1995 BMW M3 GT

1995 BMW M3 GT

While you’re no doubt familiar with the great lament of the de-tuned E36 M3 and the inflated price of the very limited Lightweight model, Europe enjoyed a full spectrum of Motorsport performance. One of the potent additions to the lineup was that of the M3 GT. Intended to homologate racing bits and aerodynamic tweaks for the E36, 350 limited BF99 examples were produced in early 1995. The motor was turned up to 295 horsepower with hotter cams, special oil pumps and Motorsport oil pan and revised computer controls. They also had stiffened and lowered suspension, a strut brace and a 3.23 final drive. Outside new spoilers front and rear increased downforce, and like the Lightweight the GT wore the M forged double spoke staggered wheels. Harder to spot were the aluminum doors the car wore to help keep weight down. All were painted 312 British Racing Green and featured Mexico Green Nappa leather interior with Alcantara bolsters, special Motorsports badging and carbon fiber trim.

They’re a very special and rarely seen variant of the E36 M3, and increasingly in this collector market that means a higher asking price:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 BMW M3 GT on eBay

1970 Opel GT

1970 Opel GT

Generally speaking, engine swaps are usually an improvement over the stock running gear even when they’re home brews. And if you’re really clever with your swap, you can end up making quite the sleeper; V8 powered Volvo wagons come to mind. But some people go over the top, and throw an absolutely crazy motor into a car which was never designed to have anywhere near the power levels capable of the new mill. Such is not the case here. That’s because the builder of this Opel GT designed that the popular adage “There’s no replacement for displacement” meant putting a V8 into the nose of the diminutive GM product. And by “a”, I actually mean two V8s. In an attempt to dispel the notorious “Mini-Corvette” moniker, this GT tops out at 11.4 liters of American muscle with just a bit of Opel sprinkled into the mix. Though far from our usual flavor, let’s take a look at this crazy creation:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1970 Opel GT on eBay

Motorsports Monday: 1984 Audi Coupe GT

Motorsports Monday: 1984 Audi Coupe GT

Far less famous than its wide-hipped brother and mostly unknown to most U.S. customers, the B2 Audi Coupe was available with quattro all-wheel drive in other markets. It shared nearly all components with the sibling 4000 (90) quattro, including 4×108 wheel pattern and 256mm front brakes – items that were also on the U.S. spec front-drive GT. So, one would assume it would be pretty easy to “swap in a quattro”, as the internet posts usually start. Of course, those individuals who start the posts best be wearing flame-retardant clothing, as they are immediately inundated with responses that kindly (or not so) explain the difficulties inherent in this project. You see, everything aft of the firewall on the all-wheel drive floorplan is different than the two wheel drive units; indeed, as I’ve pointed out previously, even the two wheel drive floorpans were different between automatics and manuals. That means to recreate a rest of the world Coupe quattro, you need the floorpan from a 4000 quattro mated to a body of a Coupe GT. This, of course, makes no sense financially as the countless hours involved eliminate all but the DIYers – and even a fair chunk of those with the talent give up on the project. Yet, it apparently didn’t stop the builder of this rally car, who not only swapped the body, but went one step further and dropped in a turbocharged motor and the brakes and wheels from the big-brother Type 44 chassis. The result is a budget Ur-Quattro rally replica without the flare of the original…or, at least, it was a few years ago before it was parked:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Audi Coupe GT on eBay

1993 Volkswagen Polo GT

1993 Volkswagen Polo GT

The GT badge was one which appeared on Volkswagens in the late 1980s and early 1990s for the slightly less hot version of the GTI. My father purchased a 1987 Golf GT new, a Tornado Red two-door hatch that had the trimmings of the GTI with the familiar 8 valve, four-cylinder engine. It wasn’t a particularly fast car and was not without its problems, but I always appreciated the clean design of the Mk2 Golf. The same goes for the Mk2 Polo GT. It’s not exactly an exciting or exotic vehicle, but a clean design. It’s a car that could have done well and still could do well in the US market, speaking to those buyers who turned to the original Beetle for basic transportation. This 1993 example represents the final year for the Mk2 Polo and is currently on offer in Switzerland.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1993 Volkswagen Polo GT on Classic Trader

