Motorsports Monday: Niki Lauda’s 1984 Mercedes-Benz 190e 2.3-16v

To celebrate the opening of the newly revised Nürburgring in 1984, Mercedes-Benz organized a friendly, yet still fiercely competitive race between some of the greatest Formula 1 drivers of all time. That means names like Sir Stirling Moss, James Hunt, Alain Prost  , Phil Hill, and upstart Ayrton Senna were among the drives in the field. What were they all driving? None other than the then-new 190E 2.3-16V. All of these cars were slightly modified for the race with bolt-in roll cages and some racing seats but other than that, they ran the cars as-is. The winner of the race was the 24 year-old Senna, which isn’t much of a surprise when looking back now, but the driver who finished 2nd? Nikki Lauda. This is his car he raced and yes, it is now for sale.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Mercedes-Benz 190e 2.3-16v at Auto Classics

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Reader Rides: 1984 Volkswagen Jetta Turbo Diesel

It’s always great to hear from a reader who appreciates the blog or just sends in a link to a neat car that they spotted. While I don’t always take enough time to acknowledge them, I’ll let you know now that we always are thankful that you’re out there thinking of us! But it’s really special when one of our readership buys a car that we featured, and last fall that exact thing happened with this cool 1984 Volkswagen Jetta Turbo Diesel:

1984 Volkswagen Jetta GL Turbo Diesel

I caught up with its new owner, Jesse, who was kind enough to share his story and some images of the car!

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1984 Porsche 911 Carrera Targa

I suppose it’s a testament to how much I like the classic 911 that I can spend nearly as much time looking over the details of a 911 like this one as I do with the various exotic, rare, and/or high performance 911s I also feature. As I’ve said before those high-dollar 911s are great and they’re great to look at and ponder, but when it really comes down to a 911 I might enjoy spending a lot of time with I invariably come back to the ’80s.

Whether you prefer the 911SC or the 3.2 Carrera largely is a matter of preference and in many cases can be a matter of availability. The two models share enough useful characteristics that a good one from either model is better than one that’s a little lackluster. There are certainly differences and for those who might want more certainty about its value the later G50-equipped models do make a little more sense. Otherwise, find the one you like! Perhaps this one: a Guards Red 1984 Porsche 911 Carrera Targa, located in Illinois, with Black interior and 47,903 miles on it.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Porsche 911 Carrera Targa on eBay

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1984 Mercedes-Benz 300SD


The last few W126 Mercedes-Benz I looked have fell more towards the collector car status in this 1987 300SDL with an outstanding interior and this nearly perfect 1987 560SEL. Today’s W126, a 1984 300SD for sale in California, isn’t one of those cream puff cars but it is far from a beaten up example either. This OM617 S-Class has just enough miles where you don’t feel bad about piling on some more but not too many where you feel like an engine overhaul is around the corner. Finished in Lapis Blue with gray leather this 300SD could be the perfect daily driver. What do you think?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Mercedes-Benz 300SD on eBay

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1984 Volkswagen GTI

We’ve had plenty of Volkswagen A1 chassis to look at recently, from the neat Jetta Turbo Diesel we’ll be seeing again soon through the string of very awesome Sciroccos from both the first and second generation. I’ve also looked at quite a few GTIs, from the second, third and fourth generation. But for all that love, I’ve somehow managed to avoid combining the two and covering what is arguably the most famous modern Volkswagen – the original GTI.

Today I hope to rectify that with today’s last-year example of what many consider to be the original ‘hot hatch’. While the U.S. example was somewhat watered-down and had chunkier styling than the truly Spartan 1976 design, it was still a revelation in performance and universally heralded as the benchmark by which all other sporty economy cars would be based moving forward. At a time when there were few do-it-all type cars, the GTI managed to be nearly all things to all people; it got good fuel economy thanks to a relatively miserly 1.8 liter inline-4 with efficient fuel injection. It looked neat, thanks to 14″ alloy wheels, wide fender flared and blacked-out detail work with red accent stripes. It was functional and flexible, with fold-down seats and a (for its size) spacious hatch area to transport goods. It was usable year-round, with front-wheel drive allowing for decent snow traction. And the sport suspension, heavily bolstered seats and close-ratio transmission made the whole package an athletic alternative to the norm, allowing practical-minded men and women to fling their family car through corners with aplomb. Near universal was its appeal, and infectious were the ad campaigns, which in the Volkswagen tradition used short phrases to capture attention like “They’re going fast” and “Serious Fun” – even the oft-used “It’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing”.

“So what do Germans do for fun? They love to drive. Preferably in a Volkswagen GTI. Because the GTI is designed to be fun. Not fun in the sense of a dashboard cluttered with all sorts of doodads. But fun in the sense of a precision machine that respects and answers its driver’s every wish.

