1991 Audi V8 quattro 5-speed

Update 8/8/18: An interesting follow-up to the clean V8 quattro I posted the other day, this 1991 V8 5-speed has returned in a no reserve auction format with a $5,500 opening price – down $1,000 from May.

Back to big Audis! The early 1990s were, as I’ve described in the past two posts, a period of change for the Ingolstadt firm as they closed down production on the Type 44 to introduce its new replacement, the C4. That led to a dizzying assortment of models from the one chassis. There was the aforementioned 100 and 100 quattro. You could move up to two turbocharged models, too – the 200 Turbo gave you 165 horsepower through the front wheels, and the new-and-only-for-91 in the U.S. was 200 20V quattro. Europe and the rest of the world got even more options; production lasted right up through 2006 in parts of China, where they even made a crazy long-wheel base 4-door convertible version of the Hongqi.

But the top of the heap for the U.S. market was a derivative of the Type 44, the D11 chassis. Of course, that was Audi’s foray into the top-tier luxury market with its new all-aluminum 32 valve double-overhead cam V8. Body revisions to the front and rear along with flared fenders made the V8 quattro seem like a completely different car to the slab-sided 100. V8s had, and have, serious presence. Big news, too, was that for the first time Audi was able to match its all-wheel drive quattro setup with a new 4-speed automatic transmission.

For die-hard Audi faithful, though, for a short while you could still opt to row-your-own with the 240 horsepower 3.6 liter V8 singing to your right foot. These manual V8 quattros are legendary because of their rarity and that they are the only car Audi brought to market with twin Torsen differentials. The combination of a more rearward weight bias, big and instant torque from the V8 and those clever diffs made for one of the best driving experiences in a big sedan from Audi:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Audi V8 quattro on Grand Rapids Craigslist

Continue reading

1990 Audi V8 quattro

When it came to the late 1980s, Audi’s monopoly on the all-wheel drive market was coming to an end. Not only were new turbocharged pocket-rockets being born seemingly every day, but Mercedes-Benz had introduced their new “4Matic” designed by Steyr-Daimler-Puch. While you could make a pretty convincing argument that Audi’s design was superior in extreme conditions, there was at least one aspect of the Mercedes-Benz that trumped Ingolstadt’s design – you could get an automatic.

Now, to most enthusiasts that probably sounds like a bad idea. But when it came to selling car – especially expensive luxury cars – the overwhelming majority of buyers wanted the car to do most of the heavy lifting. Audi’s response was the next generation of quattro drivetrains; like Steyr’s system, with a series of clutches in the center differential that helped to transfer power and allowed the car to be mated to an automatic transmission. That transmission – the ZF 4HP24A – was a derivative of the 4HP24, the same automatic found in the V12-equipped BMW 750 and 850s. Like the Mercedes-Benz, Audi employed Bosch ABS and a locking rear differential. But unlike other Audis with their manual- or electronic-locking rear differential, the V8 quattro used a Torsen rear differential with helical gears which would automatically split torque in up to a 3:1 ratio to the wheel with grip.

But the V8 quattro wasn’t only about its unique new form of all-wheel drive. The moniker obviously indicated there had been a change in motivation, too, and indeed the V8 launched a new all-aluminum 4 cam, 32 valve V8 displacing 3.6 liters dubbed the PT. Rated at 240 horsepower and 254 lb.ft of torque, it was the most powerful Audi for sale in the late 1980s and brought the brand to a luxury level it had previously not competed at. In the U.S., these mega-Audis were met with mixed success. The 1990 launch of the V8 resulted in reasonably good sales; Audi sold 2,823 between late 1989 and the end of 1990 which represented over 10% of their yearly sales. Consider that the legendary Quattro never even broke 1% of Audi’s annual sales here; in its most successful year Quattros comprised .62% of the overall sales for the company.

But it was downhill – sharply – from there, as Audi nearly left the U.S. market and top-flight executives hit a notoriously bad sales patch. That meant that in total only 3,868 V8 quattros were sold in the U.S. This might be one of the best ’90s left:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Audi V8 quattro on eBay

Continue reading

2004 Mercedes-Benz CLK55 AMG

Last week I checked out a really interesting 2001 Mercedes-Benz CLK55 AMG that was one of the better W208 AMG cars, but I still thought didn’t hold up to the brother W210 E55 AMG. I just thought it lacked a few things and I’m not just cherry picking little things, Mercedes really did short the CLK55 with equipment and less power. Today, I thought I’d check out the next generation, the C209, to see if anything improved and if they were on par with the W211 E55. Sad news, they were not.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 Mercedes-Benz CLK55 AMG on eBay

Continue reading

2001 Mercedes-Benz CLK55 AMG

Although I am not big fan of the first generation Mercedes-Benz CLK, I do have a soft spot for the CLK55 AMG. I’ve done a deep dive into them before and my stance on them hasn’t changed. Despite being equipped with the same 5.4 liter M113 from AMG, the CLK55 is about 80% of what the brother W210 E55 is. Mercedes probably has their reasons, but it always felt like the CLK55 was cheaped-out on and the spec sheet backs that up. Still, I think at the end of the day these are cool cars that will have some kind of collectibility in the future. Today, I wanted to check out a low mileage 2001 with the Designo interior up for sale in Pennsylvania. The best part about it is that it probably can be had for a pretty decent price.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Mercedes-Benz CLK55 AMG on eBay

