1990 Audi 90 quattro 20V

1990 Audi 90 quattro 20V

Just as they had with the development of the 10V Turbo for their top tier products, Audi’s work on the Group B, Sport and later RR 20V Quattro (along with the creation of the original S-series cars soon after) trickled down into the rest of the range, but only in a very limited fashion. The 7A 2.3 liter 20V motor was the beneficiary of that racing work, and it was at the time a pretty impressive unit. Out of 2.3 liters, Audi squeezed a very reliable 164 horsepower with a screaming 7,200 RPM redline. While it’s true this was down on peak power to racing motors like the M3’s S14, the adding of the second cam and a modern EFI engine management also yielded nearly 160 ft.lb of torque.

So why does everyone claim that this car was under-powered?

Weight. The luxury-oriented B3 was most popular in Coupe form, where at 3,300 lbs in 1991 it was in need of a diet. It was 30 horsepower down on the BMW, and weighed 500 lbs more, with a more frontward weight bias. A performance car this did not make, and the result was that the expensive Audis leisurely gained speed. Despite the near 50% power increase over the outgoing Coupe GT, a stock B3 Coupe Quattro shared near identical 0-60 times and cost $10,000 more.

But if you were a clever buyer, you could get slightly better performance out of the 4-door variant of the naturally aspirated double overhead cam inline-5. That’s because concurrent with Coupe production, the motor and drivetrain was offered in the slightly lighter 90 quattro 20V:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Audi 90 quattro 20V on Chicago Craigslist

Motorsports Monday: 2006 Volkswagen Rabbit

Motorsports Monday: 2006 Volkswagen Rabbit

This is a $18,000 11 year old Volkswagen Golf. And, by Volkswagen Golf, I mean Rabbit, because for a short time VW North America apparently decided to resurrect the small fuzzy bunny name which dated back to the first generation. Hey, it had worked with the Beetle, right? Except that most people had negative associations with the Rabbit which outweighed the negative associations with the Mk.4 Golf. It was a strange choice that was pretty quickly abandoned. Whatever, it’s the same car with a bunny symbol on it so you’ll make Playboy fans all excited to see a kindred spirit driving. Yes, that’s why they’re giving you a thumbs up.

Okay, back to the price. It won’t take anyone long to see that you can pop over to Volkswagen and buy a brand new Golf for under $20,000. This one is 11 years old and has nearly a quarter million miles on the chassis. I know Golfs retain silly residual value, but this is a bit ridiculous – or, is it?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2006 Volkswagen Rabbit on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: 1987 Alpina C2 2.5

Tuner Tuesday: 1987 Alpina C2 2.5

Alpina values might be as hard to follow as those in the 911 world. As with all proper marque-specific tuners in the German world, there’s a fair amount of attention being levied upon the Buchloe firm, and some models are demanding outrageous premiums; for example, recently one of the ultra-rare B6 3.5S models sold for a simply staggering 200,000 Euros.

Does it follow, then, that all E30 Alpinas are outrageous money? Some asking prices would seem to equate that, but the asking prices have often failed to be recognized. Take, for example, the 1984 C1 2.3/1 current for sale on eBay. I looked at this car the best part of a year ago when the asking price was an eye-watering $99,000. I suggested that if you were willing to pay that amount for that example, men in white coats may be locking you up. It seems that most agreed with me, as the car has moved to a new dealer and is still languishing, now with a more reasonable still insane $67,500 asking price.

So, when a more potent version of the Alpina C series pops up with an actually realistic price, we should take note. But should we click the Buy It Now immediately?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Alpina C2 2.5 on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: 1985 Audi Coupe Quattro RE2500

Tuner Tuesday: 1985 Audi Coupe Quattro RE2500

Odds are that there are quite a few people who still don’t know that the narrow-body, non-turbocharged Type 85 Coupe Quattro existed at all. Move outside of the U.S. market, though, and the Coupe GT could be opted with the all-wheel drive underpinnings of the 90 (4000) quattro, resulting in the WRC-winning look without the Porsche 911 price tag. But while generally fans of the B2 chassis can’t be dissuaded that it might just be the best Audi product ever, the reality of owning one of these trustworthy steeds was that they were pretty slow. Dependable, tossable, still fun to drive – but slow. On top of that, the aftermarket industry for the inline-5 was pretty weak. There were some products out there; I had an original Abt header, for example, and you could buy a Schrick cam or briefly a neato Jamex air intake. But the real way to gain power was to swap in a turbocharged inline-5, right? Well, apparently no one told the folks at GTi Engineering in Brackley that:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Audi Coupe Quattro RE2500 on eBay

