1988 Volkswagen Scirocco 16V

How can you talk about 1980s Volkswagens and not mention the Scirocco? Karmann’s lift of the Giugiaro Asso di Picche, Asso di Quadri and Asso di Fiori designs was plainly evident, but that they were borrowed really should come as a surprise. After all, the reception to the master Italian designer’s other pens – the Golf, first generation Scirocco, Audi 80 (4000) and Coupe GT firmly established both companies in the public limelight. In the case of Volkswagen, it defined a company emerging from the shadow of the air-cooled generation; for Audi, it modernized designs and capitalized on the success of the 100 lineup in the 1970s. But Karmann had been integral in the production of the first two as well, making an easy transition from ItalDesign to Volkswagen’s go-to special production for the second generation Scirocco.

But while the design was all grown up and modern for the 1980s, the underpinnings were the same; little changed dynamically between the 1981 and 1982 model year, and though upgrades came over the next few years with higher-spec trim and a bit more power, it wasn’t until 1986 that VW coupe fans finally got to rejoice as the addition of the PL 1.8 liter dual-cam inline-4 finally joined the lineup. Now with 123 high-revving horsepower, the Scirocco went a bit more like the wind it was named after. The wide-ratio, economy-minded gearbox of yore was gone too, replaced by a close-ratio gearbox. Like the GTI and GLI, 14? ‘Teardrop’ wheels and a new bodykit heightened the boy-racer appearance, and the 16V models got all matchy-matchy before the Golf and Jetta, too, with body-colored painted bumpers.

Perhaps this was a shot across the bow of the other Giugiaro-designed, sporty 2-door coupe on the market – the Isuzu Impulse Turbo. Because as much of a VW nut as I am, let’s be honest – the Impulse was cooler. It had much better integrated bumpers, for example, and looked even MORE modern than the Scirocco. And it had cooler wheels. And it had a turbo, and as neat as having dual cams was, having a turbo got you into pants in the 1980s. While it only had one cam, the intercooled 4ZCI was good for 140 horsepower in 1985. That power was channeled through the back wheels, too, with near perfect weight distribution. To top all of that off, in 1987 you could get the “RS” model which was painted all white – yes, even the wheels. That was as radical as it got that year – people actually paid a lot of money to tuners to achieve that look, yet a few models like the 300ZX, Audi Coupe GT and Impulse RS gave it to you from the factory. They came fully loaded with electronic gizmos, and mostly unlike the VW, they worked. Then, as if that wasn’t enough, GM links created the “Lotus Tuned Suspension” package for the 1988 model year. If one of these rolled up to the party you and your Scirocco were at, you were going home lonely (and, more slowly).

But this isn’t “low-production Japanese cars for sale blog”, so we’ll look at the Scirocco.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Volkswagen Scirocco 16V on eBay

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1962 Opel Rekord P2 Coupe

We don’t cover many Opels on these pages, but every once in a while one catches my eye and is worth a look. Here’s one such case; a Opel Rekord P2 Coupe. The P2 replaced the P1 in 1960, and the “P” moniker came from the panoramic windshield signature of the early model. While the P2 dropped the heavily rounded windows and become significantly more angular, it kept the “P” nameplate. In many ways, the P2 mimicked the Michelotti BMW 700 design – but of course the GM roots also drew design language from cars like the Chevrolet Impala and Biscayne, while adopting a more discrete, diminutive size for European distribution.

Under the hood was a 1.5 liter inline-4 rated at 50 horsepower, with an option 1.7 liter unit good for 55 horsepower in normal form or 60 horsepower in “S” specification. These were linked to a 3-speed manual mounted on the column, though a 4-speed became optional later in production. The Rekord P2 was West Germany’s second-best selling car (behind the Beetle, of course!), with nearly 800,000 produced between 1960 and 1963. Rare to see today, this Coupe certainly looks like a nice alternative to the traditional air-cooled history:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1962 Opel Rekord P2 Coupe on eBay

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Roll the Dice: 1994 Mercedes-Benz SL500

I must be getting old, because it seems like every year that passes my tolerance for “project cars” gets smaller and smaller. When I had a bunch of free time, I had no problem messing around for countless hours on one of my cars. Now? Get this job finished as fast as possible and be done with it. Don’t get me wrong, I still love my cars, but they wear my patience thin sometimes. This doesn’t mean I still don’t browse for cheap cars constantly and run across some that might not take all that much to have a decent example for way less than market value. Today’s car, a 1994 Mercedes-Benz SL500 up for sale in California, might be that. Looking at the price, I thought it was going to be a total basket case that didn’t run or looked like a nice family of mongooses took up residence in the interior. Much to my surprise, that isn’t the case and this car actually has some extra goodies on it as well.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 Mercedes-Benz SL500 on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday: 1994 Alpina B10 4.6 Touring

While the B10 BiTurbo generated the headlines as the world’s fastest sedan, BMW’s replacement M60 V8 motor was making its way into production and the M30 inline-6 was on its way out. Of course that meant it wasn’t too long before Buchloe got their hands on one, and in turn it wasn’t too long before the B10 4.0 replaced the BiTurbo as the top offering. But a year later, Alpina had already punched out the block to 4.6 liters. Now generating 340 horsepower, the new B10 4.6 not only was as quick as the M5, it was considerably cheaper and less complicated than the BiTurbo had been too.

Like the 4.0 before it, the standard 17″ Alpina wheel treatment, upgraded suspension, larger and less restrictive exhaust, aerodynamic tweaks and unique interiors all made their way here. Also like the 4.0, the 4.6 was available as either a sedan or Touring, and as either a 6-speed manual or 5-speed Switch-Tronic automatic. A scant 46 were built before the end of E34 production, of which only 19 were Touring models – making this one of the most limited Alpinas produced:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 Alpina B10 4.6 Touring at Springbok.de

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2009 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Stirling Moss

There aren’t many modern cars like the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Stirling Moss. I’ve gone over the history of this wild machine before, but the short of it is they are based off the SLR but with crazy styling and two very tiny pieces of glass that basically do nothing. Only 75 examples were created to be sold the general public for actual legal road use. By “general public”, I mean current SLR owners who had to pony up $1,000,000 for the privilege to buy one of these. After purchasing them, most were stashed away in collections and very rarely see the light of day let alone be driven on a road because believe it or not, really rich people don’t like to eat bugs. However, this example going up for bid at RM Sotheby’s in Italy has over 8,400 km on the odometer. Someone drove this car over 5,000 miles!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2009 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Stirling Moss at RM Sotheby’s

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2001 Audi S3

What is the price of obscurity?

Here we have a 2001 Audi S3. While the S3 has been a recent addition to the Audi lineup to bolster affordable performance options and compete against Merc’s CLA and BMW’s 2-series, the model has a long history which dates back to the nomenclature change for Audi. The first A3 was launched alongside the then-new A4, and while the visual similarities were strong, the two models shared little. That’s because the A3 was based heavily on the Mk.4 Golf platform with transverse mounted engines. Just like the original Audi 50, though, the A3’s arrival predated the Mk.4 Golf by a year.

As I’ve already covered in previous articles, while the U.S. had to wait until the 2004 launch of the Golf R32 to get all-wheel drive performance, Europe had enjoyed Golfs with four wheels driven since 1986. So it was a relative cinch to stick the Haldex-based all-wheel drive system into the A3 chassis where, like the TT, it would be called “quattro”. And just like the TT, a high performance variant of the 1.8T would be included and become the S3 in 1999.

