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Month: February 2024

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Supercharged 3.2 VR6’d 2001 Audi S3

What is the price of obscurity?

Here we have a 2001 Audi S3. While the S3 has been a relatively recent addition to the US Audi lineup to bolster affordable performance options and compete against Merc’s CLA and BMW’s 2-series, the model has a long history that 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. This particular example is not only in the US, but it’s now powered by an R32-sourced 3.2 VR6.

2001 Audi S3 on eBay

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Tuner Twofer: 1990 Mercedes-Benz 500SL Koenig Specials and 1999 Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe TechArt Widebodies

Crazy tuner mods didn’t stop in the 1980s….no, not by a long shot. Alive and well, they’ve continued on through today with deep pockets attempting to make expensive cars more expensive, unique, and…well, you can be the judge. I spotted this unusual widebody duo several months ago and have been waiting for them to disappear. Strangely, they haven’t sold. Is it the price? The looks? The…price? Or, is it the looks? Let’s dive in…

1990 Mercedes-Benz 500SL Koenig Specials Widebody on eBay:

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1997 Alpina B6 2.8 Touring

Although the B3 model had replaced it, in 1996 the B6 2.8 was resurrected for the Japanese market. Now only available in Touring form, the car was reportedly a reaction to BMW’s decision not to bring the 328i Touring to the market. Unlike the contemporary cars, these were badged as “Limited Edition” and mostly came with the standard automatic instead of Alpina’s SwitchTronic gearbox, and they were only made in Arctic Silver as we see here or Bright Red and Boston Green. Some 136 are claimed to have been produced, and this one is number 105 :

1997 Alpina B6 2.8 Touring on eBay:

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1990 Audi V8 quattro

From the dated underpinnings of the Type 44 chassis, Audi emerged in 1988 with an all-new four-cam aluminum engine that could be mated to an automatic transmission. Now, to most enthusiasts that probably sounds like a bad idea. But when it came to selling car – especially expensive luxury cars – the overwhelming majority of buyers wanted the car to do most of the heavy lifting. Audi’s response was the next generation of quattro drivetrains with a series of clutches in the center differential that helped to transfer power and allowed the car to be mated to an automatic transmission. That transmission – the ZF 4HP24A – was a derivative of the 4HP24, the same automatic found in the V12-equipped BMW 750 and 850s. Like the Mercedes-Benz, Audi employed Bosch ABS and a locking rear differential. But unlike other Audis with their manual- or electronic-locking rear differential, the V8 quattro used a Torsen rear differential with helical gears which would automatically split torque in up to a 3:1 ratio to the wheel with grip. Coupled with a more rearward weight bias with the shorter V8 and the gutsy torque on offer throughout the rev range, though much of the car was borrowed from the rest of the lineup it took on an entirely different character. That was matched with new, updated bodywork outside and a wider stance with flared arches. The effect? Magical. And, complicated.

But the V8 quattro wasn’t only about its unique new form of all-wheel drive. The moniker obviously indicated there had been a change in motivation, too, and indeed the V8 launched a new all-aluminum four-cam, 32 valve V8 displacing 3.6 liters dubbed the PT. Rated at 240 horsepower and 254 lb.ft of torque, it was the most powerful Audi for sale in the late 1980s and brought the brand to a luxury level it had previously not competed at. In the U.S., these mega-Audis were met with mixed success. The 1990 launch of the V8 resulted in reasonably good sales; Audi sold 2,823 between late 1989 and the end of 1990 which represented over 10% of their yearly sales. Values in the used market plummeted after timing belt fiascos on early cars and the general recession of the early 90s, along with the ’92 launch of the turbocharged, manual, and later, Avant-bodied S4/S6 twins. Today, it’s a bit of a treat to see a clean V8 quattro, and this looks to be one of the better examples out there for sale:

1990 Audi V8 quattro on eBay

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