First Dimension: 1978 Volkswagen Scirocco Callaway Turbo

First Dimension: 1978 Volkswagen Scirocco Callaway Turbo

There aren’t too many period-correct tuned Volkswagens that we get to see. Those that do turn up are usually home-brewed, and consequently usually aren’t built to a high standard.

Today’s is something special, though.

Finding a clean first generation Scirocco is difficult enough. This one also happens to be one of the limited Champagne Edition cars, though you’d not know it unless I told you so, because so little of the original outside of the silhouette remains. From top to bottom, this Scirocco has been through a whirlwind of changes. But this car is far from a garage project, as some of the more legendary VW tuners in the U.S. had their hands on it since it was close to new. This car was the original test bed for the Santa Clara speed shop New Dimensions, and features some of the best items you could source. New Dimensions bought the production rights and experience of Callaway Turbo Systems in the mid 1980s, and continued to offer turbocharging for Volkswagens into the early 2000s. The result, after a painstaking period of rebuilding it, is a nearly flawless execution and one of the best tuned VW 2-doors out there:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1978 Volkswagen Scirocco Callaway Turbo on eBay

1982 Porsche 924 Turbo

1982 Porsche 924 Turbo

Back in June and into early July, I spent some time covering the various iterations of the 924. In each case, there was something unique or interesting about each variation of the model generally overlooked in Porsche history, but nonetheless important to the survival and success of Porsche as a company. Paving the way for the 944 model, the 924 was an efficient, reliable and (reasonably) affordable premium sports car that lived through an economic and resource crisis period. Without it and the subsequent 944/968, Porsche may well have been forced to close its doors a few times.

I looked at a 924 Turbo a little over a month ago. 931s are broken into two periods – Series 1 (launch in ’79 -late ’80) and Series 2 (’81-’82). Series 2 cars all had the 5-lug, 4-wheel disc upgrade that only some of the Series 1 were equipped with. Additionally, they had a revised ignition system, improved intake, higher compression pistons but a smaller turbocharger. The transmission was shared with the B2 Audi inline-5s. They were mostly loaded examples, so like this one they have power windows, locks, mirrors, air conditioning, rear wiper and sunroof. Outside of the wheels, these changes were mostly invisible to the eye, and generally speaking don’t make a difference in the value of the vehicle. What does is condition, and when you’re looking at a 924 Turbo you want to buy the best one that you can afford. Is this the one?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1982 Porsche 924 Turbo on eBay

1981 Porsche 924

1981 Porsche 924

Edit 8/11/2017 – the Buy It Now has been lowered to $6,500.

Another 924? Sure, but there were so many special models during the production run that popped up that they could occupy most of a week alone! Recently, I’ve looked at a ’87 924S, a modded ’78, a Carrera GT replica and a clean ’80 Turbo.

Today is one that’s slightly different in that, at least on the surface, it’s not a special edition. However, what is interesting about this car is that it appears to have several of the items from the ’81 Weissach Commemorative Edition. One of the 2,100 1981 924s imported, the Platinum color, mudflaps and two-tone ATS wheels seem to match the limited model. Is it one, after all?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1981 Porsche 924 on eBay

1978 Porsche 924

1978 Porsche 924

I’m going to continue my string of 924s with an interesting 1978 today. This car represents the early run of the original design. It was a simple, no-frills, lightweight sports car – in essence, what Porsche was all about. However, Porsche’s headlining cars had moved on to powerful 6- and 8-cylinder designs, and turbocharging ruled the roost in performance options – so the EA827 derivative normally aspirated 4-cylinder from corporate partners Volkswagen and Audi was selected. That relegated the 924 to only about 100 horsepower, but with good handling and excellent aerodynamics they were still entertaining – albeit relatively slow – drives.

And, at less than $10,000 new, they were an affordable sports car with good build quality and a name established in winning prestigious races around the world. Yet, as Porsche does, sales success didn’t stop them from launching marketing-targeted limited production models nearly every single year – and charging a lot more money for them with options (up to around $15,000!). Today, if you want to collect an early 924, they’re generally the ones to grab. 1976-7 saw the Martini World Championship cars, while in 1978 you could have the Limited Edition model, and in 1979 the Sebring model. There was a 1980 Le Mans edition and further specials that we’ve seen, too. Along with the addition of the Turbo to the lineup in 1980, then, there generally isn’t much of a call to look at a non special edition early 924. But, this is one that might buck that trend….

