Over the last few months I’ve taken a look at a few oddball Volkswagen do Brasil creations that were popular but never appeared here. Most recently was the Karmann Ghia TC, before that was the legendary and fantastic SP2, and first but mostly forgettable was the Brasilia:
1978 Volkswagen Brasilia LS
But the Brasilia’s rather humdrum existence was spiced up by an aftermarket producer known as Puma. Puma Indústria de Veículos SA’s roots were actually in producing rebodied front-engine DKWs in Brazil, but they managed to make the kit work with some refinement first on the Karmann Ghia and later on the Brasilia. The result was the Puma GTE – a pretty slick budget Ferrari Dino knockoff which somehow managed to work when so many VW-based customs didn’t. Puma added a convertible version called the GTS in the 1970s and then renamed that model the GTC for 1980, two years before the Brasilia shut down production. Sold as complete cars in South America and later South Africa, some kits were sent to North America – but this one is an original build and import:
Do you want to own a 1973 Carrera RS but can’t swing the purchase price of $600,000? Well, I might have a solution to you. This 1982 Porsche 911SC has the same cool blue wheels, Carrera script, and duck tail deck lid. Thats about it really. In fact, that ’73 RS and this ’82 SC aren’t even the same body. Those cars were longhoods, and this SC naturally is an impact bumper. But still, blue wheels, Carrera script, and duck tail! This car even has blue seatbelts! Now before you get ready to call me crazy down in the comment section, what if I told you this car was $570,000 cheaper than the RS?
Just when you thought you’ve seen it all. Well, this 1982 Mercedes-Benz 500SEL has it all. This W126 had a life of excess and has all the paperwork to prove it. The story goes the car was ordered as a grey market import by a private owner in Chicago with a boat load of options then immediately shipped to AMG for more special touches. Those “special touches” you see above aren’t the work of a 17 year-old who bought this car from a Buy-Here, Pay-Here lot and a couple cans of spray paint. No, that is the work of AMG. I’m sure they were scratching their heads a little when this work order came in, but when someone offers up $20,000 (in 1982 money, mind you), you do what they say. An AMG body kit was added, all the chrome was painted black, the wheels were replaced with Rial alloys, the interior needed more leather, and the engine gained roughly 50 horsepower for the small price of $11,000. Total cost for this entire car, modifications and all? $62,656. For those keeping score at home, that is $164,234 today. I hope this owner loved this car.
Though the E3 had offered a sizeable sedan, the replacement E23 really stretched BMW’s platforms. The new 7-seres was 6 inches longer overall, most of which fell in a longer wheelbase versus the E3. It was also wider by a few inches and lower, too. Paul Bracq again provided the styling and it was nothing surprising; it carried the torch of many of the design elements of the 3-, 5- and 6-series cars, and that certainly wasn’t a bad thing. But what BMW hoped would help to set it apart from the competition was technology and performance, along with a high-level of material quality in the cabin. Options included Buffalo leather, an on-board computer system, anti-lock brakes, heated and reclining power seats front and rear, and even an airbag late in the run; standard fare today, but way ahead of the curve in the late 1970s and early 1980s. BMW matched this technology with a thoroughly modern driver-oriented cockpit which made the W116 Mercedes-Benz competition feel immediately antiquated.
E23s are hard to come by today but generally affordable, certainly in the context of current 80s BMW pricing. And though only a 733i, this one has some uniqueness to help it stand apart, too:
Volkswagen of America’s small pickup truck offered a unique experience at the beginning of the 1980s; basically, the front half of the pickup was a Rabbit, which meant relative comfort, reliability, easy of use and driving and good fuel economy. In back, Volkswagen stretched the wheelbase nine inches and swapped in a tubular axle supported by leaf springs giving the pick up 1,100 lbs of payload capacity and a six foot bed – not too shabby! They even launched a “Sportruck” model, which gave you bucket seats and some really trick decals that covered most of the side. You also got some amazing options for the period, like a tachometer (wooooow) and a 5-speed transmission. However, even with the 5-speed the 1.7 liter low compression 8V motor available wasn’t exactly going ignite your enthusiast dreams. Unleashing the 78 horsepower would return a not particularly stunning 0-50 time of 9.7 seconds. 60, you’ll remember, was illegal in the United States at that time, so why bother designing a car that could approach it?
Still, the Rabbit Pickup was one of the rare occasions when the U.S. got a desirable model which wasn’t available in Germany. We spend much time lamenting the cars that never came here, so it’s worth while to take a bit of time to appreciate the Rabbit Pickup – especially one in this condition:
Most of the time the cars I feature are really nice examples. Mostly because no one wants to look at junk, outside of a few exceptions, and the majority of the cars that are offered for sale to the masses are actually cars people want to buy. For every nice W124 Mercedes-Benz on eBay, there are a dozen of them sitting behind barbed-wire fences at Buy-Here, Pay-Here lots with one flat tire. Today’s car, a 1982 500SL, is in an interesting position. The model itself is always considered desirable and people generally like them, but this specific example needs a lot of love to get it back to its former glory. Given the price, compared to really nice ones, is it worth taking on as a project?
We all know I am a huge 911 fan, but I am really enjoying seeing the slew of really nice 928s that we’ve come across. From the wonderful early example we featured toward the beginning of the year to the very rare Wimbledon Green 928GTS it has been a treat to further my own appreciation for these fantastic cars. Here we have another and it honestly might be my favorite: a Minerva Blue Metallic 1982 Porsche 928, located in Chicago, with Navy Blue leather interior and only 18,915 miles on it. If you’ve read these pages long enough you’ll know why this is my favorite: Minerva Blue probably is my favorite of Porsche’s metallic blues. On the lines of the 928 it shows off just how stunning it can look.
Sometimes I just want something simple. I’ve been posting a lot of newer and very expensive 911s lately and I must admit they are very hard to pass up. Especially now that Porsche has brought a healthy dose of color back to the 911 lineup both through the standard colors available and also through their paint-to-sample option, which even with its hefty price increase has been a frequent selection.
That, of course, brings me to the 911SC, the model that we might thank for convincing Porsche that it was the 911 upon which the marque should hang its hat. The success of the 911SC and its successor the 3.2 Carrera paved the way for the beautiful machines we see today. Or at least they got us far enough along for Porsche to commit to it since a good bit of Porsche’s success today can be laid at the feet of the Cayenne and Macan.
But I digress. As you can see, this isn’t a brightly colored 911. Bright colors were available during the SC’s time, but kind of like the 996 they aren’t quite as prevalent. Nonetheless, this 1982 Porsche 911SC Targa, in Pewter Metallic over Brown/Beige, still looks pretty good even if its exterior color won’t necessarily get your blood boiling. It’s simple, but should still be quite enjoyable.
Update 9/26/18: This 240D sold for $7,000.
The W123 Mercedes-Benz 240D is a car that does everything for me. I rotate my 1983 4-speed manual car as one of my daily drivers and despite its many flaws, I appreciate how satisfying it is. When I am driving home from work at night alone on the highway, it is true bliss. Everything is in the right spot, nothing is rattling or shaking, everything fits perfectly, it returns just over 30 mpg and all of that makes you realize why it is considered one of the best cars ever produced. It isn’t all gravy though, because on days when I’m heading to work in traffic and it’s 86 degrees outside, I’m driving it like a maniac just to not get ran over by a tractor tailor because I don’t have enough power to merge on the highway. Then when I do arrive at work, all my coworkers ask me why I look like I just wrestled a bear. Nope, just driving my 240D. I suppose it is not the cars fault because you do need to be a certain kind of crazy to still be daily driving one of these. The newest 240D is now 35 years-old and is well into classic territory and should be treated as such. But no, not me, I’ll suffer for the sake of goodÂ ergonomics and forgoing something called a ”car payment.”
This of course leads me to today’s car, a 1982 240D up for bid inÂ Annapolis, Maryland. This car is painted in the rare Mango Green and checks with a just under 62,000 miles which is pretty unheard of when it comes to 240Ds. As you might have guessed, it is extremely clean and shows very little wear at all. What kind of price might it bring? I’m curious to find out.
This is one of those holy **** cars. Here we have a 1982 Porsche 928 Weissach Edition. I will admit before looking at this one I did not know much about the 928 Weissach Edition. I’ve seen plenty of the 911 Weissach Edition, but not the 928. Like the 911 Weissach, the 928 was intended to celebrate Porsche’s Motorsports department located in, you guessed it, Weissach, Germany. It was the 20th anniversary of the groundbreaking at the site. And we know that Porsche likes to make special editions.
Like many Porsche special editions, the 928 Weissach doesn’t hit you with a bunch of performance upgrades. It’s all cosmetic, but while the 911 made do mostly with interesting colors, the 928 turns the luxury dial up with its additions. The most obvious of these additions is the leather. The Weissach came with medium brown leather and if you could touch it, then it probably was leather. You also received a matching leather 3-piece luggage set made by Seeger. Because who would dare travel in their Porsche Grand Tourer without matching luggage? The exterior is Hellbronze Metallic, which is a nice color and furthers the theme of elegance. Other items were included as well: upgraded stereo, electric sunroof, forged alloy wheels, and front and rear spoilers. The overall impression though is straightforward: the 928 Weissach was for the buyer who wanted their Porsche luxury cruiser to be even more lux and more exclusive. The package cost $5,940 so you definitely had to want it.
Porsche said they’d make only 205 of them. That’s almost half the number of the 911 Weissach built so they’re pretty rare. I don’t know how many of those were equipped with a manual transmission (a 3-speed automatic also was available), but this one is a manual. It also has a stupid low 14,030 miles on it. Hot damn!