Double Take: 1991 Audi V8 quattro

Double Take: 1991 Audi V8 quattro

You know when you watch a horror film and the protagonist sees a door ajar with a strange light, noise or smell emanating from behind it? Despite the obvious warning signs and 100% metaphysical certitude of impending doom, they creep towards their demise as if unable to escape fate. As a viewer, I’m often baffled by their behavior.

But then I think about the V8 quattro.

There is nothing – and I mean nothing – that makes the V8 quattro a sensible choice for a car. Parts are hard to find, they seem needlessly complicated, and the reality is that now some 26 years old and vintage, the cutting edge of technology for 1991 is pretty easily outpaced by a Honda Civic. There are prettier, more significant, faster and more economical Audis, if you have the itch.

But like the open door, I’m always drawn to looking at them. So, cue the scary music and dim the lights, because we’ve got a twofer of 3.6 quattro action coming at you!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Audi V8 quattro on Central New Jersey Craigslist

1995 Mercedes-Benz E320 Wagon with 3.6 AMG swap

1995 Mercedes-Benz E320 Wagon with 3.6 AMG swap

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I really enjoy a well done engine swap. Three months ago I featured a W113 Pagoda with a M104 3.2 inline-6 swap. Today’s car is another M104 swap but with a little more displacement and a lot more AMG. What started out as a nice W124 E320 wagon was transformed to a hybrid C36/500E/E320 borrowing various parts from both cars. It’s a unique build that I haven’t seen and sure is an improvement over what Mercedes offered from the factory. So let’s take a closer look at this uber W124 wagon for sale in Connecticut.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Mercedes-Benz E320 Wagon 3.6 AMG on eBay

Feature Listing: 1992 Porsche 911 America Roadster

Feature Listing: 1992 Porsche 911 America Roadster

Have you been living under a rock? Then here’s a news story – Porsche 911s are pretty hot in the marketplace right now. Consider yourself updated! For the rest of us, this is pretty old news. And by pretty old, I mean they’ve always been very expensive. Take this 1992 Porsche America Roadster, for example. In 1992, you’d have to plunk down $88,000 just for the base price. Most owners left dealers the best part of further $10,000 lighter. That translates to $151,000 or more today, and if you pop over to your Porsche configuration tool it won’t take you long to realize that amount buys you a lot of convertible Porsche today; you’re only about $20,000 away from the base price on the Turbo. Yet underneath the bulging exterior of the America Roadster was a standard horizontally-opposed 3.6 liter with no forced induction producing 247 horsepower. If you’re counting, that’s a little less than half what the new Turbo offers you.

So what did the America Roadster offer, then? Well, you got the look of a Turbo and limitless sky. You also got the brakes, suspension and wheels from the Turbo to help fill out those wide arches. But to really differentiate the model, Porsche decided to release only 250 of them to the public. That makes them about four times more rare than the already quite-infrequently seen Speedster model, and therefore pretty desirable in the collectable 964 spectrum today. Exclusivity of any special model 911 certainly makes them quite special and helps to separate collector examples from those who just pop down to the dealers to buy an off-the-shelf 911 Turbo:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1992 Porsche 911 America Roadster

2008 Volkswagen Passat 3.6 4Motion Variant

2008 Volkswagen Passat 3.6 4Motion Variant

On paper, the Passat W8 4Motion Variant like the one I wrote up early in August was the enthusiast with a family’s dream; an understated, all-wheel drive eight cylinder wagon with BBS wheels, smart styling and a not-outrageous asking price. I mean, it wasn’t cheap, but it wasn’t RS7 money. You could even get a manual. But it was complicated, and ultimately, it was still a $40,000 Passat. The W8, while silky smooth, also was a bit underwhelming in the power department. Out of 4 liters, despite all the engine trickery, it produced only 270 horsepower – only 20 more than its contemporary 2.7 V6 twin-turbo sibling S4/Allroad/A6s could. In many ways, while the model that replaced it seemed a bit more tame in the headline department, it’s actually the one to get:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2008 Volkswagen Passat 3.6 4Motion Variant on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: 2001 Ruf RGT

