Even though for my the B5 chassis A4 was the beginning of the dilution of the Audi brand, I admit I have always had a soft spot for nice examples. And the first A4 had plenty of things to celebrate. First off, it effectively saved and resurrected the brand in the U.S. from near extinction; consider for a moment Audi sold a total of 18,124 cars in 1995, the same year that the A4 was introduced as a 1996. By 1997, Audi sold 16,333 of just the A4 quattro model alone. As a success, that subsequently meant that there were a plethora of options to be had in the new chassis as production opened up. Soon we had the 1.8T turbo model joining the V6, the V6 was soon revised to have 30 valves, there was a light refresh in ’98 as well and another in ’01, the Avant joined the lineup for ’98, and of course we got a new S4 in 2000.
Considering that for some time there had only been one way per a year to get the small chassis in quattro form, this relatively dizzying array of chassis configurations meant that there are still quite a few nice ones out there to be had. But unlike other cars that have skyrocketing asking prices, a very clean B5 quattro can still be had for a relative song:
The classic blues have been so popular on Porsche 911s, that the company actually wised up and offered as a standard-ish color for the 991 chassis. From a money perspective, it seems like an odd move seeing as they know they’ll get another $7,000 or so if someone orders it for paint to sample, but maybe it was a logistics thing of them selling more cars to begin with if they could sprinkle some of these cars throughout dealer lots around the county. The blue offered on the 991 was actually Miami Blue (not Mexico Blue) that had just a little bit of a teal shade to it if you look at it in certain lighting. Meanwhile, the Mexico Blue that I linked, is a much truer royal blue that you would associate the color of blue with. Now don’t confuse that with Rivera Blue, as that is a little lighter shade of Mexico Blue. Are we having fun yet? This photo explains it best with left to right, Rivera, Miami, then Mexico. Easy.
Naturally people want this color more than a black, white, grey, or silver, so of course Porsche charged more for it. You thought you were getting off that easy? A more standard color like Jet Black Metallic or Agate Grey Metallic is $710, but Miami Blue? $3,140. That bigger price tag just isn’t exclusive to Miami, a color like Lava Orange also carries the same $3,140 premium. So now that the 991 production is done for good, people are dumping their cars to upgrade to the 992 and these special colors are now on the used market. This 2017 C2 up for in, wouldn’t you know, Miami, Florida, just has 3,400 miles on it. I hope the extra money was worth it.
Euro cars always hold a special appreciation for me, especially from the 1970s and 1980s. First off, they were much better looking, generally with slimmer bumpers and larger, more clear class lights. There were colors and interiors that we didn’t get in the U.S. as well, helping to set yourself apart. Sometimes there were low-spec engines not imported, but usually the output of the motors that were similar to U.S. cars was higher, giving more performance to enthusiasts. Sometimes that gulf was huge; while usually around 10% higher, a great example is the Quattro which was a full 25% more powerful in Europe than the U.S. restricted version. But as we got towards the late ’80s, the gap inbetween both the looks and performance of the Euro models versus the U.S. models closed steadily. True, in some cases we still didn’t get the full-fat versions of cars like the M3 until the E46 chassis. But for most models, there was a negligible difference. When it came to the BMW E31, in fact, there were almost no differences between the U.S. models and European models; styling was exactly the same, as were the wheels, most of the colors and interiors, and the basic suspension and engine. So, it’s just not nearly as exciting to see a European-spec newer model like this ’91 850i pop up for sale, though it is a bit odd:
In just a few years as the century turned over, Audi went from only one S model with very limited production imported in the C4 S6 to three models. Top of the range was the S8, but it shared its running gear and sonorous V8 in a slightly detuned state with the new C5 S6. For Audi enthusiasts, though, big news came with the launch of the new S4.
