Volkswagens half that age are worth only around 50% of that figure. But to the general public, the moniker “1Z” means little else other than the first number and last letter. Unless they’re trying to pass some perverted field sobriety test, that combination just wouldn’t have any deeper significance. But to Volkswagen enthusiasts, “1Z” is the password to secret hyper-milers. They’re the name of the Kingdom of special hippie-crunchy, make-your-own-gas type of automobile enthusiasts. One step from Moonshiners, they take showers about as often as they wash their cars (read: not frequently). They test the suspensions of their cars with how much weight they can carry and or tow at a given time. The term “low mileage” is not in their vocabulary, instead proudly patting themselves on the back for the hundreds of thousands of miles they’ve clattered slowly away. Instead of bragging about 60 m.p.h. times, they are happy to rub your nose in 60 m.p.g. claims. And though the 1Z 1.9 TDi came in a few packages stateside, they absolutely go gaga over Passat wagons of the manual variety:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1996 Volkswagen Passat TDi Variant on eBay

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1996 Volkswagen GTI

The third generation Volkswagen GTI 2.0 might just go down in history as the least appealing of the brand name. Starting with the move to 16 valves in the second generation, the 8 valve models would play second fiddle as mostly an appearance package slapped onto an economy car. But while the second generation had the benefit of butch good looks, flared arches and the signature quad-round headlight arrangement to make you feel that you had gone upscale, when it came to the third generation’s base GTI it was a bit of a head-scatcher. It wasn’t that you didn’t get equipment; your $16,000 got you lots of standard items such as air conditioning, an upgraded stereo, power sunroof and door locks, and a few other premium-feel items (An alarm! Specially colored seat fabric!). The meat of the GTI was the appearance changes, though – from the 14″ alloy wheels to the dual-chamber headlights and projector fog lights, along with smoked tail lenses and a roof-mounted antenna, the special grill held the all-important letters “GTI”. But the performance of the ABA 2.0 inline-4 was standard Golf fair and the suspension wasn’t upgraded – this was, after all, just a Golf. That meant 0-60 in a lethargic 10 seconds unless you fried the front tires and knocked .2 seconds off – the result of all those “luxury” item additions. The 2.0 was a poser, then, and lived fully in the shadow of the high-output VR6 model which packed a full 50% more power in the same package but with upgraded brakes, suspension and wheels. The premium to jump to the VR6 was about $3,500 – a lot of money. But the leap in performance well paid off for your additional indebtedness, and consequently the 2.0 seemed to be popular only with college-bound Jersey girls who were convinced their compact economy hatch was actually a bumper-car ride at an amusement park. Few survive in the condition of this one today:

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Duck Duck Goose It: 1996 Volkswagen Golf Harlequin Replica 3.2 VR6-swap

The Golf Harlequin is one of those strange creatures that ostensibly would look more at home in a art festival than in a car show. Volkswagen’s “Chinese fire drill” of body parts from primary colored Golfs was an interesting exercise, leading to the moniker Harlequin – a reference to the colorful and semi-psychotically eyed ducks, themselves named after a colorfully dressed character in Italian 16th century theater. Now that you’ve learned something, these Golfs have become legendary and desirable in their own right despite effectively being a base model underneath, leading to the replica color scheme not only extending to copies of the originals, but even to replicas utilizing other Volkswagen models. My local Volkswagen dealer, for example, has used the scheme not only on post-Mk.3 delivery Golfs, but even their Chevrolet Express parts vans have the mismatched tones. But today we’ll look at a replica GL which has gone to great lengths to mask itself in the colorful attire. Unlike the originals, though, this one has a serious weapons-grade revision in the drive department:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1996 Volkswagen Golf Harlequin Replica VR6-swap on eBay

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1996 Porsche 911 Turbo

After last week’s auctions, I’ll turn to a 911 that would have been right at home being featured at any one of them. Desirable model, very reasonable mileage, apparent pristine condition, and an elegant color combination. While perhaps not as rare as some of the models we see reach top dollar at those auctions, this 993 Turbo would certainly hold its own and its buyer could take it home knowing that he wouldn’t have to preserve it under cover at every moment. Sure, we’re not likely to see it banging around with a set of snow tires in mid-January, but it still can be enjoyed quite a bit when the weather turns nicer. So here we have an Arena Red 1996 Porsche 911 Turbo, located in Houston, with Marble Grey leather interior and 38,300 miles on it.

