In 1993, my father purchased a W113 Mercedes-Benz 280SL Roadster. It was green with black MB Tex and do you know what? It looked, and felt, old. At that point, it was a 22 year old car that had been mostly forgotten by the enthusiast world. After all, the dated W113’s replacement – the oh so 80s even though it was from the 70s R107 – had just gone out of production, itself replaced by the thoroughly modern R129. I loved the R129 at the time, and the W113 seemed like a dinosaur by comparison. But my father loved the look of the W113, and so for the then princely sum of mid-teens he purchased a relatively clean, reasonably low mileage and (almost) fully functional Mercedes-Benz SL.
Fast forward the best part of two and a half decades, and the SL market has gone completely bonkers, awakening to the fact that the W113 was (and still is) a beautiful, classic and elegant design. I’m not even sure you could buy a non-functional, rusty wreck of a W113 for the same price my father paid in 1993 – and an expensive restoration would await you.
Why do I mention this?
Currently, almost no one has time to even consider the 8N chassis Audi TT. It’s old, with the last of the first generation produced 12 years ago and its replacement – the 8J – has also fully completed a production cycle. It doesn’t have the super wiz-bang computers, million horsepower engines, or cut-your-hand-on-the-front-end styling of the new models. A fair amount lay in a state of disrepair; crashed, thrashed and trashed to a point where they’re nearly given away – quite seriously, there’s one near me for $1,500. But find a good one, and I think now is the prime time to grab a clean TT that will be a future collectable.…
After the legendary run of turbocharged inline-5 motors ended for U.S. customers in 1995, Audi would not deliver another S6 to these shores until 2002. When it arrived, it came in only one form – the popular Avant package. While many rejoiced that this was at the very least an option, it was still pretty expensive and not everyone loves the fast five doors (crazy though it may seem!). But Audi came very close to offering S performance in the special package which was the A6 4.2 quattro. There were many variants of the C5, and ostensibly the 6-speed manual 2.7T was the “sport” option for the chassis. But the top of the heap 4.2 40V offered you the ART/AWN V8’s torque and 300 horsepower with instant throttle response starting in 2000. Underneath the 4.2 carried a special aluminum subframe. Additionally, the all-aluminum engine was joined by specially flared fenders and hood in aluminum, “door blades” that would later be seen on S models, plus optional 17″ x 8″ Speedline (later changed to forged and polished “Fat Fives”) wheels and upgraded brakes and pads. Suspension was lowered and stiffened with the 1BE sport springs and struts in the optional Sport Package; a 20mm drop was accompanied by 30% stiffer springs, 40% stiffer shocks and larger sway bars. The combination gave a menacing appearance to the C5 that wasn’t really present in the narrow-body 2.7T. Today, the argument over which is the better chassis still rages in multiple fora, and while tuners usually love the twin turbo manual option, many others prefer the velvet hammer 4.2 which really was a defacto S6 sedan Audi never brought here:
I went to college in London in 2000, about the same time that the first generation TT started to appear on British roads. Because my dorms were in a posh part of town, there were always a few of these parked nearby. The car’s styling struck me as extraordinary. It captured something of the millennial zeitgeist: a minimalist, Bauhaus-esque design that artfully blended lines and curves on the outside, with a bespoke-feeling cockpit on the inside featuring splashes of brushed aluminum and baseball-glove stitching on the leather seats. Back then, I had ambitions to become a lawyer, and this was the perfect car, I thought, for a young single man about town. The perfect yuppie’s car.
I’ll get this out of the way off the bat; not everyone likes the Audi TT, and yes, it’s not really a sports car. But excusing that it’s not a 911 although it’s similarly shaped, is it really that much of a pretender? Tight body curves that were really avant garde in the late 1990s reveal a beautifully crafted interior with lots of special details to let you know you were in a premium product. Under the hood, in its most potent form the 1.8T was quite capable as well, with 225 horsepower resulting in mid-6 sec 0-60 runs in stock form and punchy delivery. And while the Haldex-driven but “quattro” branded all-wheel drive wasn’t as slick as Audi’s other all-wheel drive systems, it works just fine in most conditions. So let’s take a look at two nice examples of these budget sports coupes:
For the C5 chassis, there was a major change in that the popular S6 sedan was discontinued in the United States. In its place, you got to choose from a few options; if you had to have a S6, Audi would oblige but only in wagon form in 2002/2003 with the S6 Avant. If you had to have a S sedan, your option was to wait until the 2003 twin turbo RS6 launched and pay a serious premium over a standard A6. But Audi had two spiritual successors to the C4 S6. First, you could get the twin turbocharged 2.7T V6 in the A6 sedan and it could be had with a 6-speed manual. A little heavier than the C4 but with a bit more power, performance was very close to the legendary turbo 5. But few remember that there was a 4.2 V8 option on the C4 S6 in Europe as well, and you could even specify your S6 with (gasp!) an automatic transmission. Audi recreated this package as well in the new C5 A6 4.2 quattro, and to make it a bit more special it was given some S6 details. The 4.2, for example, sported lighter aluminum fenders and hood, along with an aluminum front subframe to match it’s alloy V8. A full 1.4″ longer and with 3.5″ of additional track over the standard A6, the 4.2 also gained the door blades that would later be seen on the S cars. It was the defacto S6 sedan that was never offered, though the 300 horsepower V8 was down on power to the S6 motor and only 2/3s the power of the later twin-turbo RS6. Despite the special aspects the A6 4.2 doesn’t seem to enjoy as much as cult following as either the S6 Avant or the A6 2.7T 6-speed.…
