Continuing with a theme I touched upon last week, I’m going to take a look at a few cars this week which are now legal for importation to the United States. It’s hard to believe more than 25 years have already passed since 1990, but that opens up a whole new portfolio of vehicles that weren’t certified by the US Department of Transportation and Environmental Protection Agency for US sale. The Volkswagen Rallye Golf almost made it to market in the US, but sadly, an executive at Volkswagen of America trumpeting this vehicle’s cause perished in the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing. With that, yet another homologation special slipped away from the grasp of the US consumer. This Rallye Golf for sale just a bit north of Stuttgart, Germany is one for the serious VW collector, having covered just over the equivalent of 20,000 miles. This is also one of the few I’ve seen with the rather tasty partial leather interior, featuring a variation on the GTI plaid in the seat inserts.
As with every automotive enthusiasts, I’d like to believe, I have some amnesia about some periods of automobile history. Show me a 1985 and 1986 Audi 4000 side by side, and I can rattle off the subtle changes between model years; but show me some 1950s American iron and outside of the real standouts, they’re all a bit vanilla to me. I can’t tell you the difference between, for example, a 1955 Pontiac and a 1955 Mercury – I guess, if I go and look at pictures, the Mercury had slightly pointier headlight surrounds, but generally the way that I tell the difference between those cars is to walk up to them and say “Oh, this is the one that says ‘Mercury’ on it”. I’m sure it’s one of my many shortcomings as a person, though just as I can identify that NASCAR and NHRA racing takes a fair amount of talent, it’s not the talent I’d prefer to explore. People who can identify those cars and all of the specific model year changes are, to me, semi-Rainman-esque in their ability to memorize and quickly recount every single 1950s cars. Of course, to them I bet every single car from the 1980s looks exactly the same. Line up a Fiat Dino, an Audi 100 Coupe S and an Opel Manta (along with a handful of other cars that share the same basic silhouette) and I bet they’d be doing the same thing as me – walking up to this “blue one” and proclaiming “Oh, this is the one that says ‘Opel’ on it”:
I have a secret automotive fetish. I’d day fetish is a really strong word, but I’m not sure how else to describe it, because admitting it makes me feel a bit dirty. I actually like the third generation early 1970s Chevrolet Nova. Now, I realize that admitting the problem is the first step towards rectifying the issue, but there’s this nagging feeling in the back of my mind that it won’t go away. I’m not even sure why, but some of those late 60s/early 70s GM muscle cars just look…well, cool to me. The GTO Judge, the Chevelle SS, the Nova SS – they just look right in a weird and slightly disturbing way. So to redeem myself, instead of owning one of them, I’d probably sport for a much more rare scaled down model from their European cousin, Opel. Just as the Opel GT was a 3/4 scale Corvette, Opel had a mini muscle car too in the Manta, and U.S. customers had the option of the Manta Rallye that kicked thing up a notch:
One thing I really love about writing up these 10K posts is a odd combinations pricing allows me to come up with. For today’s post, I decided to do something a little different. Instead of maximizing the budget, I decided to look at it from the perspective of what was a classic 1980s car that you could buy and maintain well under $10,000. Obviously, if you’re willing to shill out much more, there are countless classics you can jump in to turn-key; but under $10,000 means with almost certainty that the car you’ll be getting in to today will be at least in part a bit of a project. Is there anything wrong with that? No, I think there’s an inherent appeal to trying to save and resuscitate a car that was in part neglected or just needs attention. Certainly I’ve tried to do that several times with 1980s cars – with mixed results. Today, I grabbed one classic from the 1980s (give or take, we’ll see…) from each of the major manufacturers – which is the one you’d like to save?
The Volkswagen Golf was never what you would call exotic, but sometimes the most pedestrian of cars makes for an interesting base for something a bit more special. Race homologation has brought us many great cars over the years, like the Porsche 959, Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16 and Audi Sport Quattro. At double the price of a standard 8V GTI, the Rallye Golf was built so that Volkswagen could compete in the World Rally Championship. With Syncro four-wheel drive and a supercharged 1.8 liter, this car started a trend of ultimate Golfs and GTIs that we see up to the present day. This example for sale in England has been lightly used and a perfect piece for someone who is into the box flare style of the 1980s and early 1990s.
Homologation for motorsport is nothing new, but it’s uncommon that a vehicle will make the transition into multiple race series. Mercedes-Benz had intentions of rally competition with the 190E when it was introduced in the early 1980s, but, as they say, life is timing. With the Audi Quattro lighting up the World Rally scene, Mercedes became a bit gun shy of the proposition. Instead, they decided to go racing in the newly devised Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft (German Touring Car) race series. The first years of this series were legendary, with Mercedes going head to head with E30 BMW M3s on the track in some epic battles.
The two competition 190Es we’ll take a look at today were intended for two very different race series. The first 190E we’ll take a look at is for sale in Holland and was intended for the rally circuit.
Dan’s recent acquisition and post about the new GCFSB Project GLi got me thinking about GLis again. Truth be told, I’m firmly in “Camp Golf”, but I had a few friends with nice GLis growing up and they were always great looking and fun. One in particular was a very clean black 91 model, correct with the original BBS wheels. One day my friend came to me and asked if I wanted to buy it; I did, but it was pretty far outside of my price range at that point, so I watched it disappear to some distant land and new owner. That seems to be the story with many GLis and German car fans; everyone seems to know someone who had one at some point and now misses it. I have a feeling that today’s owner is someone who will miss this particular GLi very much, as likely will be all of his friends – who probably like me want it very much but can’t swing buying it right now. But unlike my friend’s clean 1991 2.0 GLi, today’s example shares very little in common with most GLis at all. A bunch of runs to the Volkswagen parts bag have yielded a pretty unique GLi – a VR6-swapped, Syncro-swapped sleeper. Yes, please!
