Summer is approaching, which means warmer weather is on the way! At least that’s the theory. I’ve already seen that a baseball game has been postponed today because of snow. Still it’s probably safe to assume that it will be sunny and warm relatively soon and top-down motoring will once again be the thing to do. Back in the days when I actually drove on a daily basis I used to love the first few top-down drives of the Spring. They always brought a renewed sense of freedom and exhilaration to any drive. It was the best way to drive when I had nowhere to go. As the air grew warmer and the days longer I looked forward to those drives more and more. Even commuting wasn’t terrible.
So, let’s look at a Cabriolet then. Here we have an Atlas Grey Metallic 2004 Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet with Natural Brown leather interior and a lovely 6-speed manual transmission. It only has 11,352 miles on it and the price is quite high so this isn’t bargain shopping by any means. But I wouldn’t expect a sale at this price anyway so perhaps it can be worked down to something more reasonable. While just about any top-down drive can be a joy, having 415 hp at your fingertips certainly makes things that extra bit more enjoyable. To quote Dr. Frasier Crane, “if less is more, then just think of how much more more will be!”
The 996 GT3 remains one of my favorite Porsches. I like any GT3 – I mean, how could you not? – but the 996 has always held precedence for me as the first GT3 Porsche produced. I think I also tend to particularly like it because the GT3 and GT3 RS are the two 996 models where I don’t mind the appearance. With its revised lines I actually think the 996 GT3 is a good looking machine, while I remain bothered by the standard 996 offerings.
Over the past year I’ve looked at these GT3s a lot. I’ve long thought they were a nice value and with the values of our perennial performance-value favorite, the 996TT, on the rise the GT3 suddenly started to make even more sense. I think those days are (slowly) coming to an end. Asking prices for the GT3 appear to be steadily rising. I guess the cat is out of the bag and buyers are recognizing the value these represent. They’re also one of the few 996 models where collectors are likely to take notice.
Value still exists though so long as we allow for higher mileage. There aren’t a ton of higher mileage GT3s out there so at the moment opportunities are scarce, but they do exist. Like this one: a Speed Yellow 2004 Porsche 911 GT3, located in Dallas, with 86,410 miles on it.
So guess what caught my eye here? No surprise, if it’s a yellow M3, I’ll bite. This one grabbed my attention first because of the hue, then the price – just under $14,000 on a no reserve auction? Well, it must have a million miles rig….nope, not here. So it MUST be an SMG then, right? NO ONE wants a SMG because the moment you buy one they will murder you in your sleep and kick your dog and shut down the government (*according to actual internet comments I’ve seen). But nope, it’s a 6-speed manual.
But the more I looked at it, the more questions were raised. Why was no one bidding on this slick E46?
There are times when I am specifically in search of an auction for a particular car rather than a standard listing with asking price. In some cases, I even want that to be a reserve auction rather than one with no reserve. This is one of those cases.
I like to do this when I feel I don’t have a great handle on the market for a particular model and an auction provides a nice gauge of that. Why search specifically for a reserve auction? Because I’m confident it will run to completion since the reserve almost certainly will be too high!
The market for a 996TT with the X50 package or a 996TTS has seemed strange to me of late with asking prices all seeming much too high. Most of those listings simply are overly ambitious sellers and the cars don’t sell. Occasionally, however, they do sell. So I’m curious where asking prices should be and where they might be headed. That lead me to this: a Speed Yellow 2004 Porsche 911 Turbo Coupe, located in Miami, with the X50 package and just 17,500 miles on it.
Update 12/23/2017 – This R32 is back with almost no changes a year and a half later – except the price. When I looked at it in June 2016 the seller was hoping for $16,700. It’s now up to $17,400. Will this bold strategy pay off?
For a few generations, Volkswagen fans were denied the cream of the crop for Volkswagen products. It took several years to finally get the original GTi to these shores, and then it wasn’t quite as hot as the European version. The second edition might have sported twin cams and 16 valves, but Euro customers got the addtional option of a supercharged, all-wheel drive version. There were plenty of cool options missing from the U.S. lineup in the 3rd generation, too – including the 2.9 liter VR6 Variant Syncro. So there was a bit of rejoicing finally when the all-wheel drive hot hatch was finally added to the U.S. lineup after the initial launch in 2003. Sporting the same 3.2 VR6 found in the TT, unlike the Mk.1 TT it was 6-speed manual only. It was also only available as a 2-door model, with special body kit unique to the R32 and dual exhaust to help announce its sporting intentions. With the best part of 240 horsepower on tap, it certainly seemed like the ultimate Golf and the sound generated from the narrow-angle 6 was mesmerizing. While heavy weight meant it wasn’t considerably quicker than the 1.8T models, it nonetheless has secured a spot in U.S. fans hearts as the top trump from the Mk.4 generation:
Continuing on the diesel theme from yesterday, let’s take a look at another no spark Volkswagen. Again we have one that flies below the radar but is worth a lot more than you’d expect. The pre-scandal TDis have a serious niche following. While not quite as set-it-and-forget-it as the 1Z, the derivatives – first the AHU, then the later ATD/AXR and other models similar to today’s example, were nonetheless high-mileage warriors. Rated at 100 horsepower and 177 lb. ft of torque, performance wasn’t outstanding – 0-60 took a few ticks over 11 seconds, it’d take a half minute to hit 100 and top speed was limited to 115 mph. But then you weren’t really buying this car for it’s straight line acceleration. What you were buying it for was notable longevity and, of course, fuel mileage. At a time when the standard 2.0 inline-4 struggled to return about 30 mpg at best and the 1.8T was no better, the premium for the TDi gave you 33 mpg city and over 40 on the highway. You could stretch it even farther on a tank if you were careful. Impressive? Well, for the time, it was one of the very few diesel motors you could buy in the U.S. and set the stage for the popularity of the Mk.5 models.
