1989 BMW 325iX Touring

1989 BMW 325iX Touring

It’s been a balmy couple of days in DC, with temperatures shooting up to around 60 degrees. One could be forgiven for wondering where the winter went. It will soon be here, I’m sure. And with it the snow and ice, the city-wide shutdown, and the terrible drivers causing pile-ups around the beltway. What would be the ideal winter warrior for times like these? The E30 325iX quickly comes to mind. A brief search on Craigslist throws up a number of tidy options (as well as the usual plethora of over-priced rust buckets). But one in particular stands out, a bit of a unicorn. AWD? Check. Manual? Check? Wagon? Check! Eye-watering price? Double check!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 BMW 325iX Touring on Columbus, OH Craigslist

1988 BMW 325ix

1988 BMW 325ix

s-l1600 (5)
We don’t see much of the 325ix around here (though Carter’s recent 325ix touring was a special treat), as they seem to have mostly died undignified deaths in Colorado and the northeast. This Vermonter has somehow survived without too much damage, not even showing any of the usual rust that appears around the M-Tech II bodykit. It’s covered the better part of 200k miles and has a few flaws (note to the seller: saying that “the car need a power sterring holes fot the power streeing to work again, and the paking brake is not woking now” four lines after “a lot money spent to keep it in top running condition” does not inspire trust. However, this is a rare 5-speed coupe E30 with all wheel drive, so it still warrants a close look.

Click for details: 1988 BMW 325ix on eBay

1988 BMW 325ix

1988 BMW 325ix

s-l1600 (6)
I’m always interested in clean examples of the 325ix. Rare to begin with, their all-road capability means they’ve often experienced crueler conditions than a standard E30. This example has covered an amazing 248k miles but is a hard-to-find manual coupe. The engine was replaced about 1k miles ago with another M20B25 that has 120k total miles but recently had a top end rebuild. The interior looks good all things considered, with cracked but not ripped seats and an intact dash. The exterior was recently repainted after the common rust areas were professionally repaired, letting the Delphin Gray give off its great subtle luster. With axles and other maintenance items done within the last 50k miles, this seems like the right kind of high-mileage car to pursue, especially given the rare specification.

Click for details: 1988 BMW 325ix on eBay

1991 BMW 325ix

1991 BMW 325ix

s-l1600
As we get into the slip-slidy ice times here in the Pacific Northwest, all-wheel drive is on my mind more than ever. We are fortunate to have both an E28 M5 and a Subaru Forester in our household each providing fun drives across a variety of conditions, but what if I could have both cars wrapped into one? Sounds great to me, and the first car that comes to mind to fit that bill is the E30 325ix. Deliciously analog in the 80s Bimmer way while dishing out AWD security in any condition is a tasty combination.

This example comes from the state that may hold the highest concentration of ix models, Colorado. It’s been repainted white and is fairly straight, if a little rough around the edges. But I chose this car because any time I see an E30 the Project part of my brain starts turning: what are you going to do in the future? Engine swap, suspension, spruce up the interior – all pretty typical E30 items that this 325ix would be a great foundation for. With 180k miles, the engine may be coming up in not too long, but that will provide an opportunity to get the autobox out as well. It’s no showstopper, but it’s exactly the kind of 80s German metal I want to play with heading into winter.

Click for details: 1991 BMW 325ix on eBay

1990 Volkswagen Vanagon Adventurewagen Syncro

1990 Volkswagen Vanagon Adventurewagen Syncro

s-l1600 (7)
An old friend emailed me the other day for advice on getting his own adventure van. We ran through the whole gamut of options, from the classic Westy to Sprinters to Ford Sportvans to Transit Connects. We had some good discussions examining various priorities and rationales, and he had a hard time envisioning shelling out $35k for a nice 25 year-old van, even if Volkswagens are clearly the most stylish and sentimental choice. So, we looked at some other options and kept the discussion going.

Then this van came onto eBay, and I was right back in a puddle of Vanagonlove. The High Tops have grown (no pun intended) on me a lot recently with even greater sleeping and storage space than the standard Westy. They still have a small-van footprint, but bring big-van capability, especially with Syncro. This van has had some very interesting modifications, most importantly a turbocharged Ford Zetec conversion by well-known Van converters Bostig mated to a rebuilt transmission. You could spend days reading the aggressive arguments on forums debating the pros and cons of different engine swaps – 1.8T keeps it OEM+, Subaru has the most power potential, the Ford has the most parts availability, and then there’s the one guy in the corner shouting “911S! 911S!” I move on as soon as people start saying THERE IS ONLY ONE GOOD OPTION, as it seems like all can result in awesome vans as long as the work is well-done and holistic. All of this to say that I have no issue with a Ford engine in a Vanagon and see it as a reliable, reasonably efficient way to more power.

