TT Double TTake: 2005 Audi TT Coupe 225 quattro and 2002 TT Roadster 225 quattro

The TT Roadster sold for $8,145 and the Coupe sold for $8,100.

Currently, almost no one has time to even consider the 8N chassis Audi TT. It’s old, with the last of the first generation produced 15 years ago and its replacement – the 8J – has also fully completed a production cycle. It doesn’t have the super wiz-bang computers, million horsepower engines, or cut-your-hand-on-the-front-end styling of the new models. A fair amount lay in a state of disrepair; crashed, thrashed and trashed to a point where they’re nearly given away – quite seriously, there’s one near me for $1,500. But find a good one, and I think now is the prime time to grab a clean TT that will be a future collectable – and BaT recently has sold a few low mileage examples at or over $20,000. Today’s duo of quattros aren’t nearly as clean or low mileage, but they’re also a lot cheaper. Which would you take?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2005 Audi TT Coupe 225 quattro on eBay

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1988 Merkur XR4Ti

This Merkur sold for $4,350.

As enthusiasts, oddly we often lament new cars. Undoubtedly, newer models turn better, stop better and accelerate faster than most of the cars that they replace. They return better fuel economy, have more gears, and are generally more reliable. In a crash, they’ll save your life and some will even call the police for you. Impressive? Sure, without a doubt. But if I had a nickle for every time I heard how some enthusiast would rather have a brand new example of a car from their youth, I’d be a rich man. I’ve heard it from all sources; desire for a bullet-proof reliable new W126 S-Class, longing for a return of the real Quattro with locking differentials, dreams of finding a new E30 M3 or 3.2 Carrera. But if you’re a bit different, perhaps you’re one of the devoted Merkur fans.

Now, I know what you’re saying. Merkurs are Fords, and Fords are American. How about this – Ford Europe’s headquarters is in Cologne, Germany. And they produce a fair amount of cars in Germany even today. Since we consider the Volkswagens built in Chattanooga and Westmoreland, the BMWs built in Spartanburg, and the Mercedes-Benz models bolted together in Alabama, I think we can deviate for a moment into a hot Ford.

Audi and SAAB helped to mainstream turbocharging, and by the 1980s it was almost expected in performance circles. That culminated in a wave of ever increasing performance hot hatchbacks that completely changed our perception of speed. As newer, faster models emerged, the technology increasingly filtered its way into lower-spec models until the results of all of the turbocharging basically were acknowledged to be wrecking the world’s environment. I call it ‘Trickle-down Turbonomics’. The result? Ford launched a series of turbocharged hatchbacks and sedans in the 80s, including the Fiesta RS, the Mustang SVO, the turbocharged Thunderbird, and this car – the XR4Ti, the US version of the Ford Sierra.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Merkur XR4Ti on eBay

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1995.5 Audi S6 Avant


This S6 Avant sold for $8,182.52.

If you want in on the zenith of the BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche production – what many argue are the late 80s to mid 90s cars – you’re going to pay a lot of money for a prime example. But turn to Volkswagen and corporate partner Audi, and you’ll still be able to get into a legend for pennies on the dollar. Witness, the Audi S6 Avant.

I’ve previously covered just how special these cars are and to say that they’ve got a cult following is an Internet-breaking understatement. Seriously, tell an owner of one of these that he’s got just another car and you’re likely to end up with a bloody nose and an earfull of Ingolstadt. Yet prime condition S6 Avants are surprisingly hard to come by, in part because they were used heavily and more notably because so few came here originally. Here’s a great-looking black on black ‘95.5 to consider, though, and it’s no reserve to boot:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995.5 Audi S6 Avant on eBay

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1993 Volkswagen Caravelle syncro Diesel

Update 12/3/19: This Caravelle syncro sold for $11,600

It’s hard to fit into the regular lineup all of the various neat German vehicles from diverse brands, so admittedly I end up focusing on ones that really spark my interest. That leaves big gaps in coverage, and one such gaffe is certainly the Volkswagen T-series. The first three generations were based upon the Type 2 platform and rear-engine configuration, which left plenty of space for a slab-sided apartment on wheels. But Volkswagen continued the feat with the T4. The engine moved to the front and was water-cooled, transverse and in most applications driving the front wheels. But like the T3, the T4 was also available in syncro configuration with all-wheel drive.