Feature Listing: 1999 BMW 323is

Feature Listing: 1999 BMW 323is

The BMW Car Club of America isn’t exactly a tough to join organization. Fill out a form, pay your dues, and you too can receive an honorary doctorate in BMW ownership. Heck, for a while if you bought a new BMW they automatically signed you up for the club! However, it’s not the joining that is particularly noteworthy in this discussion. Don’t get me wrong, they’ve got a fantastic magazine that is filled with a tremendous amount of useful information and reviews. But where the BMWCCA membership really shines is when you’re selling your prized car, and you see it all the time with older models. As a BMWCCA member of a no longer new car, you’re probably more diligent about oil changes. You may even be engaging in preventative maintenance. You’ve likely documented all the work you’ve done. And, more often than not, you’ve taken very good care of your car. Downstream, these little (or not so little) things add up.

Now, finding an E36 for sale isn’t particularly a rare event – they’re everywhere, and most are pretty cheap. As I said in a recent M3 article, there are quite a few cheap and tired options to fit any budget. But a well cared for, maintained and tastefully modified E36? Now, that’s reason to take notice:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1999 BMW 323is on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: 1988 BMW M3 AC Schnitzer S3 Sport 2.5

Tuner Tuesday: 1988 BMW M3 AC Schnitzer S3 Sport 2.5

Though ultimately not as well known as Alpina, AC Schnitzer replaced the more famous brand a the defacto factory race team in the late 1970s and 1980s. To capitalize on their success at the race track (including the successful campaigns in the DTM), in 1987 AC Schnitzer launched their first brand-specific model based upon the new E32. That was followed by a more sporty E30-based model, dubbed the ACS3 Sport in 1989. It was available based upon either a normal 3-series, or those with a bunch of dough could opt to allow Schnitzer to modify their prized M3. And modify it did; subtle changes outside included revised mirrors, a light change to the rear end and a single-wiper conversion to really channel the DTM spirit. Wheels were either 17″ multi-piece Schnitzer design, or the ever-popular BBS RS model in 16″x8 or 9. As Alpina did, Schnitzer included their own steering wheel (4 options available), a numbered plaque, bespoke suspension 20mm lower than the standard ride height, and a unique rectangular-tipped exhaust. However, the real treat was the full 2.5 conversion, which really packed some extra power in the S14. Schnitzer brought the total displacement to 2,431 cc – just shy of the 2,467 BMW themselves would produce in the 1990 Sport Evolution. Coupled with a revised DME, the S3 Sport 2.5 produced an impressive 245 horsepower. They are exceedingly rare to come across, but our reader Daniel spotted this fully converted 1988 example for sale:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW M3 AC Schnitzer S3 2.5 at Garage Current

Tuner Tuesday: 1985 Alpina C2 2.5

Tuner Tuesday: 1985 Alpina C2 2.5

It’s a strange world we live in when I first looked at the $39,500 asking price of this 1985 Alpina C2 2.5 and thought, “Well, that’s pretty reasonable”. But at what may be the height of the Zeitgeist of E30, when asks on 318is models are in the 20s, 320is are in the 30s and you’ve heard enough about the M3’s race winning streak to nauseate Jochen Neerpasch (no, no, I’m sure you know who he is without looking it up, “lifetime” M3 fan!), is it really all that outrageous to ask $40,000 for an excellent condition, ultra limited Alpina model? This particular one was a stranger even in Europe; the C2 2.5 was a Japan-only model with 74 reported produced. It was also the second least powerful on offer from Alpina, with only the C1 2.3/1 below. Although that meant it was more a sheep in wolf’s clothes than the typical other way around, the C2 2.5 still packed 185 horsepower and matched it with upgraded suspension, wheels, brakes, exhaust, and of course the typical Alpina décor. This particular example, looking splendid in Lapis Blue, comes to the market with only 46,000 miles:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Alpina C2 2.5 on eBay

1990 BMW M3 Sport Evolution

1990 BMW M3 Sport Evolution

There is nothing that I can say here that will matter at all. I won’t convince you that the E30 M3 is overpriced – maybe, compared to some of the other limited run homologation vehicles like the Sport Quattro and even the asking price on Paul’s 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II two weeks ago this Sport Evolution is downright cheap. Despite that, I could tell you that for the for the asking price of this car you could have a whole fleet of very interesting cars. Heck, you could buy a lesser E30 M3 and still have a huge chunk of change left over to buy many other vehicles and even maintain them. Some houses are less expensive than this car. College for most is less expensive than this car. The average worker at Walmart won’t make in a decade what the asking price is here. But none of that matters, because if you’re even still reading I’m just making you tread water until you can see more photos and drown in the eye-watering price:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 BMW M3 Sport Evolution on eBay

Feature Listing: 1987 BMW 325ic

Feature Listing: 1987 BMW 325ic

April 2017 update: The seller of this car has relisted it HERE!

