2001 Audi RS4

Although Audi had launched the idea of the super wagon with the RS2, by the late 1990s they didn’t have anything near as impressive. Sure, the S4 Avant was quick, but with 250 horsepower it was substantially less powerful than the 315 horsepower RS2 and the 322 horsepower S6 Plus. Something needed to be done to live up to the reputation of quattro GmbH, and that something involved Cosworth. Taking the basic twin turbocharged V6 from the B5 S4, Cosworth Technologies thoroughly rebuilt the motor. Now dubbed the ASJ (later AZR), the power went up 50% to 375 horsepower with an equally impressive 325 lb.ft of torque. To match the performance of the motor, quattro GmbH introduced new bodywork that channeled some of the trends set by the RS2; larger vents on the front bumper, wider sills, and larger brakes and wheels. The result was a package that lived up to the “RS” moniker with sub 5-second 0-60 runs, a 160 m.p.h. top speed, but also the brakes and grip to compete with contemporary sports cars. It may not have had the mystique of the RS2 without the name Porsche, but it was a package that was just as desirable then as it is today:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi RS4 on eBay

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1990 Volkswagen GTi 16V

While it’s nice to look at imports from Europe that we didn’t get here, when it comes to the Volkswagen front we got at least one of the most desirable 1990s VWs that wasn’t sold in Europe – perhaps, one of the most desirable all around Volkswagens ever made – in the 1990-1992 GTi 2.0 16V. It wasn’t really the best at much of anything compared to the competition; the engine was thirsty and noisy, the upright shape of the Mk.2 Golf was old and on the verge of being replaced, the expensive wheels bent at the mere sight of a pothole, the transmission self-machined occasionally and the electronics were the work of a high school tech class. If you wanted a fast, economical, awesome handling hatch that actually worked all of the time, you bought an Acura Integra GS-R. But all of these faults didn’t detract from what was for the the most desirable GTi package Volkswagen produced. You got the iconic chunky shape of the Golf with extra wide flares. It sat lower, and though they were soft those BBS RMs were gorgeous. Inside were the spectacular Recaro Trophy seats and little else – these were no-frills cars compared to the more luxurious GLi models. And to top it off, under the hood was the screaming 16V in 2.0 form. Good for 134 horsepower and vibrating the entire car (and your eardrums) at highway speed, this car moved beyond look and into entire sensation:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Volkswagen GTi 16V on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday: 1979 Alpina B6 2.8

Edit 7/11/2017 – This car is back on the market from the same seller with a reserve auction

Vuarnet shirt, stone-washed high-wasted jeans, neon Wayfarers, legwarmers, Wham!‘s “Make It Big” album playing on your Walkman, a tennis lesson scheduled for later in the day with someone named Chad, Tad or Chaz, and a BMW 3-series; they’re immediately identifiable as a product of the 1980s, even if in this case they were made in the late 1970s. Take a moment to consider the seats in this Alpina; made by Recaro, they’d look as at home on Bill Cosby’s back as he lectured Theo as they would on the race track. But just as those trends from the 80s have been revisited by the “Hipsters” of today, there’s another class I’ve dubbed “Yupsters”, wishing to relive the glory of Wall Street and every club from the Breakfast to the Country. They’re interested in the BMW 3 series, and the major resurgence of the small executive sedan has become ironic in its own right, from the “Respect Your Elders” stickers plastered on cars not much older than the creatures driving them (who, even more ironically, typically don’t know much about history), to the hypocrisy of everyone being different by all owning E30s. The only things missing from the entirely predictable plotline are a Harold Faltermeyer soundtrack and a cameo at the local show by Steve Guttenberg. To me, the 3 series that comes out of all of this smelling like roses is the E21; relatively forgotten and overlooked due to less availability, sport and cliche, a turned up E21 is nonetheless a beautiful thing when properly done:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1979 Alpina B6 2.8 on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday Gold Digger: 1977 Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet

What is the tipping point in modifying a car? It seems a delicate line which is easily crossed; one that once tripped over pushes the car in question into a free fall from object of desire to ridicule. Obviously, if someone opens up a J.C. Whitney catalog and orders all of the accessories available for their Monte Carlo, it’ll be a bit of a laugh. But what about when the ingredients are all top-dollar, high quality units? Let’s take this 911 for an example and break down the components: at it’s base, this is a 1977 911S Targa, or was. Now, by itself that’s an increasingly valuable commodity – so, it’s a good basis, right? Now it wears an updated 993 wardrobe; they’re a hot commodity, too. And who doesn’t love a cabriolet? Okay, so that’s a lot of people. But some people like them, right? How about the motor, a Ruf modified twin-plug turbo? Wow, put those names together today and you’ve got yourself a retirement plan. And while not the purview of these pages, if you haven’t been following auctions anything with the name Boyd Coddington attached to it has some serious value as well since his death. There has even been a spike in value of classic Recaro seats, and right now brown tones are still totally in vogue. So, with all of these individual bits added together, this car should be worth millions, right?

If you need a reminder that 1970s Porsches weren’t always worth a lot of money, look no further.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1977 Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet…ish on eBay

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Leaves Nothing Stock: 1984 Audi Coupe GT 20V

If the M6 I just wrote up was full of non-original details, it’s hard to find anything that came from the factory on this Audi Coupe GT. Much of that I can appreciate, as I myself have fully modified a Coupe GT from stock form. It’s a chassis often overlooked because of the layout; on paper, just like a 911 the Coupe GT shouldn’t work. It’s front drive with an open differential and a very forward weight bias; unlike nearly all the Volkswagens, the engine in the GT in longitudinally laid out. That’s because it effectively was a front drive Quattro platform; many of the details of the front drive GTs are shared with their Quattro cousins. The configuration leaves a giant inline-5 cylinder motor hanging fully in front of the axle line, and the motor which promised the power of a 6 with the economy of a 4 was really the opposite. Yet, as with the 911, something magical was born from this recipe; not only did enthusiasts love the GT, but indeed even automotive experts said the 2-door Audi was more than the sum of its parts. GTs dance through corners with a poise that isn’t shared with the Volkswagen GTis, for example. They’re stunningly composed over long trips too, both spacious and at home cruising on the highway. And, importantly, they looked different than just any 2-door sedan; the angular delight of the Giugiaro design translated well into the narrow body. But just like the GTi and the E30, the platform had room for improvement; stiffen up the suspension and add power and it punches well above its weight class:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Audi Coupe GT 20V on eBay

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337-off: 2002 Volkswagen GTis

Let’s discount, just for a moment, the reputation of the fourth generation water-cooled, front engined platform from Volkswagen. Yes, they’re known for not having the best build quality, and they were a bit pudgy. The electrics were sketchy and Volkswagen’s venerable 1.8T, which found its way into nearly every VAG product in the late 90s and early 00s, is certainly not without fault. But in many ways, the Mk.4 platform offered some exciting options for the Volkswagen faithful. First, the introduction of the turbocharged engine into the platform redefined the possibilities of the hot hatch. It was available not only in the top-spec GTi, but you could get a 4-door 1.8T, too – a first for Volkswagen, who had offered hot 4-door hatches in Europe but not the U.S. previously. Then, in 2002, Volkswagen upped its game even more with the introduction of the 25th Anniversary Edition in Europe. “But the GTi didn’t come out until 1983” U.S. fans said, forgetting that 1977 was the launch year of the 1.6 original in Europe. It seemed, for some time, that the U.S. would get snubbed again. After all, it wouldn’t be very smart for them to offer a 25th Anniversary Edition of a car that didn’t exist here, and “19th Anniversary” doesn’t have the same ring. But then, at the New York Auto Show in 2002, Volkswagen surprised U.S. fans by offering the near-identical package to them. The name was the GTi 337 Edition; the name harkened back to the original project code for the Golf GTi. Beefed up with 180 horsepower, a 6-speed manual, an awesome set of Recaro seats, aero tweaks and with some awesome shot-peened BBS RC wheels, it was an instant hit. Volkswagen sold 1,500 of these models to U.S. fans, and then when they had sold out, recreated the magic in 2003 with colorful options in the 20th Anniversary Edition. Today we’re looking at the 337 though, and I’ve found three for sale in varying states. 13 years on, are these hot hatches still appealing?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 Volkswagen GTi 337 on eBay

