Just last night, a friend informed me he had “acquired an older BMW”.
“Willingly?”, I asked. He affirmed he had contractually agreed to this life changing experience. “What model?”, I furthered.
Now, supportive friend Carter probably should have nodded in approval. After all, the Z3 is great value for the money. They’re cheap to buy, cheap to maintain, and fun to drive. But what actually came out of my mouth was laughter. Not maniacal laughter, mind you, but just the uncontrollable mocking type that you immediately feel a bit bad about. Hoping to redeem the situation a bit, I prodded “Six cylinder…?” Nope. 4. I contained further laughter at this point, but I was grasping for straws. Meekly, I ventured “…..manual….?” hoping for some affirmation. “YES!” he happily retorted, glad to finally confirm a question of mine.
It’s actually a nice car, and it’s in great shape, and he paid almost nothing for it. But from the same period, BMW had some other affordable, fun to drive and even more potent options for enthusiasts. Take, for example, the M3 Sedan. Like the Z3, it was rear drive. Like the Z3, it has a manual, and they share some achitecture. But while the Roadster has a bit of a stigma that results in enthusiasts’ dismissal, the M3/4/5 has developed into a legend in its own right. Damn the fact that it didn’t have the more exotic Euro motor, if you want a cheap and pure driver’s car while still being able to comfortably transport 4 adults, they don’t come much better than this platform:
Update 2/12/18: A year after we originally featured it, this ultra-rare S6 Plus is back with 1,000 more miles for $500 less. It’s still a steep price for one of these super-S models, but it’s pretty hard to find them at all, never mind like this.
Audi’s sleeper sedan squared up against some seriously stiff competition in the early 1990s, and to be frank, though it was innovative it came up a bit short in the power department. In turbocharged 20 valve form, the 2.2 liter inline-5 cranked out 227 horsepower and 258 lb.ft of torque. That was impressive by 1980s standards, but in the early 90s you needed to carry a bigger stick. BMW’s E34 M5 brought nearly 100 horsepower more to the party at 311 with the revised 3.6 (and yes, it had more torque than the AAN, too), but Mercedes-Benz really crashed the party with the E500, whose M119 held a full 100 horsepower and 100 lb.ft of torque advantage over the Audi. You could be as clever as you wanted, but a 50% power disadvantage was a bridge too far to cross for the legendary 5 pot no matter how many wheels were driven.
The writing was on the wall, and Audi decided to offer an upgraded V8 model alongside the S4 in the rest of the world. Starting in October 1992, you could select the same ABH 276 horsepower 32V 4.2 liter all-aluminum V8 in the S4. The switch to S6 saw the introduction of the revised AEC, which gained 10 horsepower for the 1995 model year and would continue to be the standard V8 in the S6 until production ended. But the big new was the 1996 introduction from Audi’s skunkworks quattro GmbH of the Plus model.
The Plus upped the ante quite a bit with the reworked AHK V8.…
Update 2/6/2018: After selling in November for $2,250, the new owner of the Candy White GTI is selling it with an uninstalled turbo kit asking $2,900 now.
Tired of seeing high prices for Corrado SLC VR6s? Today is your day, because nearly all of the fun offered in the 6-cylinder Corrado was also slotted into the GTI. For a hair under $20,000, you got the same thrilling 2.8 liter VR6 mated solely to a 5-speed manual. Did you want an automatic? Well, then buy the Jetta. Sure, that motor and the bigger body of the Mk.3 meant it was quite a bit heavier than the previous GTIs had been – by 1995, the ‘hot hatch’ had bulked up with 700 additional lbs of super-weight gain Mk.3000 versus the A1. But faster? Without a doubt. With nearly double the horsepower of the original U.S. market model, 0-60 was sub 7-seconds and you could hit 130 flat out. Coupled too with VW’s ‘we don’t care if you think it’s broke we’re not going to fix it’ styling attitude, the Mk.3 might have not looked as slinky as the Corrado, but underneath it was still a Golf and as such, practical.
So while the Corrado pretended to be a Porsche, the GTI remained the answer to the ‘what if’; you wanted a Porsche, but you a) didn’t want to (or couldn’t) pay for a Porsche, and 2) you occasionally needed a car that you could actually use to transport things other than your smile. This was the recipe that made the first two generations successful.
It was no surprise then that the third generation GTI remained a niche hit for Volkswagen even in relatively dire times for European imports. While finding a nice GTI VR6 can be quite difficult, it was a bit of a Thanksgiving treat to see two pop up in my feed.…
Some people like to upgrade their cars with aftermarket parts or parts from other vehicles from the same manufacturer. Usually it’s a small part or maybe a set of wheels that satisfies their itch. Other people go a little bigger with maybe custom body work and paint. Then way on another level, we have what was done with this 1997 Mercedes-Benz S600 in Russia. It’s impressive enough to have a Mercedes tweaked by legendary tuner Brabus, that this car is, but it’s a whole other ball of wax once you see what is hiding inside this car and the special surprise hiding in the trunk. Here is a hint: It isn’t subwoofers.
