Tuner Tuesday: A Tale of Twin Tornados – 1990 Volkswagen Corrado Magnum Wagons

We live in a world of soundbites and short attention spans. Some days it seems like a bit of a coup to remember just what you had for breakfast or where you left the keys last night – never mind to go back a week, a month, a year, or a decade. I’ve mentioned before that I’m a history teacher when I’m not doing this, and I’ve found it increasingly difficult to keep the attention of my students through the 1.5 hour lectures and if it’s a night class, forget it. The proliferation of the internet – the promise of limitless and immediate information – instead seems to be a flood which has washed away the interest, the researching, the enthusiasm for finding something new. But I came across something very interesting when looking for more information about an interesting duo of Corrados that our reader Jesse sent in. It was an internet thread on a forum – nothing special there. What was special was the timeline that thread covered and the subject matter. It started with the announcement of the purchase of the two prototype Corrado Magnum wagons in February, 2007. What followed was 15 pages of comments that spanned an amazing 9 years in what must be one of the longest threads out there documenting the owner trying to get these two unique G60 Corrados to the U.S.. If you want a snapshot of the development of the internet fora in one spot, look at the comments here. In typical VW Vortex style, there are insults tossed, claims the cars don’t exist, that the seller is a liar, threats to steal the cars and that they’re ugly. But there’s also adoration for the buyer who endured an arduous 7 years of storage in the Netherlands before finally getting the clearance to bring the forlorn Volkswagen prototypes to the U.S.. Back to my original point, though – after all that, you’d assume that they’d be locked away by the new owner, never to be seen again save an occasional show, yet here they both are for sale today, along with a few other neat and unique Corrados from the same collection:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Volkswagen Corrado Magnum at LuxSport

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One of One: 1964 Auto Union 1000S Coupe

For some time, the fate of Audi seemed sealed. Post World War II, Auto Union GmbH’s production was focused on the DKW automobiles that fit into the European economic situation much better than the pre-War luxury cars from Horch and Audi. But the market was changing, and Auto Union launched the very pretty 1000SP Coupe and Convertible. But, there was no denying that the 1000SP looked like a 1950s car in a 1960s world. Audi’s production would really have to wait until the launch of the C1 chassis in 1968; prior to that, some re-badged DKW models wore the Audi name but sold only in small numbers. The C1 would prove to be a pretty popular model, though, and the new 100 model would be available as both a sedan and as a 2-door “Coupe S” model. The lines of that model, as with the 1000SP, mimicked more expensive and famous cars such as the Fiat Dino and Aston Martin DBS. It was a pretty large departure from the mini-Thunderbird look of the 1000SP and much more modern. But, it appears that there may have been a missing link developed in the mid-1960s:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1964 Auto Union 1000S Coupe on Car and Classic

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1966 Porsche 911 Prototype

Here’s one for the historians and collectors: a 1966 Porsche 911 Prototype, fitted with a variety of racing components and features from the 911R, that served duty from 1966-1968 before being retired as Porsche transitioned to a longer wheelbase. It is believed to be the first 911 to feature rear fender flares as it was the 911 that served as the testing bed specifically for those flares, which we would then see on the 911R. The ad gives us a few other details of the car’s components, which include a 2.0 liter flat-six from 1968. The documentation provided is scant and nothing I’ve been able to find tells us what became of this 911 during the years from 1968 after it was retired as a prototype up to the 2000s when it was discovered and revived. Given its appearance at the exclusive Amelia Island Concours – a point we can verify – there are at least a few folks that feel pretty certain of its identity. I’m not sure who discovered it, but that must have been one heck of a barn find.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1966 Porsche 911 Prototype on eBay

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One of One: 1992 Audi 90S Prototype

From yesterday’s end of the run B2 Audi 90, today we have another special feature on a unique Audi. While the B3 heavily revised the safety, aerodynamics, comfort and luxury for the small Audi range, weight went up and power was effectively the same, meaning that the B3 was at a distinct performance disadvantage to the natural rival BMW. Audi did increase the amount of power that the B3 quattros had at their disposal with the introduction of the 7A 20V motor in 1990, but the twin-cam inline-5 wasn’t available in front drive Audis which sold in greater number. That gulf grew wider as BMW upped the power again with the new E36 chassis, now with the best part of 190 horsepower available in the 325i. To answer the competition, Audi heavily revised both its large and small chassis in for the 1991 and 1992 model years. The C4 model was introduced late in 1990 in Europe, and while Audi did away with the 200 model the new S4 ostensibly replaced it with even more sport. But the 100 saw massive changes too, with the introduction of automatic transmissions to the quattro range widening the appeal of the model. Though the V8 quattro had offered that option previously, it was a much more expensive model and the 100 was also available in Avant form. But the big change was under the hood, where a AAH 12 valve single cam 2.8 liter V6 replaced the previous NG/NF 2.3 naturally aspirated inline-5 and MC1/2 2.2 turbocharged inline-5 power units of the 100 quattro and front-drive and 200 Turbo front wheel drive models, respectively.

