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..…
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:
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.
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.…
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
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,
ALPINA Burkard Bovensiepen GmbH + Co. KG
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. …
UPDATE 2: The car has been relisted with a lower AU $10,000 price, apx. $10,300 U.S..
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.
Model: 300SEL 3.5
Engine: 3.5 liter V8
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
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.…
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.