A coupe days ago for our feature of this 993 Turbo I spoke about the particular desirability of a black car and specifically why I like them. But what if you want to maintain the darker palette without going the full dark of black? Then this 911 might be more what you’d want. This is an Ocean Blue Metallic 1997 Porsche 911 Turbo, located in California, with tan interior (Cashmere Beige I’d guess) and 77,267 miles on it. Seen out of direct light that Ocean Blue exterior almost will look black, but step closer or add a little sun and that metallic blue paint shines through beautifully to provide just enough differentiation. The black wheels add to the darkly aggressive look. If you don’t like them, have no fear the original wheels come with the car.
Yesterday I featured a regular 993. It was very pretty. Today we’re going to take that design and turn everything up. The performance, the look,…, the price. But I have to say this one isn’t any less pretty than the other one. It’s a heck a lot more aggressive looking though.
The 993 Turbo already does great things with the 993’s lines. With a couple of small tweaks by RUF it looks even better. We all know RUF GmbH. In the tuner world they may be the most well known name around. For Porsches they are certainly the most highly regarded. Unlike some Porsche tuners that followed more in the footsteps of Porsche’s racing designs, RUF stuck mostly with subtle modifications to its road cars. The uninitiated might not have even known the car had been modified. While few Porsches could ever qualify as sleepers, a RUF almost could, assuming that others mistook it for a “regular” Porsche.
For the 993 RUF gave us the Turbo R: 490 twin-turbocharged horses directed to all four wheels through a 6-speed manual transmission. That’s 82 more hp than a standard 993TT and still 66 hp more than the Turbo S. Heck it’s even well up on power compared to the GT2 all while retaining a healthy does of civility. And here’s one such beast for sale!
This 911 began life as an Arctic Silver 1997 Porsche 911 Turbo before undergoing a conversion to the RUF Turbo R. At 37,500 the mileage is quite low, the condition looks great, and it’s said to come with its paperwork.
This car grew on me quite quickly. When I first saw it I thought it was a nice enough 993 Coupe. The condition looks good and the mileage is pretty low. As I’ve looked at it more it’s not so much that any of those thoughts have changed, but rather that its overall appearance is much better than I thought. I believe I’ve said a few times before that I find white to be a color that works particularly well on some cars, while on others I don’t like it at all. I have never been able to figure out what makes such a stark difference to me – and I do think this is very much a personal thing.
As you’d probably guess I’m finding white to be particularly nice on the 993 and, of course, on this 993. Some of the 993 Turbos I’ve seen in white are even better! In this case it is the combination of interior and exterior that are really attracting me. This is a Glacier White 1997 Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe, located in California, with Cashmere Beige interior and 58,690 miles on it.
I’ve passed by this 993 a few times and I’m starting to think that I shouldn’t have. I obviously notice it any time I see it. Maritime Blue, especially on a 993, will do that. It’s a great non-metallic blue and it really grabs your attention. So why ignore it? For starters it is for me the least desirable model: a Carrera 4 Cabriolet. In fairness, it’s a manual transmission so it could be worse, but overall it’s not a model I’d seek out. Second, I hate the wing. Like really hate it.
So the color would draw me in, I’d take notice, see the wing, and move on. However, that’s not entirely fair. There’s a lot of good going on with this 911 and the wing is something that can be changed. So let’s take a look. As I said this is a paint-to-sample Maritime Blue 1997 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 Cabriolet. It has only 30,412 miles and the paint is mostly original – both bumpers have been repainted. It also has some interesting options with the rear seat delete, the hi-fi sound package, and 18″ Technology wheels among a few others. There’s more going on here than I initially realized.
How about we turn our attention to one of Porsche’s prettiest 911 designs? The 993 Carrera S. I suppose from a purely aesthetic point of view I can’t really say it’s any prettier than the Carrera 4S I featured last week, but there’s something about the knowledge that its power only goes to the rear wheels that seems to elevate it even on appearance. Like the C4S these also are very desirable models – probably even more so – and even if this one doesn’t have the crazy low miles of that Speed Yellow C4S there is a lot here to tilt this 911 strongly toward to the collector market.
So what do we have? A Guards Red 1997 Porsche 911 Carrera S, located in Connecticut, with Grey leather interior and just 28,912 miles on it. As most will notice immediately it’s not entirely original. The Speedline wheels have been added, along with a radio, and the Turbo tail. While it isn’t specifically stated to be the case, it doesn’t sound like any of the original parts come with the car. That’s too bad, but this otherwise remains a very attractive 993 that should have great appeal.
Last week I checked out a 1999 Mercedes-Benz S500 Grand Edition and explained that I think it is one of the few ”special edition” Mercedes that actually has some kind of impact on the value of the car. Today, we have of those ”special edition” Mercedes that really doesn’t move the needle with people and even more so, some think what was done to it makes it undesirable.
This is a 1997 SL320 40th Anniversary Edition. I’ve covered these before, but the short of it is Mercedes made 250 SL320s painted in Quartz Blue Metallic with matching wood trim called ”Royal Maple” which is far from a color that comes to mind when you think wood. Some like the uniqueness of it, some say it’s garish and doesn’t make any sense. Either way, this example up for sale in Georgia is probably one of the lowest mile examples I’ve seen with just over 21,000, but does that mean the price tag has to match?