In the small chassis, Audi continued to offer two different chassis levels for the newly introduced for 1992 B4. Carrying over from the C4 range was the same 172 horsepower 2.8 V6, powering either all four wheels or the front wheels only. Few mechanical changes were made to the quattro models versus earlier inline-5 models, but the front drivers received more refinement from a trailing arm torsion beam axle instead of the previous Panhard rod design. Outside, new front and rear fascia was mostly expressed by integrating the hood and grill to match the C4 design. Fender flares increased, new contoured hoods offered more character, and different bumper covers updated the look slightly. New wheel designs were also incorporated into the B4 lineup, with 10 spoke Speedline-made wheels being standard and optional Ronal “Sport” 5-spoke wheels, both in a slightly greater 37mm offset as opposed to the 45mm offset of early B3 models (with the exception of the Coupe). There were plenty of other minor changes inside and out that added up to a very different and more refined feel versus the earlier B3. But Audi needed to provide some time for U.S. dealers to relaunch the new 90 model range. So, while in 1991 you could buy either a 90 quattro 20V or 80 quattro, in 1992 there was only a 80 model available – no 90s were sold. This coincided with the lowest sales figures for the small chassis Audi had recorded. The new 90 would launch here in late 1992 as a 1993 model in both quattro and FrontTrak form. And to help promote the new model, Audi brought over a few pre-production models, one of which we have here:

Email Seller: 1992 Audi 90S on German Cars For Sale Blog

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1980 BMW Alpina Turbo E21 Prototype – REVISIT

The 1980 BMW Alpina Turbo E21 “Prototype” featured last month created a lot of discussion amongst our readers. One of our readers, Mario, emailed us at the end of last month. He has worked in a large BMW dealership in Switzerland for the past 13 years. He spotted this E21 and was skeptical, stating that hew knew Alpina was not in the business of selling prototypes. After some research on his part, he discovered that this car is a US market E21 with original Alpina parts. Attached is the letter that Mario received from the Marketing and Sales department at Alpina. The letter was originally written in Germany, so I have included the original letter along with the English translation:

Bitte entschuldigen Sie die verspätete Antwort, jedoch stehen wir mitten in den Vorbereitungen für den Genfer Auto Salon. Dieser angebliche ALPINA Prototype hat bis auf einige Teile wie Lenkrad, Zusatzinstrumente, Schriftzüge nichts mit ALPINA zu tun. Bei der angegebenen Fg-Nr. handelt es sich um einen BMW 320 US, der nie bei uns im Hause war. ALPINA hat auch nie einen 4 Zylinder Turbo gebaut.

Mit freundlichen Grüssen aus Buchloe
Angelika Jörg-Kane
Marketing/Verkauf
ALPINA Burkard Bovensiepen GmbH + Co. KG

English Translation: We apologize for the late reply, but we are busy preparing for the Geneva Motor Show. This alleged ALPINA Prototype has a few Alpina parts such as the steering wheel, dashboard instruments and lettering. According to the specified VIN, it is a US BMW 320, which has never been in our facility. ALPINA has never built a 4 cylinder turbo.

With friendly greetings from Buchloe,
Angelika Jörg-Kane
Marketing/Sales
ALPINA Burkard Bovensiepen GmbH + Co. KG

1980 BMW Alpina Turbo E21 Prototype – REVISIT

The below post originally appeared on our site February 14, 2013:

Often times we come across the E30 M3s, talk about how collectable they are and how the premium prices are justified due to collectability and so on and so on. So if the E30 M3s are the future collectable from BMW, what does that make this car?  A no brainer, that’s what.

Alpina was founded in 1965, and started life producing typewriters and office equipment. In the mid 1960s, founder Burkard Bovensiepen started a BMW tuning business out of the original Alpina typewriter factory. By the early 70s, Alpina was making a name for itself in competition. The highlight was in 1970, when the team’s cars won the European Touring Car Championship, the German Hillclimb Championship, rally and track racing championships and the prestigious Spa 24 Hours. The rest is tuning history.

