Tuner Tuesday: 2004 Alpina B3S Cabrio

The prospect sounded promising, but I was left feeling lackluster at best about the 750 mile 2001 BMW 330Ci I wrote up a few weeks ago. Sure, it was nice and that interior certainly was to die for; so, too, was the basically as-new condition. But the 5-speed automatic transmission, coupled with the outrageous $32,000 asking price, had me thinking there were better options out there. So if I was in the $30K range for an E46, what are my options?

Well, obviously there are plenty of M3s to check out any day of the week, and I’ll be looking at one soon enough. But when our reader John sent through this seriously impressive Alpina, I couldn’t help but take a look. The B3 isn’t a model we often look at; in fact, I’ve only reviewed on prior, and it was a E36 chassis. The E46 took an unusual route for Alpinas; rather than a blank-slate motor, the Buchloe company selected the S52B32 from the U.S. spec E36 M3 for their basis. It was bored and stroked to 3.3 liters, netting 280 horsepower. In 2002, the “S” version of the B3 was released, with a bit more bore and a revised engine management and exhaust system. This brought the power to 305, 0-60 plummeted to 5 seconds and with a 6-speed manual you could come close to hanging with the M3. Why buy one, then? Well, the looks were a bit more discrete overall, and you could buy not only a sedan and Touring version, but an all-wheel drive one as well. Today, though, we have a lovely Cabrio with the 6-speed manual to check out:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 Alpina B3S Cabrio on Autoscout24

Continue reading

Tuner Tuesday: 1985 Volkswagen GTI Callaway Turbo with 34,000 Miles

It’s always a bit of a surprise when something unique and special from the mid-80s VW catalog comes along. Pre-16V GTIs are pretty hard to find in decent shape. But Callaway Turbo models with period BBS body kit and low miles? When I came across this listing you could say it wasn’t the only forced induction. Callaway was the American tuner of the 80s, building supercar-slaying twin turbo Corvettes that generated almost as much press for their acceleration as their propensity to melt down faster than Chernobyl. But on the less exotic end of the spectrum, Callaway’s turbo kits made VWs pretty potent machines. They switched from K-Jetronic to KE-Jetronic and dropped compression to 7.8:1 by adding a thick head gasket. Then on was bolted a turbocharger generating 10 lbs. of boost, pushing the GTI’s power from 105 to 150 in an instant. This resulted in low 7-second 0-60 times and a higher top speed. Callaway generally outfit his cars well with BBS body kits and wheels, and for good measure a Nissan 300ZX Turbo hood scoop for the intercooler on top of the motor too. They cost a pretty penny; a base GTI was only around $9,000 in 1985, but the turbo system in stage II configuration cost $4,000 and the BBS body kit another $1,000. Pop for some BBS wheels and tires and you were another $2,000 lighter, and some owners went farther with steering wheels, seat and radio upgrades. The result could be over $18,000 and few were sold, but then this GTI would give a more expensive Porsche a run for its money.

Amazingly, we’ve gotten to see a few of these rare GTI Turbos for sale over the past few years. Most recent was the all-white ’87 Neuspeed , but back a bit further we saw a nearly identical ’85 hit over $20,000. This lower mile example is on offer currently for only about half that amount:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Volkswagen GTI Callaway Turbo on eBay

Continue reading

Tuner Tuesday: RUF Auction Roundup

It’s August and that means it’s car auction time. Much of the car-collecting world will be out in California this weekend either at Monterey or Pebble Beach – maybe even Carmel. A lot of cars will change hands and some of those will help set the market over the next six months. I always like to highlight a few that seem particularly fun.

As usual, there are a lot of Porsches on auction, though truthfully there is less this year that really grabbed my attention than in years past. But there is always good stuff even if there are fewer of them. For instance, if you’re a very esoteric Porsche fan, Gooding & Company will be auctioning this 1 of 1 1966 Porsche 911 Spyder. This post will not be about that car, in part because I don’t even know where to begin with that car, and, in fact, this post will be slightly tangential to Porsche. We’re going to look at RUF because there are a few very cool RUFs being auctioned. These are the real deal; these aren’t conversions carried about by shops here in the US nor even are they conversions carried out in Pfaffenhausen at the RUF factory. All three of these have a RUF VIN. They are all insanely rare and like all RUFs insanely fast and focused.