With the last few generations of Golfs, a hot variant appears from time to time in the lineup. I’m not talking about your garden variety GTI, however. No, we’re talking about cars like the R32 and Golf R that provide near supercar thrills in a rather unassuming, everyday package. But where did this tradition start? Right here, with the Mk2 Rallye Golf. Built in Belgium, this was a homologation special that featured flared wheel arches and projector headlamps to compliment the 1.8 liter supercharged engine hooked up to Syncro four-wheel drive. Initially this car was considered for sale in the US, but Volkswagen ultimately decided it would be too expensive to be taken seriously by consumers in North America, costing nearly two times as much as a GTI. This Rallye Golf for sale in Barcelona, Spain is only one year away from legal importation for US enthusiasts.
Model: Rallye Golf
Engine: 1.8 liter supercharged inline-4
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 113,700 km (~ 70,649 mi)
Price: €10,500 (~ $14,427 USD)
First registration was in Germany at 16-08-1990 and was imported middle new to Spain at 1991. Only 1 owner in Spain. Perfect condition like new. Complete service new including timing belt, oil, filters, spark plugs, new battery, new tyres and lot more. The car have original sunroof, original BBS RM 012 wheels optionals from factory and electric mirrors.
As with many hot hatchbacks, the problem with the Rallye Golf these days is finding an unmolested one. Due to the initial cost and complexity of the Rallye Golf, fewer have been modified than GTIs, but that hasn’t stopped some from trying. This particular car certainly appears as original and looks decidedly purposeful in black. While $14,000 might seem steep for a Mk2 Golf or GTI, this isn’t your ordinary Golf.…
What do you get when you combine the winningest marque in motorsports, the world’s toughest rallye, and a legendary rallye driver? You get this stunning tribute to Björn Waldegård’s 1978 entry in to the East African Safari Rally. While the combination of Waldegård and porsche never produced a victory in the 1978 Safari Rallye, the combo teamed up 34 years later for a victory in the 2011 Safari Rallye Classic.
This impecably done tribute for sale in Costa Mesa, California is an instant throwback, and embodies everything that made the late’70s motorsports awesome.
1988 Porsche 911 3.2 Martini Tribute on eBay
1988 Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2 RS Martini
East Africa Safari Rallye Björn Waldegård Tribute
VIN # WP0AB0910JS121255 146,200 chassis miles (7,500 miles since build)
Grand Prix White with Martini Graphics and Black Leather Interior 5-Speed G50 Manual Transmission
Clean and Clear Title
Original California 2-Owner Car
No Accidents/Original Paint
Vehicle Located in Atlanta, GA
In the late ‘70s, the Porsche motorsport department set itself challenges away from asphalted surfaces. The East African Safari Rally entered into Porsche racing history as an extraordinary trial for driver and technicians. In fact, the African Safari is considered by many to be the world’s toughest rally. In 1978, Porsche sent two modified 911 SC 3.0 sponsored by Martini to the starting line.
Porsche dominated the field, until a technical defect threw Waldegård, who had a lead of 46 minutes, back into fourth place. The team of Preston and Layl ended the rally in second place overall. Waldegård was one of the premier rally drivers starting and went on to win the championship the following year as a driver for Lancia. Porsche eventually settled its account with the African continent in the Paris-Dakar Rally: the Porsche 911 Carrera 4×4 won there in 1984, followed two years later by the legendary Porsche 959.
One of my favorite periods in car history was the 1980s, specifically, the creations that hit the street as a result of rally homologation. The Lancia Delta Integrale, Audi Ur Quattro, Ford Escort Cosworth and Porsche 959 are some great examples of competition vehicles that transformed the world of performance cars. Some cars, like the Volkswagen Rallye Golf, had a more limited racing career than others, as this car competed for just one year in Group A WRC, in 1990. The Rallye Golf featured Syncro four-wheel drive, the 1.8 G60 engine with the G-lader supercharger, anti-lock brakes, flared fenders and Recaro front seats, among other features. A little over 5,000 examples were built at Volkswagen’s plant in Belgium, but none came to North America. A few are starting to trickle over to our shores, such as this one that is for sale in Ontario, Canada.
1989 Volkswagen Rallye Golf. 1 of 5.000 limited production factory homologation cars built at their factory in Belgium. 103,854 km, OEM condition. Syncro AWD, G60 supercharger, widebody fenders, rally suspension/brakes (all factory). Power mirrors, locks, Factory split leather Recaro seats. leather door cards, sunroof.Outside of Blaupunkt CD, there have been no modifications done to the car. 2nd owner. 1st owner from Zurich, SUI. Car purchaced from Rothbee Autohaus in Nurburg Germany. All service records. Garage stored by both owners. Car has some minor flaws as to be expected from an untouched 23 year old car, but is in solid shape, undercarriage is remarkably clean. Original paint. 4 time 1st place in class show winner, 1 second place, and one best interior in show. Car has been driven once in the last two years, and has some issues related to lack of use. Window regulators are lazy (common problem – standard Corrado parts).