I still remember the moment as the wave of envy set over me. A struggling college student, I had tried hard to balance my love of cars with the multiple part-time jobs I fit in between classes. Ultimately, cars probably came before some things they should have, but still fell staunchly behind the realities of life. Rent. Tutition. Books. Utilites. FOOD. These necessities multiplied themselves together over the years, grasping at my meager weekly paycheck more rapidly than I could deposit it in the bank. Trips to the pump were always metered; weeks went by holding breath at every turn of the key, praying for a safe completion of circuit. And when you own a ’84 Volkswagen that sat in a driveway not running for decade rotting away before you resurrected it, often your dreams of a trouble-free commute are unrealized.
As a result of my shoestring budget, I often turned to a friend to help with mechanical work that my GTI often needed. He’d stop by my house after work and wrench for a bit, or I’d drive it by his place for a replacement part or ten. He also had a A1 – a sweet special edition Cabriolet from ’85 which he had spent years tricking out. But on one of these repair stops, he introduced me to his new toy.
It was 1998 and he had picked up a ’90 Corrado G60. He had picked it up cheap, too, as they often broke even when pretty new. Two things struck me about this car. Though it was only 6 years newer than my GTI, it might as well have been a spaceship. The two shared nothing in common outside of the badge. My pyrite-in-the-rough GTI was rusty and not so trusty. Horrible build quality meant things regularly broke, or fell off, or rusted off; often, the trifecta struck. It was a square slowly-deteriorating block of iron oxide in a rounded-off world. In comparison, the Corrado looked well-built, felt modern, was comfortable, had air conditioning and electronic items that…well, functioned, and even had paint all in one color. But the other thing that struck me was just how tired and old that Corrado already felt in 1998. I rarely buy cars that are newer than 10 years old, but this Corrado felt a lot more than that already. Perhaps that was because the VR6 model had so quickly replaced it. Or perhaps it was because I was still excited for new cars to launch in 1998. Looking back, though, my initial impressions of the Corrado G60 still hold true. But am I still jealous that I didn’t have one?
If you’ve not been paying attention, pundents have been claiming that the classic car market is cooling ever so slightly. Bring a Trailer and the BMW 2002tii didn’t get the message, apparently. Just the other day, a European-specification 1972 tii traded for $102,002 before fees. See what they did there?
Anyway, I’ve previously lamented that I had opportunities to get into the Quattro market before the second wave of Group B insanity. Well, I also missed out on the classic E10 market. My first car was very nearly a ’73 2002tii, and while it’s extremely unlikely it would have ever ended up as nice as today’s Turkis example, it’s a nice thought, anyway.
Maybe just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Porsche’s paint-to-sample and Exclusive options programs has given us some real gems over the year, but every once in a while we get some real odd balls. Today’s 2008 911 C2S is bordering on that. This 997.1 is finished in the same green as the GT3 RS which isn’t the worst thing ever, but it is what happens on the inside that takes it to the limit in my eyes. Wait until you see for yourself.
All of a sudden it’s March! You know what that means. Four more weeks of winter for us in the northern part of the country and then we’ll maybe start thinking about spring. In all seriousness, hope springs eternal when the calendar turns and we’ll be preparing for car season. What better way to kick it off by looking at a Mercedes-Benz convertible with a supercharged V8 with nearly 500 horsepower?
This 2003 SL55 AMG up for sale in Arizona is finished in the classic Brilliant Silver Metallic, but when you open the doors you get your hair blown away with a red leather interior. Personally, I love it. I love even more that it has just 14,000 miles as well.
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:
About a month ago, I came across a really nice 2002 Porsche 911 Turbo painted in Orient Red Metallic with just 9,900 miles on the odometer. Of course, it looks like it sold for $55,100, which I thought was a good buy, but then was relisted shortly after and was only bid to $44,000. Such is life trying to sell an expensive car on your own in 2020. As luck would have it another 996 Turbo in Orient Red popped up for sale, although this one has 72,000 miles and is a 5-speed Tiptronic, not the the 6-speed manual transaxle. What does that do for the price? Not much it seems.
