Almost S: 2001 and 2003 Audi A6 4.2 quattros

After the legendary run of turbocharged inline-5 motors ended for U.S. customers in 1995, Audi would not deliver another S6 to these shores until 2002. When it arrived, it came in only one form – the popular Avant package. While many rejoiced that this was at the very least an option, it was still pretty expensive and not everyone loves the fast five doors (crazy though it may seem!). But Audi came very close to offering S performance in the special package which was the A6 4.2 quattro. There were many variants of the C5, and ostensibly the 6-speed manual 2.7T was the “sport” option for the chassis. But the top of the heap 4.2 40V offered you the ART/AWN V8’s torque and 300 horsepower with instant throttle response starting in 2000. Underneath the 4.2 carried a special aluminum subframe. Additionally, the all-aluminum engine was joined by specially flared fenders and hood in aluminum, “door blades” that would later be seen on S models, plus optional 17″ x 8″ Speedline (later changed to forged and polished “Fat Fives”) wheels and upgraded brakes and pads. Suspension was lowered and stiffened with the 1BE sport springs and struts in the optional Sport Package; a 20mm drop was accompanied by 30% stiffer springs, 40% stiffer shocks and larger sway bars. The combination gave a menacing appearance to the C5 that wasn’t really present in the narrow-body 2.7T. Today, the argument over which is the better chassis still rages in multiple fora, and while tuners usually love the twin turbo manual option, many others prefer the velvet hammer 4.2 which really was a defacto S6 sedan Audi never brought here:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi A6 4.2 quattro on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday: 1987 Porsche 930 Coupe

Modified cars from the 1980s enjoy are and interesting exercise in dichotomy. Take AMG, for example – add the flares, wide wheels, hunkered down suspension and turned up engine to a W126 and the asking price increases from a standard model by a factor of ten. What is strange about the AMG model, though, is that enthusiasts of the Affalterbach company accept licensed installers as proper original builds. Such is not the case when it comes to tuners like Alpina, Hartge and Ruf; generally speaking, in those cases the only “true” original examples came from the manufacturer’s facilities in Germany. In these cases, examples that are properly sorted and original can be worth double, triple or even quadruple what an identically modified car from a licensed installer in the U.S. would be worth. On top of that, AMG continues to be a bit of an aberration in the tuner realm since most other period modified examples of Porsches, BMWs, and Audis are worth less than a pristine stock example. It’s a bit of a head scratcher, since generally speaking, companies such as Alpina and Ruf put out equally good looking products when compared to AMG, and properly modified were just as luxurious and just as fast. Nevertheless, a tastefully modified example like this period Ruf-modified 1987 Porsche 930 just doesn’t seem to draw the same attention as a AMG 560SEC Widebody 6.0 would, for example. Let’s take a look at what a reported $75,000 in mods got you in the late 1980s:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Porsche 930 on eBay

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1995 Audi A6 2.8

Along with the switch in nomenclature that came with the 1995 A6, there were visible changes. New headlights, all-red tailights and a revised grill stood over smoothed, monotone bumper covers. Gone were the wide black plastic rub strips that had been the signature of Audi products for more than a decade, and in their place were more discrete color-coded units. New wheels from Speedline were the standard 15″ option for both quattro and front-drive models. Outside of that, there were few mechanical changes to either drive configuration and the interiors remained unaffected. Despite this, Audi rolled out one more new name for its lineup that most have forgotten; FrontTrak. What did the fancy name get you? Well, perhaps when being sold it sounded more special than just saying “Oh, you’re not opting to buy a quattro-equipped model? Well, the consolation prize is FrontTrak, so everyone leaves a winner!” The reality is that it was still basically just an open differential front-drive sedan, and so ubiquitous was the name Audi with quattro that many have forgotten the popularity of their front-drive models even into the 1990s.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Audi A6 2.8 on eBay

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1996 Audi A6 quattro Avant with 30,000 Miles

Audi’s priorities in the mid 1990s in regards to the U.S. market shifted, as they concentrated their efforts on reestablishing any semblance of market share with what would prove to be the very successful A4. The A4 itself was evolutionary rather than revolutionary, as it incorporated most of its technology from the existing platforms. Similarly, Audi backed away from its venerable turbocharged inline-5 platform; a new V6 had become the go-to option choice in both B4 and C4 platforms in 1992. It was far from sporty, but the combination of moderate V6 power, updated looks with the 1995 refresh of the chassis and legendary build quality resulted in what I consider the most Mercedes-Benz like car Audi built. THe A6 2.8 quattro was luxurious in a Spartan way; just enough power options, but not tech-heavy. It was quiet, comfortable, handsome and capable in a time when it still held the monopoly on all-wheel drive wagons – remember, this was the time when the widespread popularity of SUVs was still a generation away. You could even squeeze seven passengers in to a A6 thanks to the optional rear bench seat. They became vogue with the ski-set, and as a result few appear in the condition of today’s example:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1996 Audi A6 quattro Avant on eBay

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Drop-top Double Take: 1996 and 1997 Audi Cabriolets

