Euro 1995 Audi Cabriolet 2.6

The Audi Cabriolet was no stranger to our shores, and while it wasn’t the most exciting German convertible out there it was also a pretty handsome and competent one. I last looked at one about two years ago:

1995 Audi Cabriolet

In the US we had few options; all were powered by the 2.8-liter V6, all were four-speed automatics, all were front-drive only. You could get nice alloys and sport seats late in the run, but really – that’s about it. However, in Europe there were several engine options and a manual available. Couple that with the much better European-specification bumpers, through in an awesome color for good measure, and it’s easy to see why this particular Cabriolet is appealing:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Audi Cabriolet 2.6 on eBay

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1996 Volkswagen Passat GLX VR6

VW’s radical redesign on the B3 resulted in a unique, angular look at still stands apart from the crowd today. And because the internals were based on VW’s A2 chassis like the Corrado, when the 2.8 VR6 debuted in the sporty coupe for ’92 it was only a matter of time until its four-door friend got it too. That happened in ’93 with the release of the GLX VR6. Slow sales resulted in Volkswagen’s refresh of the B4 Passat into the more traditional looking B4 for 1995; which saw new BBS wheels and body styling but the same dynamic performance. Today a clean Emerald Green Pearl Metallic ’96 manual has popped up for sale, and it’s worth a look:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1996 Volkswagen Passat GLX VR6 on eBay

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1977 Mercedes-Benz 200D

What if I told you that Mercedes-Benz made a W123 slower and less powerful than the 240D? Thankfully it was never sold in the US, but the 200D does exist. It came in at 54 horsepower and 83 lb-ft of torque, which is impressive that the engineers thought this was adequate for the year 1977. My whole thing is that I don’t care if cars are slow, I care if cars are dangerously slow. When you get stuck on hills, that’s not fun. When the car doesn’t have enough power to merge into oncoming traffic, that is a problem for everyone. So a Sunday evening drive out in the country, sure. Any kind of commuting or highway? Not a chance.

This example up for sale Oklahoma City now only checks in with the impressive 54 horsepower and 83 lb-ft of torque, but also has the steering wheel on the right side. An odd ball to say the least.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1977 Mercedes-Benz 200D on eBay

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2002 Mercedes-Benz G500

Thanks the Mercedes-Benz W463 chassis from running 1990 all the way to 2008 on the same platform, you do get some mixing and matching going on in terms of body parts. However, almost every time it is someone sticking late model bumpers and grilles on an early example, but touching nothing in the interior so when you open the door you are mightily confused. I really don’t like that as the early example and anything pre-2002 in the US is a rare bird that should be left alone. However, today’s 2002 G500 is a little different situation. This is not a bolt-on bumpers job – not even close.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 Mercedes-Benz G500 on eBay

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1996 Porsche 911 Carrera

I’m not exactly breaking any news here, but we are 25-years deep and then some on the 993 Porsche 911 chassis and it is aging extremely well. All the way from the base Carrera 2 up to the Turbo S and GT models, the models are desired and are probably going to stay that way. Naturally any starting point when dipping your toe in the 993 world is the Carrera 2 as it offers all the purity of the rear-wheel drive air-cooled 911 without spending over $100,000. This example up for sale in North Carolina is exactly that.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1996 Porsche 911 Carrera on eBay

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1995 Porsche 911 Carrera RS

RS. While the GT3 took the reigns as the hot naturally aspirated 911 with the introduction of the 996 generation, before that those two magical letters ruled the roost. And while for some it was hard to surpass the original, for me the absolute best one made was the last; the 993-generation Carrera RS. It continued the recipe of less is more, with lightweight construction, few options, stiffened-up suspension, and big wheels and tires. At its heart was a 3.8-liter M64/20 flat-6 rated at 300 horsepower, and it was connected only to a six-speed manual. If that wasn’t enough for you, there was an even more hardcore Clubsport model. Porsche made a total of just over 1,100 of these cars, so they’re far more rare than the later models – but they’re also twice as rare as the prior 964-generation RS, and even more dear than the original RS. They were of course never imported to the US, but one’s up for sale here – if you’re feeling quite spendy:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Porsche 911 Carrera RS on eBay

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1977 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 Euro-Spec

While the M5 may have the notoriety of being the first serious super performance sedan, it’s easy to forget that Mercedes-Benz really started the trend. As early as the 1930s, Mercedes-Benz was building some of the fastest large cars in the marketplace. They were expensive, complicated, and beautiful works of engineering. It took a while post-war for both the marketplace and the company to come back to full strength, but two cars created in the midst of an international oil crisis I really think point towards the character of their respective companies. First was BMW’s hard-edged, barely disguised racer for the road, the 3.0CSL – which we sort of just looked at. It was expensive, relatively lightweight, stunning to look at and pretty quick to boot – a sporting nature that would carry through to the current generation of BMWs, still considered the benchmark in sporting sedans. On the other side of the fence was the 450SEL 6.9; who else but Mercedes-Benz would put the largest production V8 into a sedan when there was a gas crisis? If the 3.0 shouted about it’s racing prowess, the Mercedes was subtle and understated. Indeed, option number 261 even removed the displacement badge on the rear, and outside of that you’d only see hints of the car’s performance by the bulging tires and slightly more showy exhaust. But stomp on the loud pedal and the best part of 290 horsepower was on tap for you – and this was 1975. Remember 1975? It was when the base Corvette had 165 horsepower and if you wanted to just break 200, the L-82 was your only option at 205 horsepower. A full 40% more powerful, the Benz was the match for sports cars of the day in a straight line but offered extreme luxury at the same time:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1977 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 on eBay

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1971 BMW 2800CS ‘Batmobile’ Replica

BMW’s revolution and rebranding through racing started on March 25, 1973. At the Monza 4 hours race in the European Touring Car Championship, the CSL legend was born. Massive box flares, huge BBS magnesium race wheels and deep front spoilers adorned the delicate E9 coupe now, and the iconic German Racing White with blue and red stripes following the lines of the hood and sides of the car. And with drivers like Hans-Joachim Stuck, Chris Amon, and Dieter Quester, Jochen Neerpasch’s BMW Motorsport would go on to win many races and establish the brand that would later launch the infamous ‘Batmobile’ CSL, the 2002 Turbo, and of course the M brand. Prior to 1973, the top flight races were run by BMW through their partners Alpina and Schnitzer, and indeed the BMW Motorsport entrants at Monza failed to finish, with Niki Lauda at the hands of an Alpina E9. A few races later, the rear wing was introduced by BMW Motorsport, and in the hands of Dieter Quester the first BMW Motorsport win was recognized at the 24 Hours of Spa on July 22, 1973.

The 3.0 and later 3.5 CSLs would continue to race and win for a few years, establishing the brand as a serious contender to the established Porsche in the sporting market. And of course, the homologation road-going version has been a hot commodity since new, inspiring plenty of replicas. That is exactly what we have today – originally, a 2800CS that has been converted to look like a later CSL:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1971 BMW 2800CS ‘Batmobile’ Replica on eBay

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1953 EMW 327

Now, I know what you’re going to say….Carter hasn’t had enough coffee. Fair enough, and probably true. But this is a post-war EMW 327, not a pre-war BMW 327. Let me explain.

World War II changed the map of Europe, and the post-War period was a strange rebuilding and re-allocation period which saw serious changes to some of the names you know today. Volkswagen, a brand that effectively hadn’t really existed before 1939 and the outbreak of war, found itself the benefactor of British intervention afterwards and became the company we know today. Mercedes-Benz, similarly, picked up the pieces and continued on. Auto Union and the companies of the four rings fell inside the Soviet area of control, and as a result many of the plans, factories and engineers were removed from Germany and sent deeper into Russian control. Then there was the strange plight of BMW. Prior to World War II, though BMW had been a very successful aircraft engine producer and motorcycle champion of Germany, they were a minor player in the automobile industry. Still, they had produced some beautiful and notable designs, including the successful sports car racer 328. Although technically Munich lay in the American area of Allied occupation, there would be an interesting future for BMW. Connections with the British Army allowed a pre-War BMW dealer from Britain to jump into the Munich factory, grab a bunch of plans and some engineers, and return back to the island nation. That would yield the Bristol 400 – a car so heavily influenced by BMW’s 326, 327 and 328 designs that they even retained the signature kidney grills. More strange, perhaps, was the BMW plant at Eisenach. Unfortunately for the city, though centrally located in Germany and not particularly far from Munich, it lay about 6 miles inside the Soviet control border. But their factory had all the plans for BMW’s road cars, so after the war, they turned on the lights and started pumping out BMWs not made by BMW. This, of course, resulted in a lawsuit, and in 1952 they were forced to change their name to Eisenacher Motorenwerke, or EMW. Like Bristol, they retained all of the signature BMW bits, including the Roundel. But since they were in Soviet controlled areas, the Roundel’s color changed from blue to red:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1953 EMW 327 on eBay

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2000 Mercedes-Benz S500

I harp a lot about the W220 Mercedes-Benz S-Class and how it might be the most disappointing flagship the team Stuttgart has ever launched. It was the year 2000 and this car fit in quite well for the time, just like oversized baggy suits and trucker hats. Well, all those were donated to the Goodwill during spring cleaning 2005, but the early W220s lived on and still roam the earth to this date. A lot of these are now on their 12th owner and look like this, but some of these survived, and this is what we have today.

This 2000 is finished in Bordeaux Red Metallic, which is not to be confused with Titanite Red Metallic from a few weeks ago, and inside with find a Java leather interior. It is quintessential early-W220 with the blobby 17″ wheels to match the body. Inside, much of the same with a two-tone dash and that very tiny COMAND navigation system that was a slight upgrade from the maps in The Legend of Zelda. So if no one wants it, is it actually worth anything? Seems to be.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2000 Mercedes-Benz S500 on eBay

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