B-e-a-utiful 1984 VW GTI

The MkI GTI in Mars Red is like rosso corsa Ferraris- sure, they look great in other colors (I could do white or black), but they just look right. Today’s low-mileage example has had the benefit of a recent respray and redone interior too. First-gen GTIs don’t get much better than this.

It won’t take much to make this baby perfect. I probably would have gone for the black/plaid interior if I had my druthers, but that’s negligible in the face of how nice the seller has made this car. Don’t know what his reserve his but he says he’ll take significantly less then $10k. With only 106k miles I’d say it could go as high as $7k, but getting into a Mk1 this clean for around $5k would be a great, and really fun, deal.


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:


Museum-worthy Restored 1964 VW Karmann Ghia

It’s probably my life of modest means that attracts me to cars that provide a good value, allowing me a slightly more realistic daydream of ownership. Today’s Karmann Ghia is on the opposite end of the spectrum, a car that, while probably totally worth it, is seriously expensive thanks to a borderline-obsessive restoration just 2200 miles ago. It’s gorgeous inside and out, top to bottom, and the restorer apparently went to the greatest lengths to get every detail correct and perfect. It shows, and while I love me some function-over-form classic German cars, I certainly have respect for showroom-quality classics.

Exhaustively restored 1964 VW Karmann Ghia for sale on the Samba

Just look at that jaw-dropping undercarriage. It has a great description so I’ll leave it to the poster:

Offered is a 1964 Karmann Ghia, restored by veteran VW specialist, Brent Winman. Brent is the Chief Engine Builder at Raby’s Aircooled Technology and has been since 2000. Brent has unparalleled attention to detail and vast VW knowledge with over 30 years of experience. This Karmann Ghia illustrates his dedication to Volkswagen.

You will find cars sold at a cheaper price than this one, but you won’t find a Ghia with the attention to detail and correctness that this car has right down to the infinite details that took Brent years of research to complete.

I brought the body and floor pan back from California in 1998 and had planned to restore it myself, instead I sold the rust free project to Brent and he took the car to a level that simply cannot be put into words.

The car took over six years to restore to the state illustrated by the pictures and video posted in this ad. With only 2200 miles on the entire vehicle since restoration was complete back in 2003 this is virtually a new car, the interior still smells new and the car hasn’t sat outside for one night since being completed, nor has it seen a single rain drop.

Mechanically every nut, bolt and washer was removed. Instead of just replacing many of these fasteners with Chinese reproductions the original fasteners were blasted and reused, that same attention to detail and correctness can be found in every aspect of this car. The entire body chassis and subsystems were completely removed, restored and reassembled and nothing was left attached, this is a full ground up restoration.

The correct 1200cc engine is installed and is detailed right down to the original air filter assembly with the factory writing. The engine performs great and on a 550 mile trip to “Bug Jam” back in 2003 where the car was shot for a Hot VWs Feature it cruised easily at 75-80 MPH with exceptional fuel mileage as I followed Brent in my 912E.

The body of this vehicle is perfect, it has the slickest Gulf Blue paint that can be found and all work was done by Eddie Martin of Murphy North Carolina. The entire chassis was stripped and coated with POR-15 for durability, corrosion resistance and luster.

The car comes complete with the original key and a history that is very interesting. It was restored by a person who is more passionate for VWs than any other person I have met and the job was done with correctness and function. This vehicle is not a daily driver and should be considered a museum piece more than anything else. This Ghia has been restored to showroom condition.

Featured in the January 2005 issue of Hot VWs Magazine, this car has been recognized as one of the best examples of quality restoration in the country.

Totally awesome. I love the color and really appreciate that someone took the time to give this Ghia a rebirth. I can really see it sitting on a showroom floor just as the Beatles hit America. Would I pay $30k for it? No, but I’m not going to say it’s not worth it considering the time and love that went into making it perfect.


Time Capsule 1987 BMW M6 for sale

I mentioned the other day that I was more interested in writing about reachable German iron than “relative-creampuffs,” but there’s nothing relative about today’s M6 and I just couldn’t pass it up. With just 18k miles on the clock and near-perfect inside and out, this is a collector’s piece and is priced as such. The buy-it-now is $25k, about $10-15k more than a normal, decent M6.

