Event Report: Audi Club Winter Driving School

Winter. Not many of us look forward to it, even in the depths of a sweltering summer. It’s not usually the cold that gets everyone, or even the holidays – no, a fair amount of people seem to have a very healthy fear of driving in the elements. If I could have a dollar for every time I heard “my car just isn’t good in the snow”, I’d be a very rich man. The reality is that it’s generally not the car’s fault – unless, perhaps, you drive a Lamborghini Countach or Reliant Robin. Pretty much any car can be passable in snowy conditions – what you need is a good set of tires and some time testing them out to understand how your car reacts to snow and ice. What better way than to head to a Winter Driving School (WDS) put on by the Audi Club?
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Catching Up with Our Sister Site, Classic Italian Cars For Sale

Please check out our sister site, ClassicItalianCarsForSale.com, where Paul and Brian are also posting great selections over there. They have a great mix of affordable modern classics, vintage sports cars, and newer supercars as well. Here are some links to their recent posts and as you can probably tell they’re having alot of fun with their choices.

Thanks for reading and let us know if you have any suggestions for CICFS!

dc

1992 Alfa Romeo 164L

1992 Alfa Romeo 164L for sale

1967 Fiat Dino Coupe

1967 Fiat Dino Coupe for sale

1967 Ghia 450SS

1967 Ghia 450SS for sale on eBay

2005 Maserati MC12

2005 Maserati MC12 for sale

1969 Alfa Romeo Duetto Spider


1969 Alfa Romeo Duetto Spider for sale

1967 Fiat Dino Coupe

1967 Fiat Dino Coupe for sale

1984 Alfa Romeo GTV6 2.5

1984 Alfa Romeo GTV6 2.5 for sale

1965 Maserati Quattroporte

1965 Maserati Quattroporte for sale

It’s not just the cars, it’s the factories

German cars, well pretty much all German engineering actually, has a world class reputation. At germancarsforsaleblog.com we are testament to the high class manufacturing of the Germans – they are just built exceptionally well and last a long time and have a good resale value. But why is this?

All owners of German cars will tell you the same thing – although their cars may look and drive better than many other vehicles, that is not what attracts them. Reliability is the name of the game. Whether you’re driving a Volkswagen in Virginia or a BMW in Birmingham, England you’re going to appreciate the fact that you have to call out the AAA or RAC far fewer times than your friends in non-German cars.

According to a new article, the secret to this success lies in the German approach to labor relations. In A Tale of Two Systems by Kevin C Brown at Remapping Debate, the German approach goes against conventional wisdom that suggests lower wages makes for a more competitive auto industry, instead his research suggests that higher wages and greater cooperation between unions and employers is the key to success.

Amazingly, or perhaps not, the average German motor worker gets paid twice as much as their American equivalent. Despite this, German car companies produce twice as many cars as US companies and they all operate at a profit – no needs for government bailouts over there.

There are two institutions that account for this state of affairs. Firstly, the German car workers unions, IG Metall, uses an elaborate system of conflict resolution that means they hardly ever strike. This is despite the fact they have the right to strike and most all workers are members of the union. Secondly, the German constitution allows for ‘works councils’ in every factory which hashes out problematic issues.

It all sounds rather good doesn’t it? When Forbes refers to the situation as a “happy relationship”, you have to wonder. After all, Forbes is hardly an organ of the Communist Party.

German marques well represented in Watkins Glen.

Having just returned from my annual “business trip” to the Glenora Wine Cellars, formerly Zippo, U.S. Vintage Grand Prix and Racing Festival in Watkins Glen New York I thought it would be appropriate to give you a taste of some of the German metal out on display. In the next couple of days I’ll put up some posts of several of the German street and race cars that I came across for sale while cruising the garage and paddock. Over the course of the weekend I saw all the major marques we cover, except one, represented racing on the track and though there wasn’t one racing, an Opel GT was prowling the car corral. If you ever find yourself near the Fingerlakes region of New York early in September put this event on your calendar. It continues to be one of the largest vintage racing events in the country seeing between 400 and 500 of the finest and funkiest vintage and modern classic racers zooming around the birth place of road racing in America. Here is a  small look at a few of the German machines:

The fast included:

1. a legendary 2000 Audi R8 that turned the fastest time of all competitors with ease.
2. a pair of BMW CSL racers looking and sounding fantastic.
3. a pair of serious M powered Formula cars.
4. a new 2011 Mercedes SLS, parked next to an equally fast Ferrari 599, I overheard someone say both cars were for sale.
5. Speaking of fast and Ferrari, the Audi S4 pictured in this photo can be seen leading a Ferrari 355 challenge. When the rains came Sunday the Audi took control garnering a second place overall in its class race. Despite a fogged windshield, due to non functioning defroster, the Audi left the Ferrari far behind in a roar of turbo whine and quattro powered rain plumes.
6-7.Audi wasn’t the only German with a quest to beat up on Ferrari, note the badge on the rear of this mean sounding Mercedes 190E 2.3-16V. Unfortunately for this Merc it finished back in the pack unceremoniously being out driven by the likes of a 4 door Peugeot 505.

The funny included:
8-9. Some of the amusing Porsche badges on the Pirate Racing team.
10.a Mercedes 190E M sport.
11. a BMW 323i with a bumper sticker describing how it feels being out on the track.

The pretty included:

12. a nice looking BMW E28 M5
13. a cherry 500E with some contemporary German pals.

The doesn’t fit in any category:
14. a Vixen 21 BMW powered motorhome. These are extremely rare, 100 MPH RVs. Around 500 total were built and I suspect that combining the words high-speed and motorhome has resulted in far fewer surviving today. Ironically Jalopnik posted a picture of one just yesterday in a post about “Automotive Unicorns”. This one looked every bit like it came straight out of the movie Blade Runner. Very cool.

License Plates:
15-18.

~Evan

1967 Porsche 911S: Guest Post from Dallas

Note: Dallas is a fan of our site and wanted to contribute on occasion. Here is his first guest post. Please say hi in the comments! -dc

This one is described as a ““. For people that know even a little about vintage Porsches, this is like describing a vintage watch as a “Rolex Submariner 5513 5517” – it’s sort of like nonsense. Just as there are “Submariner 5513s” (cool vintage Rolex watches) and “Submariner 5517s” (very cool incredibly valuable only-issued-to-the-Royal-Navy vintage Rolex watches), there is the “1967 Porsche 911 Coupe” (cool vintage car) and “1967 Porsche 911S” (very cool quite rare vintage car). Let me elaborate…

By 1967, Porsche was into the third model year of its seminal 901/911 series of rear-engined sports cars. For model year 1967 the factory introduced the “S” model as the range-topping version, featuring a hotted-up engine boasting 160bhp – 30 more than the base Coupe and Targa. The factory produced just 1,823 “S” coupes and 483 “S” Targas that year. Despite the power boost, some considered that the S models made inferior street drivers as the increased power was made partly at the expense of low-end torque. However, nowadays, S cars are highly sought after, and an original S can bring serious money. Which brings us to the car on auction…

First off, the car looks fantastic. I’d have left off the racing numbers as a matter of taste, but I think the white stripes and “Porsche” script look great against the dark green paintwork. The cosmetics of this car just look super, with nice Fuchs wheels (introduced on the ’67 S) presenting the classic, iconic short-wheelbase 911 look.

Where things get a bit chancy with this example is in the description, and the question of whether the car is a real “S”. With collector Porsches, much of the price premium is based on originality – original engine and equipment in particular, and whether the car was originally built as the variant it is billed as, or converted later as a “clone”. Porsche will even issue, for a fee, a “Certificate of Authenticity” that confirms the original trim level, equipment, and paint colour of a vintage 911. The seller states:

“this car was born as a straight 911 homologated to an “S” back in the 70’s.”