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1978 Porsche 924 on eBay

Motorsports Monday: 1980 Porsche 924 Turbo Holbert Racing

Motorsports Monday: 1980 Porsche 924 Turbo Holbert Racing

It’s always a little interesting to find something rare in the German world. The 924 Turbo does qualify as a bit rare; only about 6,800 of the early turbocharged models made it to the U.S., and the 1980 model year represents about half of that total. But teething problems, low residual values, higher cost of ownership and maintenance and the some 36 years that have passed since this car was produced mean there aren’t a huge glut of nice 924 models out there. But this car has something a little more unique than the already unusual 931. This particular car appears to have been modified in period utilizing Al Holbert’s D-Production body kit and magnesium BBS wheels. Rare? You betcha.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1980 Porsche 924 Turbo on eBay

1982 Porsche 944 Euro-spec

1982 Porsche 944 Euro-spec

First year model. Undiluted European specification. Rare non-sunroof. Rare air condition delete as well. Paint to sample. Pascha interior. Clean history. Under 100,000 miles. Overall great condition. Were these the statistics for a model named “911”, the price would be through the roof already. Yet while enthusiasts bemoan the increasingly unreachable air-cooled variety of Porsches, their water-cooled brethren remain steadfastly affordable – at least, for the time being. Let’s take a look at this 1982 European-specification 944:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1982 Porsche 944 on eBay

Tuner Tuesday Twofer: 1984 Mercedes-Benz 500SEC AMG v. 1987 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC Koenig Widebody

Tuner Tuesday Twofer: 1984 Mercedes-Benz 500SEC AMG v. 1987 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC Koenig Widebody

Edit 6/13/2017: the ABC Exclusive replica 560 SEC is back on a no reserve auction for a $15,000 starting bid. Click HERE!

Coupe versions of the Mercedes-Benz W126 chassis are popular fodder for these pages, and in particular we love to look at some period modified versions. Just last week Craig looked at a 1989 560SEC with period AMG bits, though that car was not an originally modified car. Today I have a comparison of two different directions modifications took in the 1980s on the C126, and in many ways it is a commentary on both how to properly present a car and…well, how not to. Whether these cars are to your taste is another matter, but we can certainly see the divergence in style pretty quickly. Which one is the winner? Let’s take a look at the European specification AMG model first:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Mercedes-Benz 500SEC AMG on eBay

1973 Mercedes-Benz 280SE ‘Red Pig’ Tribute

1973 Mercedes-Benz 280SE ‘Red Pig’ Tribute
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The 1971 Mercedes–Benz 300 SEL 6.8 AMG is one of my favorite cars ever. The ‘Red Pig’ entered 1971 24-hour race at Spa as the over-weight underdog. To everyone’s surprise, it finished 1st in it’s class and second overall thanks to the madmen at AMG who took the already impressive M100 engine and pushed it to 428 horsepower and 448 lb-ft. This example for sale in California isn’t the famous Rote Sau, but it is a very nice tribute that will have you yelling ”Sooie!”

1989 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC AMG 6.0 Widebody

1989 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC AMG 6.0 Widebody

There are many legends from the 1980s tuning scene, and probably if you were to single out one single car as the most famous it would be the Ruf CTR “Yellowbird” that stunned magazines with its 200+ m.p.h. top speed and created one of the first internet sensations with its slithering sideways lap of the ‘Ring. But near equal to the yellow 911 is the widebody bad boys from Affalterbach. With their four cam V8s churning supercar power levels and their widened flanks, they were a favorite poster subjects and still draw adoring crowds today. A steady stream of AMGs from Japan have been making their way across the ocean to the U.S., and this one is reported to be one of the original 6 widebody 560SECs made for the Japanese market:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC AMG 6.0 Widebody on eBay

Honorable Mention Roundup

Honorable Mention Roundup

We get a lot of submissions from readers – something we greatly appreciate! But the reality is that we don’t get the chance to write up all of these cars, and some deserving examples slip through the cracks. For some time I’ve wanted to do a roundup of all the examples we missed out on, so today I’m doing just that. Here’s a group of neat cars that we didn’t get a chance to look at in more depth. Thanks again to all of our devoted readers who have sent in some of these suggestions – we really do love getting your suggestions, so keep sending them and tell us if this “Honorable Mention Roundup is a good idea!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Mercedes-Benz 500SEC on eBay

1982 Porsche 924 Turbo

1982 Porsche 924 Turbo

There are still a few cars that have a niche collector status but are generally unappreciated, even by those who love the marque. Until recently, it was the Audi Quattro that was the complicated, turbocharged wonder from Germany; while it redefined the marketplace and racing, it was largely dismissed as a flash in the pan that was too expensive and difficult to keep running. Three decades on, though, and even Audi has finally accepted that it was both an important and influential car and slowly the larger automotive enthusiast community is, as well. But there’s still an automotive icon, an influential leader who brought turbocharging to the “masses” in the early 1980s; an unappreciated car who I’m sure its time will come before long – the Porsche 924 Turbo. Already the market has begun to awaken to this model, though mostly good examples are still dirt cheap on the collector scale – and especially compared to other early 1980s Porsche Turbo models.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1982 Porsche 924 Turbo on eBay

1982 Porsche 924

1982 Porsche 924

In many ways, the Porsche 924 is to me the equivalent of the Audi Coupe GT. Much like the Audi, the 924 has languished in the shadow of its bigger and more famous brother, the 944 – especially the Turbo model. Show up just about anywhere in a Coupe GT, and invariably someone inquiring about the car will say “I always loved the Quattro”; the same has been my experience with the 924 – even the S model – when people discount the normally aspirated model in favor of memories of forced induction. True enough, the 951 – and even the turbocharged variant of the 924, the 931 – are fan favorites even within the marque and generally considered where the value and appreciation as collectors will be in the near future. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get a solid value in a more simple 924. While the later 924S is where you want to be if you really want a driver value, there is a beautiful simplicity to the early cars that always draws my eyes:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1982 Porsche 924 on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: 1985 Mercedes-Benz 190E AMG Widebody

Tuner Tuesday: 1985 Mercedes-Benz 190E AMG Widebody

If you want a fast tuner small sedan from the 1980s, you basically have two options: Alpina is the go-to favorite, and if you’re a bit different you find a Hartge. That’s it, really, because while companies like Abt modified Audi 80/4000s and occasionally you might run across a Callaway Turbo Jetta GLi, there just wasn’t much else out there. For Mercedes-Benz, you could of course buy their in-house tuned Cosworth 190E, but AMG seemed to focus on the larger W124 and W126 chassis instead of the W201. That is, of course, except for their 911-fast 190E 3.2 and 3.4 – cars seldom seen. Before we go any farther, this isn’t one of those mega-motored cars, from everything I can tell. What it appears to be, though, is a clean and tidy looking 190E in a quite rare color with some pretty awesome period AMG details; in this case, the ultra-rare widebody kit from Affalterbach:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Mercedes-Benz 190E AMG on Craigslist

Wednesday Wheels Roundup

Wednesday Wheels Roundup

Today I have a few more rare sets of wheels to check out. On the bigger and newer front are some brand new OZ Racing Superleggeras for Mercedes-Benz or Audi fitment. They’ve never even seen the road, but are a stellar deal at only $900. A much more expensive but equally large set of Speedline Alessios for BMWs are next; at $3,300 they’re staggeringly expensive but quite impressive looking on that E34. Next we travel back in time to when 13″ wheels were something that was the norm; equip an early A1 Volkswagen or 2002/320i BMW with these BBS RA wheels, though, and it’ll be sure to standout even with small rubber. Lastly are a set of the ATS made Porsche 924 Weissach Edition wheels; they’re slightly different than the normal ATS wheels that were optioned onto the 924 because the Weissach had machined faces and graphite inserts instead of being all silver. These need some work, but would make an early 924 or Audi look pretty special if so equipped. Both of the smaller wheels are pretty affordable at less than $500. What’s your favorite?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: OZ Racing Superleggera 5×112 18×8 Wheels on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: 1984 Mercedes-Benz 500SEC AMG

Tuner Tuesday: 1984 Mercedes-Benz 500SEC AMG

The words “authentic” and “original” become quite contested when it comes to 1980s AMG products. That’s mostly because, in truly un-Germanic fashion, most of the records of the early AMG cars were lost in the move from an independent company to incorporation in the Daimler-Benz Goliath. That’s really unfortunate, because it opens the opportunity for interpretation; without documentation, how is one supposed to truly show that their car is an original modified version? There are also questions about what level of modification makes a “authentic” AMG; because, technically, you could buy a steering wheel, wheels and aerobits from an authorized dealer in the 1980s and be able to claim it’s an original car. But the big money tends to be reserved for the cars that were fully modified with upgraded engines, suspension, interior and exterior upgrades. We’ve seen a few of these variously modified SECs cross these pages, and today we get to look at another. This one straddles the middle ground of mods; a steering wheel, reportedly correct “Penta” wheels, and aerodynamic bits adorn this European market 500SEC, but the car also has the correct AMG suspension as well. With lower miles, will this 1980s spectacular dipped white example set the market ablaze?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Mercedes-Benz 500SEC AMG on eBay