From the seller:

Here we have a 1987 BMW M6 with 17805 original miles. The car has a clean white leather interior, and a solid black exterior. The has been garage kept since it was new. The car has been well taken care of, and adult driven. The vehicle has not been smoked in. The M6 drives like a new car and handles awesome. The car needs a new home for someone that can appreciate it. The only known flaw to my attention is that the a/c is not blowing as cold as it should, possibly needs a service done. The car has a BMW radar detector installed in the dash. There is one small door ding on the passenger rear quarter and a small scratch on the passenger front fender. The vehicles tires are in good condition and there is a new matching tire in the trunk.

There aren’t too many used M-cars out there with under 20k miles, let alone ones of 80s vintage, including the ultimate shark E24 M6. This is a great opportunity out there for someone with a big garage and a penchant for unsoiled M.


1990 Volkswagen Doka Syncro Tristar

A few months back we featured a few VW T3 Dokas here and here, and yet another one has cropped up for sale on The Samba, this one relatively cheaper than what we have seen lately:

1990 Volkswagen Syncro Tristar on The Samba

The seller states:

1990 Syncro Tristar 2.1 wbx

Yes, a 4 door, 4 wheel drive Volkswagen pickup truck, one of only 500 ever made. The Tristar is the top of the line in the doublecabs. It’s easy to make a Tristar more off road capable, but very difficult to turn a regular doublecab into a Tristar loaded with following options in addition to other Tristar standard options:

factory sunroof
factory anti lock brakes
factory fog lights
antenna in windshield
rear window defrost
power windows, locks, mirrors
aftermarket cruise
H4 headlights
headlight washers
power steering
factory tow hitch
sliding rear windows
factory rear bench seat belts for three
locking rear differential

Truck has dents, scratches, and other exterior blemishes. Repaint or not. Very little rust. Driveshaft is currently in place and vibration free. Titled and registered in California. Comes with spare vinyl rear bench, great for dogs or messy kids.

Price does not include the 16″ rims as shown. Truck will come with stock 14″ rims/tires to match stock 4:86 transmission. I have some 15″ Ronal rims which would look great on this truck and would still match standard gearing. Optional higher price of $17,900 will include a fresh rebuilt 5:43 drivetrain w/ rear locker , decoupler and front locker (three knob setup) 16″ rims w/ 225/75/16 tires as shown, coilover suspension. New 2.1 motor was installed in Germany, runs strong.

Rare opportunity to own a great driving practical collectable that turn heads ! This rare truck will hold it’s value over time. Offered for a bargain price because of the dents which can easily be pulled out. Almost no seam rust which is very common in doublecabs. Sorry, no trades, serious buyers only please.

While I’m not a truck person, these things have that similar basic appeal that draws me to the Mercedes-Benz Geländewagen. Someone out there is sure to snap this Doka up at this price and it will more than likely soldier on for many years to come.


Reasonably-priced E30 M3

There’s quite a few E30s for sale around the internets right now, more than I’ve seen in a while. The problem? Despite an increase in supply, prices aren’t going down; most are $17k and above. So while I’d love to post about a glorious 110k-mile relative creampuff with Evo 2 bits, I’m personally more interested in the M3s that are more within reach. Hence my excitement at finding a clean M3 for just $11,000.

1988 BMW E30 M3 for sale on SF Craigslist

Unfortunately there’s a dearth of pictures, but I still think the listing does a decent job of portraying this as a well-used (175k miles) but clean M3:

picked up the car April 23, 2010. I’ve put on ~500 miles since then.

I have recent PPI report, smog check, about 75 pages of receipts, and carfax available (all from previous owner).

– $11,000
– ~175k miles
– Hennarot
– Tan interior
– Has been resprayed, not in showroom condition, minor rust on sunroof and where front windshield meets the hood
– Looks/drives great
– Located in San Francisco (can meet in SSF for a test drive to avoid driving the hills)
– Local pick-up only

Reason for selling: Moving overseas in the semi-near future.

