1 of 45: 1994 BMW M3 Canadian Edition

Conventional wisdom would have it that North America was robbed of the “real” M3; the undiluted, S50B30/B32, individual throttle body, floating rotor, continuously variable VANOS enthusiasts’ dream. Conventional wisdom, though, is wrong. Exploiting a loophole in importation laws, in 1994 BMW Canada commissioned a run of 45 exclusive European-spec E36 M3s. These were the full-fat BF91 rather than the BF93 which would come slightly later to U.S. shores. That meant the full spectrum of Euro goodies were optional on these cars, but most notably the 286 horsepower engine was the highlight. Each got a numbered plaque to commemorate fooling “The Man”, the only real changes from standard specification were the additions of daytime running lights and a third brake light to meet Canadian road laws. Sure, your E36 M3 is special, but these Canadian Edition cars are more specialerer. And this one isn’t in Canada anymore – it’s in the U.S.. Feel cheated no more, E36 fans!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 BMW M3 Canadian Edition on eBay

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1991 Audi 200 20V quattro

Timothy Dalton was a pretty forgettable James Bond, and The Living Daylights was an even more forgettable Bond film. Beyond the pretty ridiculous plotline of the cellist turned assassin turned sympathetic refuge and maybe the only woman the protagonist never sleeps with, perhaps the most notable appearance was the Mujahideen in another sympathetic roll. They were, after all, the freedom fighters trying to kick out the Western baddy-of-the-decade Russians – never mind that they’d basically become the Taliban in short order, or that the CIA was funding guys like Osama bin Laden to be over there fighting and training alongside them. If you leave the serious lapse in global politics out of the movie, the best part was probably the two Audis you forgot about. James used a 100 quattro Avant for survaillence, but when he needed a quick getaway, it was a really slick looking Stone Gray Metallic 200 quattro with some particularly awesome BBS RS wheels under lightly flared arches. In European guise, it was not a car we got here, with the slab-sided 5000 carrying the torch in 1987 – the year the movie premiered. There was a 35 horsepower difference between the European variant and what came to us, too. That was rectified in 1991, though, when Audi very nearly recreated the look of that James Bond car in the 20V version of the 200. With flared arches, 15×7.5 forged BBS RG wheels and a new, double over head cam turbocharged 3B motor producing 217 horsepower channeled only through a manual gearbox and all four wheels, the 200 finally became a chariot worthy of a super spy. Audi also moved in a new direction minimizing badging; the rear window had a “quattro” script defroster and in front the quattro badge adorned the grill, but as with the 1990 V8 and Coupe models, no other model designation was present. You either knew what you were looking at, or you didn’t. Most didn’t, since these expensive Audis didn’t sell particularly well in the wake of Accelerategate, but those that got them bought a treasure of potential and great build quality:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Audi 200 20V quattro on eBay

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1989 Porsche 944 Turbo with 37,000 Miles

Kicking and screaming, enthusiasts are watching super heros from the 1980s slowly (or not so slowly, depending on the model) move firmly out of affordable price ranges. The last bastion of performance to rise is one of the best available, proving that the market doesn’t always recognize what theoretically should be the best cars. 944 Turbos, just as they did when new, have been rapidly accelerating in value and the top of the heap for road models are the ’88 Turbo S and the S-spec ’89 Turbos (properly, without S – more later). In my time writing for GCFSB, I’ve watched nice examples move from mid-teens to firmly into the 20K range. But Hagerty currently values them even higher, with a sharp spike in 2015. 2016 forecasts have the market cooling slightly, but it’s still at record highs for several models. The current top value on a 1989, at least according to Hagerty, is $36,400. Today’s car is priced at $39,000. Is it better than perfect?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Porsche 944 Turbo on eBay

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1998 BMW M3 Convertible

From a performance standpoint, the E36 M3 Convertible may not be the most desirable BMW product produced. However, if you’re able to back out that this won’t be a car dominating your local track days, the E36 Convertible does offer quite a bit of M-car magic for your money. True the U.S. spec E36 M3 was detuned and mass-produced, but it’s still a great looking, sounding and fun to drive car. Drop your prejudice, and the M3 convertible is a neat package in many ways – plus, it is one of the more affordable ways to get into a M3. This particular model is well equipped and neatly optioned with the forged Motorsport wheels and a host of recent Dinan upgrades:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1998 BMW M3 Convertible on eBay

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Entwicklung 80: 1990 Audi 80 Quattro V8

It was really neat to see the interestingly optioned pre-production Audi 90S V6 last week, but more from a curiosity standpoint. As many noted, what’s the market on a front drive pre-production Audi 90 with 200 miles? It would take a very special and specific fan to be interested in that chassis. The same can’t be said of today’s example. When it came to tuning up the Type 89 quattros, Audi offered a few options; the DOHC 7A motor with 164 horsepower came to the U.S., but European markets also got the stellar S2 in 20V Turbo form. Though both were most common in Coupe quattro form, sedans and even for European customers Avants later were available with the legendary turbocharged mill. However, let’s not forget that technically the 20V Turbo wasn’t the top of the heap in 1989, since Audi had just launched the revolutionary quad-cam all-aluminum 3.6 V8. That motor was the signature mill of the eponymous V8 quattro. Out of the box, the V8 was the most powerful Audi on offer, but the engine package would only be available initially in the D11 chassis, but in 4.2 form it would later be offered in the C4 S4/S6 as well. The first small chassis Audi with a V8 wouldn’t be until the B6 S4, right? Well, wrong, because a few generations prior Audi apparently toyed with the idea in some development 80s:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Audi 80 Quattro V8 on autoscout24.com

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1995 BMW M3 Individual

Back from the brink of total nausea and bankruptcy inducing cars, let’s look at one of arguably the best values going in the used German car market – the E36 BMW M3. You could make a pretty persuasive argument that it was not the best quality product BMW produced and in fact there are some who will claim it’s not a true M-car, and in some ways they may have a point. However, let’s boil down what it is at heart – a front-engine, rear-drive manual equipped car that offers style, performance and practicality on a budget with strong aftermarket support. You can buy one of these still for well under $10,000, and while that might not yield the best example and 240 horsepower is positively blas√© these days this is still a potent package. As a mass-produced car, too, there are many to chose from any day of the week. For example, right now on eBay there are 178 cars listed in the category “M3”. At the same time, there are 14 pre-2000 Audis available. How does one stand out from such a glut of examples then? How about a BMW Individual example painted in rare-to-see Morea Green Metallic?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 BMW M3 on Seattle Craigslist

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1995 BMW M3 Lightweight

The year was 1994, and BMW brought some pre-production M3s in Dakar Yellow to various tracks around the U.S. to engage their primary target audience; enthusiasts. I still remember seeing them and being both very excited and slightly let down. From a performance standpoint, even in turned-down U.S. form the M3 was a potent small sedan. 240 horsepower was top of the small car market back then and around a track, stock for stock the E36 was easily a match for the outgoing fan-favorite E30. Coupled with an eye-searing color, it was an impressive and modern package that I loved. But I also loved the street-racer aspect of the E30, and that was something that the E36 didn’t capture well….at first. That was remedied later in 1995 with the introduction of the “CSL” version of the E36. Stripped out, available only in Alpine White and with Motorsports GmbH details throughout, the M3 Lightweight channeled both the E9 3.0CSL racers that started the M trend and captured the spirit of the E30 with its giant, adjustable rear wing and splitter. Instantly these began popping up at track events; despite the entire production run of only 126 cars, it wasn’t uncommon in 1995 and 1996 to see 4 or 5 of these special cars turn up and trounce all the other cars with ease. Since new, these limited edition M3s have always held more value than nearly all of the rest of the model run – and as prices of all things M rise, it’s no surprise that it appears the tide is carrying them up as well:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 BMW M3 Lightweight on eBay

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1987 Porsche 924S with 3,700 Miles

Earlier this month, I wrote up a 1988 944 Turbo S in Silver Rose with a scant 7,000 miles covered since new. As with all Porsches, the “S” models have enjoyed a long history of being…well, “Super”. But it took a fair amount of discipline, vision and means to buy an example new and project that it was going to be a collector in the future; especially considering that in 1988 the market on collector Porsches was very, very different. It has only been very recently that watercooled examples have started to appreciate, and even then not all examples have trended upwards. Even with that Turbo model, factoring in inflation the seller would actually be losing money having held onto and not driven that example more than 250 miles a year. How about something more strange – a car that isn’t really considered a collector by many? A great example is today’s 924S – long forlorn by the Porsche community, a greater appreciation for them is only now growing. So what would you pay for an example that has only covered a even more outrageous 125 miles each year since new?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Porsche 924S on eBay

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Double Take: 2001 Audi A6 4.2 quattro

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. I’ve rounded up two 4.2s to consider today; one with a manual swap and another with quite low mileage. Which is the winner?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi A6 4.2 quattro on eBay

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Double Take: 1991 and 1992 BMW M5s

There’s been an avid ongoing discussion of E28 values in the 1988 535i Dinan 3.9 post from Tuesday; partially, it centered around the comparison of that car to M5 values. And, like all other M products, values – or at least, perceived values – of M5s are all over the map. We’ve seen asking prices from $10,000 right through $100,000 on E28s, and much of the same carries over to the E28’s replacement, the E34. For most fans, the second generation M5 wasn’t quite the definitive super sedan that the original was, nor is it as desirable as the 400 horsepower V8 model that followed. But that doesn’t stop some from asking high prices for the their examples, and today we’ve got two to that are very similar with different asking prices to consider; which is on target?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 BMW M5 on eBay

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