So the E30 M3 is probably out of your league, and clean examples of the E46 generation are getting more expensive by the day. The solution is still the E36. The Internet will make arguments all day long about how this car isn’t as special as the ones that came before and after, but the reality is that it’s still a M3. And you could make a compelling argument that it did (and still does) a better job of bringing sports car performance to a practical package that’s affordable to almost everyone. The S52 3.2 liter inline-6 doesn’t sound as great on paper as the race-derived S14, but it had two more peak horsepower than that strung out four. More telling was torque; 236 lb.ft at 3,800 rpms versus the Sport Evolution’s 177 lb.ft at 4,700 rpms. Yes, it was heavier; the curb weight of the M3 Sedan you see here was about 3,200 lbs. But the additional power made up for it, and the results should be no surprise. 0-60 was dealt with over 1/2 a second quicker than the Sport, a gap that was maintained right through the quarter mile.
And practicality? It’s no contest, really. Not only is the E36 safer, but the E36 added 4-doors to the recipe. Not to mention the costs to keep one running – check out the price of a S14 rebuild today, for example. Owning a legend often doesn’t come cheap, and in this case you the current bid on this 48,000 mile 1998 M3 is cheaper than what a proper rebuild of the race motor will cost you.
Then there’s the driving experience. Downgraded ///motor be damned, these cars are absolutely stellar to drive. I’ve driven each of the first three generations of M3 on track in anger, and the second doesn’t give up much to the bookends. It’s not as toss-able as the original nor as powerful as the third, but overall it’s right there. The steering is near telepathic, the shifting precise, the power band broad. It’s a deceptively good car and deserves far better than the treatment it’s currently getting, which is to mostly be ignored in the marketplace:
Today’s post is not about how revolutionary the Quattro was. I’ve written plenty of those and I’m sure you’re tired of hearing about it. So instead, today’s post is more of a philosophical question.
At what point do modifications become sacrilegious?
There seem to be several camps of automotive enthusiasts; one seems to always be wrapped up in the biggest, brightest, and fastest things to come out. Another group embraces the history of automobiles and celebrates most who love the cars. And then there are the preservation people. They’re a very special group who deem it necessary to fault someone’s vision or personal preference in their expression of automotive enthusiasm.
Perhaps we transit through these groups as we age. I can certainly remember a point in my life where I was part of the newest and fastest group. I can remember moving into the second group as I attempted to modify my car to be a personal expression. And, more recently, I’ve found the appeal of originality much greater. I’ve certainly even poked fun at or criticized my fair share of cars. Which brings us to today’s example of a 1983 Quattro.
For as bland and as boring as Mercedes-Benz can be with some of the color combinations, every once in awhile they’ll give us something that shows they still have a little bit of style. The W210 E-Class was pretty notorious for being offered in nothing but earth tones, especially the beige on beige examples. What we have here today is a 2001 E430 from the swanky minds at the designo department who offered up a color combination of Mocco Black Metallic over a Nappa Nubuck leather interior with natural elm wood trim. Even better, it has the classic 18″ Monoblock wheels and just 75,000 miles. To top it off, it’s had a single family ownership and service records from new.
The first A3 was launched alongside the then-new A4, and while the visual similarities were strong, the two models shared little. That’s because the A3 was based heavily on the Mk.4 Golf platform with transverse mounted engines. Just like the original Audi 50, though, the A3’s arrival predated the Mk.4 Golf by a year. While the U.S. had to wait until the 2004 launch of the Golf R32 to get all-wheel drive performance, Europe had enjoyed Golfs with four wheels driven since 1986. So it was a relative cinch to stick the Haldex-based all-wheel drive system into the A3 chassis where, like the TT, it would be called “quattro”. And just like the TT, a high performance variant of the 1.8T would be included and become the S3 in 1999. Some of the styling cues were shared with the big-brother S4, including 17″ Avus wheels and deeper, smooth bumper covers. The S3 was the first model to utilize the ‘door blades’ that would become signature S bits soon after. Performance was about what you’d expect from a near twin of the TT – meaning, virtually identical. But what you did get was slightly more subtle styling and slightly more practicality, with a bit more storage space and a roomier cabin.