Yeah, it’s a lot of miles, and I’m sure an inspection of the interior would reveal a worn drivers seat and maybe some other foibles, but the exterior and engine look clean enough. In my book, $11k for any clean-running M3 is a great deal and I’m wishing I could fast-forward a year to when I’ll have that kind of funds. Ideal entry into E30 M3land.


Early production 1968 Mercedes-Benz 300SEL 6.3

The 6.3 is one of those vehicles that changed the makeup of an entire automaker’s lineup for good. Developed by MB engineer Erich Waxenberger and thrust into production in 1968, the S class with the M100 became an instant legend on the road and track. AMG, a small tuning company at the time, even campaigned a few 6.3s, taking second place at 24 Hours of Spa in 1971. Here we have an early production 6.3 that has been well preserved:

The seller states:

A rare opportunity to buy this stunning 1968 Mercedes Benz 300SEL 6.3 sedan. First time ever on ebay. If you are reading this ad then you probably know the signifigance and rarity of these great cars.

Owned in my personal collection for many years. With great regret I am offering my favorite sedan. This is the original super sedan that started the concept of high performance AMG sports sedans. This car is an early US model build #64 from the assembly line. It is a rare Black on Black color combination. Paint code 040.

This car was previously owned by 2 owners and kept in its original condition and stored indoors. There is no rust or prior accident damage. The trunk, rockers and floor pans are excellent. See pics below. Fit and finish of body is excellent. Paint and Chrome are excellent. Car is complete and everything works. The air suspension is excellent and has been sorted out. It has new bellows and air valves. Just replaced the tires and they have about 200 miles or less. All radiator hoses, transmission seals, and various gaskets replaced. New antenna. New suspension cable. New ignition, plugs and cold start valve. New fuel pump. New fuel sending unit. Drain and cleaned fuel tank. New brakes and front calipers. New battery and frequent oil changes.

Leather and carpets are original and in excellent shape. Wood is excellent. All electrical is working properly and factory AC blows cold. Includes original owners manuals and original tool kit. I will also include a reproduction Mercedes brochure for the 300SEL 6.3.

Bidding is low at the moment and of course there is a reserve, but this particular example should have no problem pulling at least $25,000, if not into the $30k range.


Ideal No-Reserve E28 M5 for sale

Car enthusiasts face a use paradox: to keep a car pristine and collectible, you can’t use it.  To actually utilize the true joys of the automobile, you MUST use it.  The garage-queen vs. daily driver debate delineates different types of car people, and I definitely lean towards the latter.  Today’s 1988 M5, the real deal when it comes to true sports sedans, is ideal in my eyes.  A refreshingly low and rust-free 80k miles with good maintenance and mechanical replacements with enough eccentricities (“rear left window doesn’t move”) to resist the glove-and-diaper treatment.  Put it up with no reserve on eBay and this is exactly what I would look for in an M5.

From the seller:

For sale: 1988 BMW E28 M5.  This is a fantastic example for the enthusiast.  It’s not a garage queen that you’ll feel guilty driving, but it’s not a thrashed junker that won’t perform to your expectations.  It is a very, very nicely kept and maintained example of a true sports sedan.

Somewhere around 1200 of these cars were ever imported to the US (all with black paint and beige leather).  Nobody knows how many are still roadworthy, but very few are in daily driving condition with less than 100K miles.

Engine: 3.5L inline 6-cylinder; 256hp stock; 0-60 6.5 secs
Transmission: Getrag 5-sp Manual
79,8xx miles

Passed Oregon Emissions testing (DEQ) March 2010

New OEM Exhaust system
New catalytic converter
Newer oxygen sensor
Newer OEM electric antenna assembly
Newer upper and lower control arms
New Sway bar link, tie rods, center link
New power steering pump
New Alternator and bushings
New Battery
New fuel filter
New brake pads and rotors
Most all hoses replaced
New Bilstein shocks front and rear
Fresh hood struts

I have all records and receipts for the above.