On the surface, the themes were very similar; two movies staring action superstars playing above-the-law criminals with an amazing ability to extricate themselves from seemingly impossible conditions against improbable odds driving large, fast executive cars. Despite this, the movies Ronin and The Transporter couldn’t be more different. I watched the former on the edge of my seat, captivated by the mystery, floored by the incredibly filmed stunt scenes, the attention to reality and detail, and the staggeringly awesome lineup of cars. The latter I struggled to get through at all; I managed to make it about half way through before giving up. To this day, I still haven’t seen the ending of the first movie, and nothing more than trailers of the second. Is there a third? I’m sorry, I’m sure it made a gazillion dollars in the box office but frankly when I watched the clip of the Audi A8L W12 corkscrewing through the air to miraculously remove a bomb from the bottom of the car on a perfectly placed scrap-metal magnet hanging in mid-air I lost all interest. I can suspend my belief for a movie like Ronin because there was an air of reality to it; the characters were flawed and mortal. Sure, there were problems with the plot and even some of the stunts – I mean, they don’t show Jean Reno standing in line at the DMV to register the 450SEL 6.9, for example. But in terms of reality, it was on this planet at least, while The Transporter seemed to be set in some alternate Japanese-live-action-anime reality I’m not sure I want to understand. Nevertheless, the central plot to both is about cars and driving (at least a bit), and today you can purchase just about all of the cars featured in these films for around $10,000 – so which would you have?…
The undisputed winner of last week’s S4 showdown was the original S4 powered by the legendary 2.2 20V turbo. While prices of pristine examples have been steadily climbing and we’ve featured a few nice ones recently, there are still some higher-mile ones in nice condition which can be had for less than the down payment on some new cars. Today I’ll take a look at two such examples – higher miles with nice modifications and low prices. Let’s start with the Emerald Green example::
Engine: 2.2 liter tubocharged inline-5
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 270,000 mi
Price: $4,950 Buy It Now
This rare ‘95.5 UrS6 uber-sedan has been meticulously maintained throughout it’s life with full maintenance records dating back to the original owner. I am the fourth owner, and the first three maintained it at 2Bennett Audimotive (2B); the third owner being Andrew Bennett himself. I have maintained it myself during my ownership, and took record of everything. This car is luxurious, fast, versatile, and efficient for it’s capabilities. You will not be disappointed.
It currently has 270k miles, but any “Ur-S” guru will tell you that this is largely irrelevant with meticulous documented maintenance. The chassis is tight, and there are minimal squeaks and rattles inside. It is far quieter than most cars with half as much mileage. Audi built them to last.
This car was built in November of ’95, so it is considered a ‘95.5. The 5 speed manual transmission shifts nicely, and the uprated first gear does not whine. The stock clutch engages incredibly smoothly. The Quattro all-wheel-drive provides unparalleled grip, and rain on the street can be largely ignored. The transmission has poly reinforced stock mounts, and the rear diff mount is polyurethane.
In my opinion, the Audi TT is a misunderstood car. Many people pass over considering it as an option because it’s just not sporty enough. Well, the truth of the matter is that the TT just isn’t a sports car. If you can get that out of your mind, though, there are a lot of things to appreciate about the TT. It was uniquely styled, perhaps not to the liking of everyone, but it certainly does get attention. Aside from looking the part, the TT offered a reasonable practicality. It’s all about perception – if you think of this car as a turbocharged, all wheel drive convertible Golf in a great looking body, it makes a bit more sense. The recipe for what would become the TT was what most of the Volkswagen and Audi crowd would have wanted in a new car for a long time; but when they launched, the reception was lukewarm from most enthusiasts. That’s resulted in lower values than some of the other German convertibles, but opens some opportunity to get into a fun, good looking, quick and practical convertible, such as this TT for sale on eBay now:
Engine: 1.8 liter 20V turbocharged inline-4
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Mileage: 69,000 miles
Price: $11,000 Buy it Now
2001 Audi TT Quattro Roadster 2D Convertible 1.8 Turbo All-Wheel drive. 4-Cyl, manual 6-speed transmission, 225hp leather racing steering wheel, gray with baseball stitch leather seats, black power automatic folding top, 6 disc CD player, Heated seats, alarm system, airbags Low mileage at 69,000 miles, new tires and breaks, 20-26 mpg
This car is so FUN. This TT has baseball leather stitching and is fully loaded! It has a new clutch and has been well maintained.