From time to time, we look at European-market cars. Considering the number that were brought here through ‘Grey Market’ channels, we actually get to sample the more original versions of these cars on a semi-regular basis. But that pool of Euro candidates dries up once you crest the 1986 model year. And for that, you can thank the ‘Fed’ and their kill-joy laws, right? Well, sort of. But left to their own devices, they likely would have never done anything. So why did the government get all antsy in the mid-80s to put an end to importation of what amounted to a pittance of cars? For that, you can thank Mercedes-Benz.
It turns out that Mercedes-Benz was more than anyone annoyed by the second-hand importation of its more powerful and prettier European-specification cars. To a lesser extent, BMW was also losing market share, and the two importers – who, it should be noted, paid a fair amount of money to the government in importation duties and taxes on the sale of their cars – claimed they had lost in the vicinity of 50% of their sales to the alternate European crowd. Now, in a true ‘Free Enterprise’ market, one would have looked upon these complaints and said “Well, Mercedes and BMW, produce better cars at a lower cost for your consumers and you’ll solve the problem!” But, of course, the United States is not a free enterprise market, and there are lots of regulations and rules which have been in put in place in part by high-paid lobbyists for certain industries. Mercedes-Benz and BMW had these lobbyists on their side, and the importers did not. As a result, in 1988, the Motor Vehicle Safety Compliance Act was passed. Also called the Imported Vehicle Safety Act of 1988, it’s what you know better as the ’25 Year Rule’, which basically excludes you from individually importing any car on your own unless it’s really old.…
It’s been a while since I looked at some C4s, and a few popped across my computer screen in searches that I thought were worth taking a peek at. As the E34 M5 and W124 500E/E500 creep up in value, if you search you can still find excellent examples of the odd-ball turbocharged inline-5 all-wheel drive wonder from Ingolstadt. While the 1993 model in the U.S. didn’t sit quite as low as the 1992 model, some chassis fans love them because of the carbon fiber interior trim and as ’92s are quite limited and hard to find, coming across a ’93 or ’94 is a touch easier. Which one of these two excellent examples would you prefer to take home?
I’ve been taking a look overseas over the past few days at a few older treats that never came here, so today we’ll look at a few newer Audi products that also were prohibited from U.S. shores. One of the biggest disappointments for many four ring enthusiasts was that the 8P RS3 model wasn’t imported here. Basically a 5-door TT-RS, it was a Golf R on even more steroids – but today’s example upped the power a full 200 more than stock to 550. Similarly, I have one of the 333 8X A1 quattro MTM models produced a few years ago, and while it doesn’t share the monster performance of the RS3 it’s sure an appealing package. Which would you love to have here on this Tuner Tuesday?
You have to ask yourself when pondering the Aztec, “Did Italdesign really think they’d make 1,000 of these in the late 1980s?” Certainly anything seemed possible then – the world was in the midst of a supercar revolution. Porsche introduced the revolutionary Group B based 959, while Ferrari had the twin-turbo brothers GTO and F40. Then there were countless others on the horizon – Jaguar XJ220 and XJR-15, an all-new Lamborghini Diablo, the Bugatti EB110 and Cizeta-Moroder V16 – even some wild U.S. based creations like the Vector and Callaway Sledgehammer Corvette. But perhaps more wild than all of these was the wild “Aztec” from Italdesign. Giugiaro’s company had long been pioneers of advanced and cutting edge designs, but they really outdid themselves with the Aztec. As if taking inspiration from some of the best futuristic designs from the 60s and 70s, the Aztec looked part jet fighter, part rocket ship, and part Star Trek communicator. Indeed, it wouldn’t be surprising at all to have someone like Mark Hamill or Harrison Ford pull up in an Aztec at a movie premier; it was as otherworldly and futuristic as both Hollywood and the sets of Star Wars and Blade Runner. But even if there were more wild designs that you might have seen on the show circuit in 1988, Giugiaro – with the aid of some hefty backing from Japanese capital – was crazy enough to produce road going versions of these cars. What was not surprising, then, was that there was a market for them – though, admittedly, it was as limited as the daily drive-ability of the car.
As Paul and our reader John both noted in last week’s 1991 Audi S4 post, the price of that appealing and clean example of was fairly high relative to what you could purchase a slightly higher miles but still clean model in the U.S. for, even not taking into account the cost of importing the car to the U.S. To underscore that point, today we’ll look at both an early and later version of the venerable 20V Turbo C4 chassis Audi – the enthusiast dubbed “Ur-S” cars. First off we’ll look at a 1992 S4, then a 1995 S6:
I have a lot of respect for Bob Lutz and Chrysler in at least one way; in 1989, they came out with the Viper concept, and because of such an overwhelmingly positive response, said that it was going to go into production as is. Of course, that wasn’t true and when the production Viper arrived the next year, it was a lot less hard-edged than the original concept. That’s true of nearly every concept car that goes into production; they’re outrageous for the shows, then watered down for public consumption. Apparently, no one told that to Giugiaro’s Italdesign when they decided to take their hybrid Audi/Lancia/Spaceship directly to the market. If the complete lack of practicality didn’t cool prospective buyer’s desire to own one, surely the $225,000 entry price did. A bit of an oddity to see anywhere but on posters, there is one for sale today in Germany:
Engine: 2.2 liter turbocharged inline-5
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 7,000 km (4,350 mi)
Price: €129,000 ($172,279 today)
7000 km, Displacement: 2200, Year: 1988, 183 kW (249 hp), number of owners: 1, Petrol, Transmission: Manual, Year 5/1993 Colour: Silver metallic
SUPER RARE! COLLECTORS PIECE! INVESTMENT!
In ITALDESIGN in Turin from world-renowned designer GIUGIARO about 20 copies of this mobile DESIGN STUDY were created and offered at a price of DM 500,000. 5 Cylinder turbo 2.2 liter engine from Audi with 183 kW (250 bhp), four-wheel drive, the body is made of aluminum, steel and carbon and wonderfully constructed!
The car is in original condition with original paint and comes from a COLLECTION, which was disbanded due to age of the owner! A highlight for any collection! Also, exchange or trade-in possible!
I’m just going to get this out of the way now: this is my favorite wagon. Ever. This is the cream of the Euro-only crop that I have lusted after for years. Even the RS6 sedan gets my heart racing when I see the big lower intakes and wide fenders rolling down the road, very similar to an A6 3.0 but just beefy enough to hint at the craziness going on under the hood. And as if the not-for-US-consumption RS6 Avant weren’t badass enough, this one has been tuned by Motoren Technik Mayer, one of the premier German tuning firms. These loonies made a double-engined TT Bimoto that went 232 mph. Yeah, um, resume accepted.
This grey beauty looks fantastic on stock Euro RS6 19″ wheels and has a “mild” tune of 500hp, while in Clubsport form MTM can make an earth-displacing 580hp and 598 lb-ft. A 200mph wagon? That’s what Wagon Week is all about. It’s for sale in Germany, but with €17,750 exchanging for roughly $23k, this is the steal heard ’round the world. See you guys later, I’m moving to Europe.
Model: RS6 MTM
Engine: Biturbo 4.2l V8
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Mileage: 139,000 km (~ 86,000 miles)
Price: €17,750 (~ $23,000 USD)
Hello eBayers, I’m selling my super Audi RS6 Avant MTM. It has a power boost to 500 hp, but since that is not registered it can not be assigned, so I open it with the original 450 HP and top speed. The top speed is certainly there, as I have been briefly to 300 km/h. The Turbos run smoothly and the transmission shifts smoothly and cleanly. Thus it has more torque, but one should not make light kick downs.