1988 Volkswagen Scirocco GT

1988 Volkswagen Scirocco GT

Let’s face it. Volkswagen Group of America is screwing us. I’ve touched on this topic before, but one glance at the current lineup on VW’s USA website leaves little to be desired. Nothing beyond the GTI, Golf R and Passat CC do much to stir emotions in the heart of the enthusiast. Now that Volkswagen has shot itself in the foot with this diesel scandal, unlucky consumers in the US can’t even specify one of these miserly oil burners. What’s an enthusiast to do? How about scouring Europe for anything built before 1992, as these vehicles are now legal to import stateside. Such is the case with this low mileage, late model 1988 Scirocco GT for sale in Dachau, Germany. This would be the last year for the Scirocco in the US market, however, Scirocco production would continue on through 1992, overlapping the Corrado in showrooms.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Volkswagen Scirocco GT on eBay.de

Feature Listing: 1971 Opel GT

Feature Listing: 1971 Opel GT

Down the road from me is a gentleman who daily drives a Porsche 914. Now, I’ve never been a big fan of the boxy flying pancake. In the right configuration they look pretty cool, but my eyes always gravitate towards the more classic grand touring look of the replacement 924. However, I certainly can understand the appeal of a cheap and simple classic Porsche. For some time about a decade ago I had this dream that some day when I was a little better off I’d pick up an early 911 – because, of course, a decade ago no one wanted them and they were still relatively cheap. Since having a classic car is by no means a necessity, for us with less well endowed bank accounts and no trust funds ownership of such cars remains a dream. In that light, the 914 makes more sense since compared to the rear-engine counterparts it’s relatively cheap – though find a good one and it’ll still be a pretty penny. But dipping in to the classic car market doesn’t have to break the bank, and there are still a few neat older German cars that would be great weekend warriors. Certainly, one of the most unsung heros and yet one of the more visually captivating is the Opel GT. The slinky 2-door had the looks of its parent company sibling Corvette, but motivation by the normal Opel inline-4 drivetrain meant it was much more affordable. These days they’re rarely seen but always a treat:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1971 Opel GT on Cleveland Craigslist

Now Legal for Import: 1990 Volkswagen Passat GT

Now Legal for Import: 1990 Volkswagen Passat GT

When is the last time you saw a Volkswagen Passat B3 on the road? I honestly can’t remember myself. With the B3, Volkswagen decided to finally use the Passat moniker in the US market, after a run of Dashers and Quantums. Those cars were always the outliers in the mid-sized sedan race and so it went with the B3 Passat. During a period when the Honda Accord was the king in this segment in the US, the Passat was a car for those who wanted something off the beaten path but maybe weren’t ready to move into an Audi, BMW or Mercedes. It’s front end sans grille harkened back to the days of their air-cooled products but the rest of the styling was a bit of an evolution of the B2 Passat with a bit of streamlining for the 1990s. This Passat GT for sale in Hannover, Germany was a model we didn’t see in the US. It’s 1.8 liter engine won’t set the world on fire, but the Sebring alloy wheels and two tone red/black livery is eye catching.

Click for details: 1990 Volkswagen Passat GT on Mobile.de

1986 Audi Coupe GT

1986 Audi Coupe GT

I know what you’re going to say the moment you see this post. “Alright Carter, enough with the Audi Coupe GTs already!” you’re furiously typing, “We want more quattros!” The Porsche 924 of the Audi lineup, the reality is that more low mileage, pristine Coupe GTs come to market than just about any other 1980s Audi. But in my mind, they’re far from the least desirable in the line up, as they offered a stylish package with a high fun-to-drive quotient coupled with some serious longevity. And they’ve really begun to appreciate over the past few years; prime examples are now at least asking close to $10,000, a seemingly staggering amount considering you could get a very nice one a few years ago for no more than $3,000. But as with all of the mid-range and cheapish 1980s cars, the pool of excellent candidates is quite small and few come to the market quite as good as this 1986 example, primed for Christmas in a Tornado Red suit:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Audi Coupe GT on eBay

