2002 Audi S8

The D2 S8 is without a doubt one of my favorite cars, but even I’ll admit that the color pallet that the car was offered in was rather sedate. In fact, by 2003 you could only select from three colors. The typical silvers, dark blues, and blacks are all too common to see on the uncommon sporty large executive, but if you look at the specification sheets for the car you find that there were actually several colors that were very rare to see. Strangely, that’s not necessarily because they were ugly or very unusual colors – in fact, the example of today’s color was quite popular on other models like the Allroad. Yet, here is an Alpaka Beige S8 quattro – a color only available in 2002:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 Audi S8 on craigslist

Alpina-off: E34 v. E39 B10s

I’ve recently had the pleasure of writing up a few very cool Alpinas thanks to a new seller who seems to be flooding the market. Today, unlike the Japanese seller on eBay, there are two B10s that are already located in the Americas – Canada, to be specific, where it’s a bit easier to get these European market cars imported. So here we have two iterations of Alpina’s vision of the 5-series; in the E34, it’s a 1991 3.5/1 that was very similar in many regards to the B11 3.5/1 I featured Tuesday. On the newer end of the spectrum is the 1998 B10 V8; a huge jump in power to accompany the newer chassis. Which is your flavor? Let’s break down what you’d get with each:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Alpina B10 3.5/1 on eBay

Is there a replacement? 1986 944 Turbo v. 1988 944 LT1

Contemplating these two cars, two phrases came to my mind. The first is the old adage “there’s no replacement for displacement”; a saying which certainly could be questioned poignantly today given the plethora of high output turbocharged motors that are available. The second is a advertising campaign that Porsche has now utilized for several years – “Porsche – there is no substitute”. Combining these two expressions of automotive certainty and black or white belief systems has been the Porsche 944, which amongst other models has become a popular platform to swap American V8s into. Quick power, good balance and cheap parts seem to justify the swap, and in the case of some of the more recent LS motors the weight difference is negligible compared to the turbocharged inline-4 that came in the 951. What you get is instant power – a lot of it. So for comparison’s sake, today we have two Stone Grey Metallic 944s that take different routes. First is an original 944 Turbo from 1986 followed by an F-body LT1-swapped ’88 944. Which is the better option?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Porsche 944 Turbo on eBay

2005 Volkswagen Phaeton v. 2004 Audi A8L

At first glance, you’d be excused thinking that the Volkswagen Phaeton and Audi A8 were the same car underneath. Especially when it came to the D3 chassis, the Audi and Volkswagen shared many styling cues, as well as engines and transmissions. However, the Volkswagen is actually quite different underneath – instead of the typical platform sharing that occurred between Volkswagen and Audi, VAG instead turned towards their upscale brands for the Phaeton. That’s right, underneath the Phaeton is a budget Bentley. You can tell the difference when you step inside, too – back when these were new, a Phaeton showed up at a Winter Driving School I was instructing at. I hopped in the passenger side and shut the door; the sound was a unique sound of sealing the rest of the world out. All of the sudden I swear I could hear my heart beating. It was eerily quiet, as if I had entered a sound booth. It was also eerily competent on the snow and ice in spite of the over 5,000 lb. curb weight. That’s a few hundred pounds north of the Audi A8 even in “L” guise, and it wouldn’t surprise me if 300 lbs of that difference is noise deadening. A generation on, you’re now able to get into a Phaeton or its cousin the Audi A8L for about the same price. Which would you choose?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2005 Volkswagen Phaeton on eBay

2003 Audi S6 Avant

I stopped by my long-time mechanic’s just the other day to discuss some suspension repairs to the Subaru. This particular mechanic – Duarte de Costa at D&F Motorsports in Providence, Rhode Island – has been serving our family now for the best part of twenty years. He even came to my wedding. As our editor Paul said, “That’s when you know you’re into a guy deep!” To be honest, I wasn’t surprised that there was a family car there – Duarte bought my parent’s Allroad when they had enough of the repairs. But also on the lift was my father’s 1989 Porsche 944 Turbo with a headgasket failure. Parked sadly underneath it, though, was the Allroad, complete with collapsed suspension once again. By my count, it’s the fifth time in ten years that the suspension has had to be serviced. But it’s not alone; drive around Providence and you’ll see any number of Allroads bouncing around on blown airbags. It’s become so rare to see a nice one around here, you almost forget that they’re really pretty good looking cars. What’s inescapable for many, though, are the expensive repairs to keep the twin-turbocharged V6 and the active air suspension going. What’s the solution for a good looking Allroad then? Ditch both of those things and get the even more potent S6 Avant:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Audi S6 Avant on eBay