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1996 Volkswagen Passat TDi

Recently, I’ve been spending some time driving an Audi C6 A6 3.2 Avant. While I have a report coming on that car soon, I mention it for one reason – what happened the other day when I was filling it up. The gas light pinged on and I pulled into the station; pop the fuel door, card in, nozzle removed, then I tend to pass my time judging other people’s car choices as they fill up too. As I filled, I made my way all the way around the quite full station and had summed up the rather unhappy lives of most of the vanilla SUV drivers in my head. Suddenly, it occurred to me that I was still pumping gas. Filling the Passat generally limits my prejudice party as I run out of room at 12 gallons. The 530xi allows me to make judgements on more Kia drivers, as I’ve hit 16 and change. But I had strode past 16 with ease and the numbers were still going. Concerned, I stopped and began to look for the gas pouring out of the bottom of the car, much to the bemusement of my captive audience. Unable to locate the leak, in wonder I re-engaged the trigger and watched the number on the dial climb past 18 gallons. Now, the A6 gets pretty reasonable mileage for a big, heavy car – around 23 average, over 25-26 on the highway. And all told, if you ran it dry you’d be 21.1 gallons in the whole. That makes a real-world range of over 500 miles per a tank. Sound like a lot? It’s the type of number the B4 Passat TDi laughs at.

Especially in Variant wagon form, the B4 TDi Passats have become legendary. Equipped with the 1Z motor, they’re capable of a simply bladder-busting range. While the estimates of mileage on the car range from 30-41 mpg from the factory, real world results from some owners turn up with numbers closer to Prius-embarrassing 45 miles per a gallon. Now, if the Passat had a fuel tank the size of the A6, that would equate to a pretty large range. But they didn’t have a tank the size of the Audi – it was bigger. Much bigger. In the Variant, many owners claim 26 gallons fills their tank while some markets even had the option for a 33 gallon sump. The result is a pretty dependable 1,000 mile range and, driven very carefully, some VW TDi-faithful have gotten closer to 1,500 miles. Shocking. That means it’s pretty typical to see these TDis with multi-hundred thousand miles accrued, but that’s not the case here according to the odometer. No, this sedan – while it admittedly has a smaller tank than the wagon – has apparently traveled less than 40,000 miles. Here’s the really staggering part; at 20 years old, even going with the “conservative” 1,000 mile range, this car has only visited a gas station on average twice a year since new.

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1996 Audi A6 quattro Avant with 30,000 Miles

Audi’s priorities in the mid 1990s in regards to the U.S. market shifted, as they concentrated their efforts on reestablishing any semblance of market share with what would prove to be the very successful A4. The A4 itself was evolutionary rather than revolutionary, as it incorporated most of its technology from the existing platforms. Similarly, Audi backed away from its venerable turbocharged inline-5 platform; a new V6 had become the go-to option choice in both B4 and C4 platforms in 1992. It was far from sporty, but the combination of moderate V6 power, updated looks with the 1995 refresh of the chassis and legendary build quality resulted in what I consider the most Mercedes-Benz like car Audi built. THe A6 2.8 quattro was luxurious in a Spartan way; just enough power options, but not tech-heavy. It was quiet, comfortable, handsome and capable in a time when it still held the monopoly on all-wheel drive wagons – remember, this was the time when the widespread popularity of SUVs was still a generation away. You could even squeeze seven passengers in to a A6 thanks to the optional rear bench seat. They became vogue with the ski-set, and as a result few appear in the condition of today’s example:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1996 Audi A6 quattro Avant on eBay

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1996 Volkswagen GTI VR6

One car that sticks in my mind which I have yet to try on for size is the Mk3 Volkswagen GTI VR6. Having owned a 1998 GTI 2.0, I yearned for the increased power of the six cylinder variant at times but knew it was all but out of reach for a younger motorist like myself at the time. The VR6 really took the hot hatchback formula and kicked it up a notch, transforming an otherwise sedate looking Mk3 Golf into a performer that could run with the big dogs. It also paved the way for more refined hatchbacks, such as the MINI Cooper S, Mercedes C-Class Sportcoupe and CLC and the BMW 1 series hatchback. This 1996 GTI VR6 for sale in Georgia is about to crest 70,000 miles and is quite unmolested, which is rare for a car that was an object of desire of the Fast and Furious set.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1996 Volkswagen GTI VR6 on eBay

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