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

2002 Volkswagen GTi 337 with 6,700 Miles

I have to admit that when I initially heard the details of the 337 Edition GTi, I was very excited. To me, it seemed like Volkswagen had finally gotten the message and brought us a modern interpretation of the car that I loved, the 1990-1992 GTi 2.0 16V. After a period of low performance 4-cylinder variants, the pokey 1.8T was now pumping out 180 horsepower and matching torque – finally, the car had the go to match the show. While the VR6 had continued into the fourth generation GTi, the accompanying weight, luxury items and electronic throttle meant that while horsepower numbers went up, the seat of the pants kick and thrill that was the hallmark of the original and 16V GTi – and even the Mk.3 VR6 – had been replaced by a stout highway cruiser. As if to answer critics and revisit the original formula, in 2001 Volkswagen introduced a stripped down, turned up version of the GTi called the 25th Anniversary edition, celebrating the original 1976 launch. For me, it was a return to form for the original hot hatch with some great updates. Unfortunately, it wasn’t heading to the U.S., because of course we didn’t receive the GTi until the 1983 model year. But U.S. fans were taken care of too when the nearly identical GTi 337 was launched. Outside, it got some awesome shot-peened BBS RC wheels that looked stunning compared the the rather bland wheels styles that had adorned the GTi since the BBS RMs on the 16V. Behind those wheels were beefed up brakes and red calipers, because red is of course faster (or, slower in that case?). It also sported a new body kit that highlighted the lower stance – hunkering the GTi down over those great wheels. After a period of hidden tailpipes, a polished exhaust tip emerged from the rear valance – a nice change for sure!…

1979 BMW 635CSi Euro-Spec

As iconic designs go, the E24 has to rank pretty high on most German car enthusiasts’ lists. The lines are pure and classic – a long hood line with chiseled front end, delicate and subtle wheel arches, a sweeping greenhouse and a flowing trunk line. It just looks right – the front of the E9 that it succeeded was equally as classic, but I have always felt that the back of the 6 series was prettier than the car it replaced. It took elements of some classic BMW designs that preceded it and incorporated them flawlessly with updates for a new time. By 1970s standards, it was a very clean design – consider what was coming out of Detroit during this time period, and you’ll understand why the 6 still looked reasonably fresh a decade on in the 1980s. But for my money, the prettiest of the 6s are the early Euro cars, unencumbered by the DOT bumpers. Early on, though, the 6s suffered from not much performance – the engine lineup was effectively carried over from the previous E9 platform. That was solved in 1978 with the launch of the 218 horsepower 635CSi; a 5-speed transmission, deeper airdam and black rubber rear spoiler with model designation indicated the higher performance of this model. The 635 officially wouldn’t come to U.S. shores until much later in 1984 with the E28 updates in place, but for a time this was the highest performance BMW coupe you could get. Finding early examples that are still in prime shape is quite tough these days, but there’s a lovely example on Ebay today in Connecticut:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1979 BMW 635CSi on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: 1978 Volkswagen Scirocco Sidewinder II Turbo

If the Mk.1 Scirocco is already a rare car to see, finding a period modified one is even more rare – especially when it comes to a well known example, such as the New Dimensions turbocharged example we see here. On top of being a fairly rare car already, this particular example is also one of the even more rare “Sidewinder II” editions that came out in 1978. What did the Sidewinder II get you? Well, according to this letter to dealers from Volkswagen, the Sidewinder got a special air dam, special seats, speedometer backing, decals, and black trim. I love, too, how Volkswagen likened the pose of the rattlesnake to the engine layout in the Scirocco; reaching, considering the 71 horsepower accelerated the “sports” coupe to 60 m.p.h. in a semi-leisurely 11.6 seconds. To fix that, this New Dimensions example has a 1.8 turbocharged motor fitted along with some fairly rare parts:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1978 Volkswagen Scirocco Sidewinder on eBay

Duocorns: 1987 Volkswagen Quantum GL5 Syncro Variant and 2003 Volkswagen Passat W8 4Motion Variant 6-speed

In yesterday’s Audi project post, I wrote up two more-rare Audis with potential, though both would require some work and dedication to get to daily driver status. Today, I’ve got two more “project” cars – though, if anything, these two are considerably more rare these days than either of the two Audis. Both are all-wheel drive wagons from Volkswagen, but if you can quint and see a family resemblance, that’s about all that links them together. The first is the B2 Audi-derived Quantum Syncro – essentially, an Audi 4000 quattro with Volkswagen hubs, wheels and brakes and a unique rear suspension under the Quantum body. The Passat W8 also shared Audi A4 all-wheel drive components but essentially was a completely different offering, from the 6-speed manual transmission this model sports to the unique W8 motor stuffed into the discreet Passat Variant package. While there were considerably more Quantum Syncros produced than W8 6-speeds, finding one today can be quite hard – many succumbed to poor residual value, rust and neglect; though not complicated cars, the were more expensive to work on than the standard 4-cylinder models. The W8 is at the verge of falling into the same fate, with the exception of original production numbers – with only a handful of W8 Variants imported originally, both of these cars are serious unicorns these days. Which is your style?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Volkswagen Quantum GL5 Syncro Variant on eBay