Continue reading

1973 Mercedes-Benz 280SE 4.5

The glorious run of the Mercedes-Benz W108 and W109 wrapped up production in 1972 to make way for the W116 that launched the S-Class name. Except for us lucky North Americans who got another model year of the W108 and W109 in 1973. I think the fine people at Mercedes probably just wanted to dump the last of the remaining stock across the ocean because what are buyers really going to do about it? Get on the internet in 1973 to complain about it? That leads me to today’s car. This 1973 280SE 4.5 up for sale in New Jersey isn’t perfect and has a few flaws, but that is the beauty of this one.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280SE 4.5 on eBay

Continue reading

1987 Mercedes-Benz 420SEL

In case you missed or forgot about the totally rad 1986 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC ABC Exclusive, take a look again at a big piece of the 1980s projected in a car. That C126 is a well-preserved look back in time at how extreme popular aftermarket car styling was, and how much our tastes have changed over the years. I was most impressed at how well that car held up because once that kind of styling fell out of favor, often they were dumped off and left to fester. Today’s car, a 1987 420SEL, is one of those cars. This car at one point was probably just as stylish and cool as that 560SEC with its massive fender flares and high dollar wheels, but sadly has fallen in to disrepair and probably won’t ever recover. Let me tell you why.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Mercedes-Benz 420SEL on eBay

Continue reading

Feature Listing: Supercharged 2002 BMW M5 Dinan S2

I promise that this post wasn’t by design, but rather is completely a coincidence that it follows hot on the heels of the neat supercharged E34 540i 6-speed from yesterday. How do you possibly trump that potent hot rod? Well, starting with a M5 is probably a good bet.

If the E34 was a potent athlete, the E39 comes across as a consummate professional. It was immediately the new benchmark for sports sedans once again, and when BMW finally did make the call to bring a M5 to market they produced what many consider to be the definitive driver’s car in super sedan form. Whatever you had from the period, the M5 was just plain better. With 394 horsepower kicking out of is snorting S62 V8 and mated solely to a 6-speed manual transmission, it was hard to conceive how that package could possibly be improved upon.

That didn’t dissuade Steve Dinan, though. His S2 package fixed a car that wasn’t broken according to Car and Driver. Power was up to a massive 470 yet the car was still naturally aspirated. Bigger, better intake was met with bigger, better exhaust, and the whole package was kept up with bigger, better suspension and slowed down with bigger, better brakes. It was…well, bigger and better. 0-60 was dispatched in a tick over four seconds and it would do a standing quarter-mile in 12.7 seconds. These numbers won’t scare a Dodge Demon, granted, but are still really respectable today.

Of course, if “respectable” isn’t quite enough for you and you really need to surprise that Demon driver…

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 BMW M5 Dinan S2 on Austin Craigslist

Continue reading

2002 Mercedes-Benz E430 with 46,000 miles

A little over a month ago I checked out a 2002 Mercedes-Benz E320 with an amazing 18,200 miles on it. I personally wasn’t so amazed by it because it was an average as a car gets. Yes, it was clean, but it didn’t have many options at all and actually had a few issues. Today, I have another W210 E-Class with low miles, but this one is the V8 E430. This E-Class with a little under 48,000 miles checks in from Costa Mesa, California but again, I’m not blown away with it for some reason. Maybe it’s just the terrible color again?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 Mercedes-Benz E430 on eBay

Continue reading

Feature Listing: 2001 Audi S8

6

Audi’s S products from the early 2000s are a conundrum for me. I think the S6 Avant is neat, but I don’t love it. I think the S4 is neat, but I don’t love it. Even the mighty RS4 should capture all of my attention – but it doesn’t. I can’t quite pinpoint what it is about these cars that I find lacking, but collectively they all fall short for me.

But the S8? I love the S8. And for the same reason that I can’t quite identify what’s missing from the other models, I’m at a loss to fully quantify what it is I find so perfect about the D2. But it is just about perfect; arguably the best looking big-body Audi made to date, and though newer cars have far more power, when it came to the early 2000s this was the punchy package you wanted if you liked to drive rather than be chauffeured.

Unlike some other early 2000s big executives, the S8 still looks the boss today. Mean, low and long, it is remarkably fresh despite the design being the best part of 20 years old. Yet they remain some of the best values out there. Find a good one, and you’ll have class, speed and style which defy the price you paid:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi S8 on quattroworld.com

Continue reading

1986 Mercedes-Benz 420SL

Earlier this week I checked out a 1984 Mercedes-Benz 380SL that was in a cool European-spec setup. I don’t mean to focus too much on R107s, but one just happened to pop up that I couldn’t overlook. This is a 1986 420SL. Yes, a 420SL. If that number ‘420’ followed by ‘SL’ seems odd, you aren’t wrong in thinking that. In North American, Mercedes only sold the 350SL, 380SL, 450sSL and 560SL offically through their dealerships. Back in the 1980s, some people were bringing in the 280SL, 300SL and 500SL through grey-market channels before that was put to a stop by ironically, Mercedes themselves. For whatever reason, I can’t recall ever seeing the 420SL for sale in North America and they are even not that common in Europe. They use the same 4.2 liter M116 from the W126 420SEL and is generally thought of as ”not the 560” the same way you think of the 420SEL sedan. Either way, one popped up for sale Florida and it doesn’t look like a bad example at all.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Mercedes-Benz 420SL on eBay

Continue reading