The other modifications are not nearly as contentious or involved as the motor swap, but they do contribute to creating a unique and attractive van. The interior has been swapped out for that from a top-of-the-line Carat, creating an OEM-plushness the Syncro never received.…

2004 Volkswagen R32

2004 Volkswagen R32

$_57

Despite recently hearing blog owner Dan’s personal hell with a MkIV 20th Anniversary GTI, I can’t shake my love for the first-generation R32. Hot hatches are experiencing an incredible resurgence including some noteworthy American offerings, but we’re obviously partial to Teutonic wee beasties here. The R32 still has one of the best exhaust growls out there, and combines a 6-speed with Haldex 4Motion AWD to make an all-season weapon.

They look great in any of the four colors they came in, but this red example is exceptionally clean after 90k miles and a respray of the front bumper and hood to undo the common rock chips. It’s had two owners who each drove it for 45k miles before passing it on. I remember being excited when these got down around $20k; now that good examples are under $15k, I’m even more tempted.

Click for details: 2004 Volkswagen R32 on eBay

2009 BMW 328i X-Drive Touring M-Sport 6-Speed

2009 BMW 328i X-Drive Touring M-Sport 6-Speed

If you asked a random person on the street which was more rare, an E91 wagon with a manual transmission or an Audi R8, I guarantee you that the majority of folks would say the R8. They would of course be wrong because an average of 1,500 wagons came to the U.S. annually with a estimated maximum of 5% being manuals. That lumps this example in with rare gated manuals like Ferrari F430s or Aston Martins. Of course most people look at this car and just see another AWD wagon suited for life in a mountain town. In my opinion, that is a big part of the appeal and though it’s not nearly as powerful as an Audi S4, I think these M-Sport package cars are equally as special. I have yet to get a chance to drive on with a manual but I know how well they handle and as someone who owned a B7 S4 Avant, I have to say the BMW was more enjoyable for spirited driving. Sure, you don’t get the V8 wail like you do with the S4 or an AMG wagon but the venerable 3.0L I-6 can sing a pleasing song with the right upgrades, particularly an M-Sport exhaust and headers.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2009 BMW 328i X-Drive Touring on Craigslist

2012 Audi TT RS

2012 Audi TT RS

 

If this was my car and I was the kind of person who went in for vanity plates I’d get COPMGNT because that’s what it is. A regular Audi TT isn’t exactly a head turner and the TT S doesn’t demand attention either. Both are fine looking cars but not nearly as fine as the fully hotted up RS version. Yes, I know the differences are subtle but the wider body, 19″ wheels, mesh grille and killer rear valance give the TT body the aggressive look I think it always should have had. Like many of the reviews say, the TT RS is more R8 than TT and I often debate which I’d rather have. I always end up landing on the R8 because gated manual. 

Speaking on manuals, the TT RS we got here in America only came with 3 pedals. Think about that for a second, a modern sports car in America with no automatic option only 3 years ago. If they were smart enough to do it then, why oh why can’t they be smart enough to offer an S3 with a stick now? Sorry to get off topic, sore subject as I’d go in for an S3 with a stick in a heartbeat, but I digress. Audi got a lot of things right with the TT RS, excellent 6spd manual, howling 2.5L inline-5 pushing out 360hp and 343 lb-ft in a 3,312 package. The car was quick, balanced and apparently had minimal understeer for an Audi. I would absolutely love to drive one of these but as they’re actually rather rare, the likelihood of that happening in the near future is slim to none. If you happen to own one of these cars and live in the greater Los Angeles area, please, let me drive your car?…

Wagon Week: 2015 BMW 328d xDrive

Wagon Week: 2015 BMW 328d xDrive

13359237_7

I’m not a huge fan of buying new cars – my brain just doesn’t see the logic in accepting instant depreciation as the price for being the very first person to own a car. I clearly lean towards well-used classics anyway, but at the very least a certified pre-owned car seems like the way to go if you want something modern. I have to make an exception here because somewhere along the line of bloating and modernization, BMW decided to make a car that seemed as likely as an albino unicorn not long ago – a turbodiesel, all-wheel drive, M-packaged station wagon. I’m getting used to the newer BMW styling and almost liking it, especially here on a white longroof spiffed up with black M accents and two-tone 20-spoke wheels reminiscent of the E39 M5’s all-time-great rims. Too bad that it doesn’t have a manual, but these 8-speed autos are supposed to be excellent. Overall, it’s pretty epic as far as new cars go, but then again so is its price.

Click for details: 2015 BMW 328d xDrive on eBay

Wagon Week: 2008 BMW 328xi Touring

Wagon Week: 2008 BMW 328xi Touring

$_57 (1)

While we certainly all love the idea of the pavement-stomping, Bahn-burner muscle wagons, sometimes that just isn’t practical. Yes, I dream of RS6 Avants, smile at the many E63 Wagons in my area and fanboyishly took tons of iPhone pictures when I saw an M5 Touring (with foreign plates), but those crazy longroofs are as expensive and rare as they are awesome. For the family-man enthusiast, a spruced-up standard model can be a more achievable dream. Today’s E91 fits that bill perfectly, accentuating the sharp, long lines of this generation of 3-series wagons with an M3 front bumper and very low coilovers. The OEM+ look is continued with 19″ Style 95 wheels off a 7-series, while the car also comes with blacked-out 5-series rims as well as the originals. The clean look is continued inside with a gorgeous brown leather interior. It may not be the craziest performer, but it’s a beautiful and useful wagon that will make trips to school, the grocery store, and sports practices a little more special.