We’ve seen a lot of RUF 911s come up for sale over the years, but the three we have here are some of the best examples available. They all come from the 911’s air-cooled days and are a mix of almost unknown and iconic. Let’s begin with the icon: a 1989 RUF CTR, the model famously tested as the ‘Yellowbird’ and which put the rest of the tuning world on notice:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 RUF CTR at RM Sotheby’s Monterey Auctions

Continue reading

Tuner Tuesday: 1983 BMW 528i

As ’80s-All-Things-M-Mania’ has continued, getting into a clean E28 M5 is increasingly difficult – and expensive. Decently clean original M5s now start around $30,000 and can head up from there, with really exceptional examples selling for $50,000 or more. Didn’t this used to be the “cheap” M? Those days have passed and don’t show signs of returning soon.

What’s an enthusiast to do? Well, you could build your own. It’s not cheap or easy, but hey – if you’re in it to win it, why not see if you can source all the parts yourself? Or (and this is a much better option…) you buy one that has already been converted to M-specs. To maximize your investment, look for one with a rare set of parts attached, and preferably in European guise. Luckily, today we don’t have to look too far:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 BMW 528i on eBay

Continue reading

Stolen in Chicago: 1986 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC ABC Exclusive

Update 8/1/18: According to the seller, the car was stolen in the Chicago-area yesterday. See the updated ad here for information. 

There are cars from the 1980s, then there are cars that are so 1980s that you’d think they are an actual parody of the decade and just dressing up for a 1980s themed party that one of your friends is having on a Saturday night. As you might have noticed, one of these cars is the Mercedes-Benz 560SEC by German tuner ABC Exclusive. ABC Exclusive was one of the many tuners in the 1980s that pumped out crazy creations from workshops in Europe only to fade away after the money dried up only leaving behind a handful of their creations. We actually featured a BMW E24 6-Series a few years ago by them and it was just as outrageous as today’s car. Most of the time, cars like these are in pretty rough shape by now thanks to the liberal use of fiberglass and body filler, but this 1986 seems to have survived the test of time. Now that cars like these are actually old enough to be retro and cool, would you pony up the cash this C126 is expected to bring?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC ABC Exclusive on eBay

Continue reading

Tuner Tuesday: 2001 Porsche 911 Turbo RUF RTurbo Conversion

How do you take one of the Porsche’s best performance values and make it even better? You send it to…RUF? To be honest that would not have been the answer I’d have thought was correct. A RUF conversion isn’t exactly a cheap enterprise to undertake so while the performance and overall appeal certainly will be increased those improvements typically come with a significant increase in price. Such does not appear to be the case with this 2001 Porsche 911 Turbo, which in 2012 was converted to RUF RTurbo specs.

Granted we are a few years down the road and pricing for a RUF conversion always has been significantly lower than for one with a true RUF VIN so perhaps it does make sense that the pricing here seems quite reasonable relative to the performance. But in a world where we frequently see a 996TT with the X50 package priced higher than this (with the caveat that those are asking prices and not necessarily selling prices) I think this one represents kind of a nice bargain.

It also looks phenomenal. Ordered in paint-to-sample Bugatti Strong Blue and then enhanced by the various RUF additions, this 996TT stands well apart from others of its kind. I’m not sure if this sort of lighter, non-metallic, blue will appeal to everyone, but it most definitely is unique. I happen to love it!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Porsche 911 Turbo RUF RTurbo Conversion on eBay

Continue reading

Tuner Tuesday: 1994 Mercedes-Benz SL70 Renntech

If some is good, more is better. A lot of times that is true, sometimes it is not. Thankfully, that saying applies when talking about V12 Mercedes-Benz. One of the most common modifications to the M120 V12 is taking that 6.0 liter and increasing the displacement to a 7.0, 7.2, 7.3 or even crazier 7.4. AMG was known to do this in small batches as well as other aftermarket tuners. One of those aftermarket tuners was Renntech. They would pump these up to 7.0 liters as well as modify other things like camshafts and surrounding parts. The result was somewhere over 500 horsepower and a price tag to make anyone do a double take. Today, we have a one of those 7.0 liter conversions up for sale in Kentucky in this 1994 SL. Even better, there are some AMG goodies on this car as well.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 Mercedes-Benz SL70 Renntech on eBay

Continue reading

Feature Listing: 1991 BMW 850i MK-Motorsports

They didn’t get many headlines, but this past weekend was a significant one for BMW. At Le Mans, BMW’s M8 GTE didn’t fair all that well – but the company did make a splash by parking a production-ready 8-series outside. Will the new 8-series be impressive on paper and in person? No doubt, but it’s nowhere near as significant a leap as the E31 was from the E24.

