2002 BMW M3 Coupe

This M3 sold for best offer under $37,900 on 11/22/2021.

A Phoenix Yellow M3 coupe? Damn straight I can’t look away. Back in May I looked at the most recent one after a string of a few others:

2004 BMW M3 Coupe

PYM cars continue to hit big numbers when they come up for sale, with a 44k mile 2001 6-speed coupe recently trading for $55,000 – close to its original sticker price. Today’s car has over double the mileage, but it’s also got a bit of a treat inside:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 BMW M3 Coupe on eBay

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Winter Project: 1991 Audi 200 20V quattro Avant

This Type 44 sold for $2,773 on November 21, 2021.

No stranger to these pages, you’re already likely familiar with why this car is here. But if you’re new to GCFSB and would like a quick overview of what was special about the early 90s Audi/Volkswagen lineup, I dove in a bit in May 2020:

1991 Audi 200 quattro Avant

Of the 149 200 20V quattro Avants originally imported here, it’s safe to say a fair number have gone the way of the dodo. So while today’s car is far from pristine, it’s still worth a look. And, as a plus, it’s also no reserve!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Audi 200 20V quattro Avant on eBay

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1995 Audi S6 Avant Euro-Spec

This C4 is listed as sold for $12,950 on November 20, 2021.

Back in January (and, again in July!) I took a look at this European-specification 1995 Audi S6 Avant. So why is it back? Well, in July it moved to a different seller, has different photos, and is now a no reserve auction. Strangely, the new photos also appear to be taken in Europe, but the car is claimed to be in Stamford, Connecticut – and the July auction was also supposed to be no reserve, but here’s the car again – and, again, with a slightly different description with some contact information. Each time a bit of new information is disclosed. Scam? Perhaps, but if you’re interested maybe it’s worth a call.

Original text from January 2021:

It used to be a bit unusual to see 90s-era European-specification cars come this way. But with the advent of the internet and 25-year-old cars being relatively cheap in other areas of the world, coupled with a current soaring market in the US and nostalgia for easier (they weren’t, but it’s okay to think they were) times, it’s less unusual to see Euro-only models for sale stateside. That’s not the case today; this S6 Avant was available here in nearly identical spec. However, there are a few things interesting on this one and it’s worth taking a look:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Audi S6 Avant Euro-Spec on eBay

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1992 Mercedes-Benz 500SEL

This W140 sold for $13,600 on November 17, 2021.

I still think the W140 Mercedes-Benz S-Class is occupying that no man’s land area where it isn’t old enough to be a full on classic, but certainly not new enough where original owner’s still are using them. When you look up 1990s styling, this is very much it, and maybe this isn’t a good thing. On the other hand, if you wanted to daily drive one, you certainly could as long as your wiring harness hasn’t turned to dust on the pre-facelift models. We are seeing the really nice Grand Edition and V12 cars sell for serious money, but the rest of the model line up seems to lag behind significantly.

Today’s example, a 1992 500SEL up for sale in Chicago looks like your typical early build, but shows an impressively low 25,000 miles. Even better? It’s Malachite Green Metallic.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1992 Mercedes-Benz 500SEL on eBay

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1990 Volkswagen Cabriolet Boutique

This A1 sold for the best offer under $8k on November 15, 2021.

Following the launch of the revised “Clipper” bodywork on the Cabriolet in 1988, Volkswagen divided the model into three different tiers. The base spec was just “Cabriolet”; move up a notch and you got you alloy wheels and sportier front seats with the “Best Seller” model. The top of the range was the “Boutique” model we see here; these incorporated many of the details of the Wolfsburg models that came before. You got 14″ Avus (Snowflake) alloys, which if you ordered white as a body color were keyed to match and leather upholstery.

While dynamically the cars were all the same, the combination of the best colors, the leather upholstery, and the nicest alloy wheels as standard mean that the Wolfsburg and Boutique models are “the” ones to get – unless you luck out and find an Etienne Aiger. Let’s take a look at this 1990 and see if this one’s a good deal:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Volkswagen Cabriolet Boutique on eBay

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2002 Audi TT Coupe 225 quattro ALMS Edition

This 8N sold for $9,350 on November 10, 2021.

You could be forgiven for thinking that the VAG 1.8 liter turbocharged motor was the go-to motor for the company in the late 90s and early 00s. It appeared nearly everywhere in the U.S.; the Golf, Jetta, GTI, GLI, Passat, Beetle, Audi A4, and Audi TT all received the forced-induction unit. And that was just in the U.S.; go to Europe, and you’d find many more models (the A6 and Sharan) and even other companies (VAG’s Skoda and SEAT) with the venerable motor. They were used in race series like Formula Palmer as well. You’d also be forgiven for thinking they were all the same – however, a pause for thought would tell you they couldn’t be. First off, there were the drive train configurations; the Golf-based variants have their engines mounted transversely, while the Audi A4-based cars have them longitudinally. Then there is the output that was available from the factory; the 1.8T started with 150 horsepower in the early 1990s and ended with 240 horsepower in the highest output TT Sport. The natural assumption would be to think they had just turned up the boost, but in fact there were a host of changes to the higher horsepower motors to help sustain the increased pressure.

