Motorsports Monday: 1987 Mercedes-Benz 190E

I don’t really feature a lot of Mercedes-Benz race cars not because I don’t like them, but rather there just aren’t a whole lot of them out there. Very rarely do I see these kind of cars come up for sale as opposed to say a BMW E36. There really isn’t a ”go-to” Mercedes chassis for building a race car like the E36 and even cars that do tend to respond well to being stripped out, the aftermarket support is either lacking or very expensive. Although one Mercedes from the past 25 years does seem to be the favorite of the track rats alike, the W201.

This 1986 190E up for bid in Florida doesn’t have much left of its original engine and interior left of it, if any. The car has been totally stripped of basically everything including the original M103 inline-6 engine that was replaced with the next generation M104 3.2 inline-6. A 5-speed gearbox was bolted up to this car and nearly every single piece of the interior was removed to be replaced by the bare essentials.  A single seat, a tachometer and some switches are all that remain inside this W201 that cut the weight to around 2,000 pounds. This doesn’t sound like a half bad combination now.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Mercedes-Benz 190E on eBay

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Motorsports Monday: 1988 Porsche 944 Turbo Cup

Continuing on the 944 theme, there are of course a few transaxles that actually are worth some big bucks right now. The development models – the 924 Carrera GT, GTS and GTR – are pretty well priced out of this world. In the 944 run, the Silver Rose cars are highly valued, too – but value-wise, they’re relative bargains compared to this car. Yet I’ll still claim that this car is a relative bargain compared to its contemporaries. Let me explain.

As a promotional series in 1986, Porsche teamed with Rothmans for sponsorship of a one-make support race series in Canada. The result was the 944 Cup, which ran normally aspirated lightweight examples of otherwise stock 944s in 1986 and 1987. Every once in a while, one of these rare rides (there were only 31 sold) pops up and we’ve covered them before. The big draw on these cars are the lightweight aspect thanks to no sunroof and manual windows, and of course the Rothmans livery.

But the series proved successful and in 1987 Porsche followed up with the more developed, more powerful and more excited Rothmans 944 Turbo Cup. In fact, the Turbo Cup cars were developed for single-race series around the globe – in total, there were 5 series and just shy of 200 Turbo Cup cars produced. Like the prior 944 RC, the formula was pretty simple – lighten a 944 Turbo, leave the engine “stock”, and fit it with race equipment. But Porsche, being Porsche, went a bit above and beyond.

Though the Turbo Cup looked for all intents and purposes like just a 1987 Turbo with racing colors and a cage, the reality was far from that. The engine retained most of its stock components, but Porsche fit magnesium oil pans and intakes to lighten the load. The turbocharger was uprated as well to develop more twist. Magnesium carried over to the transmission bits and even the wheels, which copied the production series designs but were much lighter. Inside the Turbo Cup gained a cage and a Recaro race seat, but lost its climate control, the glove box, the radio console and even door pockets. Power steering and air conditioning were yanked. Gone too were the rear wiper, remote hatch release and power windows. Like Audis from the period, the brake system was anti-lock, but included an on-off switch to disable the system. Bilstein provided upgraded damping, and Porsche also fit larger roll bars front and rear. The result was that they managed to get the road going 944 Turbo down to 1,280 kg (2,800 lbs) while simultaneously making it more powerful.

As some of the most limited 944s out there, and coupled with a popular race series featuring some of the most famous names in 80s sports car racing, the Turbo Cup cars have developed a cult following and bring some of the strongest bids in the transaxle world:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Porsche 944 Turbo Cup on eBay

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Motorsports Monday: 1968 BMW 2002 IMSA RS

The end of Summer has many traditions; the days wane as children head back to school. Temperatures fall as families head towards apple orchards and plan for haunted hay rides. Pumpkin spice is everywhere. But there’s one tradition I’ve particularly enjoyed for the last few years; the live stream from West Sussex, England of the Goodwood Revival.

For me, a lover of vintage cars and especially vintage race cars, it’s a special treat. Both of the events put on by Lord March are impressive in their own right, and if you want to see a little bit of everything the season opener Festival of Speed is probably the venue you should consider. But if you want to see cars and motorcycles from periods you weren’t even alive for race flat-out, the Revival is the one to tune in to. Heavily modified Jaguars, Ferraris, Aston-Martins, and just about everything in between head to the track as combinations of professional and amateur drivers (at least, those with quite deep pockets) take their prized possessions to the limit and sometimes beyond. You might be lucky enough once in your life to witness an original GT40 in person; head to the Revival, and you’ll run across a dozen or so of the model, many of which are driven nearly as quickly as they were originally. This is coupled with period livery and dress on one of the fastest circuits in England, filmed with some of the best cameras out there. The result, as a car lover, is one of the most evocative spectacles conceivable.

Each time I witness a Goodwood event, my love of these race-prepared vintage cars is re-inspired. And though this particular BMW 2002 is just a few years too new to be eligible for competition at the Goodwood circuit, it caught my attention because of the claimed IMSA link. This chassis, while not an original BMW factory racer, was originally constructed and raced in the IMSA RS series in the early 1970s, making it the perfect candidate for vintage racing today:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1968 BMW 2002 on eBay

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Feature Listing Double Take: Kachel Motor Company’s 2006 Porsche Cayman S and 2007 Cayman S 3.8

While the Porsche 986 Boxster might have been the car that saved Porsche with its massive popularity, the 987-derived Cayman was what made the mid-engine design popular with track enthusiasts. Especially in more potent “S” form, the Cayman is a giant killer with sublime vehicle dynamics and plenty of punch even without a turbo. The 987 refresh in 2005 fixed many of the perceived visual faults of the 986 Boxster design with a slant towards a more aggressive look. The Coupe added a smooth, flowing hatchback line to the 997-inspired exterior, creating a lightweight, 7/8ths scale mid-engine 911. That it was less expensive than the traditional flat-6 lineup didn’t hurt, either. It was, and remains, a hit.