–All original body panels with matching VINs
–Original paint/leather
–OEM multifunction trip computer, works perfectly
–Turner Motorsport (Jim Conforti) chip; OEM chip included
–BMW business CD player
–AC blows cold
–Driver and passenger seat heaters, remote power mirrors
–Sunroof with tilt/slide functions works perfectly
–Headliner perfect with no sagging, rips, stains
–OEM wheels, 16” forged basketweave alloys (including spare)
–Less than 10K miles on Kumho Ecsta tires
–OEM toolkit complete

The car spent much of it’s early life on the east coast, but it has been thoroughly inspected by Pacific Motorsports in Portland.  There is no body/undercarriage rust or corrosion.  There are no fluid leaks.

Known issues:

The car has the flaws you’d expect for it’s age: minor dash cracks, paint blemishes, minor leather cracking.  The cruise control stalk is loose, but the cruise control works perfectly.  The left rear window doesn’t move.  The shifter knob leather is worn.  All electric seat functions are normal, but headrests don’t actuate (motor runs).  The driveline guibo is cracking.

Runs and drives beautifully; pulls strong, handles just as you would hope and expect.

Look closely.  That M pinstriping seals the deal; this is my ideal M5.


2000 BMW 540iT

With the popularity of the BMW X3 and X5 these days, the BMW 5 series wagon has taken a backseat to the sport utility vehicle craze and, it was recently announced that the newly revised F10 (we’re not using the E prefix anymore) 5 series wagon will not be coming to the US. Instead, we’ll be left with the newly developed 5 series Gran Turismo, which, from what it appears to me, is trying to be a sedan/SUV/wagon all in one. Whatever it is, when I saw it in person, it just didn’t work for me. It’s too big for my tastes, which is sadly the case with most new cars these days.

Let’s take a look at simpler times, when you could have a good, honest BMW wagon with a V8 and rear wheel drive:

The seller states:

2000 BMW 540iT Wagon, Sunroof, 6-CD Changer, Alloy Wheels, Remote Start, Navigation. 66,992 miles

With no reserve, the bidding is still under $10,000, which is a steal for a car with this much hauling capacity and power. Just the thing for that trip to the Hamptons. And an even bigger question looms: will the Hamptons embrace the Gran Turismo as much as they have the 5 series wagon in the past?


Mashup E30 Wagon for sale

The musical mashup has gained massive popularity in the past decade, for better or worse, though it’s been thriving in the automotive world for over a century.  And while hyperactive fit-everything-you-can mashup artists like Girl Talk cover an impressive array of artists and sounds, I’m a bigger fan of mashups that exercise a degree of control or at least a theme, like Wu-Tang Clan vs. The Beatles, with entire albums based on a single theme of using similar parts to make better even better music.  Today’s unique German auto is definitely a mashup, but follows the well-chosen Bavarian theme to excellent effect.  Like mashing up the Beatles, it helps to start from an extremely solid starting point, in this case the non-U.S. E30 Touring, in my eyes second only to the M3 as the best looking E30.  From there, the seller started layering solid additions, ending up with something totally new and unique out of found parts.

Modified S50 E30 Touring for sale

The seller’s awesomeness in creating this machine is countered by his  meager photos and description, but it’s enough to whet the appetite:

euro s50b30, zf trans, 3.25 lsd w/finned diff cover, e36m3 front 5 lug, m roadster rear. TC Kline coilovers, Koni double adjustable shocks. IE camber plates, THR lollipops. Smoked hella euro smileys. “is” front lip. M tech II steering wheel. Staggered m contour wheels with goodyear eagle f1 235/40/17’s all around with under 1k miles. sterling silver exterior with grey sport cloth interior, heated front seats (though both seat bottoms have rips). Scytek 2 way alarm. Titled and registered in new york state.


Obviously a lot of investigation must be done to determine if this is worth the money, but it’s certainly an exciting mix of well-chosen parts grafted into an awesome and rare 80s wagon.  I love the styling choices and the mechanical mods make this sound like a very fun machine.  As a fan of unique and odd mixes, this E30 is an awesome example of mashing together parts, creating a whole great than their sum.