However, while the T3’s viscous coupling sent power forward with twin locking differentials for each axle, the T4’s front-drive transverse layout meant that it needed to employ a system similar to the Golf platform. That meant a viscous coupling to transfer power rearward when slip was detected, with some T4s also having a manually locking rear differential to assist in really sticky situations. While not the go-anywhere mountain goat the T3 could be, it was a neat configuration not offered in the States. Further, you could get a plethora of engine choices at the same time the EuroVan was solely offered with the 2.5 inline-5 gas motor. Case in point is today’s 2.4 liter AAB. While not more powerful than the 2.5 gas motor, the 10 valve inline-5 diesel was a lot less thirsty and offered 77 horsepower and 121 lb.ft of torque at low revs. Here it’s hooked to a manual transmission and already imported to the U.S.:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1993 Volkswagen Caravelle syncro on eBay

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Roll the Dice: 1983 Audi Quattro

Update 11/17/19: This Quattro sold for $18,600

Though the basis for what made the Quattro legendary; inspired racey styling, boxflares, turbocharging and all-wheel drive with a near-luxury interior seems almost trite, the Quattro really was a revolution in design. Some ten times more dear than an E30 M3, in recent years the Audi has gained a lot more respect in the marketplace. There are those that say you cant really compare the Quattro to the M3, or even the 911 though the pricing was quite similar. But isnt that the point? In period, the other car you could have bought for the same money was a basic 911. And the market spoke: in 1983, Audi sold some 240 Quattros in the U.S.. Porsche, on the other hand, traded 5,707 911SCs between the Coupe, Targa and new Cabriolet models. There was basically no market overlap with the other two major contenders the 944 Turbo and the M3. Both those cars, and the 911, were finished to a higher level of quality with better components, arguably, but the real difference was the type of owner who bought the Quattro versus the 911. These cars were built to be used and abused, and many were.

With only 664 brought here in total, and just 240 from the first model year, you’re going to have a pretty hard time finding one for sale at any given time – unlike the other three cars mentioned. That’s why it’s worth taking a look at one of the earliest U.S. chassis, even if it does come with a long list of needs. But that strong potential of heavy needs isn’t slowing bids down…

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 Audi Quattro on eBay

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1984 Mercedes-Benz 280SE

Update 11/17/19: This 280SE sold for ask – $3,692.

For as many really cool cars that I take a look at that have price tags north of $50,000 and a lot of times even $100,000, there are still some cars out there for almost no money at all and not because they’ve been sitting at a bottom of lake and/or running on two cylinders. Case in point, today’s car, a 1984 Mercedes-Benz 280SE. This is a German-market car that was never sold in the US and is as bottom of the range as you can get in the W126 hierarchy. Cloth interior, manual climate control, manual rear windows, and a not-so-powerful (but trusty) inline-six gas engine. Still, this is bottom of the barrel price for what looks like a really clean car. How can you say no?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Mercedes-Benz 280SE on eBay

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1995 Volkswagen Passat GLX VR6 Variant with 26,500 Miles

Update 11/17/19: This Passat sold for $5,950.

Without a doubt, wagons are one of the favorite subjects here at GCFSB, and while there are plenty of desirable, big name Avants, Tourings and Estates that grab the headlines and generate the likes on Myface or Spacebook or Instaselfie or whatever, if Im honest Im always a fan of the underdog Passat Variant. Perhaps its because Ive owned two, perhaps its because its the less common choice; Im not entirely certain. True, the Passat isnt the best performing wagon out there, and Id concede that its not the best looking or best made one either. But in terms of the performance you can get in a stealthy, good looking package on a budget, I think that the Passat may be the real sleeper in the German wagon realm.