Click for details: 2008 BMW 328xi Touring on eBay

Wagon Week: 1990 BMW 325ix Touring

Wagon Week: 1990 BMW 325ix Touring

00808_hEt0YRcwx8D_600x450
E30 Tourings are coming across with greater regularity, and we’ve been documenting the increase in immigration. No longer are they subject to endless hoops and finagling involving Canada, a European relative, and several thousand dollars. No, the glory days of the E30 wagon are nigh, and today we have an exciting rarity. The 325ix sedan is a cool car in its own right, but an E30 wagon with all-wheel drive and the flared arches is ice cold. I’ve seen good examples of these in Germany, but this one has made the transatlantic voyage and is in my hometown of Seattle, WA, making it that much more tempting. With few listed issues and low miles, this is a very hot wagon.

Click for details: 1989 BMW 325ix Touring on Craigslist Seattle

1993 Audi S4

1993 Audi S4

Unfortunately I’m going to date myself here, but when I was in high school I had a love affair with Borbet Type C wheels. Sure, I loved BBSs, but the Type C was my then favorite – to the point where I had cut out the advertisement from Car and Driver that said in German “Lust after new wheels?” with an image of the Type C at the bottom and mounted it in my school locker. It was a brilliant ad campaign, and in the early to mid 1990s it was the wheel I wanted. When I got my first Audi – a 4000CS quattro – high on the list of “wants” was a set of 16″ Borbets. I saw them later at my first Audi event in 1997 at Lime Rock park, notably adorning two of my favorite models; a V8 quattro and S6 Avant. It was so memorable, in fact, that I took a photo of these cars in line with my favorite wheels – a photo I still have today. So, you’d think that when a set of my favorite wheels popped up on a period application like this 1993 Audi S4, I’d be super excited. But just to show how priorities change, I now find myself wishing it was wearing the original Fuchs-made 5-spokes. How weird is that?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1993 Audi S4 on eBay

1985 Audi Quattro

1985 Audi Quattro

If the GTi from earlier was expensive for an economy car in 1984, the Audi Quattro was near ridiculous in its pricing; at over $35,000 in 1982, it was more expensive than most Porsche models at the time, including the 911. But the Quattro was the R8 of its day, redefining Audi’s place in the market and introducing exotic performance to a more mainstream crowd. It wasn’t revolutionary in any one particular way; turbocharging and 4 driven wheels has previously hit the market in other applications. But the Quattro combined World Rally Championship performance in an everyday package that could comfortably carry 4 adults with luggage in style. They’ve been legendary since new, but not always appreciated as such – though Audi’s recent acceptance and acknowledgement that it did indeed build cars before the A4 has helped the rising market value of these models. Arguably the most valuable in general are the last model year; updates to the weak point computer and fuse box, coupled with the perfect stance 8″ Ronals and updated interior, along with slightly revised headlights and trunklid meant these were special cars amongst an already rare bunch. Less than 100 made it to these shores, so coming across them today is something of a treat:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Audi Quattro on eBay

2012 Porsche 911 Turbo

2012 Porsche 911 Turbo

Porsche is thankfully one of those car companies that still lets you customize your ride beyond what one normally finds in the dealer brochure…provided you come with the checkbook handy. For years, Porsche has offered a “paint to sample” option for buyers who are perhaps a bit bored with the colors in the back of the dealer brochure. This has led to a multitude of interesting liveries over the years, including the second to last 928GTS produced, in a questionable shade of Pearlglanz Metallic over purple interior trimmings. Thankfully, some of these special combinations are less offensive than others. Such is the case with this 2012 Porsche 911 Turbo painted in Gulf Blue with a subtle Espresso Brown leather interior.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2012 Porsche 911 Turbo at Road Scholars

1990 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 Cabriolet with 32k miles

1990 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 Cabriolet with 32k miles

Being spread out over the United States, it’s hard for all of us here at GCFSB to catch up, but I was lucky enough to visit Rhode Island over the long weekend and catch up with Carter who lives in Providence. Living in the Washington, DC area, politics is the topic of the day and one which I loathe. So it’s always great to get away from this fishbowl and meet up with likeminded friends who share my passion for German cars. Carter had mentioned to me that a friend of his has an M3 Convertible, and I had my usual confused reaction when it comes to drop top M cars.

Now I have come across this 1990 964 series Carrera 4 Cabriolet. Kind of an odd combination, no? When I think of 911 Cabriolets, I think of motoring on sunny days rather than inclement weather that goes hand in hand with all-wheel drive. While this C4 Cabriolet may reside in New Hampshire, it spent a good many years in California and Florida. Just under 5,000 of the C4 Cabriolets were built, in comparison to just over 11,000 of the C2 Cabriolet, so for the classic 911 buyer looking for a bit more exclusivity, a low mileage, 5-speed example like this car would be a good choice.

Click for more details: 1991 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 Cabriolet on Rennlist