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RS-spec: 1995 Audi S2 Avant

While in the U.S. the S6 Avant got all of the Audi accolades in 1995, in Europe several fast Audi wagons had been offered for some time. First of the new 20 valve turbo generation was the 200 Avant, just like in the U.S.; after that, though, the lines diverged. With the start of the C4, Audi offered the S4 in two configurations, sedan which was shared with the U.S. market, and Avant form which never came here. Additionally, there were two engine configurations; you could also get the 4.2 V8 and a 6-speed manual in your S4. When it came to the renamed S6, Audi upped those options with the addition of an automatic and the hotter “S6 Plus” version of the V8 wagon. But there was also another wagon available; the B4 based S2 Avant. The S2 came in three variants; the Coupe which many are familiar with, the quite rare sedan version, and the slightly less familiar Avant which didn’t come to the U.S.. I say slightly less familiar, because the S2 Avant was the notable base for one of the greatest wagons the world has ever seen – the iconic Porsche-built RS2. The RS2 was a fitting replacement for the equally iconic Sport Quattro, but the RS2 offered better road manners, more versatility and if anything was a bit quicker overall. It should be no surprise that, like the Sport Quattro, the limited run RS2 spawned a series of imitators who mimicked everything from the motor to the outside styling:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1992 Audi S2 Avant on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday: 1986 Ruf BTR Slantnose

One of the great things about this blog is that we keep a pretty good inventory of rare cars written up, so that when one looks familiar we can go back and check it out. This doesn’t always work, as occasionally we forget that we’ve written one up, such as the S6 Avant I managed to write up twice. However, both of today’s tuner cars appeared on these pages before in one form or another, and I managed to track both down. Later we’ll look at an Alpina B11 3.5 that was seen here five years ago, but with 332 made it was still a bit surprising that the same one popped up for sale. When it came to today’s Ruf BTR Slantnose – one of only five made – I was sure we’d seen it before, and I was somewhat right…

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Ruf BTR Slantnose on eBay

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Coupe Week Double Take: 1977 and 1978 Volkswagen Sciroccos

Just because you want to partake in Coupe Week doesn’t mean that you have to have the deepest pockets. For a modest investment, you can get top-notch designer styling mated to a reliable and economical engine that’s still fun to drive. That’s certainly what Volkswagen sought to achieve with the introduction of its Giugiaro-styled Scirocco. While based upon the pedestrian mechanicals of the sibling Golf/Rabbit, the Scirocco capitalized on a sportier look but was backed up by a substantial racing program undertaken by Volkswagen to promote the car. Despite good looks and a devoted following though, the Scirocco unfortunately has fallen a victim to time, the tin worm and low residual value, meaning few remain in pristine shape unlike the more expensive coupes from Stuttgart and Munich. So it was a special treat when two of our readers sent in dueling 1978 and 1977 Sciroccos this week; one original and one rebuilt. Which is the winner?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1978 Volkswagen Scirocco on The Samba

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1989 BMW 325ix

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This 325ix was rebuilt as a present for the seller’s father, but apparently Dad wanted an SUV instead. I’m guessing it was a sort of homespun “Pimp My Ride” judging by the looks of it – take the old E30 and pretty much redo it top to bottom, with some extra flair added for good measure. I already know the flair is going to be polarizing, but there’s enough good stuff in here to keep it out of the “Friday Fail” column for me. Wherever you think it lands on the taste scale, there’s no question that a lot of effort was put into giving this 325ix a new life.

Click for details: 1989 BMW 325ix on eBay

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