When I queried the seller as to what this actually means (I asked point-blank “does the CoA issued by Porsche list it as an “S”?), the reply was rather unclear. The seller stated in an email that an S engine was installed in 1984 but the auction description states that the “homologation” occurred in the ’70s. It was apparently “born a 911” (i.e. not an “S”) so I would place a caveat on the description accordingly. The fact that an incorrect VIN was quoted in the auction (and not yet corrected) doesn’t help the comfort level. Once the correct VIN is posted, all questions will be answered… a real factory 1967 “S” has an “S” suffix to the VIN.

A hallmark of this seller’s auctions appears to be extensive quotation of “factory history” information on the marque, but it’s unclear how this relates to the car in question. In particular, the seller quotes extensively regarding the special equipment supplied with the “S”, but doesn’t actually confirm that the car for sale (“born a 911 [non-S]”, remember) comes with the special parts.

I give the seller kudos for listing a telephone number for inquiries, and I hope that a prospective buyer will avail himself of the opportunity of speaking to the seller and clarifying these issues. While a minty real “S” might now bring ~$40K+ (notwithstanding the dreamers asking $100K or more), this car should be considered accordingly. I think an enthusiast would do well to acquire a totally-sorted turn-key (and beautiful) ’67 911 Coupe with non-matching engine like this one for ~$20-25K.

**Note that this car is listed for sale at the seller’s website www.myclassiccargarage.com for $42,500.

– Dallas

Cash for Clunkers Weekend Reading

You may remember my “spirited” post over the Cash for Clunkers program a little while back.

Well as a follow up here is the official government list of  cars sent to their deaths through the program.

Of note are the 63 BMW 6 series cars, including 13 635csi models, a 850i, a M3, and a M5.

Mercedes suffered as well, can you imagine over 100 560SEC s crushed? That is literally tons of usable parts from one of the greatest Benz engines gone. Looks like 11 Merc V12 engines also have made their last trip. No wonder parts are so expensive. A pair of AMG cars, a C36 and a C43, were sent away too and gasp a 500E.

A number of high end Audi models also are on the list and a sprinkling of Porsches.

Most surprising, though not German, on the list is the 1997 Bentley (listed as a Rolls Royce) Continental R and great oogley moogley a Buick GNX, listed under ASC. If that was a true GNX it could have been rolled and burned and still probably brought more than the CFC allowance.

Post your thoughts or interesting finds after you peruse the list.

~Evan

Cash For Clunkers CARnage

I figured this being a car blog it was somewhat necessary to at least give brief mention of the CARS Car Allowance Rebate System or Cash For Clunkers program. By now most of America is probably familiar with the deal. You readers as car folks also probably understand that upon turning your car in for a credit the car is scrapped, regardless of how much life is left in the vehicle. What I think is important to underline is that scrapped doesn’t mean the engine gets pulled out and parts reused. Jalopnik covered this issue. In this case the government insists the engines are destroyed using a sodium silicate solution (liquid glass), that is poured into the running engine after the oil is drained. This locks up the motor and makes salvaging it useless.

I don’t want to get preachy or go into more details here, there are plenty of other places online where you can do that, but I do find this program a shameful waste, full of economical, environmental, and practical pitfalls. I’ve seen a number of BMWs and Benzs meet their fate in this past week. Including several big bodied 500 series Benzs that easily were worth more than the credit given. The financial incentive has made less loyal car owners sacrifice fine automobiles or be forced into doing so by significant others. See this ad for a 1988 BMW M5 that needs saving for example.

Regardless of your own thoughts on the program or political views, below I give some examples of what this program has brought that should sadden you as gear heads and folks who are going to have to pay jacked up used part prices.

So pour out a quart of 40 weight for the fallen. If you find photos or videos of German vehicles to add to this hall of shame let us know.

I know this one isn’t German, I wanted to ease you into this post, give you a chance to back out in case you want to avoid the carnage. This does illustrate pretty well the nonsense of where tax payer money is being spent:

BMW 530i manual, so sad.

BMW 735i

BMW 525

1991 and 1992 525i

1986 Mercedes 300E

Fortunately their are some folks out there with good sense
Mercedes 1992 190E 2.3

There are many, many, other engine blow up videos like these from dealerships participating in the cash4clunkers program out on the net. Googler beware.

~Evan