But the positive aspects of the Passats arent unknown to all; the Quantum Syncro is always a popular if rarely seen 80s icon for the company, and when we got to the Golf-based B3 and B4, there were some cool options too such as the not-for-the-U.S. G60 Syncro. But even in the U.S., the B4 offered some neat performance options for the wagon aficionado interestingly, in very different directions. Check the TDi option, and you had a hyper-miler capable of over a thousand miles on a tank of gas. Check the GLX option on your order form and youd get the torquey, great sounding VR6 engine and BBS wheels in a sporty package. While both of those engine options were also available in the Golf lineup at the same time, if you wanted a true 5-door you could only select the Passat. Admittedly that’s a niche market, so it should come as no surprise that this is a fairly uncommon car to see today:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Volkswagen Passat GLX VR6 Variant on eBay

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1980 Porsche 924

Update 10/23/19: This cool 924 sold for a surprising $8,100.
Update 12/4/19: This car has been listed again for sale at $14,900 by the new dealer.

Early Porsche 924 models are one of the most interesting paradoxes in the Stuttgart world. They were the entry model into the fabled badge and, as a result, generally disregarded by those who love the classic 911. For front-engine cars, the mighty V8 grand tourer 928 thoroughly outshines what was admittedly originally intended to be the car for Volkswagen that became the Scirocco. The engine in the early models is an Audi 2.0 8V inline-4 found in the 100 and rated at 110 horsepower – hardly a headline grabber.

But then there’s the other side of the 924; many were owned by enthusiasts who likely didn’t have deep enough pockets for the more illustrious models. Though they were short on money they lacked nothing in passion, and today it’s still possible to find very clean examples of the early 924 for sale. And because Porsche tried hard to offer many special incentives to jump into Porsche ownership, there are a plethora of early special editions to choose from. But those were almost entirely appearance packages; smart money looks for the later upgraded examples as Porsche threw the parts catalog at the 924 on its way out:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1980 Porsche 924 on eBay

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2000 BMW 540i Sport Touring Dinan Supercharged

Update 10/18/19: This super supercharged 540iT sold for $11,100. Deal!

BMW’s continual refusal to bring the most powerful form of its its Touring/Sports Wagon historical lineup has been, as a 5-door enthusiast, pretty frustrating. That’s left Audi in the 2000s and Mercedes-Benz more recently to thoroughly dominate fast 5-doors, with the brief Cadillac interloper. But just because you couldn’t get an M5 Touring over here didn’t mean you couldn’t at least get M performance.

For that, though, you had to turn to fabled California tuner Dinan. No stranger on these pages, Dinan’s well-thought mods and clean execution earned his company a place in the revered showrooms of new BMWs. Cheap? Certainly not. Just the supercharger alone on this particular 540i was $16,000. But you get what you pay for, and the result when Dinan blew on the M62 was a claimed 400 horsepower. So this 540iT has the chops to back up its M5 looks:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2000 BMW 540i Sport Touring Dinan Supercharged on eBay

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2001 Mercedes-Benz S320 CDI

Update 10/18/19: This unusual W220 sold for $7,090.

I certainly didn’t expect to see this on U.S. soil. “This” is a 2001 Mercedes-Benz S320 CDI. That means this is a short wheelbase W220 with the OM613 turbo diesel engine. Produced from 2000 to 2002, this S-Class was never brought to North America because the diesel S-Class was killed off in the early-90s during the W140 chassis and still hasn’t returned…and probably never will. It was very light on equipment and options, but it wasn’t about that in this car. It was about that sweet OM613. Have a gentle foot, and you could return 30 miles per gallon out of this boat of a car. I know an economical S-Class is a bit of an oxymoron (more of those here), but this is very much a situation of having it all. Let me explain.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Mercedes-Benz S320 CDI on eBay

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