As we saw with the Jetta Wagon, the ‘GLS’ trim moved upscale and included nicer wheels and interior bits. But just like that Jetta, the combination of a 4-door Golf, GLS trim, the turbo diesel motor and a 5-speed manual are quite hard to come by:
I saw this 911 GT3 on Rennlist a while back and kind of went back and forth on whether to feature it. The car itself looks phenomenal so that wasn’t really my hesitation. My hesitation was with the price because it’s quite high for a GT3. Also, I figured it either would sell almost immediately, even with that high price, or sit for a good while. Well, here we are and it’s still available. The price has come down a bit, though it’s still very much on the high end. But what you’re getting definitely has value.
This is a Carrara White 2004 Porsche 911 GT3, located in California, with 25,500 miles on it. It has been extensively modified to both lower its weight – the seller claims a weight of around 2,780 lbs – and improve the performance of the engine and suspension. They say the devil is in the details, and here there are lot of details with a mixture of aftermarket and Porsche Cup or GT3 RS parts.
Alright, let’s get back to the value side of the 911 world since my last few features have all been a bit pricey (very pretty though!). This one, a silver 2004 Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe, located in New York, with black leather interior and 77,400 miles on it, comes in at a pretty nice asking price even for these usually very budget friendly models. You’re not getting anything special with it – the colors are pretty standard and not the most exciting and it’s just a base Carrera rather than a S or 4S – but you’re still getting a nice dose of performance. There’s certainly enough to grab your attention and make for an exciting drive if you really put your foot down. Oh, and the seller says the IMS bearing has been “done.” That isn’t the most specific phrasing and it was reportedly done by the previous owner so we’re a little vague on the details of what exactly that means, but hopefully some documents and conversation can reveal some of those details and its new owner can breathe a little easier with that potential issue out of the way.
The Volkswagen Passat isn’t a particularly exciting car to drive. It’s also not particularly exciting to look at. While most people would categorize those as negative attributes for vehicle ownership, there’s a third thing that the Passat isn’t particularly exciting at which I’d wager most would consider a very good thing.
It’s not an exciting car to own.
“But isn’t that a bad thing?!?! you’re thinking to yourself? Sure, when I go out into the garage and see the M3 sitting there, my pulse rate quickens. Scratch that, I don’t even have to go into the garage – endorphins flow at the mere thought of it. And turning the key? All sorts of goodness happens. I’ll spare you the details, but sufficed to say it’s an exciting car to own, look at and drive. The Passat is not a M3.
But it is a vehicle thoroughly devoid of drama, and to me, that’s what makes the Passat a not exciting car to own. Take the contemporary Audi Allroad from the same period for example. The Passat mimics the look and the function of the A6 in nearly every way. It’s not even much slower on a continuum. But Less exciting to own? For sure, and when you’re talking breaking and repairs, that’s a very good thing.
Because let’s be honest for a second; these cars that we love, that we fawn over, that we pontificate about – they’re pieces of metal with a lot of plastic and complicated electrical and pneumatic systems. And they’re not getting any younger. Take my 2002 Passat as a case study; it’s on the verge of being 17 years old and has now covered over 140,000 miles. Yet it’s caused no sleepless nights, no emptying of wallets, not even left me stranded once. It’s just been completely reliable transportation in all weather, with my family, all our goods and a ridiculous amount of various cargo.…
If yesterday’s beautiful 997 Coupe was a little too bright for you or too closed off, what with it having a fixed roof and whatnot, then perhaps this 911 will be more your speed. Here we have an Arctic Silver 2004 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet, located in Pennsylvania, with 14,598 miles on it. Of even greater import, it’s a 6-speed manual and had the X51 power kit fitted from the factory. I don’t know the specific numbers, but I suspect a Cabriolet equipped like this isn’t all that common. Cabriolets tend more toward the refined luxury side of the Porsche market (unsurprisingly) and we find quite a few with Tiptronic rather than a manual. To have both the manual transmission and the power kit is a nice treat indeed for those hoping to get the most out of their open-topped motoring. At least without going all the way to the Turbo.
Model: 911 Carrera 4S
Engine: 3.6 liter flat-6
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Mileage: 14,598 mi
Price: $44,900 Buy It Now
Highlights include: $113,945 ORIGINAL MSRP!! AWD C4S CABRIOLET WITH JUST 14,598 1-OWNER MILES!! $13,990 X51 CARERRA 345HP FACTORY POWER KIT: UPGRADED INTAKE MANIFOLD-INTAKE PIPE SUPPORTS-EXHAUST MANIFOLDS-CYLINDER HEADS-CAMSHAFT-VALVE SPRINGS-PARTITION BOX IN OIL PAN-DME MAPPING!! 6-SPEED MANUAL, FULL LEATHER, NAVIGATION, PCM II, POWER HEATED FRONT SEATS WITH LUMBAR SUPPORT AND DRIVER SIDE MEMORY, BOSE HIGH-END SOUND & CD CHANGER, SELF DIMMING MIRRORS, ADVANCED TECHNIC PACKAGE, AUTO CLIMATE CONTROL, WINDSCREEN, PSM, XENON HEADLAMP PACKAGE, PAINTED WHEEL CRESTS, CLEAN CARFAX, WARRANTY!! This vehicle will be reviewed by an independent certified mechanic in accordance with PA state inspection regulations. If for any reason this vehicle does not pass inspection it will be noted. !!PLEASE CONTACT OUR SALES TEAM AT 610-844-0831 WITH ANY QUESTIONS!!