Wednesday Wheels Roundup: RS Edition

Though there was a brief period where they were considered a little past their prime, BBS RS wheels have come roaring back as a popular fan favorite once again. Expensive wheels when they were new, amazingly in some cases they’re even more expensive when fully polished and restored than they were originally. Here’s a roundup of a few different colors and options; gold wheels for your Porsche 930 – is there any better fit? Then a fully restored 4x100mm set that would look great on a BMW E30 or Volkswagen GTi. I also found a few sets that need some work; the white set appears to be originally for a Porsche 928 but needs restoration, and the silver set is missing a wheel for your BMW. Finally, a set of black wheels for a Mercedes or Audi and a set of the newer variant – the Super RS, for your new BMW M car. What is your favorite?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: BBS RS 131 16×8.5,9.5 5×130 Wheels on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: 1974 BMW 2002Ti

There are some pretty distinct tuning periods, such that you can generally peg the time frame that a car was modified if it was “cutting edge”. For example, when I saw this 2002Ti pop up on eBay, I immediately thought it was a late 80s/early 90s modification. Most of that, to be fair, came from the dated wheels, but the boxy styling, attempt to update the grill and paint scheme just said to me that M.C. Hammer may have been playing in the background when this car was revised. And like early modified cars and even more recent examples, dated mods sometimes make a bit of a mess – and this car certainly looks dated to me. Despite that I think there’s still a lot to like here; the base is a clean 2002Ti, the box-flares aren’t horrible and inside there are some great Recaros and a Zender wheel. What would you do with the rest?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1974 BMW 2002Ti on eBay

Shark Attack: BMW 635CSi Roundup

In my recent write up of two pretty overpriced 318ti M-Sports, I suggested that a vintage 635CSi would probably be a better option if you were looking for a collectable BMW for around the same ask of those two models. To put my theoretical money where my unfortunately quite real mouth is, here’s a lineup of the venerable E24 grand tourers. For a modest price you get a tremendous amount of style, sport, near bulletproof engine and drive train and a potential investment. I have five examples to look at; interestingly, four of them are the last of the run, rare to see mid-88 and up refresh models. Also interesting though less surprising is that none of them sits on their original wheels. That, and their birthplace may be the only thing that links them though, as they’re all quite different. Which would be the one you’d choose? Let’s take a look at the oldest:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 BMW 635CSi on eBay

Learn to cope: RHD 1988 BMW 325i Touring

If I’m honest, I’m not a huge fan of the entire E30 scene. I think it’s a bit overplayed, over-hyped and over-priced. Granted, they’re nice cars, but even though they’re slower I’d take a clean 4000 Quattro or Coupe GT over a 325i any day. There are two exceptions, though; the E30 M3 is of course a favorite of mine but firmly out of reach in any meaningful condition. The other exception is the Touring model – I’d love it if Audi had made a B2 quattro Avant, but they didn’t. Sure, there’s the Quantum Syncro wagon, but park one next to this 1988 325i Touring and for me the clear winner in looks is the BMW. In fact, it’s so much better looking to me than a Quantum, even the steering wheel on the “right” side wouldn’t bother me:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW 325i Touring on eBay

Wednesday Wheels Roundup: “Mag” Edition

Our reader Kyle recently requested to see more magnesium wheels; as I have a bit of a early magnesium BBS wheel fetish myself, I was only too happy to oblige. Here’s a quick selection of the magnesium wheels on Ebay – BBS isn’t the only magnesium wheel producer, but they’ve got some of the best designs. Interestingly, a few years back many people thought these wheels were throw-aways as no one wanted old race wheels, but a resurgence in popularity has once again made them a valuable commodity. From vintage racing Porsches to modern track cars, magnesium wheels are still some of the lightest you can get and in the 1980s they were one of the few ways to get really wide wheels on your race car. Generally, BBS wheels with an “E” prefix denote magnesium centers, though the new E88s below claim to be forged aluminum. I’m secretly hoping to find a set of languishing BBS E51s – they were originally 4×108 15″ and 16″ wheels fitted to 924s and would bolt right up to my Audi. What are your favorite?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: BBS E78 15×9.5 5×130 Wheels on eBay