Over the years Alpina has softened a bit, focusing more on luxury sedans based on the BMW 7-series, but throughout the 80’s they were experimenting on all BMW platforms, and the results speak for themselves. This stunning E21 prototype is a prime example of the days when Alpina seemd to be turbocharging everything.

Year: 1980
Model: Alpina E21 Prototype
Engine: 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 40,000
Price: $29,900

1980 BMW Alpina Turbo E21 Prototype on Autokennel.com

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Alpina Burkard Bovensiepen GmbH has been working closely with BMW since the early 1970’s producing some of their most memorable racecars. By the late 70s, Alpina became their own manufacturer and no longer sold their cars as BMW Alpinas, but rather just Alpina. They would order raw chassis and engines and build their own vehicles, many of which were then sold through the BMW dealership network. Forty years later, they are still producing some of the best-engineered versions of BMWs and sill reselling them through BMW dealerships worldwide.

This very unique prototype is very typical Alpina. In the late 70s, as BMW was determining what engine to put in their new 320/E21 chassis to give it more performance, they once again enlisted the engineers of Alpina to produce a Turbo variant.  They were provided 3 blank E21 bodies with 3 of the 4-cylinder 2.0-liter motors. Several of Alpina’s top engineers were enlisted for this project.

What is so unique is that the head engineer of this particular example was able to purchase the car once it was complete since BMW ended up pulling the plug on the project and going with the 2.3 liter 6-cylinder. The engineer was lucky enough to access BMW’s parts bins in order to install the “Hi-Lux” package on this example. This package included front and rear fog lights, European headlamps with washers, power windows, power mirrors, power locks, glove box flashlight, under hood and trunk lights, electric sunroof, and even the map light rear view mirror from the E23 program. Once the car was complete, being that the engineer was an American, he imported the car to his home in Colorado and federalized the car. Also (since the German engineers would have no part of it), he installed a correct Behr A/C system with an upgraded compressor. The final result was a very comfortable and fast sport coupe that could hold its own on the Autobahn. He used this car for fun weekend events and stored it during much of the winter. He sold the car a couple of years ago to a local BMW/Porsche enthusiast.

However, just before selling the car, the original owner went through the whole car and did a nice restoration. This included taking the car completely down to a bare body. The suspension was redone with new Bilsteins, front and rear bushings, rear suspension arms, and new brakes (discs and rotors) all the way around. Also a top end rebuild was performed on the engine.

After purchasing the car in 2011, the recent owner put the finishing touches on the car. He spent over $6,000 restoring the interior of the car. The factory sport seats were recovered in vinyl. A new headliner and carpet kit was also installed. Also, he completely restored the original dash including the rare Alpina gauge cluster. Finally, he redid the door panels and center console. The only flaw is the small plastic trim near the gauge cluster has a few cracks in it. It isn’t that noticeable, but unfortunately, the part is NLA. We are still on the hunt for a good used one. Recently, a major service was performed on the car including a valve adjustment, alignment, and oil service. This Alpina is ready to be enjoyed.

The build on this car was typically BMW contract prototype budget. No expense was spared and nearly every component on this car was improved upon.

Modifications include the following:

  • Recaro sport seats
  • Electric Sunroof
  • Alpina body stripes
  • 3:64 Limited slip differential
  • Leather 3-spoke steering wheel
  • Rajay oil fed turbo
  • 2.3L Bottom End Engine that’s been Stroked
  • BMW 323 Suspension
  • All Wheel Disc Brakes
  • Bilstein Shocks
  • Minor Porting
  • Minor Head Work
  • Battery relocated to the trunk

I love these “affordable collectibles.” These cars are not only fun to drive and easy to live with even on a daily-driver basis, but being so rare, they have a huge upside in collectible value in the long run. Included with this vehicle are much of the original build information as well as the factory tool kit.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Paul at 714-335-4911 or paul@autokennel.com

Note:

This vehicle is sold “as-is” with no warranty, written or implied. In some cases, the vehicle does have the remaining factory warranty still in place and will be described above if that is the case. All taxes and fees are the responsibility of the buyer and are not included in the listed price. All vehicle sales will require a $55 document fee. The vehicle listed is described to the best of our ability. We are not responsible for errors in our description of options or any other details. The above-mentioned vehicle is used and can be expected to show some wear and tear. It is not a brand new vehicle. We do our best to accurately describe the vehicle. We do welcome all local pre-purchase inspections on vehicles in order to verify condition.