It’s very interesting to me to look back and compare the 1980s offerings from the big three luxury producers in Germany. In many ways, BMW lagged behind the competition early on. Audi launched the B2 chassis in 1980, and it revised the standards of the near luxury market for Germany. There were diesel and gas motors, two or four-door configurations, and even a wagon from sister company Volkswagen. But the real addition gearheads loved was the wide-winged turbocharged and all-wheel drive Quattro, the first of the hot versions that would come to the market for junior executives. Indeed, it was the Quattro that changed the future of the W201, as Mercedes-Benz changed the mission of the future 190E 2.3-16 Cosworth from rally to circuit racer. So, Mercedes-Benz had a track version of the W201, and it also set the standard in build quality. Bringing those reputations to the small luxury market meant a whole new class of clientele and the W201 was massively successful thanks to a bunch of factors. While VAG produced about 1.6 million B2 chassis cars between 1976 and 1987, an amazing 1.8 million W201s made it to market. Those successes put more pressure on BMW, and it responded.

The E30 was without doubt the sportiest of the three out of the box, and just like the B2 is was amazingly versatile. There were sedans and 2-door sedans, and BMW was able to match the Volkswagen Passat with a Touring offering. Hot shoes liked the addition of the Motorsports division M3, which not only met the challenge of the Quattro and Cosworth but exceeded it by nearly every measure. Build quality was great but performance was even greater. But BMW wasn’t done, as it took the versatility – and the small executive market – to a new level.…

Tuner Tuesday Forbidden Fruit: 2012 Audi RS3 Sportec RS550 and 2013 Audi A1 MTM

Tuner Tuesday Forbidden Fruit: 2012 Audi RS3 Sportec RS550 and 2013 Audi A1 MTM

I’ve been taking a look overseas over the past few days at a few older treats that never came here, so today we’ll look at a few newer Audi products that also were prohibited from U.S. shores. One of the biggest disappointments for many four ring enthusiasts was that the 8P RS3 model wasn’t imported here. Basically a 5-door TT-RS, it was a Golf R on even more steroids – but today’s example upped the power a full 200 more than stock to 550. Similarly, I have one of the 333 8X A1 quattro MTM models produced a few years ago, and while it doesn’t share the monster performance of the RS3 it’s sure an appealing package. Which would you love to have here on this Tuner Tuesday?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2012 Audi RS3 Sportec RS550 on Classic Driver

Tuner Tuesday: 1986 Alpina C2 2.5

Tuner Tuesday: 1986 Alpina C2 2.5

It’s somewhat amazing that a small tuner like Alpina managed to turn out nearly as many variants of the venerable E30 chassis as the factory did. Alpina developed a total of 11 variants of the 3 series that I can figure out, and with the Japanese specials there may have been even more. The C2 was the top-tier model of the small Alpinas until the introduction of the M3, which effectively negated the entire point of the C2. It was a bit quicker and cost less than the Alpina, and consequently the small tuner upped the ante by slotting in the larger M30 motors to really take performance to the next level. But the early cars are still quite potent; in 2.3, 2.5 or 2.7 form, the C1 and C2 had between 170 and 190 horsepower, and with only a reported 160 built between all the “C” models, they’re certainly much more exclusive than the M3. The same seller as earlier’s AMG has turned up with a late C2 2.5 from Japan; wearing gold Alpina decor over the Alpine White exterior, this is one shining gem of an E30:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Alpina C2 2.5 on eBay

Poor Man’s Dilemma: 1980 Porsche 924 Turbo v. 1988 Porsche 924S

Poor Man’s Dilemma: 1980 Porsche 924 Turbo v. 1988 Porsche 924S

As we’ve charted the demise of the 996’s residual value, it may no longer be accurate to say that the Porsche 924 is the best value for your money if you just want a Porsche crest. But with the rising prices of 911s, 944 Turbos and 928s, if you want a Porsche from the 1980s, there’s simply no contest – 924s represent the gateway into Stuttgart’s finest without obliterating your retirement fund. In fact, many nice Porsche 924s can be had for a song – even though we’ve also recently seen the elite 924 Carreras push well into 6-figure territory. As a lover of the Audi Coupe GT, which share a shocking amount of parts with it’s much more highly sought bulging brother Quattro but not the value, I can identify with the plight of the 924 enthusiast. Indeed, I consider the 924 to be a great design and love both the early, simple cars from the 1970s for the clean purity of purpose right through the upgraded 924Ss, one of which resides in my family and I’ve spent a considerable amount of time in, under and around. So it should come as no surprise, being a fan of the underdogs, that I ponder 924 ownership on a semi-regular basis. The question is, which 924 do I like more – the early, vented turbo models that were the homologation of much of Porsche’s racing technology, or the “real Porsche” 924S, replete with the underpinnings of the 944? I’ve found two pretty comparable models, so let’s take a look:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1980 Porsche 924 Turbo on eBay

Tuner Tuesday E30s: 1986 Alpina B6 3.5 and 1990 325i Hartge

Tuner Tuesday E30s: 1986 Alpina B6 3.5 and 1990 325i Hartge

These days, I think you could slap an E30 badge on just about anything and the cult of the small sedan would perk up and pay attention. If the E30 was the natural choice for a sporting executive in the 1980s, it’s become the defacto way to instant street credentials in the European scene. “Sure bro, you might have a 2JZ-GTE Supra, but I got an E30 dawg!” you might overhear being conversed with a heavy beat from Ludacris pumping in the background and scantily clad women draping themselves over your Claus Luthe designed hood, for example. Is that not what happens? Well, the appeal of the E30 is such that you could easily believe that might be the outcome of turning the key in one. As an Audi fan from the same period, I have to admit a certain amount of jealousy; not so much in the design, but in the plethora of choices of what’s available in the market and the amount of manufacturer and aftermarket support. It’s something you just don’t really see in the Audi camp, for example. That means that you can have some mild to wild examples of E30s to choose from each and every day of the week. They’ve also hit importation status on some later models, so the flood gates have quite literally opened and a steady stream of Euro market cars is popping up for sale, trying hard to capitalize on the car made popular by the success of capitalism. As such, today for Tuner Tuesday I have two E30s to consider; a wild Alpina B6 3.5 from 1986, and a 1990 325i right hooker with a host of Hartge upgrades. Who wins the tune-off?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Alpina B6 3.5 on eBay

1987 Porsche 924S

1987 Porsche 924S

I have to admit, when I heard that my father had finally bought a Porsche after years of contemplation, stopping by dealerships, test drives and dreams I was hugely excited. However, those dreams were dashed on the rocks of reality when the tatty Zermatt Silver 1987 924S pulled up. At that time, I didn’t really know what the 924S was – other than that it was clearly not a 911 or 928. It didn’t even really look like a 944, though there were several obvious similarities. I had a hard time wrapping my head around it, and I was brought back to when I was a much younger lad and my father’s friend invited us over to go for a ride in his then-nearly new 1982 924. Although the wheels were larger on my father’s example, it seemed that there was little different. I was further disappointed because this was my father’s new track car, replacing his 1988 M5 as the car of choice to head to the circuits. That seemed especially odd, and admittedly I didn’t get it until I got to drive the car on track a few years later. Those know Lime Rock Park before the repave will recall that at the bottom of “The Downhill” there was a compression mid-corner that if you hit wrong would result in some unexpected and unwanted turning. I found myself there at full throttle, 90 m.p.h. in the 924S; hitting the compression, the car was instantly pitched sideways to the point that I was looking down the straight through the driver’s side window frame. While I’d like to say that it was my supreme driving ability that pulled us out, I think the reality is that the 924S proved what made it a great driving car in that instance – a quick correction on the wheel, no lift and with little drama we continued down the straight.…

Heap of the Week: 1995 Audi S6 Avant

Heap of the Week: 1995 Audi S6 Avant

When opportunity knocks, sometimes you should answer the door; this may be one of those cases, especially if you’re a fan of fast Audi wagons. The Audi S6 Avant has been a cult classic since new; near bullet-proof engines capable of monster power, all-wheel drive in a slick package, a manual gearbox and room to carry enough to satisfy even Hannibal’s trips to Italy, the S6 is a unique package that relied underscored Audi’s mission in the 1980s and 1990s – they were different than everyone else, but in a very good way. Sure, if you want pure driving bliss on switchbacks or near-silent Autobahn cruising, BMW and Mercedes were better options in those specific cases – but as an all around package, the S6 Avant had no peers in the marketplace. That didn’t translate into overwhelming sales – but the exclusivity has if anything bolstered the legend of the Avants and artificially increased demand. How much has demand increased? Take a look at the bidding on this S6 Avant – at time of writing with 4 days left and the reserve still on, it’s $8,100. That may not sound particularly shocking until you find out that the motor is blown:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Audi S6 Avant on eBay