Tuner Tuesday: 2001 Ruf RGT

You’d be forgiven for not knowing much about this model because Ruf has been known mostly for their outrageous turbocharged models and the RGT was their first real stab at a naturally aspirated model. But a pretty serious stab it was, with a GT3 derived dry-sump flat-6 pumping out 385 horsepower from 3.6 liters – some 30 more than Porsche managed from the same motor. This goal was reached by massaging the heads with larger valves, integrating Ruf’s proprietary engine software along with model specific catalytic converters and exhaust. Performance was close to Turbo levels, with 60 arriving in 4.6 seconds and a terminal speed reported to be 190 m.p.h.. The narrow bodywork also had special Ruf front and rear bumpers along with a purposeful wing that mimicked the race cars, and indeed was later similarly adopted by Porsche on the post-facelift GT3. It ran alongside the first generation 996 GT3 as an equally potent but (theoretically, at least) more street-biased suspension setup. Compared to that model, the expensive Ruf model was apparently a bit of a headscratcher for most and apparently only 17 were produced in the year this car was made. I was lucky enough to see one of these cars new at Summit Point back in 2001; at a time when the GT3 was unavailable in the U.S., it was certainly a revelation to see the lightweight race-inspired RGT and in Viper Green it reminded me of the car which ultimately inspired it – the original RS. Today’s car is a different kind of revelation and is certainly one of the most unique RGTs out there:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Ruf RGT on eBay

1998 BMW M3 Sedan 3.6 Widebody 6-speed

1998 BMW M3 Sedan 3.6 Widebody 6-speed

Here’s an interesting one that has had me scratching my head quite a bit. What originally caught my eye was the bright Estoril Blue Metallic sitting on some refinished E46 Style 67 wheels. It was worth a second eyeball, which resulted in me noticing it was a 4-door. CLICK – I’m interested in seeing more. Once in the posting, the title became even more interesting – Racing Dynamics RD Sport? Lesser known than Alpina or Hartge, but still producers of some pretty trick products. 3.6 liter motor? 6-speed? TELL ME MORE!!!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1998 BMW M3 Sedan 3.6 Widebody 6-speed on eBay

2008 Volkswagen Passat 3.6 4Motion Variant

2008 Volkswagen Passat 3.6 4Motion Variant

When it comes to sporty wagons in the mid 2000s, your only options were really Audis and BMWs, right? Well, wrong – because Volkswagen dropped one pretty hot sleeper on our shores before elimination of the Passat wagon from the lineup. Granted, Volkswagen’s hottest entrant into the sport wagon market – the R36 – wouldn’t come here, but the normal 3.6 4Motion was darn close. With 280 horsepower on tap from the enlarged narrow-angle VR6 channeled through all four wheels, the unassuming Passat was the second most powerful wagon offered on these shores from VAG. Unless you spent another 50% to opt for the Audi S4 V8, this was as quick as U.S. bound German wagons got. Unlike the B5/5.5, the B6 chassis returned to the Golf-based platform, which was both a blessing and a curse. From a performance standpoint the change was a good one, as many of the items intended for the R32 model worked on the Passat now. However, the change to transverse engine placement from the inline Audi setup in the B5/5.5 meant that the “true” quattro drivetrain in the earlier 4Motions was replaced by the Haldex setup found in the R32 and Audi TT. Is this the end of the world? No, not really, and in fact because of this change you can opt to alter the power distribution with aftermarket control units. These 3.6 models were expensive and fully loaded, so they’re somewhat infrequently seen and generally unknown and unappreciated even in the German-specific realm:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 19 on eBay

1973 Porsche 914-6

1973 Porsche 914-6

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I don’t write up Porsches that much on the site, though not for a lack of admiration. I just don’t have the history of knowledge that I do with Audi/VW and BMW. Yet one of my weirder first car stories was when I tried to buy a $900 Porsche 914 off a message board in 1998 (craigslist didn’t even have that name at that point), when I was in 8th grade. My mom heard me on the phone and after I hung up was asking me what the hell was going on. It was innocent enough, a pipe dream that I could earn enough money to get a funky little German gokart and work on it myself.