It was unrelated to the first S4 because of Audi’s renaming strategy in 1995. That meant that the new S4 was based on the small chassis B5, and U.S. enthusiasts finally got a taste of Audi’s M3 competitor. Performance came in the form of a new 2.7 twin-turbocharged V6 30V and was mated to either a 5-speed Tiptronic transmission like its bigger siblings or a 6-speed manual. Like other B5s, the S4 made use of the 4th generation of quattro technology driving all four wheels. This utilized a Torsen center differential with open front and rear differentials, both of which employed the ABS sensors to electronically ‘lock up’ the slipping wheels when a speed differentiation was detected. Like other S models, some light revisions to the bodywork and more pronounced exhaust were present, along with polished mirrors and 17″ Avus-design wheels. Most notable was the large front bumper cover with 6 gaping grill covers which hid the twin intercoolers for the motor. With 250 horsepower and 258 lb.ft of torque, you had an all-weather 155 mph warrior – and one that could easily be turned up many notches:
After last week’s Porsche 911 Targa 4 GTS loaded up with a seemingly endless amount of options, I wanted to look at another GTS in the Porsche lineup, the Cayman. Porsche introducted the Cayman GTS in 2014 with much fanfare, as this was once again a setup with the S model but not as hardcore as the yet to be released GT4. It boasted respectable numbers from the 3.6L flat-six, and would accelerate to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds with the manual transmission, 4.7 seconds with PDK, and 4.5 seconds with PDK and Sport Plus mode. Base price was around $75,000, but of course you could never find one for that price given how many options were stuffed into these. This 2015 up for sale in New York is a great example of it.
As I mentioned in the M635CSi post in August, there is some of the confusion about these “M” branded models came from the nomenclature 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. But the same was not true of the M535i. This model was sold as a more affordable alternative to the M5; 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 M5. This particular 535iS has some cool mods to give it a bit more style, too:
I’d never thought I’d type this, but maybe it isn’t such a bad idea to buy a W220 Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG. Okay, maybe that was a little too broad. What I mean is maybe it isn’t such a bad idea to buy a W220 Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG if you really want a crazy powerful sedan and have lots of discretionary income to support such a purchase or you were seriously considering last week’s mess of a S600. I think that statement gets a little closer to my point, or maybe it is just one of those situations where it isn’t nearly as bad as it could be.
In the shock of the century, the W220 SL/CL/S65 AMG cars seem to be holding up fairly well considering what could actually go wrong with them. After all, this is what happened when the engineers at AMG turn the dial up to 9, with a 10 only being the SL65 AMG Black Series. Just encase I didn’t make this clear, I’m not saying these are cheap or inexpensive to keep running, but rather the same situation as living in Siberia and saying “Hmm. -8°F today, not that cold at all”. On the price end of the equation, it seems that these have hit rock bottom and dare I even say are actually being sought after by enthusiasts. So when a really sorted example pops up like today’s S65 in Los Angeles, should you actually give it consideration?
I must admit I had a soft spot for the E36/5 when it first came to our market. To me, it combined some luxury looks with practical performance. And when I say performance, honestly there wasn’t much available. The M44 engine that was fit to the 318ti was a decent performer, but it had only 138 horsepower, and at the price point you were much better off getting a GTi VR6, which oddly was more luxury oriented than most of the 318tis and offered more performance. However, the base of the 318ti was a good idea; a smart looking, light and nimble hatchback with a manual transmission and rear drive. This one has some strong positives going for it, but just one thing is missing…
I suppose you find what you look for, but it seems like I’ve been finding a whole slew of interesting 996 Porsche 911 Turbos of late. Case in point, this 2002 up for sale outside of Boston is finished in the not-so common Orient Red Metallic paint. Inside, it’s equally not as common with Natural Brown leather and the Light Wood trim package. Yes, it is a 6-speed manual gearbox car thankfully, and the best part? Just 9,800 miles. Now we are talking.
Stalled projects. If you’re a budget-minded enthusiast, they are both your best friend and your worst enemy. On more than one occasion, I’ve taken over a stalled project. Or, five.
“Can you believe someone would GIVE me an Audi Coupe GT? FOR FREE????”
Of course, nothing is really free. Invariably, the subject is several hundred miles away. It’s not running. It’s missing key parts. It’s probably
a little very dirty. And despite the low entry price, by the time you’re finished you’ll likely be upside down compared to a clean example you could have bought, enjoyed, and…perhaps…driven in that time you were saving dollars to sort your pile of parts.
But then you see the ad and you’re instant thought is “Oh MAN, look at all those good parts and potential!!!”
And the cycle continues…