1987 Volkswagen Golf GT

1987 Volkswagen Golf GT

The year was 1987 and my father was entering his mid-life crisis, so of course, it was time for a new car. We headed to the Volkswagen showroom. As a young kid, I was enamored by the Vanagon Westfalia camper on the floor, along with the sleep Scirocco 16V. But we were there for something a bit more sensible and for a car that even some VW enthusiasts might forget: the Golf GT. This model was short lived and was essentially a “GTI light,” with the basic 1.8 liter engine coupled to a Golf with 14″ alloys, unique exterior and interior trim and an automatic gearbox, which was yet to be offered on the GTI. You could also spec a GT as a five-door, which wasn’t an option for US GTI customers. This 1987 GT 5-door for sale in Minnesota brings back a lot of memories for me, as it is in the same hue of Tornado Red as my father’s 1987 GT 3-door.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Volkswagen Golf GT on eBay

Motorsports Monday: 2008 BMW M3

Motorsports Monday: 2008 BMW M3

A truism of motorsport is that to make a small fortune in racing you need to start with a large fortune. Building race cars is very expensive; strange, considering that there is much less of them when you’re done than the road car that was started with. If, for example, you wanted to go racing in the GT3 class, the ostensible car to get would be the multi-class winning Porsche GT3R. Smart choice. Now, fork over your half a million hard-earned trust fund dollars, since before you turn a key the GT3R stickers at 429,000 Euros plus taxes. Run a race weekend, and presuming you don’t crash or have a mechanical, you’ll be several tens of thousands of dollars more in the hole, since race cars consume consumables at an alarming rate. Tires, brake pads, clutches – you name it, it’s expensive if it’s top-tier racing goods. And then come the realities that after a staggeringly short amount of time, you need to completely rebuild your race car. According to the Census Bureau, the average American spends 50 minutes a day commuting in their car. In race car terms, that would mean that after a little over a month you’d have to completely rebuild your car. Nuts, right?

But you still want to do it. Okay, a much more affordable way to go really, really fast is to buy a last generation car. Just past the current vogue, they tend to be considerably more friendly on the wallet. Yet, top tier cars are still very, very expensive to run. Perhaps, then, a smarter choice would be to look at a car based upon more pedestrian internals:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2008 BMW M3 on eBay

1973 Opel Manta Blue Max

1973 Opel Manta Blue Max

As with every automotive enthusiasts, I’d like to believe, I have some amnesia about some periods of automobile history. Show me a 1985 and 1986 Audi 4000 side by side, and I can rattle off the subtle changes between model years; but show me some 1950s American iron and outside of the real standouts, they’re all a bit vanilla to me. I can’t tell you the difference between, for example, a 1955 Pontiac and a 1955 Mercury – I guess, if I go and look at pictures, the Mercury had slightly pointier headlight surrounds, but generally the way that I tell the difference between those cars is to walk up to them and say “Oh, this is the one that says ‘Mercury’ on it”. I’m sure it’s one of my many shortcomings as a person, though just as I can identify that NASCAR and NHRA racing takes a fair amount of talent, it’s not the talent I’d prefer to explore. People who can identify those cars and all of the specific model year changes are, to me, semi-Rainman-esque in their ability to memorize and quickly recount every single 1950s cars. Of course, to them I bet every single car from the 1980s looks exactly the same. Line up a Fiat Dino, an Audi 100 Coupe S and an Opel Manta (along with a handful of other cars that share the same basic silhouette) and I bet they’d be doing the same thing as me – walking up to this “blue one” and proclaiming “Oh, this is the one that says ‘Opel’ on it”:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1973 Opel Manta Blue Max on eBay

