1987 Volkswagen Scirocco 16V

How can you talk about 1980s Volkswagens and not mention the Scirocco? Karmann’s lift of the Giugiaro Asso di Picche, Asso di Quadri and Asso di Fiori designs was plainly evident, but that they were borrowed really should come as a surprise. After all, the reception to the master Italian designer’s other pens – the Golf, first generation Scirocco, Audi 80 (4000) and Coupe GT firmly established both companies in the public limelight. In the case of Volkswagen, it defined a company emerging from the shadow of the air-cooled generation; for Audi, it modernized designs and capitalized on the success of the 100 lineup in the 1970s. But Karmann had been integral in the production of the first two as well, making an easy transition from ItalDesign to Volkswagen’s go-to special production for the second generation Scirocco.

But while the design was all grown up and modern for the 1980s, the underpinnings were the same; little changed dynamically between the 1981 and 1982 model year, and though upgrades came over the next few years with higher-spec trim and a bit more power, it wasn’t until 1986 that VW coupe fans finally got to rejoice as the addition of the PL 1.8 liter dual-cam inline-4 finally joined the lineup. Now with 123 high-revving horsepower, the Scirocco went a bit more like the wind it was named after. The wide-ratio, economy-minded gearbox of yore was gone too, replaced by a close-ratio gearbox. Like the GTI and GLI, 14″ ‘Teardrop’ wheels and a new bodykit heightened the boy-racer appearance, and the 16V models got all matchy-matchy before the Golf and Jetta, too, with body-colored painted bumpers.

Perhaps this was a shot across the bow of the other Giugiaro-designed, sporty 2-door coupe on the market – the Isuzu Impulse Turbo. Because as much of a VW nut as I am, let’s be honest – the Impulse was cooler.…

1986 Porsche 944 Turbo

The world of collector cars is full of hyperbole. Yesterday’s Quattro is a great example of this; take a legendary car and start pontificating about how it’s a collector model, and reason, objectivity and affordability fly out the window. Certainly we’ve seen this most in the Porsche world; the whiff of air-cooled over the past half decade has translated into moving the decimal point one position (or more, in some cases) to the right.

But that doesn’t mean automatically that all cars that come to market are fakers. Some are the real deal – good values in the marketplace and a collector car that should be both a good return on investment and enjoyable to own. They can be quite eye-catching, too, so while you’re rolling down the street looking like a million bucks your smile will be all the wider.

So which scenario is this 1986 944 Turbo – the real deal, or more fluff for the nutter market?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Porsche 944 Turbo on eBay

Feature Listing: 2006 Porsche Cayman S

I sometimes feel I am neglectful of the Porsche Cayman. I write almost exclusively about Porsches and it turns out equally exclusively about the 911. This is by choice, not necessarily by design. The Cayman is (in relative terms) the new kid on the block for Porsche so it doesn’t always possess the sort of historicity that remains rooted in my brain. In simpler terms: these were not the Porsches that captivated me as a kid; not the Porsches that I saw on posters and dreamed about. All of this may be to my loss.

The Cayman is a fantastic car possessing inherently better dynamic balance than its much more well known sibling, the 911. Porsche has been oft criticized for holding the Cayman back, portrayed as fearful that it would overtake their beloved 911, but that doesn’t make the Cayman a family sedan. Impeccable balance, impeccable feel, and still plenty of power for everyday use characterize the chassis. In S specification with a 6-speed manual transmission you’re getting nearly 300 horses propelling a car weighing just over 3,000 pounds. That’s good for 0-60 in around 5 seconds and should you so desire you’ll top out north of 170 mph – not too shabby. There really is a lot to love with these cars and here we have one that comes from the very beginning: an Indischrot 2006 Porsche Cayman S with Sand Beige leather interior and just 31,000 miles on it.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2006 Porsche Cayman S at Eurowerkz

Triple Take: 1987 Porsche 924S

If you wanted to dip into the Stuttgart catalog in 1987, Porsche offered you a slightly less expensive option with the reintroduction of the budget-friendly 924S. For about $2,000 more than a loaded Audi Coupe GT, you could treat yourself to a real Porsche! And unlike the original 924, the “S” designation really did add some substance to the bargain offering. Though the basic shape and dashboard were retained from the 2.0 version of the late 1970s and early 1980s, little else was. The 924S instead was effectively a 944 underneath; minus the flares, but with the important upgraded suspension, brakes and 2.5 liter Porsche motor installed.

While the 924S was a sales success in general, it was particularly so in the United States; over half (9,137) of the 16,669 924Ss produced were sold here despite it only being available for two of the three production years! Yet the 924S has never really been accepted by the Porsche world, and few aspire to save up enough to buy one. That means, generally speaking, they’ve remained the most affordable way into a true Porsche. Despite that, it’s not uncommon to find well loved, lower mile and very clean examples up for sale today. For your consideration, I have three Guards Red with Porsche script examples from the 1987 model year to compare – which one is the best bargain Stuttgarter?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Porsche 924S on eBay

1989 Porsche 944S2

The Porsche 944S2 took the twin-cam out which had debuted in the short-lived 944S for the 1987 model year to the next level. Bumped from 2.5 liters out to 3.0, the new motor crested 200 horsepower, producing nearly as much twist as the standard 944 Turbo had only a few years before but with no turbo lag. Beefed up too were the looks, which mimicked the Turbo’s design with smoothly integrated bumpers, brake ducts and fog lights as well as a rear diffuser. Wheels looked visually like the Club Sport, but were a different offset. The new “Design 90” style was also seen on the 928 and 911 model and became the signature Porsche look for a half decade. Though many point to the 968 as the ultimate development of the transaxle 4-cylinder, the 944S2 offers most of that package with the chunkier looks of the 951. Few come to market looking as nice as this example does:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Porsche 944S2 on eBay

1979 Porsche 924 Sebring Edition

Porsche has never been one to shy away from special editions. You could probably populate the pages of this blog daily with the veritable cornucopia of limited-run models Stuttgart thinks up at every board meeting. So it comes as no surprise that Porsche’s tried and true formula of “Add Limited Edition” immediately found its way into their new 924 chassis as soon as it was released. I covered these special models last year over at The Truth About Cars, but you’re probably already familiar with a few as we’ve seen them before on these pages.

