The Gullwing. In terms of legendary cars, it’s up there. While one could argue that many cutting-edge race cars for the road are beautiful in their own right, there’s just something that sets a few of them farther apart from the others. The Ferrari 250 GTO, the Bugatti Type 57, the Toyoto GT-One; they were not only the best-performing cars of their day, they are also among the most stunning objects created by man. To me, the Gullwing is right there, too. Pressed, I’m not sure I would choose it over the others I’ve mentioned; it’s the most attainable of the quartet, but it’s still so far from the realm of mortals that it’s hard to conceptualize. When I was young, it was rare to see these cars but they turned up at vintage events, raced in hill climbs, and occasionally even on track at local vintage events. But that was back in the days when a good SL would set you back around $150,000 – $200,000. A lot of money for sure, but compared to these days it wasn’t even the amount a restoration would cost. Prices on these iconic cars have plateaued and even come down slightly over recent years; still, a top-condition example will set you back well over a million dollars:
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For quite a few enthusiasts, the 997 is the perfect 911. The GT3 makes that better, and the GT3 RS makes that…betterer. But the icing on the cake? One of the 600 that were equipped with the 4.0-liter motor, which was good for 500 horsepower at 8,250 rpm. Just 141 of those came to the US market, so these are super duper sought and unbelievably valuable. If yesterday’s 964 RS Clubsport felt dear to you, best to put the coffee down. How crazy do they get? One with just under 1,000 miles sold for $706,000 in 2022 on Bring a Trailer. Today’s car is outwardly the same, but this one has – unbelievably – just half the miles. Number 562 of the 600 can now be yours…if you have the means.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2011 Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0 on eBay2 Comments
While the US market had to settle for the RS America, a lightened low-option version of the Carrera 2, other markets enjoyed the full-on Carrera RS. The Carrera RS used the tried-and-true method of more power/less weight, combining a higher output version of the 964’s 3.6-liter flax-six with significant weight reduction (155 kg lighter than a standard Carrera 2) to provide the sort of no-frills performance that 911 enthusiasts had long craved since the original RS. Under the rear hood was the M64/03 rated at 260 horsepower, which doesn’t sound like a lot by today’s numbers. But the lightweight RS made good use of all of them, proving itself not only to be a class-leading sports car but also one adept at racing in keeping with the 911’s heritage. Suspension was lowered half an inch and stiffened, while the limited-slip differential from the Turbo was borrowed. Power steering was dropped for a manual rack, the wheels where made of magnesium, and while there were packages to add back in road-going manners, this ultimately was a bare-bones racer at heart.
Some 2,276 964 Carrera RSs were made, with a fair chunk of those heading to the track. An even more hardcore model turned it up a few notches, too – the Clubsport, of which just 290 were made. These were effectively road-going Cup cars intended to compete in the N/GT FIA category, with a full seam-welded chassis, an FIA-approved cage, fire extinguishers, Recaro race seats, and harnesses.
As with anything Porsche followed by “Clubsport”, you can bet these things aren’t cheap.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1992 Porsche 911 Carrera RS Clubsport on eBayLeave a Comment
The V8 quattro was notoriously innovative. It was also quite complicated (read: expensive) and therefore painfully slow selling. At a time when all European imports were suffering from the global recession, the range-topping V8 busted budgets. Introduced for the 1990 model year in the U.S., the launch year was really the only marginally successful one; just shy of 3,000 were sold between 1989 and 1990. However, even light revisions in 1991 and a major engine upgrade to 4.2 liters failed to bring buyers to dealerships. Audi sold 527 1991s, 270 1992s, 170 ’93s and a scant 78 ’94s. Statistically speaking, you’re about as likely to run across a 4.2 V8 quattro on the road as you are a BMW M1.
By 1994 there was no denying that the Type 44-derived D11 chassis was quite old. Audi admitted that itself with the big splash of their new ASF concept in 1994 – a thoroughly modern large executive again full of innovation, this time with its extensive use of aluminum. Audi brought that design to market largely unchanged in the all-new D2 A8 range. And to help keep costs in check, while the V8 quattro had only been available in one configuration each model year, Audi introduced options in the A8 range. The one that got the headlines was Audi’s signature all-aluminum 4.2 V8 mated to the all-wheel drive quattro drivetrain. But if you wanted range-topping looks and didn’t need the sure-footed nature of the quattro system, you could briefly opt out.
That’s because Audi launched a FronTrak (front-wheel drive) A8 model. Instead of the larger 4.2 model, motivation was provided by destroked 3.7-liter unit. Rated at 230 horsepower and matched only to the 5-speed automatic Tiptronic and weighing the best part of 4,000 lbs., it was pretty underwhelming in just about every respect. 0-60 was a leisurely 8.3 seconds, and despite the decrease in power, the 3.7 was no less thirsty than the 4.2. While it did save you about $7,500 ($56,900 v. $64,500 base price for the 4.2) it was no surprise, then, that the bulk of Audi’s deep-pocketed fanbase chose the 4.2 quattro model, and the base 3.7 was dropped in the 2000 model year in favor of the long-wheelbase model. Early A8s are hard to find – Audi sold only about 6,000 over three model years before the refresh. But 3.7s have become a bit of an oddity that are almost never seen:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1997 Audi A8 3.7 on eBay4 Comments
Let’s say for a moment that you came into an extraordinary amount of money and wanted to go vintage automobile racing. Of course, to prove your worth as an enthusiast, you’ll want to buy a historically significant car that will impress all the long bottom jaws, and few raise more eyebrows in the German realm right now than the 911. Truth told, the 911 is really the ‘new money’ of the vintage world – go try racing antique Bugattis or Ferraris, for example, and you’ll soon laugh at the budgets of Porsche racers…but I digress.
Even if you do have 911 money, buying a real factory race car is far from cheap. Real RSRs sell in the millions, and if you really want to race one competitively you’ll need to have that much in your slush fund. Smarter, than, is to buy one of these cars that’s been made to look like a more famous model. In this case, someone took what’s claimed to be a ’75 Carrera and made it into a tribute of the ’74 RSRs run by the likes of Brumos.