1991 Audi V8 quattro 5-speed

In 1989, Audi was in a state of crisis in the U.S.. The 60 Minutes farce had caused them serious market share from the European import scene. Audi had always been a bit fringe with its expensive and seemingly underpowered turbocharged all-wheel drive executive sedans. Aside from that, the major competition had stepped up their game; BMW launched the quite attractive and popular E32 the year before, and upstarts Infinity from Nissan with their Q45 and Lexus from Toyota with what would become the standard – the LS400 – were entering the marketplace. While the BMW remained with its standard inline-6 rear-drive configuration in most E32s sold, the Japanese duo upped the game with powerful quad-cam aluminum V8s under the hood. In the case of the Lexus, Toyota steered towards refinement with adequate power – Nissan, on the other hand, pushed the performance level with a reported 280 horsepower cap on the 4.5 liter VH54DE engine which today many report as underrated by at least 30 horsepower. Audi had its work cutout to claw back market share against these new cars, and to answer it released an updated version of the venerable Type 44/C3 chassis. Now, truth told the Audi 100 (5000 U.S.) really was the basis for the design of most of the large executive sedans that followed – but five years after its introduction, being the first was no longer enough. Audi upped the game by introducing what effectively was two Volkswagen 16Vs mated to each other in the same way that the 944 engine was effectively half of a 928 V8. The new V8 was all-aluminum and featured double-overhead cams. It was small – twice the displacement of the Volkswagen 16V engine at the time at 3.6 liters, but produced about the same power as the 4.0 liter Lexus motor.…

1982 Mercedes-Benz 500SE

Have you ever fallen in love with a car instantly? Is it sometimes completely irrational? I am somewhat ashamed to admit I let out a low sigh accompanied by an “Oh, man!” when I first came across this 1982 Mercedes-Benz 500SE. Perhaps my wife is too accustomed to me doing so, because she didn’t even direct her stare in my direction – instead simply saying “What now?” Expecting to see some exotic Ferrari or Lamborghini, it was instead a rather boring looking Mercedes-Benz. And it was green. Really, really green. She also emitted a low sigh, but coupled it instead with an “Ugh!” That, however, did not dissuade me. I continued to stare at this Euro-spec W126, thinking that all should have come in short wheel base configuration, in Willow Green, and with green cloth interiors:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1982 Mercedes-Benz 500SE on eBay

10K Friday Family Truckster Edition

I got to laughing the other day during a National Lampoon marathon on television when the memorable “Family Truckster” came onto the screen. The inclusion of that heavily ornamented and modified car in the movie was truly a stroke of genius, but once again a sad reminder that many of the wagons that previously were available to us are gone, replaced by crossovers, “GT”s, or SUV/SAV vehicles. Of course, because of this you don’t have to go back very far in time to find great deals on the last generation of premium 5-doors. Today, with that in mind, I’ve rounded up a set of all-wheel drive sporty wagons to consider – which is the winner?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 Mercedes-Benz E500 Estate 4Matic on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: 2000 BMW M5

I’ll start this post with the bad news; our reader Z sent in an awesome Dinan S3 spec E39 M5 that was supposed to run in this slot. Unfortunately, although the auction was slated to still be running it ended early, meaning we don’t get to look at that car. Now the good news; because Dinan is a factory-backed tuner and the M5 is one awfully popular machine, here’s another to fill the void! This particular example isn’t quite as wild – without the supercharger, you’ll have to make due with only around 450 horsepower from the naturally aspirated S62 with a host of Dinan upgrades:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2000 BMW M5 on eBay

10K Friday: Practical Performance Edition – S4 Avant v. 944 Turbo v. S600 v. Passat TDi Variant v. M5

One of the things I love most about these 10K posts is the breadth of selections and ideas that I dream up to try to pull together. Today’s thought was about practical performance – what’s the most your can buy for $10,000? As a result, we have quite a diverse selection to make it through today, ranging from a 2.0 TDi gas sipper through a 5.5 liter, twin-turbocharged V12 torque monster. In their respective ways, each is a great car (at least, in premise) and probably defines its category. What’s your favorite of this group?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi S4 quattro Avant on eBay