The rage in the 1980s was cutting the roof off of perfectly good cars, from the S-Class Mercedes-Benz to the E24 BMW. Not escaping this fate were sports cars as well, with Treser making a convertible Quattro. Carelli Designs gave it a go, as well – they were commissioned to create a run of convertible 928s between 1980 and 1981, one of which I looked at a few years ago:
Jiffy-Top: 1981 Porsche 928 Carelli C928
A total of 8 cars were produced by Carelli Designs in Costa Mesa, California, but the project never progressed past the initial design phase. Carelli actually put a lot of effort into making the cars work well as convertibles, and they cost a staggering $80,000 in 1981. Today’s car, though, doesn’t appear to be one of them. Instead, this car is claimed to be one that was developed following Al Holbert’s pre-production speed run in a 928 S4. Holbert took a mostly stock 928 to an impressive 171 mph, which Porsche claimed made it the world’s fastest catalyst-equipped car. According to the selling dealer of the car we’re looking at today, this convertible was specially-ordered to commemorate that achievement – maybe.
One of the more surprising models ever to leave Stuttgart was the 924 Carrera GTS Clubsport. Yes, Porsche made a track-ready racer 924 that was originally destined as a homologation model for FIA Group 4 racing. It was a 924 Turbo with aluminum body panels, 16″ Fuchs wheels, 930 Turbo-style brakes, Bilstein coilover suspension, an integrated roll cage, plastic window treatments, 935-style seats, and a fire suppression bottle. Also it looked really menacing compared to the standard 924 Turbo. Only 15 road-legal cars were produced, which puts this in the rarest of the rare category when talking about the special cars from Porsche. Today, we happen to have one for sale up for sale in Miami with a crazy 37,000 miles on the odometer. Although that maybe isn’t so crazy after I tell you the price.
Long live the W123, may it ride forever. It probably will too, if not for one eternal enemy that we’ll get into in a moment. There seems to be no mechanical limit to these machines as long as a reasonable amount of effort is put into regular maintenance and repairs. A few weeks ago we saw a 1979 300TD with over 782,000 miles sell for nearly $10,000, and that probably wasn’t even nearing the end of it’s life.
Today, we have the trust 240D with the OM616 paired with the basic 4-speed manual gearbox. There is no much to go wrong with this, except maybe the clock turns fast than you are able to accelerate. This example is finished in English Red, which is more like bring orange, but none the less a great color. The catch? Well, I wish it was easier to fix.
After the aircooled Porsche price spike about seven or eight years ago, prices have been pretty stable. This has been true for the G Body market given the crazy number of them out there in every single variant you could want. From the early 2.7-liter cars all the way up to the 3.2-liters with the G50 gearbox, you can pretty much guess they’ll all be in the ballpark of the same price. What really made one car worth more was the condition, mileage, and of course the color combo. If you brought somewhere between $35,000 to $50,000 to the table, you could walk around with a car that way probably close to what you wanted. Then 2020 happened.
What I’ve seen over the past eight months are so is strong rise for the best G Body example and it seems to be raising all boats. The very best cars are into six-figures now, and even somewhere average cars have bumped up in price. I think this has to do with forces outside the Porsche world in general, but I’m sure a lot of people are trying to get in while you still can. Or rather if you can. Today’s car, European-market 1981 911SC Targa, is still priced somewhat competitively given what is going on. Plus, I love Moss Green Metallic. Speak now or forever hold your peace.
Back to our old friend, the Scirocco. I’ve mentioned in previous posts that Volkswagen’s water-cooled coupes aren’t my favorite cars in the lineup. And that’s mostly true, with one notable exception. I adore the first generation Scirocco. To me, it’s the early 911 of the water-cooled Volkswagens. Flawed, but full of style and charm. And just like the early 911s, the real treat is to find an ‘S’ model – if you can.
In all reality the Scirocco S was just an appearance package. It shared all of the basic aspects of the Scirocco, but the optional 5-speed was standard, it came with 13″ alloys, a special interior, red stripes, and a front spoiler. Doesn’t sound like much, eh? In all honesty, it wasn’t, and on top of that you only could choose from a few exterior colors. But while finding a clean and original Mk.3 GTI can be tough, finding an original S model Scirocco in good shape borders on impossible. While today’s example is a bit of a project, when you throw in a dose of the heavy-hitting name ‘Callaway’, it’s worth taking note:
Do you know how many times I’ve heard “It was just too nice to part out” when referring to an older Audi? Heck, I’ve personally had three that I’ve said that very sentence for, and at least one more I should have said that about. One time I bought a 4000S front wheel drive 5-speed simply because I wanted a door. No, I’m not joking. The entire car was in mint shape – Sapphire with Marine Blue velour, and because I was 18 and had fully subscribed to the idea that the only good Audis were all-wheel drive Audis, I paid $300 to rip what was otherwise one of the nicest 4000S models I had seen to that point in my life apart. Most of it went to the junkyard, in fact. It’s something that near 40 year old me is mad at 18 year old me about, still.
Fast forward 25 years into the future, and since then I keep hearing the phrase in relation to all sorts of obscure, slightly crusty and forgotten examples of the brand. So when this 4000 5+5 popped up for sale it was worth a look. These are highly prized for their donor doors (see what I did there?) which are utilized in Sport Quattro conversions. Does this one have to die?
Color is everything. Kind of a broad statement, I know, but when it comes to classic Mercedes-Benz, it is pretty important. Light Ivory, Astral Silver, or Pastel Beige? Okay colors, but no one is clamoring over them. Henna Red, Mimosa Yellow, or today’s car, China Blue? Now people are excited. In all seriousness, I do see a fair amount of price different between two comparable cars with one painted something bright, with the other a little more drab. It just so happens that this 1981 300SD up for sale in Atlanta is one of the few to be painted in the aforementioned China Blue. So that begs the question, how much of a premium will this bring?
Update 1/31/2019: The seller has relisted this M1 now at $695,000 – nearly $200,000 down from last Spring, but probably still ahead of the market.
Update 7/29/18: After listing in May at $875,000, the seller has dropped the price to $725,000 – still high for the model, but not as far out of line. Will it sell this time around?
I give Audi a lot of credit for bringing the R8 to market. It took a fair amount of gall for a company best known for mid-range all-wheel drive luxury sedans to up and produce a supercar-beating mid-engine road car capable of being used year-round and every day. It’s a feat nearly without precedent. Of course, I said “nearly”.
That’s because BMW pulled off a similar trick the best part of thirty years before Audi did it. And arguably the development of what would become BMW’s fledgling Motorsports division was even more impressive than what Ingolstadt pulled off. The M1 burst onto the scene at a time of economic austerity, global oil crises and came from a company who not only didn’t have a history of producing such cars, but didn’t have connections to others who did (unlike Audi’s corporate Lamborghini partnership).
Speaking of Lamborghini, because of BMW’s lack of expertise in supercar design it was the Sant’Agata firm that was employed to produce the M1. But because of Lamborghini’s lack of expertise at being…well, a company capable of producing something on a schedule, BMW engineers had to first liberate the early molds from Italy and then find someone who could produce the car. Ultimately, it was a combination of ItalDesign in Turin, Marchesi metal working in Modena to build the frames and Karosserie Baur in Stuttgart that stuck the M1 together. Though it doesn’t exactly sound like a match made in heaven, and indeed the M1 was a relative sales flop, it has nonetheless grown to cult status as one of the most user-friendly supercars of the late 1970s:
The major problem with yesterday’s 924 is as I noted the number of other 924s that are out there. So while the $2,000 asking price for a rare bit of Porsche history sounds like a steal on paper, when it comes to the 924 it is a completely different scenario.
Take today’s 1981 924 Turbo, for example. Like yesterday’s, its a survivor rather than a show piece. Also like the M471-equipped ’80, this ’81 931 sports the upgraded brakes, suspension, forged 16″ wheels, mudflaps and rear spoiler. Unlike yesterday’s car, though, this one has some serious advantages. First off, it’s a Turbo, and while the M471 924 is much more rare to find, the forced-induction model is substantially more desirable and valuable right now. Second, this one is in better shape than the Diamond Silver Metallic example. And, of course, it’s got an automatic advantage of being in running and driving condition. So how much extra does this all cost you? A lot less than you’d think:
Update 12/2/18: The manual 1981 5000S has been relisted with a reserve auction and opening $6,500 bid price. It bid to $5,100 last time around and I was surprised it didn’t sell. Based upon the other Type 43 sales recently, the current listing seems ambitious so we’ll probably see this one remain for sale for a bit.
Update 11/11/18: The 1980 5000S sold for $2,600.
I wasn’t particularly effusive with praise for the Type 44 Audi 5000S, although it was almost certainly the car which kept Audi’s doors open and lights on in the U.S. during the 1980s. Part of the reason that the Type 44 was so successful was that it was a major step forward from the Type 43, a car designed in the 1970s that felt…well, decidedly like it was from the 1970s. It was big, boxy, not particularly efficient and not particularly technically advanced – especially when compared to the model which replaced it.
However, there were some great qualities about the Type 43. It was the model that introduced mass turbocharging to Audi with the 200 5T, a de-tuned version of which would appear in the U.S. as the Audi 5000 Turbo. Audi used that idea to launch the Quattro a bit later, and the rest is history. The Type 43 was also quite a handsome car, though like many from the period its looks were hampered by the DOT-approved bumpers. Although well reviewed by magazines and offering class-leading features and technology, the Type 43 never really sold in great numbers. A total of 163,442 sold here between its 1978 launch and 1983, the last model year before the Type 44 replacements rolled into dealers. That was just a bit better than the C1 Audi 100 had sold here, a car with a less-than-stellar reputation. Clearly, the Type 43 spent most of its time erasing the memory of the C1, and consequently it is important as it laid the cornerstones for the more successful Type 44.
Today C2s are pretty hard to come across, though we do see a regular flow of them across these pages. Today’s examples are the more pedestrian (and more common to find) 100 horsepower naturally aspirated versions rather than the early Turbo. Still it’s a bit of a treat to get two at the same time, so here we go: