VRffordable Double Take: 1997 Volkswagen GTI VR6

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. So which is the winner?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1997 Volkswagen GTI VR6 on eBay

Feature Listing: 1981 Mercedes-Benz 280E

I give a lot of love to the Mecedes-Benz W123 and rightfully so, some think it is the best car ever produced. A few even claim that in these Benz models will be the only survivors of in a post-apocalyptic world. I’m not one to argue as I own a 1983 240D and drive it on a regular basis. It is far from perfect and has it flaws, but when I’m driving down the road in it I can’t help but think how satisfied I am in it. When I really think about it, my most my complaints are from the powerplant in the 240D. Sure, it is as dead simple and reliable as the day is long. But on the other hand it is loud, not that smooth, is dangerously under powered at times and leaves a film of diesel residue from the exhaust on the interior when I drive with the windows down. (I’m sure that isn’t great for my lungs either.) The 5-cylinder OM617 solves some of the problems, but it is still unrefined at times. So what are the other options then? How about a silky smooth inline-6? Luckily, Mercedes-Benz offered that option in the W123 and while not nearly as common as the diesel cars, they are still out there.

This 1981 280E for sale in Maryland offers up that inline-6 option. It has everything great about the W123 but also a 2.8 liter that makes a very respectable 185 horsepower! This is a far cry from the 84 horsepower in the 240D and the 125 horsepower in the 300D. The M110 engine uses a Bosch K-Jetronic injection system that is reliable, not overly complicated and though it won’t return diesel-level gas mileage, it won’t break your wallet either.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1981 Mercedes-Benz 280E on Hemmings

Winter Warrior – 1994 Audi 90CS quattro

Audi’s nomenclature took an interesting turn once again in the early 1990s. From the B2’s “4000CS quattro” – the only way the car was available at the end of the run, Audi had introduced the tiered 80/90 quattro for the B2 model range. That culminated in the 90 quattro 20V, but even though the run of the B3 was short in the U.S., by 1991 the model was already 6 years old for the European market. Audi then skipped the 1992 model year for the 90, offering only the holdover 80/80 quattro while it readied the 90’s replacement. That replacement was…the 90. But strangely back again was the S/CS model designation in this “new” chassis, the B4, which was a heavily revised B3 chassis with some new sheetmetal and trim. But the big news was new engines; gone was the NG and 7A, last of a long line of inline-5s that had populated the noses of small Audis since the late 1970s. In its place was the AAH 2.8 liter 12 valve V6. Rated at 172 horsepower and 184 lb.ft of torque, on paper it was the superior motor to the double-overhead cam inline-5 it theoretically replaced. But the power delivery and experience were entirely different. While the peaky 7A encouraged you to explore the upper realm of the rev counter, the AAH wasn’t particularly rewarding at the redline. Where it was superior was in low-end torque and it’s smooth power delivery, and though the cast-iron V6 was no lighter than the inline-5, it’s shorter overall length meant that some (okay, only a bit) of the nose-heaviness that had plagued the B2 and B3 series was forgotten.

But the ‘CS’ quattro moniker only lived a short two years in the U.S. before it, too, was replaced by the last-year oddly-named Audi Sport 90 quattro.…

2001 Volkswagen Jetta VR6 Smyth ‘Ute’

I’m sure you’ve seen it once before. Someone takes a regular sedan or wagon, grabs a sawzall, then three months later out rolls a car with a bed on it. Usually the rear window is something out of a truck at the junkyard and is held in by some leftover bathroom caulk. The entire car now has the structural integrity of a pool noddle and it’s only a matter of time before the entire thing collapses. But what if I told you that there is now a way to make a ute from your VW or Audi without risking your life and everyone elses lives on the road? Thanks to this 2001 Jetta ”Ute” in Detroit, I now know there is an entire market for these conversions.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Volkswagen Jetta VR6 ”Ute” on Detroit Craigslist

1997 Volkswagen GTI VR6

After its unceremonious and unexplained exit from the U.S. market with the introduction of the third generation Golf in 1993, the GTI came roaring back in a big way for the 1995 model year. Sure, it was bigger, bulkier and well…roundier, but it came with a bunch more gusto thanks to the addition of the VR6 motor as seen in the Corrado and Passat models. The single-overhead cam, twelve valve head lacked the race-bred feel of the Mk.II 16V, the new motor more than made up for it with the addition of two more cylinders. Good for 172 horsepower and 173 lb.ft of torque, it swept the hot hatch from 0-60 in 7.1 seconds and produced a 15.5 second quarter mile at over 90 mph. But much like the original, the GTI was more than the sum of its numbers, with drivers enjoying the great 6-cylinder soundtrack which accompanied the waves of usable torque.

Of course, like all VWs from the period, it was expensive. Really quite expensive. A base GTI VR6 rolled out the door in 1995 at $18,875, and with a few options it wasn’t difficult to breech $20 grand. Yet that was still only a little more than half the money it would take you to grab a same-year M3, which offered only a bit more motivation and cornering prowess. Catch the pesky BMW driver off-guard, and they’d be unlikely to easily out-drag you. So you could either look at this model as a really expensive Golf or a really cheap BMW. That was what the legendary GTI had always been about, and this was a resounding return to form and continuation of the brilliance that was the GTI 16V, even if they felt (and, looked) completely different:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1997 Volkswagen GTI VR6 on eBay

Right Hooker Week: 1996 Mercedes-Benz S280

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?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1996 Mercedes-Benz S280 on eBay.co.uk

Year: 1996
Model: S280
Engine: 2.8 liter inline-6
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Mileage: 103,000 mi
Price: GBP 2,499 ($3,252 Buy It Now)

Exterior Features
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.

Interior Features
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!

Service History
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.

More Information
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.

1981 Mercedes-Benz 280SL

I go back and forth on whether or not I like the R107. I just think they stuck around way too long and those that want to sell them have grand illusions of what they are actually worth. I think sellers have some kind of mental formula in their head that goes “Mercedes + old + convertible = valuable” when we all know that none of those factors matter unless someone actually pays for it. But every once in a while a R107 comes along that I actually think represent good value for the money you would pay. This 1981 280SL, which looks to be a grey-market import, really represents what I think is the R107 to buy — if you really want one in the first place.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1981 Mercedes-Benz 280SL on Mercedes Heritage

Year: 1981
Model: 280SL
Engine: 2.8 liter inline-6
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Mileage: 186,000 miles
Price: $12,500

Very well cared-for German-engineered classic. I am the second owner and have owned the car for 31 years. It was 5 years old when I purchased it with 36,000 miles, current odometer is 186,000. It was always garaged but certainly driven and enjoyed over the years although with careful consideration to weather and other road conditions. I have all maintenance records and do the oil and filter changes myself every 3,000 miles. In short, this one’s been “babied” and if you have ever wanted one, this is the one! Too many attributes to list, so just enjoy the pictures and if seriously interested, let me know. As you can see, I have the original rims as well as the OEM pictured in some of the images. The soft top will need replacement soon although I had it done 8 years ago…..beginning to see some dry-rot.

1999 Audi A4 2.8 quattro

Emerging from the sales slump brought on by the recession and actual fake news, Audi solidified its position in the small executive luxury market with its brand new A4 model in 1996. While in truth the car heavily borrowed from the evolution of the B3/4 series and started life with the same flaccid 12 valve V6 that had replaced the sonorous 7A inline-5 for 1993, the A4 was exactly the model Audi needed to redefine its image.

And redefine it did, going from near zero to hero in just a year’s time.

Car and Driver immediately named the A4 one of its “10 Best” cars, a position it would repeat in 1997 and 1998. Okay, maybe it wasn’t the perennial favorite as the BMW 3-series was for the magazine, but still, that it was mentioned in the same breath was impressive. New sheetmetal was smooth and tight, full of great angles and well-placed curves. The bumper covers were finally integrated well again – something the U.S. specification B4 had inexplicably failed miserably at. Inside was evolution rather than revolution, but the cabin looked and felt upscale and modern. And the market responded to this instant hit; consider, in 1994 Audi sold 12,575 cars in total. In 1996, some 15,288 of just the A4 models were sold. That was before the many variations and improvements Audi rolled out in the B5, too.

Seemingly every year new changes offered refreshment and redesign to the A4. In late 1995 and 1996, you could only get one specification – the 2.8 either with or without quattro. But ’97 saw the introduction of the 1.8T, while ’98 gave us the Avant and more potent 30V V6. Okay, it didn’t pack a knockout punch, but new wheels and a sport package, along with a subtle refresh to the tail lights, gave the model a more sporty look:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1999 Audi A4 2.8 quattro on eBay

Barn Find: 1972 Mercedes-Benz 280SE

For every 1938 Bugatti Type 57C Atalante Coupe that Wayne Carini finds in barn, there are hundreds of other cars sitting in barns — usually for a reason. The thing about the barn find is that the hunt is usually the best part. Once you actually find the car, reality sets in and your left with a ton of unknowns with maybe a handful of logistical issues. It’s tough to separate the emotions of finding a gem and really stepping back and thinking through whether or not you should actually buy a barn find car. This 1972 Mercedes-Benz 280SE in a barn outside of Jackson, Mississippi isn’t a ’38 Bugatti but it’s not exactly a Chevy Chevette either. So lets take a look to see if this W108 is worth saving.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1972 Mercedes-Benz 280SE on Jackson, MS Craigslist

Year: 1972
Model: 280SE
Engine: 2.8 liter inline-6
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Mileage: 81,288 mi
Price: $5,000

$5000 OR BEST CASH OFFER WILL GET IT!!!
True Barn Find! Discovered in an abandoned shop, this beauty has been untouched for over 20 years! It will be sold AS IS, where is, and you must arrange for your own pickup. Inspection before purchase is welcome, but remember this is an AS IS auction, and there will be no refunds after the sale. It appears to be complete, and all original untouched not restored. The only visible flaw is the front driver side headlight casing is missing, see pics.
We have not attempted to start the vehicle, but I’m certain it won’t take but a simple service to fire it up. We were told by the family that owned the property, that the owner passed away some time ago, and his children left it untouched as you see it.

1993 Volkswagen Corrado SLC

With a bit of nostalgia, it’s sad to reminisce about a market segment which has all but eroded from the automotive landscape. In the 1970s and 1980s, small coupes were the rage; they offered sporty looks and a bit of driving fun for the commute, while still being effectively economy cars underneath. But through the 1980s and into the early 1990s, those economy roots were altered in an ever increasing amount of brinkmanship to the point where the lines between a true “sports car” and the “sports coupe” evaporated. Yet the market was still ripe with plenty of options at the beginning of Bill Clinton’s Presidency; the Mazda MX-6 and Ford Probe GT continued to share underpinnings with slightly different style, while the Diamond Star Eagle Talon/Plymouth Lazer/Mitsubishi Eclipse offered technological and performance prowess that really lifted the segment. There was also the Nissan 240SX – not as sporty as the others, but still a popular option. Honda wasn’t left out with its popular Prelude and screaming VTEC motor. There were others, too – even the aging Dodge Daytona IROC R/T offered some 224 horsepower – impressive for the period.

All of them are long gone.

Gone, too, is the Volkswagen Corrado. It didn’t have all-wheel drive or the popular for the period “Turbo” badge stuck everywhere. It was refined, smooth and clean looking. The styling wasn’t exotic or futuristic, and the recipe was simple – especially when it came to the VR6. Quite simply, Volkswagen built the best Mk.2 Volkswagen they could, but compared to the competition in period, that wasn’t quite good enough. Nearly all of the competition had new-for-the-90s styling and chassis, and the VW felt decidedly 80s in comparison. And it was expensive, clearing $23,000 before options in 1993. So even though it was really as good as the 80s VW got, it was a soft seller (as most VWs were).…