1990 Audi V8 quattro

Weather. It’s today’s weather that makes me instantly think back to my V8 quattro. Here in New England this morning I emerged from my weather-proof cocoon hidden carefully under several layers of blankets to reveal the foot-plus of powdery snow, blowing fiercely with a sustained 35 mph wind, and a temperature hovering around 9. Maybe for you folks in Minnesota that’s a nice Spring day, but I think it’s just brutal. Yet when it occurs, I instantly think back to the car I had that made me relish those conditions. It was my ’93 V8 quattro, without hesitation.

When the mercury dipped below freezing and the roads were covered in snow, that car was simply a monster. Audis certainly have a reputation for being good in the snow, it’s true. But here’s a hint – I’ve owned a lot and driven even more, and they’re not all great in the white stuff (ducks). They’re also very tire-dependent, perhaps moreso than other cars. Because with all-seasons on an Audi, you’ll have no problem going fast in deep snow, but you’ll have quite a few problems turning and more problems stopping.

But I had snow tires on my V8. Tiny little A4 steel wheels overshadowed by the widened flares with tires that look fit for…well, an basic B5 A4 rather than a large executive. When that white stuff fell – look out. It was unstoppable, but not in the bad way I just mentioned. And unlike the terminal understeer some of my other Audis suffered from (I’m looking at you, 200!), all you had to do in the V8 if the nose wasn’t heading where you wanted to was to give it a boot-full of throttle. A tremendous roar would emerge as the 4-cam all-aluminum V8 sprung to life, the multi-plate center differential channeled power towards the back, and the Torsen rear diff limited the slip of the unladen tire. The result? Sideways. Totally awesome, controllable drifts at nearly any angle you wanted for as long as you wanted. I drove through a blizzard, seat heaters set at “just so”, automatic climate control dialed in to 70 with the exterior temp suggesting it was Saskatchewan I was in rather than Southern Massachusetts. The V8 ate the miles up leisurely. It was the most comfortable I’ve felt in a very bad driving environment, and I’ve driven through a few in some pretty good cars.

Then there’s the ‘whether’. It’s more than whether or not you live in a climate where my scenario will play out for you. It’s more than whether or not this car is worth purchasing. It’s whether or not you’ll be able to find parts. It’s whether or not all of the items work. Heck, with a V8 quattro, sometimes it’s whether or not it’ll feel like starting. And when it does, it’s whether or not it’ll feel like shifting, too.

Whether be damned, these cars still capture my imagination every single time I see one.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Audi V8 quattro on eBay

Continue reading

Right Hooker Week: 1983 Audi 200 Turbo

After yesterday’s South African 500SE, this 200 Turbo is an interesting counterpoint for several reasons. First, if the age is correct, it’s from the very beginning of Type 44 production. In fact, it wasn’t until September 1983 that the turbocharged variant of the new Type 44 – the 200 – was available for the marketplace. So this car represents the beginning of the run compared to yesterday’s run-ending 500SE.

What’s amazing to me is how little change there was in that period. Outside of the interior refresh, a slightly different exterior color and some small details, the 1983 and 1990 model years could pass for contemporaries. Try that in other model ranges today! Of course, one other reason this car is interesting is the turbo. This would be an early 2.1 liter unit, rated nominally at 182 horsepower – a healthy bit more power than the late NF motor (130 horsepower). What’s unusual in this case is that it’s mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. Of course, these were the days before the quattro drive setup moved into other models outside of the halo Quattro, so you’re stuck with a front-driver only.

Oh, and one more oddity? Well, it’s being sold in the U.K., but it’s left hand drive.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 Audi 200 Turbo on eBay.co.uk

Continue reading

Right Hooker Week: 1990 Audi 500SE

No, it’s not a typo. And no, it’s not an Audi 5000.

The Audi 500SE won’t be a model that is familiar to pretty much anyone on these pages. But in an interesting side note of history you do know, Audi tried to bring its large sedans to Africa in the late 1980s. After the banning of Group B and the cancellation of Group S, Audi took to Group A with both normally aspirated Coupe Quattros and turbocharged Audi 200s. The 200 was successful at the hands of Hannu Mikkola, winning Rally Safari in 1987. 1988 saw the introduction of the 200 quattro Trans Am to U.S. shores, but few remember that those cars were then used in South Africa in the 1989 Wesbank Modifieds Championship. They would continue on in 1990 and 1991 before being replaced by a rebody of the 90 IMSA GTO car in an S4 chassis – a car which was just on display at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

But without much need for quattro and without the smaller model range on sale, Audi’s showroom was filled with a rebrand of the Type 44. Produced in Uitenhage, South Africa, it was dubbed the 500SE, and it was available with either turbocharging or a normally aspirated motor. Unlike Europe (and later, the U.S.) the model designations did not change with forced induction. The specification was a bit strange, too; like the 1987 Audi 5000S quattro, the 500SE wore the larger brakes and wheels of the turbocharged model even when it did not have one. But unlike those cars, it also wore the upscale dual-chamber 200 headlights. Models like this particular 1990 were powered by the 2.3 liter NF motor that saw duty post 1987 in the late-5000 and early-100 front-drivers and quattros. They wore the later Type 44 updates like the smooth dash, too. Coupled with Euro bumpers and a luxury-oriented interior, it makes for an interesting Type 44:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Audi 500SE on eBay.co.uk