Again, some of the styling cues were shared with the big-brother S4, including 17″ Avus wheels and deeper, smooth bumper covers. The S3 was the first model to utilize the ‘door blades’ that would become signature S bits soon after. Performance was about what you’d expect from a near twin of the TT – meaning, virtually identical. But what you did get was slightly more subtle styling and slightly more practicality, with a bit more storage space and a roomier cabin. Despite the relatively negligible gains, because the 8L S3 never came here, they’re a bit of a hot commodity when they do arrive. How hot?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi S3 on eBay

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Budget Bentley: 2004 Volkswagen Phaeton W12

Walk into a Volkswagen dealership in the early 2000s, and it was clear that the brand had taken the people’s car upmarket. The Mk.4 Golf/Jetta looked decidedly more modern than the Mk.3 holdovers from 1998. The 2001 introduction of the B5.5 Passat splashed chrome, leather and wood all over the mid-range sedans and wagons and offered exotic-sounding performance from the wild optional W8. But it was this car that really signaled VW was operating on a different plane; not only did they bring over the D1 platform Phaeton, but with it they brought the monstrous 6.0 W12.

While to many the Phaeton looked like a reskin of the D3 Audi A8 and indeed the two did share some componentry, the D1 platform was actually shared with VAG’s other subsidiary Bentley. Both the Continental GT and later Flying Spur shared the infrastructure, meaning the Phaeton enjoyed extreme levels of refinement, ride quality and fit/finish that weren’t typically associated with “the people’s car”. While all the luxury added up to north of 5,000 lbs without passengers and it lacked the twin turbochargers the Bentley boys got, the Phaeton W12 was still the fastest car in the VW showroom in 2004. With 420 horsepower driving all four wheels, the Phaeton was capable of effortless and nearly silent 5.5 second 0-60 runs and could break 200 mph unrestricted.

While it sounds great, there were two drawbacks. One was that to nearly everyone your Phaeton looked just like my Passat. And while a loaded W8 4 Motion Variant Passat was really, really expensive, you and your significant other could drive out of your local dealer with not one, but TWO fully loaded Passats for the price of just one W12 Phaeton. It’s no surprise that the U.S. market wasn’t ready for a $90,000 Volkswagen, and a scant 482 were sold here before the model was yanked. But today, that means you can get these market-busting models for pennies on the dollar:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 Volkswagen Phaeton W12 on eBay

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2018 Porsche 911 GT3 Touring

You know why we’re here. This 2018 Porsche 911 GT3 Touring is finished in Paint-to-Sample Ruby Star. Made popular on the 964, this wild color now has a home on the 991 and boy does it pop. The GT3 Touring is already a wildly popular car that is still selling for over sticker with a handful of miles on them, and adding a Paint-to-Sample color like this only piles on the price. The sky was basically the limit on custom options for highly preferred customers to the point where a you could order a GT3 Touring for around $140,000 and then literally add another $140,000 in options. Seriously, someone did that. Thankfully, that isn’t the case with this car but you are still going to pay over sticker for it despite having nearly 1,000 on the odometer. How much?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2018 Porsche 911 GT3 Touring on Rennlist

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1992 Mercedes-Benz 300SE

A little over a month ago I took a look at a 1991 Mercedes-Benz 300SE. On the surface, a 1991 300SE isn’t all that special, until you noticed the Bornite Metallic paint of course. I went into a little detail on why that paint matters and the data doesn’t lie when you see the selling prices of two nearly identical cars with one painted in Bornite and one painted in a more common color. Well wouldn’t you know, the next generation S-Class, the W140, had the privilege of carrying on this color as well. This 1992 300SE checks in with a fair amount of miles with nearly 185,000, but don’t kid yourself thinking you are going to get a deal on it. Also, there is one other problem if you want to own this car. It is in Germany.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1992 Mercedes-Benz 300SE on eBay

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2007 Porsche 911 Turbo

I’m a big “value for money” guy. I guess that also means I’m cheap, but who cares how you define it. You’ll never find me paying full price for something or heaven forbid even a premium if I can find a better deal elsewhere. Sometimes this works out swimmingly, sometimes it goes up in flames. That comes with the territory. Today’s car, a 2007 Porsche 911 Turbo up for sale in California, is in my eyes a great value for money car. Why is it? Outside of just existing as a borderline everyday super car that you can drive in total relaxation and comfort, some 10-12 years later, prices are about half of MSRP. However, this car is much cheaper than that. There is not one, but two big reasons for that. Let me explain.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2007 Porsche 911 Turbo Coupe on eBay

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