In 1993, my father purchased a W113 Mercedes-Benz 280SL Roadster. It was green with black MB Tex and do you know what? It looked, and felt, old. At that point, it was a 22 year old car that had been mostly forgotten by the enthusiast world. After all, the dated W113’s replacement – the oh so 80s even though it was from the 70s R107 – had just gone out of production, itself replaced by the thoroughly modern R129. I loved the R129 at the time, and the W113 seemed like a dinosaur by comparison. But my father loved the look of the W113, and so for the then princely sum of mid-teens he purchased a relatively clean, reasonably low mileage and (almost) fully functional Mercedes-Benz SL.
Fast forward the best part of two and a half decades, and the SL market has gone completely bonkers, awakening to the fact that the W113 was (and still is) a beautiful, classic and elegant design. I’m not even sure you could buy a non-functional, rusty wreck of a W113 for the same price my father paid in 1993 – and an expensive restoration would await you.
Why do I mention this?
Currently, almost no one has time to even consider the 8N chassis Audi TT. It’s old, with the last of the first generation produced 12 years ago and its replacement – the 8J – has also fully completed a production cycle. It doesn’t have the super wiz-bang computers, million horsepower engines, or cut-your-hand-on-the-front-end styling of the new models. A fair amount lay in a state of disrepair; crashed, thrashed and trashed to a point where they’re nearly given away – quite seriously, there’s one near me for $1,500. But find a good one, and I think now is the prime time to grab a clean TT that will be a future collectable. This Roadster 225 quattro 6-speed with only 42,000 miles suits the bill perfectly:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi TT Roadster 225 quattro on eBay
Model: TT Roadster 225 quattro
Engine: 1.8 liter turbocharged inline-4
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Mileage: 42,535 mi
Price: Reserve Auction
Desert Green Pearl Effect is a lovely color in person, and these TTs received the “dipped” look with a matching Desert Grass Green leather, a green dash and green top. The “Fat Five” polished and forged wheels from the Premium Package help to set off that exterior/interior combination well, though I have to admit I think the car would look nicer with tan baseball leather that was an option. This car also sports the upgraded Bose Audio package, but does not seem to have the Navigation package (probably a good thing for most). It’s nearly fully loaded for a 2001 model, and the price from that year reflects that at nearly $40,000 – these were not cheap cars.
But the design has, in my mind, aged well. While the interior is admittedly a little plastic-heavy, the brushed aluminum bits offer a refreshing release from the bountiful polystyrene. Condition is spot on, though at this point you’d want to check that the timing belt and fluids have been replaced due to age rather than mileage. Still, a timing belt job on the transverse 1.8T is fairly cheap and shouldn’t dissuade a perspective buyer. While the 1.8T isn’t as gutsy as the later 3.2 VR6, those 8N 6-cylinders only came with the DSG box, while the 225 could be had with the 6-speed manual as we see here.
As future classics go, this might not be the flashiest or fastest way to cover ground. And, indeed, though I think there will likely be a cult following it’s unlikely the 8N will ever be as highly valued as even the R107 – never mind the W113. Yet, if you want to look and feel a bit special and are on a tight budget, these TTs offer a lot for very little.