Continue reading

1990 Audi V8 quattro 4.2

Both the 525i and GTI I’ve written up this week have followed a common trend; take lower spec model and kick it up a notch with bigger brother power. Today is no different, as once again we look at a car featuring an upgraded power unit swap. However, this is certainly the most stealthy of the trio. The V8 quattro was an impressive car upon its launch in 1988; sure, it was an updated version of an already generation-old car on the verge of being replaced, but the massive amount of updates to the Type 44 meant than the V8 quattro got its own model designation – D11. Nearly everything in the V8 was touched, from the interior materials to the exterior styling, and of course with some celebration Audi launched both its all-aluminum 3.6 liter, 32V 4 cam eight cylinder simultaneously with its 4-speed automatic hooked up to quattro all-wheel drive. The result was a unique luxury car at the time; no one else offered this packaged, and with 240 horsepower on tap the D11 proved a great cruiser. But there were of course teething pains; Audi forecast the length of timing belt service too long on the PT-code engine, and many suffered failures. This was rectified with the larger displacement 4.2 motor in 1992; shorter intervals were met with nearly 40 horsepower more, making the later cars really the ones to grab. Of course, Audi sold many, many more 3.6s than it did later 4.2 models – to the tune of almost 7:1. Many of the early cars were discarded because of low residuals when expensive repairs popped up, but this Pearlescent White Metallic one was saved from that fate by a fortuitous heart transplant:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Audi V8 quattro 4.2 on eBay

Continue reading

Motorsports Monday: 1984 Audi Coupe GT

Far less famous than its wide-hipped brother and mostly unknown to most U.S. customers, the B2 Audi Coupe was available with quattro all-wheel drive in other markets. It shared nearly all components with the sibling 4000 (90) quattro, including 4×108 wheel pattern and 256mm front brakes – items that were also on the U.S. spec front-drive GT. So, one would assume it would be pretty easy to “swap in a quattro”, as the internet posts usually start. Of course, those individuals who start the posts best be wearing flame-retardant clothing, as they are immediately inundated with responses that kindly (or not so) explain the difficulties inherent in this project. You see, everything aft of the firewall on the all-wheel drive floorplan is different than the two wheel drive units; indeed, as I’ve pointed out previously, even the two wheel drive floorpans were different between automatics and manuals. That means to recreate a rest of the world Coupe quattro, you need the floorpan from a 4000 quattro mated to a body of a Coupe GT. This, of course, makes no sense financially as the countless hours involved eliminate all but the DIYers – and even a fair chunk of those with the talent give up on the project. Yet, it apparently didn’t stop the builder of this rally car, who not only swapped the body, but went one step further and dropped in a turbocharged motor and the brakes and wheels from the big-brother Type 44 chassis. The result is a budget Ur-Quattro rally replica without the flare of the original…or, at least, it was a few years ago before it was parked:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Audi Coupe GT on eBay

Continue reading

1997 Saab 9000 Aero

If you look at my vehicle history prior to my current vehicle, everything has been German. However, after years of flying the flag for the Fatherland, I’ve found myself wanting just a bit more. Something different. For years I took Saab for granted but when they finally closed up shop a few years ago, I shed a tear. Saabs were both obscure and sensible, with sometimes a heavy helping of performance. Such is the case with this 1997 9000 Aero for sale in New Jersey. While I was a bit saddened to scroll through the ad and find out it was equipped with an automatic, it’s a rare instance that you see one of these Q-ships in such great nick. This car represents the final year for the Aero, a model that featured a color-keyed body kit and spoiler, heavily bolstered Recaro seating, sport suspension and special 16 inch alloys. This automatic equipped example keeps the standard turbocharger for an output of 200 bhp, while manual equipped Aeros had a larger turbo capable of producing 225 bhp.

Click for details: 1997 Saab 9000 Aero on eBay

Continue reading

2004 Saab 9-5 Aero SportCombi

$_57 (1)

When I first moved to Boston for grad school, I was certain that you got three things upon moving to New England: a pair of Birkenstocks, an LL Bean credit card and the keys to one of three cars: a Saab, Volvo or Subaru Outback. Perhaps I have a tendency towards simplifying semiotics, but it seemed like there was one of these cars on every corner, and if not, wagons with all-wheel drive and a manual gearbox ruled the day. So this Saab 9-5 Aero equipped with the 5-speed manual is pretty much a New Englander’s dream. It even has a little more German DNA underneath than one might suspect, as it shares some of its underpinnings with the Opel Vectra.