It was no surprise then that immediately these Caymans became popular with track enthusiasts and racers alike, spawning their own race series in the PCA. But you don’t need to fork over $100,000 for one of the rare Napleton Interseries cars to have a lot of fun at the track, as Kachel Motor Company proves with this duo of Cayman S racers:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2006 Porsche Cayman S on Panjo

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Motorsports Monday: 1988 Volkswagen Scirocco 16V

Unlike the last string of cars, the Scirocco presented for your consideration this morning is not perfect. It’s not low mileage, and it’s not all original. If you’re into Amelia and Greenwich Concours, you’re not going to be invited onto the law.

But maybe you’re more the type that wants to roll up to those events, rev it to the redline and drop the clutch in a smokey burnout while you chuck the deuces up at the stiff upper lips?

I get it. Cars are meant to be driven, and driving can be fun. Can you believe that? So this 1988 Volkswagen Scirocco has been built to enhance speed rather than paint shine, lap times instead of originality, and performance opposed to preservation. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Volkswagen Scirocco 16V on eBay

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Motorsports Monday: 2006 Volkswagen Rabbit

This is a $18,000 11 year old Volkswagen Golf. And, by Volkswagen Golf, I mean Rabbit, because for a short time VW North America apparently decided to resurrect the small fuzzy bunny name which dated back to the first generation. Hey, it had worked with the Beetle, right? Except that most people had negative associations with the Rabbit which outweighed the negative associations with the Mk.4 Golf. It was a strange choice that was pretty quickly abandoned. Whatever, it’s the same car with a bunny symbol on it so you’ll make Playboy fans all excited to see a kindred spirit driving. Yes, that’s why they’re giving you a thumbs up.

Okay, back to the price. It won’t take anyone long to see that you can pop over to Volkswagen and buy a brand new Golf for under $20,000. This one is 11 years old and has nearly a quarter million miles on the chassis. I know Golfs retain silly residual value, but this is a bit ridiculous – or, is it?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2006 Volkswagen Rabbit on eBay

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Motorsports Monday: 2008 Porsche Cayman S Turbo

As Spring 2017 officially kicks off today, my thoughts inevitably turn towards the track. While race series at Daytona, Sebring, Formula 1 (final testing, at least) and even Goodwood have already commenced, as I look out my window there’s still a layer of snow covering the ground and temperatures have barely crept past freezing. It certainly doesn’t feel like Spring yet, but that doesn’t mean that preparation for heading to the track can’t begin. And though I dearly love tracking my Audi Coupe GT and it’s racked up some serious mileage on the race courses of New England, I can’t help but think that maybe it’s time for something newer. Maybe something like a Porsche Cayman, the “affordable” way into a track-friendly performance Porsche:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2008 Porsche Cayman S Turbo on eBay

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Motorsports Monday: 2009 Porsche Cayman S Interseries

Porsche history has always been intrinsically linked with racing since before they were even a company. From Mercedes-Benz to Auto Union and later Cisitalia, Porsche offered world-beating designs prior to establishment of its own independent racing heritage. Since the 1950s, they’ve never looked back, and every successive generation has their own legends that were born. For my father, it was the 908 and 917, while I grew up with the turbocharged whistle of the 956 and 962 dominating race tracks. To capitalize on this nostalgia, coupled with more gentleman drivers heading to the track every weekend than there ever have been, Porsche’s lineup has increasingly focused on track-biased cars. But that hasn’t stopped some from going a few steps further, and Napelton Porsche launched an interesting idea just before the turn of the decade.

Why not create a race series of equal cars, slap historic liveries on them, and hit the track? The Interseries was just that, with door to door action pitting the iconic color combinations of Porsche history at the hands of mere mortals. From the Salzburg 917 that first took Porsche to the Le Mans title to the unmistakable Rothmans colors, each of these cars wore a bit of what made the marque a legend for so many people. Everyone has their favorite design, so this series offered Porschephiles a veritable cornucopia of visual pleasure. Today, one of these cars has come up for sale:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2009 Porsche Cayman S Interseries on eBay

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Motorsports Monday: Mecum Racing Porsches Roundup

As Rob mentioned in his Jade Green Targa piece the other day, we’re entering in quickly to auction season. Mecum, typically the purveyors of more muscle cars than European rides, nonetheless had quite an impressive lineup of signification Porsche race models that cover a few decades and many changes in the company’s history, so I thought it would be pretty neat to take a look at them. It’s very interesting to see over a relatively short period of time the many changes that Porsche’s motorsports programs have gone through.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1977 Porsche 934.5/935 at Mecum Auctions

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Theseus’ Flat-six: 1974 Porsche 911S

The ship wherein Theseus and the youth of Athens returned from Crete had thirty oars, and was preserved by the Athenians down even to the time of Demetrius Phalereus, for they took away the old planks as they decayed, putting in new and stronger timber in their places, in so much that this ship became a standing example among the philosophers, for the logical question of things that grow; one side holding that the ship remained the same, and the other contending that it was not the same.

The best part of 2,000 years ago, the Greek philosopher Plutarch questioned at what point an object began to lose its “originality”. You’ve heard the story many times, probably as the hyperbolic ‘Washington’s Axe’ parable. But though it’s been two millennia since Athenian thought led the world, the question remains applicable today.

Take this Porsche 911S, for example.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1974 Porsche 911S on eBay

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