The E31 was BMW’s first real attempt at integrating lots of computer designs and controls into one of their road cars. The clean-sheet design resulted in a 2-door grand tourer that shared some visual similarities with the great M1, but stood apart as a more practical cruiser. Unlike the E24, the windows could fully drop, revealing a graceful pillarless design to match the sweeping greenhouse. The sharp nose amazingly hid an even larger motor than its predecessor; in fact, it was basically two conjoined M30s. That configuration certainly has some drawbacks, but there was no denying that the 850i had serious presence and credentials with the M70 V12 kicking out 300 horsepower.

However, BMW softened the character of what potentially could have been a screamer. Many were outfit with 16″ wheels for a better ride and tied to an automatic transmission. This was truly a GT car, and not the supercar slayer that BMW teased with its M8 Concept. You had a few options to remedy this. You could wait and get a later 850CSi, or you could turn to the aftermarket to harden and sharpen your 8. And one of the best places to turn was MK-Motorsport.

Though not as well-known as Alpina or Hartge, MK-Motorsport developed alongside its countrymen and raced them, too. They also created a long list of improvements for various BMW models, including the E31. Without doubt, though, their biggest impact was made with the perfectly styled and sized signature 6-spoke wheel. Outfit on this beautiful Mauritius Blue Metallic 1991, they measure a jaw-dropping 18″ x 11″ wide in the rear – and boy do they fit perfectly. But this 8 is more than just a pretty set of wheels:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 BMW 850i on eBay

Continue reading

Tuner Tuesday: 1989 Porsche 911 Turbo RAUH-Welt Begriff

I’m not sure I know where to begin. There is A LOT going on with this 911 and, in this case, that’s a good thing. I first saw this 1989 Porsche 911, modified by RAUH-Welt Begriff and Turbo Kraft, on Rennlist near the end of last year. It looked great and I actually thought it might sell pretty quickly even with its very high price. It had all the right attributes to attract the right sort of attention for what is a pretty over-the-top machine. Then I didn’t see it for a while so I thought it had sold. Lo and behold it had not sold so this time I wanted to take a closer look.

RAUH-Welt Begriff can be pretty divisive among 911 enthusiasts. Not only are Akira Nakai’s designs pretty wild, but many of his creations entirely consist of cosmetic modifications. They are cars that hearken back to many of Porsche’s early race cars with huge power, preposterously wide rear fenders, and massive wings all designed to keep the rear tires firmly glued to the ground. That sort of design in a road car isn’t always appealing and when there isn’t enough grunt to back up the looks the appeal is lessened further. However, there are exceptions; there are builds that possess the wildness of RWB’s designs AND the power to go along with it. This RWB is one such machine. The claims: 600 horsepower, 2,400 lbs. I don’t think outright performance will be an issue.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Porsche 911 Turbo RAUH-Welt Begriff on eBay

Continue reading

Tuner Tuesday: 1990 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 Cabriolet – Ruf CR4 Conversion

It’s generally safe to say that we all like RUF. Their full builds can be spectacular both in appearance and performance, but almost any RUF to wear the badge, or simply share the name, possesses upgrades that make them very desirable. We very rarely see any related to the 964 so when we do come across one it’s always worthwhile to pause and take a closer look.

This is a 1990 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 Cabriolet that was sent off to RUF for a “full” CR4 conversion perhaps around the year 2000. Like many conversions what exactly is meant by “full” might be a matter of debate, but in this case the engine does appear to have been blueprinted by RUF with horsepower now at 330. That engine likely represents what buyers will care most about. From the documentation it looks like the owners of this car purchased it from RUF in May 2000, but it’s not clear when that means the conversion itself actually occurred. Maybe there is other documentation to support that. It then was imported into the U.S. where it has resided ever since.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 Cabriolet – Ruf CR4 Conversion on eBay

Continue reading