There are, in fact, no less than 13 distinct versions of the 1.8T from that generation. All shared the same basic structure; cast iron block, 20 valve head with a single turbocharger; but details including injection, crank, computers and engine management and breather systems vary in between each of the models. The Audi TT was the only one to offer various engine outputs here; available in either 180 horsepower or 225 horsepower versions, the later of which was pared with a 6-speed manual and Haldex viscous-coupling all-wheel drive. Though heavy, they were nonetheless sprightly thanks to the turbocharged mill. I’ve said for some time now that I think these will eventually be more collectable as they were an important part of the development of the company, yet few remain in good shape. Were I going to get one, I’d opt for one of the 2002 special edition coupes; the ALMS edition, launched to celebrate the American Le Mans Series victory by Audi’s R8 race car. Available in two colors, Misano Red with extended Silver Nappa leather or Avus Silver Pearl with Brilliant Red Nappa leather, they were mostly an appearance package but also received special 18″ ‘Celebration’ alloys and were limited to 500 examples each:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 Audi TT Coupe 225 quattro ALMS Edition on eBay

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GTI Double Take: Modified 1983 and 1984 Volkswagen A1s

The black A1 GTI sold for $11,500 on October 30, 2021.

While not the fastest or the prettiest car Volkswagen ever made, the GTI represents the ethos of VW’s 1980s philosophy of cheap, fun-to-drive, and eminently practical cars for consumers. As they did when new, the first generation GTI also represented a car which gave much faster cars a run for their money. True, the 90 horsepower under the hood won’t scare a supercar. But what this car lacks in straight-line performance it more than makes up for in value.

You see, over the past few years we’ve watched the fan-favorites and driver’s cars from the 1980s increasingly price themselves out of the range of most enthusiasts. The esoterics are also forged in unobtanium today, and while there was a period where you could snap up cheap 80s products in Europe and import them, they’re going away, too. Sure, the M3 and 911 led the charge, but today a clean 190E 2.3-16 or Quattro will set you back some serious bucks. And then when you do get one, you need to worry about collector insurance, expensive and hard-to-source parts and whether you bought in a bubble.

The solution is still the giant-killer GTI. Find a clean one, and you’ll have a car that can be driven at 10/10ths still today and generate plenty of smiles, yet is relatively cheap to buy and very cheap to run. You’ll get thumbs up just like the 911 driver will. Maybe even more, honestly, because when was the last time you saw an A1 cruising around? Today I have two possibilities, from wild to mild. Which would you choose?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 Volkswagen “GTI” on eBay

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1986 BMW M535i

This M535i sold on October 3, 2021 for $9,100.

Following up on the M760i, it seems relevant to look at an M535i. There’s a huge disparity in the “M” branded models between the E24 and E28. While the M6 and M5 co-existed in the United States market, they did not in Europe. This left the M635CSi to be the equivalent of the M6, as the latter was only marketed in North America and Japan. But the same was not true of the M535i. This model was sold as a more affordable alternative to the M5 in Europe: most of the look of the Motorsports model but without the bigger bills associated with the more exotic double overhead cam 24 valve M88/3. Instead, you got a 3.4 liter M30 under the hood just like the rest of the .35 models. The recipe was a success, selling around 10,000 examples in several different markets – but never in the U.S..

Instead, the U.S. market received the 535iS model. The iS model was specific to the North American market and gave you the look of the U.S.-bound M5, with deeper front and rear spoilers, M-crafted sport suspension and sport seats. It, too, was quite popular – between 1987 and 1988, just over 6,000 examples sold in the United States alone, and of those, a little more than half were the preferred manual variant. One of the nice aspects of the 535iS was that if you enjoyed colors other than black you were able to order the lesser model in any shade you wanted, unlike the North American M5.

Today I found an M535i that popped up in…well, shall we say an unusual setting. Let’s take a look:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 BMW M535i on eBay

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2002 Audi S6 Avant

This S6 Avant sold on September 12, 2021 for $8,077.

One of the more captivating baffling options in the used performance wagon market must surely be the C5 Audi Allroad. Despite the reputation for 100% metaphysical certitude that they’ll fail – probably catastrophically, they’re fan favorites. Often as a retort to internet commentaries that they’re not reliable, actual owners will chime in, demanding respect and steadfastly assuring the audience that the Allroad’s reputation is undeserved.

It’s been 100% reliable!’ they’ll insist.

Of course, the recipe to actually make it reliable involves major reworking of the engine and suspension. And, sometimes the electronics, too. On top of that, it turns out that various people’s definition of ‘reliable’ varies greatly – especially for Audi owners. Basically, to be deemed ‘unreliable’, an Audi must first assassinate a major public figure, then make a Star Wars reboot featuring only Jar-Jar Binks, then kneel during the National Anthem (easy to do, as most have failed suspension on at least one corner), perhaps call someone the wrong personal pronoun, and finally do the action sequence out of a Michael Bay Transformer movie when you turn the key. If, and only if, those conditions are met will fanatics finally fail to reply to the assertion that the Allroad just isn’t a reliable car.

But, it’s cool. And so you probably want one, even though you know it’ll bankrupt you. So the smart way to buy an Allroad is to not buy an Allroad – you should buy an S6 Avant, and in particular, this S6 Avant.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 Audi S6 Avant on eBay

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1989 Volkswagen Cabriolet Wolfsburg Edition

This car sold for $6,500.

In 1989, Volkswagen launched a series of six special Wolfsburg Edition cars. Probably the most famous of these is the Jetta GLI 16V, but there were special versions of the Fox, Vanagon, Golf GL, Jetta GL, and this car – the Cabriolet. Now, the 1989 Cabriolet Wolfsburg Edition is not to be confused with the earlier Wolfsburg Editions. For 1989, the special model was based on the ‘Bestseller’ trim. They were all finished in Star Blue Metallic with a dark blue top and equipped with 14″ ‘teardrop’ alloy wheels and striped seat upholstery that matched the GLI. They weren’t cheap, but they’re a pretty color combination that you don’t see every day:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Volkswagen Cabriolet Wolfsburg Edition on eBay

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