Click for details: 2004 Saab 9-5 Aero SportCombi on Boston’s Craigslist

Continue reading

Heap(s) of the Week 2: Tres Audi Quattros with DTM dreams

Ahhhh, the Audi V8 quattro. It’s like that friend that comes over, crashes on your couch, eats all of your food and smears his greasy hands on your furniture, insults your wife and leaves the toilet seat up, burps and farts in a business meeting, forgets your birthday, and asks to borrow a hundred bucks (or several thousand) that you know you’ll never get back. But he’s your friend, and it would take a lot more than just those indiscretions to make him otherwise. Every once in a while, your friend really dresses up and looks great, but most times that you see him he’s disheveled, unshowered and hacking up some fairly disgusting looking phlegm – which, incidentally, he spits out on your carpet. Sound awesome? My experience with the V8 quattro was pretty similar, and yet it’s a car that I just look at and daydream about. Few are in good shape and serviceable today; many more appear as these do; discarded, forgotten, permanent projects. And much like your college bum friends, they seem to congregate in groups, because of course you need a parts car for your parts car. So what are they doing here? Well, one of this particular lot happens to be the best of the bunch brought to the U.S. – the coveted 1991 Audi V8 quattro 5-speed:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985, 1990 and 1991 Audi package on Craigslist

Continue reading

1994 Saab 9000 Aero

$_57 (1)

We’ve been known to feature the errant Swedish ride here at GCFSB, especially when it comes to the faster hardware. News came down at the beginning of the month that Saab was restarting production two years after declaring bankruptcy. While the new cars will be a continuation of the 9-3 model, now is a good time to reflect back on models past.

The 1990s were an interesting time for Saab, as General Motors took a 50% controlling interest in the company and a new 900 arrived in 1994, based on Opel Vectra underpinnings. The 9000 model, launched in 1984, shared its platform with the Alfa Romeo 164, Lancia Thema and Fiat Croma. The model carried on through 1997, with the Aero model featured here being released in 1993. This was the most powerful Saab to date, with a 2.3 liter, turbocharged inline-4 producing 225 horsepower. This Aero for sale in Pennsylvania is one of the rare Cirrus White examples. Just over 100 left the factory between 1993 and 1997.

Click for more details: 1994 Saab 9000 Aero on eBay

Continue reading

1994 Saab 9000 Aero

Every now and then at GCFSB, we like to feature the errant fast Swede. Here’s a Saab you don’t see every day: a 9000 Aero. This Saab began life in 1984 and was based on the Type Four platform which was shared with the Fiat Croma, Lancia Thema and later, the Alfa Romeo 164. The Aero was unleashed on the public in 1993 and had a 2.3 liter, 225 horsepower version of the B234 engine with a Mitsubishi turbocharger on the 5-speed manual model. Automatic Aeros would make do with less horsepower and the standard turbo.

Included in the Aero package was a color keyed body kit, Recaro sport seats, tighter suspension settings and 16″ Super Aero wheels. The Aero would be sold until 1997 and one year later, the sun set on 9000 production altogether, with only 400 exported to the US that year. Few Aeros are hanging about these days with under 100,000 miles, but this California car that’s made its way to New York is one of them. Luckily, it’s the higher horsepower 5-speed manual variant.

Year: 1994
Model: 9000 Aero
Engine: 2.3 liter turbocharged four cylinder
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 70,560 mi
Price: $6,200

1994 Saab 9000 Aero on eBay

1994 Saab 9000 Aero, 70,560 Original Miles
Engine: 4 Cyl, 2.3L
Transmission: Manual
Vin: YS3CN65R8R1029321
Exterior: Black
Interior: Black
Body Style: 5 Door Hatchback

This fully loaded beauty comes to us from sunny and dry state of California. We have brought it over to New York only few weeks ago. It has a manual gearbox, power brakes, leather, heated seats, fog lights, power windows, power door locks, wood trim, CD/Tape/AM/FM, power sunroof and automatic climate control.

Engine is in good shape, does not smoke, does not leak, nice and quiet. Gearbox feels perfect, shifts without any problems, without delay, and without noise. Clutch feels like new. Suspension is in excellent shape, car tracks nice and straight.
There is no evidence of any electrical problems. The exterior is in excellent shape for a 1994. The paint looks original with absolutely no evidence of rust. Leather seats, carpet floor and glass are all in great shape. Interior of this car is nice and clean. This 9000 has four matching tires with more then 80% thread left that are mounted on good straight Aero rims. It will be sold with a clear title and it will be sold as-is, where-is.

The seller’s asking price of $6,200 isn’t wildly out of reason, but is still a tad high. If this car could be had between $4,500 and $5,500, it would make for a better deal. The last few Aeros I’ve come across have ranged between $3,000 and $5,000 and all had mileage over about 20,000 more and up. For someone who wants a bit of stealth with their speed and embraces dissonance, the 9000 Aero might just be the ticket. As the Saab marketing slogan said at the time this car went on sale “find your own road.”

-Paul