After just covering Ryan Snodgrass’s excellent Carrera 2.7 history, I thought it would be fun to look at a 1:1 scale example. As I mentioned in the book review, the impact bumper cars replaced the long hood design for 1973. Porsche carried over much of what had made the 911 Carrera RS great in the new G-Body Carrera 2.7. The suspension and 911/83 engine were largely unchanged and though the appearance was updated, it was still the same unmistakably Porsche silhouette. Out of roughly 198,500 G-Body 911s, a total of 1,633 of these ‘Euro Carreras’ were produced and like all things air-cooled, they’re not exactly cheap today. But given that the look and experience is most of what the classic RS was, they’re a whole lot more affordable:
Month: December 2019
Color is everything. Kind of a broad statement, I know, but when it comes to classic Mercedes-Benz, it is pretty important. Light Ivory, Astral Silver, or Pastel Beige? Okay colors, but no one is clamoring over them. Henna Red, Mimosa Yellow, or today’s car, China Blue? Now people are excited. In all seriousness, I do see a fair amount of price different between two comparable cars with one painted something bright, with the other a little more drab. It just so happens that this 1981 300SD up for sale in Atlanta is one of the few to be painted in the aforementioned China Blue. So that begs the question, how much of a premium will this bring?
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1981 Mercedes-Benz 300SD on eBay
Though they’re the juggernaut of BMW performance today, the reality is that there were quite a few stumbling blocks and it took many years for BMW Motorsport GmbH to establish themselves as the benchmark for German performance. Though many consider the M1 the genesis of BMW M, in fact the brand was born nearly a decade earlier with the introduction of the 3.0 CSL. The high performance E9 was built together with BMW’s competition department, a relationship which ultimately resulted in the birth of BMW’s Motorsport division. A few years later, the new entity would give birth to an equally legendary creation, the 2002 Turbo. But when it came to the first car to carry the “M” badge, it was of course the legendary M1 with its motorsport derived M88/1 double overhead cam inline six screaming in the middle of the car. You’d think this recipe carried over to the sedan range, but that was not immediately the case. First, BMW produced the M535i in the E12 chassis. Though the E28 model of the same designation was mostly an appearance package, the E12 model was turned up over the rest of the range – but not with the M88; BMW instead relied on the M30 to power the M535i. Then, there was a year where nothing happened; the M1 was out of production, the E12 was replaced by the E28, and ostensibly BMW had no real performance models.
That was remedied at the 1983 Frankfurt Motor Show, where a juiced up version of the 635CSi was offered. It was labeled the M635CSi; but unlike the M535i, under the hood wasn’t the venerable M30 that powered the normal 635CSi. In its place, the Motorsport division decided to slot the M88, now with /3 designation; the result was 286 horsepower – a staggering figure at the time, considering that the contemporary Porsche 930 was considered fairly bonkers with a little over 300 horsepower and though it looked much larger, the early E24s only weighed about 200 lbs. more than the Porsche. Coupled with some aerodynamic tweaks, heavier duty suspension, brakes and larger wheels and tires, the result was the menacing presence worthy of the nickname “Shark”. For all intents and purposes, this was really the first “M” car for the masses. BMW brought its M lineup to the United States for 1987 with the renamed M6, and that model was lightly revised for ’88. Power was down to 256 with the catalyst-equipped S38, but ’88s picked up some visual appeal with revised headlights and slimmed corners, as well as body-color painted bumpers that make the ’88s and ’89s look a lot more polished than the ’87s.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW M6 on eBay
After last week’s adventures in Paint to Sample, where a surprising number of people actually liked the color combo, I thought I’d go a little bit more traditional. As far as sports car tradition goes, it really doesn’t get more classic than British Racing Green, although it’s on a German car. This 2018 Porsche 911 Turbo S is not only a street legal rocket ship that is capable getting to 60 mph in just 2.7 seconds and through the quarter-mile in 10.7 seconds, but also tame enough to be driven early single day. It also somehow manages to look like a 911, even though according to those numbers it has to be some kind of space rocket. What isn’t to love here?
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2018 Porsche 911 Turbo S on Rennlist
I know I just said that we were on Passat overload, so why are we here again? Well, I certainly haven’t written up many newer Passats. And, truth told, while competent the U.S.-specific B7 Passat hasn’t really given many reasons for fans to celebrate. Instead of leading the market, VW chose to give consumers what they thought consumers wanted. They reacted….sorta. B7 sales spiked with its introduction in 2012 to 125,000 until in the U.S.; respectable for what has always been a slow seller for the company. That was more than the B6 ever sold in a single year by a factor of 2.5, for example. But every year since has been a downward slope; 110,000 in 2013, 96,000 in 2014, 78,000 for 2015, 73,000 in 2016, 60,000 for 2017 and just 41,400 for 2018. Sure, sales of normal sedans are slipping all around. Compare that to the Honda Accord; a popular, “sporty” alternative, and it’s drawn into sharper contrast. In 2018, Honda sold 291,000 Accords. And that was an uncharacteristically bad year for the model.
So to help prop up sales towards the end of the B7 run, Volkswagen introduced new trim packages – no surprise there. And one came out in 2018 called the “GT”. Now, traditionally VW hasn’t done a stellar job on its GT packages, but hear me out on this one – because it’s pretty special. Outside, the Passat GT distinguished itself with red-trim grill like the GTI, blacked out roof panel and big dual exhaust. 19″ ‘Tornado’ wheels filled the lowered arches; the GT was a bit over half an inch lower with stiffer shocks. Inside, contrasting stitching and two-tone sport seats were met with carbon-like and aluminum trim. But the real news was what made this car sing; under the hood was the 3.6 liter DOHC 24 valve narrow-angle VR6 rated at 280 horsepower and barking through that big exhaust. Shifts were handled solely by the DSG 6-speed dual-clutch box, meaning lightning-fast changes and a manual mode. While VW has seldom given you something for nothing, the Passat GT also rang in as one of the cheapest 6-cylinder cars you could buy last year – base price was $29,995, making it one of just three sub-$30,000 sixes on the market. But today, you can grab one a whole lot cheaper: