All posts tagged Turbo

Feature Listing: 2009 Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet

If I’m honest, I was a bit disappointed with the Larz Anderson Auto Museum German Car Day. The main reason why was that in some ways it turned in to a new car show, with basically brand new models turning up on the lawn. As an enthusiast, I’m torn in two different directions by this. The positive side of me says that I should embrace all enthusiasts irrespective of their origin. After all, if I walked in to a dealer today and purchased a brand new M4 I’d feel pretty proud of it too. But the cynical side of me says sure, but I can drive down the road to the dealership an see the exact same car. It wasn’t just BMWs, though – there were brand new Audis, Volkswagens and Porsches present too. In fact, the number of new or very close to new cars seemed to outweigh the number of cars more than 10 years old. Am I just a curmudgeon? Perhaps, and considering I showed up in a relatively new car maybe its hypocritical of me to question other’s presence there. But it seems as though, in part, the generation of enthusiasts that is currently emerging in this soundbite, disposable world is just looking for what is newest and flashiest. Want to go fast with the top down? It doesn’t come much flashier than the 911 Turbo Cabriolet.

But I’m not talking about this 2009 Turbo Cab. No, I’m talking about the brand new 991.2 Turbo S Cabriolet. With 580 horsepower on tap, there isn’t much outside of a S1000RR that can keep up – and if you’re in launch mode, you can leave the bike behind off the line. It’s full of technical highlights and gadgetry that will make any silicon valley executive proud to call it their ride of choice. But there are two very big reasons why I’d choose this older 997 model over a brand new car. First is the price; with no options selected, the base Turbo Cabriolet stickers at $170,000 with the S commanding a further $30,000 premium. Despite nearly new condition, this 997 is available at half that rate as it’s no longer the biggest, baddest or newest stick on the market. But the second reason has more to do with that stick.

You can’t get a manual transmission.

Much has been made of this and truth told the newest automatics truly are amazing. But as the classic Porsche mantra has been driver engagement, and it’s hard to claim a manual is less engaging than an automatic no matter how quickly it shifts. This car may not be the last turbocharged drop-top from Porsche, but it does seem to currently seem to signal an end of an era at the company, and if history has told us anything about the cars from Stuttgart it is to pay attention to those changes:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2009 Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet at Sun Valley Autos

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1983 Audi Quattro

If the end of the the Group B era was the RS200 I wrote up yesterday, the signature car of the rule set still has to be the Audi Quattro. There’s been a renaissance of the history of the Quattro; like the E30 M3, it wasn’t quite as successful at any given moment as fans of each tend to claim. The Quattro was far from dominant in World Rally – but it was evocative, as the close battles with Lancia, Peugeot and Ford produced the legendary sounds, sights and sensations that still send chills up the spines of anyone who sees these cars in person. The noise of the Quattro alone is legendary and the off-road soundtrack to the 1980s. I’d like to think I capture a little bit of that every time I start up my Coupe GT, but though it sounds really neat it’s nothing compared to the raucous screams of the last E1 cars. It was what made the Quattro the legend that it is. Although the WRC cars were a different breed than the road-going luxury versions, still they were simply put the fastest way to cover ground in any weather in the early 1980s. It helped that they were quite good looking, too, in their own chunky way:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 Audi Quattro on eBay

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1986 Ford RS200

Now, before you start shouting at your screen that there’s a blue oval appearing here, I’m aware that Ford is an American-based company. I could go into theatrics about how we’re actually speaking a form of German to attempt to rationalize a Ford appearing on these pages, or I could point out that Henry Ford was awarded the Grand Cross of the Supreme Order of the German Eagle on his 75th birthday – the only American to ever receive this award. Of course, that and Ford’s inclusion in Mein Kampf probably aren’t highlights in the storied history of the family or the company. But it does point towards Ford’s reach across the globe, and indeed the European branch of Ford is Ford of Europe AG, headquartered in Cologne, Germany. If that still isn’t German enough for you, let’s just say that once in a while something that’s partly non-German pops up that we’d like to cover. While usually that’s a Swedish car, today it’s a Ford. But this isn’t just any Ford, okay?