A car like this is close to impossible to put a pricetag on due to the shear rarity of it. Regardless of what E21 values are, and Alpina values are, a well documented, one of two prototype should command a premium, as it can only appreciate as the years pass. All factors considered, this car is priced well for the BMW enthusiast market and if you ask me, is a far better collector choice than an E30 M3. That’s not to say that I’d love to have both sitting side by side in my garage.

-Brian

1967 Mercedes 300SEL 3.5 Test Car Prototype?

UPDATE 2: The car has been relisted with a lower AU $10,000 price, apx. $10,300 U.S..

Relisted auction listing on eBay here.

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Here is one of the more odd advertisements we’ve come across of late.

The ad is for a 1967 Mercedes 300SEL that appears to have the 3.5 liter V8 underhood. While we have spoken of the goodness of the 3.5 liter Mercedes V8 in the past, that engine was not available in 1967.

Year: 1967
Model: 300SEL 3.5
Engine: 3.5 liter V8
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Mileage: N/A
Price: $15,600

1967 Mercedes 300SEL 3.5 Test Car
1967 Mercedes 300SEL 3.5 test car

What is utterly unexplainable is why a seller, with what appears to be a pretty unique car, advertises it as a factory test car, as opposed to an early model with a privateer engine swap, but then provides zero documentation and one of the lamest ad descriptions we’ve seen in awhile. The ad is all of one sentence long about the car.

The only thing I can think of is that the seller has a buyer lined up already that has done the research, but wants/needs to sell through eBay for some added protection either as a seller as a buyer. Obviously all car ads don’t have to cater to those who are curious, but boy if you advertise a test car don’t just tantalize us like this.

The car is in Australia and as such is a right hand drive model. It sure looks pretty. If any of our readers out there have more info or documentation on the car or explanation of the remarkably thin advertisement description please post it in the comments.

The mileage isn’t given ask price is $15,600.

Update: It looks like the guys over at the M-100 Group, which has a strong Australian contingent, are on the case to get some docs.

~Evan

1980 BMW 735i Touring Prototype

I’ve admitted it before, I’m not a big fan of sport utility vehicles. Coming across this rare BMW prototype reminds me why I like wagons so much. I remember seeing this 735i Touring on eBay about a decade ago, and now it’s current owner in Newton, Massachusetts has it up for sale again on eBay, with no reserve.

The seller states:

1980 BMW 735i Touring with 9,042 miles today. This is a Euro model and eBay does not like the VIN which is WBA68410007432544 It was built in June 1980 and is titled as a 1981.

Per the site stationwagon.com http://www.stationwagon.com/gallery/198x_BMW_735i.html

“This car was built on the BMW production line for display at the Frankfurt Auto Show. There were only two cars made like this. It was built on the 735i chassis – and is a European model. This was never a production car. Details include – – 8,179 original miles, tan cloth interior, a manual sunroof and windows, roof rack, alloy wheels & automatic transmission. The car was imported to the US and brought up to DOT and EPA standards in Ohio.”

This car was purchased on eBay in 2000 with 8,179 miles and was amongst a collection of approximately 100 cars owned by a noted collector in New Hampshire. It was then purchased in 8/2003 with 8,300 miles from the collector’s estate sale until it was purchased by me in November 2010 with 9,002 miles. I had service performed on the car, tuned it up, replaced mechanical and safety items and brought the car back onto the road. It runs and drives fine. It is currently inspected and on the road with a Massachusetts December 2010 inspection sticker. I would have no hesitation using this car as an everyday vehicle.

Unfortunately I do not have the space to keep it unless I give it to my 16 year old as his every day car and sell his. This rare beautiful vehicle deserves better than that. The negatives to the car are: 6 spots where the paint has lifted and there is surface rust underneath. Also the straight pipe in the exhaust is rusty. It was able to pass inspection but I don’t know how many more years it has left. There is a small rip in the center armrest in the rear seat. I have tried to clean up the interior but it hasn’t been warm enough since I purchased the car to do an outstanding job.

The starting price of this auction is $7,000 with no reserve. Given the history of this vehicle, and based on recent sales of clean E23 7 series, I’d take a stab and say anything in the $10 to $15k range would be realistic. Unlike an M1 or Z8, the desirability and value won’t ever be as high, but there’s no denying the historical significance of this vehicle. Given that it was built on the BMW assembly line and foreshadowed BMW Touring models to come, it deserves to be preserved for future generations. Having visited the BMW Museum in Munich two years ago, and after seeing the exhibits, it would be great to see this prototype in such a collection.

-Paul