Every semester at the culmination of my teaching experience with the college students who have selected my course rather innocently, I let them in on my super-secret double agent identity as your author here. Having suffered through a few too many of my lectures already, most treat the news with about the same amount of enthusiasm and interest as they do when I tell them about the Sudanese Kush Pharaohs – which is to say, none (seriously, it’s a very interesting topic. Egypt basically denies they existed!). But occasionally I get a student who is much more interested in my double-life than in my lecture notes. One such student passed through was perhaps as unexpected to me as I was to him. He nonchalantly aced the class with seeming little difficulty, but upon seeing my announcement regarding German Cars For Sale Blog, he excitedly emailed me about his shared love of Audis. He revealed that he owned a ’97 Cabriolet, which proves two things: first, smart people buy Audis, and second, Audis turn up where you least expect them. And the Cabriolet might be the least expected Audi Audi made – coming from a manufacturer renowned for turbocharged inline-5, manual all-wheel drive coupes, sedans and wagons came a front-wheel drive, automatic only (in the U.S.) V6 2-door convertible. Expensive, a bit slow and soft compared to the competition, the Cabriolet sold slowly with only around 1,000 units moved per a year during its availability here with a total of 5,439 imported through 1998. I think a fair amount of fans view the B4 Cabriolet as the least interesting of the Audi lineup in the 1990s, but to me it’s always been a very pretty and underrated car. In particular, the rear 3/4 view is very attractive and the shape changed little with its progeny. But the unusual nature of the Cabriolet has generally meant that it’s been a pretty big bargain in the used convertible market for the past few years – if you can find a good one:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1996 Audi Cabriolet on eBay

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Coupe d’Etat: Superb Volkswagen Corrado Roundup

Following up on the 10,000 mile 1993 Corrado SLC from two weeks ago, today I have a lovely trio of Corrados to take a look at. Covering the model years and changes from 1990 to 1994, these three are low mile, impeccable condition and it’s a stroke of luck to see them all at the same time. As the expensive Corrado sold rather slowly on these shores, numbers have always been a bit short and now that the first models can be registered as antiques in most states they’re firmly into collector territory. As the Corrado is pretty well known on these pages, I won’t go into extreme model history today as we’re looking at three examples. For an excellent look at the history of the Corrado, take some time to read the Hemming’s take on it back in 2013. The previously mentioned 10,000 mile Corrado failed to meet its reserve despite shocking bidding which ended at $27,400. Clearly, there’s a market for these clean examples, so is any the match for the 1993?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 Volkswagen Corrado SLC on eBay

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1993 Volkswagen Corrado SLC with 10,000 Miles

Considering popular Volkswagen chassis for enthusiasts, it would be natural to equate the many generations of Volkswagen Golfs to BMW’s 3-series. Models like the legendary GTi 16V mimic the Munich brand in several ways, with high revving inline-4s, BBS wheels and the later models even sported quad round headlights. The models that followed plumped up a bit and went to sonorous 6-cylinders and even more recently turbocharging both has become the factory way. Following in that comparative logic, the Corrado SLC is more like the M5. It’s a bit more grown up, more refined – yet has an equal mystique and base of fans. For Volkswagen faithful, clean Corrados are like India was to the British Empire – the crown jewel of collectables. And no gems come to the market more brilliant than this basically new emerald-colored 1993:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1993 Volkswagen Corrado SLC on eBay

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1995.5 Audi S6

It’s been quite a while since we looked at a nice C4 Audi, and this S6 fits the bill well. Presented in the more infrequently seen Cashmere Gray Pearl with Platinum leather, it’s a nice original example of what was Audi’s top-tier sedan in 1995. The ‘95.5 changes were pretty minor and there were some rolling alterations to the model; closed headrests and a switch to radio versus the earlier infrared central locking are some of the few visual clues, but also some early run S6s came with the forged Fuchs alloys found on the earlier S4 rather than the later Speedline-made Avus wheels seen here. Other changes were minor overall but significant to enthusiasts – good was the wider and reinforced first gear, but gone was the option to lock the rear differential as Audi began its run of electronic differential locking. For most that won’t matter though, and what we have here is a pretty tidy example of an increasingly hard to find car:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995.5 Audi S6 on eBay

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Motorsports Monday: 1984 Audi Quattro WRC Tribute

In general I like to reserve the Motorsports Monday posts for actual track-flavored cars, but occasionally one comes along that is worth a look even if it’s more of a poseur than pole position. Of course calling any original Quattro a poseur isn’t particularly fair. Out of the box these cars were effectively Group A race cars with some luxury goods fit to them. But the owner of this particular Quattro took the next step in their “restoration” of this 1984 car, modifying the boxflared wonder to look like its fire-spitting WRC brethren. Does it pull it off?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Audi Quattro on eBay

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1986 Audi Coupe GT Turbo Diesel

The flexibility of Audi’s B2 platform and the huge number of engine choices that manage to fit under the hood make it a natural choice for swaps. Most popular are the all-wheel drive quattros, but the Coupe GT models are also well built, hugely capable cars that react pretty well to increases in power. And just about every period Volkswagen/Audi motor has made it under the hood of the Coupe GT; from 10 to 32 valves, rev-happy DOHC 16Vs and turbocharged inline-5s to narrow-angle VR6s and even the 4.2 V8s. But this car caught my attention because of the very unusual choice of mill to squeeze juice from. This no-spark Coupe GT has a tuned and turned up 2.0 inline-5 turbo diesel:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Audi Coupe GT Turbo Diesel on Vancouver Craigslist

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