The first to hit was the Championship Edition (Martini) 924 in 1976-7. It was primarily an appearance package with the signature red/blue Martini stripes over a body in white with a unique interior, though the model also got sway bars for some performance gain. About 3,000 were produced. In 1978 that was followed by the Limited Edition; again, a special color with special Pascha interior, sway bars and the addition of fog lights. In 1979, to celebrate the 1978 victory of Porsche 935s at Sebring, Porsche introduced a new limited model. Dubbed ‘Sebring ’79’, the new model took aspects of both the Martini and Limited models and combined them. You got sway bars and fog lights (Sebring takes place partially during the night, after all!), and the model was presented in bright Guards Red paintwork with a Tartan interior inserts. Porsche upped the race decal quotient from the Martini car; not only were there yellow race stripes that flowed down the sides, those stripes encircled the car now. Giant “Sebring ’79’ decals adorned the front fenders and the tail, as well. And if you forgot what you were driving, Porsche slapped a huge ‘924’ white decal in the middle of the headlight filler panel. As 924 special editions went, it was the closest to a full-sized Matchbox car you could buy.…

1988 Porsche 924S with 25,000 Miles

Strange though it may seem, the 1988 Porsche 924S is not a model we often write up. We do feature just about every Special Edition 924S I find, as they’re a really neat fly-under-the-radar package. This isn’t one of those cars. It’s a “plain” 1988 924S, which you can immediately identify by it being Guards Red (all the SE models were black). But as I said in my article about limited 924 models back in September, the 1988 S is a subtle upgrade and the one to have if you don’t go with a hard-to-find SE. The compression bump meant 160 horsepower, and coupled with the 944 driveline bits underneath it was a fun, sporty car. However, best of all – and unlike most of their other watercooled brethren of the same ilk, these 924S models are often overlooked by the market.

But there are a few reasons to look at this particular 924. First, the ’88 models are pretty hard to find. They accounted for only 2,190 sales (including the 500 Special Edition models) compared to the near 7,000 1987s sold. But above scarcity, it’s in pristine condition with only a claimed 25,000 miles covered since new. And while it seems most of the really nice late 924s that come to market are automatics, this one is a 5-speed manual:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Porsche 924S on eBay

Porsche 968 Coupe Roundup

The Porsche 968 Coupe 6-speed is a fairly infrequently seen package, but one that is generally considered to be the “ultimate development” of the water-cooled transaxle 4-cylinder models. Only about half of the cars that were imported to the U.S. were Coupes (4,242 sent to North America, 2,234 of which were Coupes), and when equipped with the 6-speed manual the number dwindles to just 1,811. That puts production of these models on par with the E28 M5 in terms of rarity, and the group of enthusiasts who enjoy them are about as avid if not moreso. However, they also often overvalue their cars in the marketplace, making them expensive options relative to the performance on tap.

Today I have a group of no less than three 968 Coupe 6-speeds for sale – a rare Christmas treat to see. Which is the winner of the group?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Porsche 958 Coupe on eBay

1989 Porsche 944 Turbo with 28,500 Miles

It should come as no surprise that Porsche 944 Turbo prices are on the rise. In fact, in atypical Porsche form it’s quite late to the party. Considering the stratospheric rise of its ostensible competition from BMW and Audi, the 944 Turbo has remained quite affordable for a very long time. That has resulted in a glut of mediocre to poor condition examples; let’s not forget, after all, that this is a Porsche, and servicing a complicated 30 year old example can be beyond the budget of some available to leap over the entry price hurdle. However, one of the Turbo models that have traditionally retained greater value is the later run 1988 S models and 1989 S-spec models. Properly, 1989 models are not referred to as S models, but as they carry all of the same upgrades as the 1988 model many add the suffix to the name. Considering how limited they were in the U.S., at only a reported 1,874 1988s and 1,385 1989s with a handful of 89 spec cars shifted in 1990, it’s not as much of a surprise that they’re prized possessions for many and generally speaking they come to the market in better condition than the earlier ’86/87 models. But not many these days come to market having traveled only 28,500 miles since new:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Porsche 944 Turbo on eBay

Motorsports Monday: 1986 Porsche 944 Rothmans Cup

I still recall my first trip up to Mosport well in the early 2000s. I accompanied my father to a Porsche Club of America race up there, and his 924S was running against some pretty stiff competition. The fastest cars in his class at that event were a pair of pale yellow and black 944s, both wearing “Rothmans” livery. At the time, I figured these were custom graphics applied to mimic the look of the period Porsche race cars, but it didn’t take long for me to be corrected, as one of the owners schooled me about the Rothmans Cup series. Even with a fair amount of brand-specific race knowledge, I had only been aware of the Turbo Cup that was run concurrently around the world as a support series for larger races, but Canada also had an earlier normally aspirated 944 Cup. These racers were the lightest 944s available, and though modifications were quite limited they were still very potent in original form when driven well. As the seller notes, only 31 of these lesser known racers were built, making them much more rare than their later Turbo counterparts, and these cars are now accepted at events such as the Rennsport Reunion, though properly driven they’re still class leaders in PCA 944 Cup racing:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Porsche 944 Rothmans Cup on eBay