The gokart idea still appeals to me, and daydreams of Elises, Superformance 818s, and 914s still dance around in my head every once in a while. This example is much more than the plaything I’m looking for; it’s the 914 for Porschephiles. No Subaru or LS upgrade here making it a silly toy, but a 3.6-liter flat-6 straight out of a 964. It started as a low-mileage, one-owner 914 that was pretty much rebuilt from the ground up to contain the improved power, resulting in a car that looks like a showroom-perfect beacon of the VW/Porsche gokart project but goes like a scalded cat that got surprised by a cucumber. They included a nice, brief, drone-shot video that gives a great sense of the sound and drama that this orange machine can produce. The build was essentially cost-is-no-object, and the price is accordingly many times more than a standard 914.

Click for details: 1973 Porsche 914-6 on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: 1991 Porsche 911 Targa Rauh-Welt Begriff

Tuner Tuesday: 1991 Porsche 911 Targa Rauh-Welt Begriff

As Rob said in his recent 964 Carrera 4 Widebody post, the flared variants of the middle generation 911 can be polarizing. Even more polarizing are the extra-widebody Nakai-san Rauh-Welt Begriff creations. That Akira Nakai is an artist is unquestioned, but whether his creations are genius or blasphemous depend on your definition of art I would suppose. Nakai takes the stock 911 and turns it up to 11, with custom molded, hand crafted flares and widening the lines of the 911 to outrageous proportions. Fitted with giant wheels, lowered suspensions and custom front and rear bumpers, they are the embodiment of the Japanese tuning scene but with a decidedly European feel. Indeed, you don’t need to look far into Porsche’s own developments to find the inspiration for these models from Stuttgart’s own work. Indeed, many of Nakai’s works look a lot like the 964 Turbo S Le Mans racer and later 993 GT2 race car, with their giant gold BBS wheels, huge spoiler, vents and wide flares. Personally, I think that Nakai does an exceptional job mimicking the best of the 911 race car design whilst simultaneously introducing his own style. That becomes more obvious when you see a non-Coupe RWB such as today’s Targa model – I believe the first open-air RWB I’ve seen:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Porsche 911 Targa RWB on Cats Exotics

1991 Porsche 911 Carrera 2

1991 Porsche 911 Carrera 2

The first time I ever saw a 964 Carrera was in 1992 when my mom took me to see Beethoven at our local two screen. Out of all the images that were burned into my brain from that movie, the bad guy’s black Carrera 2 is the one that I have always vividly remembered. It’s kind of weird that all these years later whenever I see a 964 I think of that movie when there are so many other things to associate the car with both in the racing world and in pop culture. The 964 should really be the most iconic 911 as it bridged the gap between the purist car that the 911 was and the consumer friendly machine it has become. However I think these cars remain under appreciated by most folks, dismissed as being the first step towards the softening of the 911. I’d be quick to point out to these naysayers that the 964 was in fact quite hardcore in its performance numbers despite the addition of creature comforts. This was truly the beginning of the journey towards the “have your cake and eat it too” Porsche we know and love today.

The 964 saw an increase in power, better ride and handling, improved safety features, more effective climate control system and an all wheel drive variant. I’m willing to bet that when it debuted many Porsche enthusiasts made a big fuss about the car going against everything Porsche stands for, much like we do today about, well just about anything Porsche does. With nearly 25 years of hindsight I think that even the grouchiest Luftgekuhlt lovers would have to admit, the 964 generation deserves a whole lot of respect. Take a good look at this example right here and I think you’ll agree that a Carrera 2 might just be the perfect classic 911.…

1990 Audi V8 quattro

1990 Audi V8 quattro

I have a fun ongoing exchange with our reader John; we send each other pretty much every V8 quattro that comes to the market in the U.S., usually accompanied by some brutally honest and laughable one-liner. Considering the number of V8 quattros imported – less than 4000 – and that they were both expensive and a DTM star, they would have been coveted like the rest of the Audi lineup. Yet, many have fallen into extreme disrepair or neglect, leaving precious few left running today and making good ones a rare find. For example, recently John sent me a pretty worn Pearlesant White ’93 model with the line: ” ‘cheap’ and haven’t seen it before, but that’s about it”. I responded that I’d done the “cheap” V8 route before, and that were I to do it again I would have been better off spending three times as much to get a maintained example. The V8 is truly a car that could bankrupt you trying to restore a poor one to original condition. However, if you find a reasonable example that’s well priced, is it a better proposition?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Audi V8 quattro on eBay

1991 Audi V8 quattro 5-speed

1991 Audi V8 quattro 5-speed

Up through 1995, Audi really liked to do things differently. Since then, they have perhaps become a bit more mainstream – but there are plenty of examples of their unconventional engineering before then. It was even a bit of a joke, with some enthusiasts lovingly (or not so much) using the Audi name for the acronym “Always Unusual Designs Incorporated”. One of my favorite unusual Audi stories, though, must by the development of the Audi V8 race car. Audi looked at what Mercedes-Benz and BMW did in the DTM and said “Sure, we can do that. But, we’ll use our full sized luxury-oriented car”. Then, to add insult to injury, they left the wood trim in the race cars as a reminder that this was their top-tier car. And, of course, you’d assume it would lose to the self-proclaimed most successful race car ever made, the E30 M3. But, it didn’t. It won the championship in both 1990 and 1991. Ever since then, I’ve had a bit of a love affair with the Audi V8 quattro, if for no other reason than it was not the normal choice. Rare to see even when new and quite expensive, nearly all of the 3,868 imported were automatics – a new and important development for bringing Audi to a larger market. But for 72 of those cars, the experience was quite different:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Audi V8 quattro 5-speed on eBay

Tuner Tuesday Super Trio: Three Generations of Supercharged 911s

Tuner Tuesday Super Trio: Three Generations of Supercharged 911s

Oh, how I do love the comparos! Today I’ve worked up a third tuner comparison, because frankly this interesting trio was just a bit too good to pass up – as were the other BMWs! But unlike the factory sourced Dinan and Alpina modded cars from earlier, this comparison focuses on some unusual Porsches. Supercharging isn’t the typical choice for the flat-6, but the bolt-on horsepower results are undeniable, bringing the normal flat-6 quickly up to Turbo levels of power. I have three generations compiled here, all popular in their own right but for different reasons. Which is the winner?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 on eBay

10K Friday Family Truckster Edition

10K Friday Family Truckster Edition

I got to laughing the other day during a National Lampoon marathon on television when the memorable “Family Truckster” came onto the screen. The inclusion of that heavily ornamented and modified car in the movie was truly a stroke of genius, but once again a sad reminder that many of the wagons that previously were available to us are gone, replaced by crossovers, “GT”s, or SUV/SAV vehicles. Of course, because of this you don’t have to go back very far in time to find great deals on the last generation of premium 5-doors. Today, with that in mind, I’ve rounded up a set of all-wheel drive sporty wagons to consider – which is the winner?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 Mercedes-Benz E500 Estate 4Matic on eBay

10K Friday: A44ordable Audis – 5000CS quattro Avant v. 5000S quattro v. V8 quattro v. 100 quattro

10K Friday: A44ordable Audis – 5000CS quattro Avant v. 5000S quattro v. V8 quattro v. 100 quattro

The Type 44 Audi was an impressive advance for German automobiles, a huge leap forward for Audi in a new marketplace – but also nearly the cause of its demise. It was an aerodynamic, futuristic sedan when both BMW and Mercedes-Benz seemed to be producing cars stuck in the 1970s. It was the blueprint for most modern luxury sedans from not only German companies, but many of the advances were copied by the Japanese, Italians and Americans for their large sedans. Yet, by 1990 Audi nearly pulled out of the American market thanks to some creative journalism from 60 Minutes, who in their effort to prove Audi was at fault for some unintended acceleration cases nearly killed off the company entirely. In part as a result of their efforts, it’s become quite rare to find clean examples of them today – but it’s also because they were such good, long-lived and solidly built machines that few have lower miles today. While I recent featured a few 20V turbocharged examples in the 20V Turbo comparison, today we’ll look at a few of the lesser appreciated examples, starting with a clean 5000CS quattro Avant in Canada:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Audi 5000CS Quattro Avant on Hemmings