The RS200 was conceived in a world for a world that, by the time it came to fruition, no longer existed. Built to maximize the Group B rules, Ford spanned Europe looking for the best talent to make the RS200 a winner. The body of the car was Italian in design but assembled in France. The chassis and engine designs were perfected by Formula 1 aces in England. It was a winning formula that unfortunately was launched at an time of unprecedented speed and power in the World Rally Championship; a combination that proved deadly. Barely into competition, the FIA changed the governing rules in the WRC and immediately the RS200 was shelved. The result was a few hundred competition ready cars that were hugely expensive with nothing to compete in.

But like the Sport Quattro, 205 Turbo-16, 037 and Delta S4, the Group B cars have all experienced a resurgence in interest in the past decade and appreciation has gone from just a group of oddball, off-beat rally fans to the greater automotive community. The result has been spectacular pricing on models like this 1985 RS200:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Ford RS200 on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday: 1992 Volkswagen Golf VR6 Turbo

The hot hatch may just be the perfect have your cake and eat it too automobile. And though many argue that they weren’t the originator and didn’t produced the best example in the market, Volkswagen’s GTi has been intrinsically linked with the moniker. It always raises an interesting question of which generation is best, and while there are plenty who would contend that the model never got any better than its original configuration, fans of each iteration of the venerable model abound. Like some others that read the blog, I came of automotive age in the midst of the Mk.2 model run. A Mk.2 Golf was also my second car, and as a result I have quite a soft spot for them. In the days before the internet, my knowledge of European models like the Golf Limited was non-existent, so at the time it got no better than the late GTi 2.0 16V. Wider arches, deeper bumpers, fog lights and the signature red striped quad-round grill setup coupled with some great colors like Montana Green. The roof mounted Fuba antenna was like a remote control pickup for fun, and capped with some awesome BBS RM multi-piece wheels and slick looking Recaros, the package might as well have said “Ferrari” on the front. But if the looks of the Mk.2 GTi were the best in the line, quite a few VW souls would point out that the fantastic sounding VR6 model that followed had the performance that really backed up the hot-hatch name. As a result, swapping the VR6 into the Mk.2 has not only become popular but almost a given, and VR swaps are nearly as prevalent as the ubiquitous S50/S52 in a E30 swap. This particular one has been dialed up a few more notches with a turbo, but channels the look of the 2.0 16V with some updates and a whole lot of black paint:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1992 Volkswagen Golf VR6 Turbo on eBay

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Motorsports Monday: 1984 Audi Coupe GT

Far less famous than its wide-hipped brother and mostly unknown to most U.S. customers, the B2 Audi Coupe was available with quattro all-wheel drive in other markets. It shared nearly all components with the sibling 4000 (90) quattro, including 4×108 wheel pattern and 256mm front brakes – items that were also on the U.S. spec front-drive GT. So, one would assume it would be pretty easy to “swap in a quattro”, as the internet posts usually start. Of course, those individuals who start the posts best be wearing flame-retardant clothing, as they are immediately inundated with responses that kindly (or not so) explain the difficulties inherent in this project. You see, everything aft of the firewall on the all-wheel drive floorplan is different than the two wheel drive units; indeed, as I’ve pointed out previously, even the two wheel drive floorpans were different between automatics and manuals. That means to recreate a rest of the world Coupe quattro, you need the floorpan from a 4000 quattro mated to a body of a Coupe GT. This, of course, makes no sense financially as the countless hours involved eliminate all but the DIYers – and even a fair chunk of those with the talent give up on the project. Yet, it apparently didn’t stop the builder of this rally car, who not only swapped the body, but went one step further and dropped in a turbocharged motor and the brakes and wheels from the big-brother Type 44 chassis. The result is a budget Ur-Quattro rally replica without the flare of the original…or, at least, it was a few years ago before it was parked:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Audi Coupe GT on eBay

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