Coupe Week: 1989 Audi Coupe GT

Coupe Week: 1989 Audi Coupe GT

It’s hard for me to believe that I’ve just passed 1,000 posts on this site, yet when I click on my history here that seems to be what the computer indicates. During my time here, I’ve been fortunate to be afforded the opportunity to shed some light on some cars that I think would probably go unnoticed by many. In some cases, that could be a good thing arguably, but in particular I hope that I’ve helped to raise some awareness of some Audi models that go unappreciated. To me, while they may not be the fastest or flashiest cars that have ever come out of Germany there is an enduring appeal to the 1980s Audis; a time when the company definitely stood apart from its countrymen. So, to unofficially commemorate my 1,000th post, I couldn’t let Coupe Week go without an homage to one of my favorite Audis – the Coupe GT. In period, it was judged by many to be one of the best GT cars available – but as I’ve said previously, in the public sphere there seems to be at times collective amnesia regarding 1980s Audis, which are lumped in with earlier models and claimed to have excessive electrical and running problems. Having owned six of them over the past few decades, I can say with a fair bit of confidence that reputation is unwarranted. My 1986 Coupe GT has tackled everything I’ve thrown at it; long road trips, treks to work through blizzards, and many, many trips to the track. Those track adventures have been a continuous attempt to pass every car I can if for no reason other than to show drivers that the supposedly nose-heavy, understeering one-wheel drive wonder is, in fact, quite a competent driver (which, incidentally, just passed their self-proclaimed ‘ultimate driving machine’).…

1985 Audi Coupe GT

1985 Audi Coupe GT

To me, the Audi Coupe GT is probably the most unappreciated German car of the 1980s. That crown could really be shared by many Audis that suffered the stigma of poor reputation left over from the 1970s problems and the late 1980s scandals coupled with mid-80s Volkswagen-era build quality, which admittedly wasn’t the best. Although the Audi products were generally engineered to a higher standard than most of their VAG counterparts, the company connection in the public’s mind leaves a scarlet letter on the Audi nameplate. Even though compared to contemporaries the Audi Coupe GT fared well in testing, the general attitude towards the model is that it was an underpowered, overpriced and heavy Scirocco. But those that know the model share the joy of a hidden secret; a fine handling GT, a composed tourer on the highway that is equally at home being flung around twisty backroads, a trusted companion with startling longevity that never failed to bring smiles on a regular basis. If you like the Audi Coupe GT, you probably like doing things a bit differently. And to pay nearly $7,000 for a nice condition one, you’d have to really want it and nothing else – but the chance to stand apart may be worth the price of entry:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Audi Coupe GT on eBay

1981 Porsche 924 Carrera GT

1981 Porsche 924 Carrera GT

At first glance, you might mistake this Porsche for a 944, but it is in fact an early Group 4 homologation special for Le Mans. The 924 Carrera GT was one of the first glimpses as to the performance potential of Porsche’s new front-engined, four-cylinder wonder. The folks at flüssig magazine gave us a nice retrospective last year with regards to the development of competition 924s that would go on to influence the 944. With 210 horsepower on tap, the 924 Carrera GT was a considerable step up in performance from any 924 that had previously been seen. Only 406 examples were produced, making this wide hipped 924 quite the rarity. This example for sale in New York is certainly going to get fans of the early water-cooled models excited.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1981 Porsche 924 Carrera GT on Hemmings Motor News

1970 Porsche 914-6

1970 Porsche 914-6

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For our last installment of Motorsports Monday, we featured a Porsche 914-6 GT that was track ready. That car sold for $30,100. If you aren’t much one for track days but are looking for the brawn the flat-6 engine provides over the flat-4, you’ll want to check out this 914-6 for sale in California with a GT spec 2.5 liter engine. It may not be done up in full on race livery, but if you have the nerve, imagine what a weapon this thing would be at the next autocross event near you.

Click for details: 1970 Porsche 914-6 on eBay