Hyperbole? Certain, this is advertising after all. But it pointed towards the beautiful simplicity of the design, the functionality of the package, the elegance of the execution. The GTI didn’t pretend to be a Corvette like the Opel GT, or a luxury car like the Passat. It wasn’t competing with Mercedes-Benz, or even really Porsche, on any level. And that allowed the characteristically unfun Germans to let their hair down and have a bit of a ball:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Volkswagen GTI on eBay

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1984 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet with 9,373 Miles

Ah the fabled barn find. It’s the stuff of legend in the vintage car world and it seems like no prestigious auction goes by without a car or two crossing the blocks under such a designation. I can’t say they’re necessarily the type of thing I look for – after all these are more or less neglected cars – but I will admit they can make for some very interesting discoveries. Take the 964 3.8 RSR auctioned last May, or the 1973 911 Carrera RSH I opened the year with as examples. Finds like those truly are legendary.

This one isn’t properly a barn find since it was sitting in a garage intended for housing the owner’s car collection, but it possesses most of the typical ‘barn find’ attributes, right down to a heavy coating of dust. This is a one-owner 1984 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet, located in Chicago, with a mere 9,373 miles on it. It’s been cleaned up and provided with servicing to refresh a good deal of the neglected materials and now sits looking not too different from how it left the showroom.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet on eBay

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1984 Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe

It isn’t always easy to tell if a car is a worthwhile example. Sometimes sellers just don’t do a great job of showcasing what they are selling and we’re left to piece together the details to develop a fuller picture than what we are provided. On the bright side, that also can lead to better pricing as fewer buyers/bidders show interest in the car.

I think the first part of all of that applies to this car. Whether the second point also will apply won’t be known until auction end, but at the moment it appears to be the case as well. Here we have a Quartz Grey Metallic 1984 Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe, located in Florida, with Tan interior and 79,500 miles on it. The pictures provide a somewhat incomplete picture, especially of the interior, but as I look at it I can’t help but think it looks in really nice shape.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe on eBay

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1984 Volkswagen Jetta GL Turbo Diesel

As we saw with the Dasher Hatchback from last week, just because it’s older and in good shape doesn’t automatically mean it’s worth a lot. If it’s a GTI or a Scirocco, sure – sit back with the popcorn and watch the bids roll in, but that Dasher? It sold for $1,600. Admittedly, it needed at least that amount and probably more in mechanical freshening, but still – you’re looking at a unique classic for well under $5,000 all in.

Today is another such beast, and like the Dasher, it’s a niche car that most will probably pass over for the more exciting metal. But this is one trick little bit of kit as you look a little closer. A1 Jettas are pretty rare to begin with, and this is a claimed rust-free example – always a good place to start. Euro bumpers slim down the look while Corrado Sebrings and a lowered ride height beef it up, but the clean presentation is really highlighted by the rare drivetrain – the CY turbocharged diesel inline-4 mated to a 5-speed manual transmission, good for 68 horsepower and 98 lb.ft of torque. This motor was also briefly available in the first generation Audi 4000. The 10.6 quoted 0-60 time won’t sound particularly exciting, but it was quite a bit quicker than the standard diesel and recorded better fuel economy (Volkswagen claimed it could top 54 mpg!). But the key to this car is the relative obscurity and rarity of the package.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Volkswagen Jetta GL Turbo Diesel on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday: 1984 Porsche 930 RUF BTR Conversion

The last two weeks we’ve looked at the wilder side of the Porsche tuner world with cars from Gemballa and RWB. This week we’ll go a little more traditional with the styling and make a return to RUF. RUF likely is the most well known and highly regarded in the Porsche world, so much so that RUF is not just a tuner, but a manufacturer utilizing blank Porsche chassis for its cars. In some ways, RUF is the inverse of RWB. Where RWB goes over the top with styling and leaves the performance mostly alone, RUF keeps the styling changes somewhat minimal (at least from the perspective of how much they depart from a 911 itself) and goes over the top with performance upgrades. Over the years they’ve produced some blistering fast machines capable of competing with the best cars in the world. Even capable of competing with the likes of Porsche’s own 959.

The one we see the most often is the BTR and that’s just what we have here. However, this is not one of the very rare RUF VIN BTRs, but one of the more common converted examples, which in this case was based off of a 1984 Porsche 930. That’s a nice base with which to begin and with the RUF upgrades you get a car that can make even the prodigious 930 seem tame.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Porsche 930 RUF BTR on eBay

Year: 1984
Model: 911 Turbo
Engine: 3.4 liter turbocharged flat-6
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 35,014 mi
Price: $225,000 Buy It Now

1984 Porsche 930 RUF BTR DOCUMENTED

This remarkable example has remained unrestored and original until today. Only 35k miles and 2 owners since new this 930 is in beautiful condition! Full RUF BTR conversion with letter of authenticity from RUF, this 1984 Porsche 930 is not your average 911 Turbo. Per documentation, it was completed by German car-manufacturer RUF Automobile. Accompanied by a letter of authenticity from RUF, this Porsche 911 Turbo received the RUF 17-inch wheels, revised suspension, front spoiler with oil cooler, heavier-duty “dog-leg” 5-speed gearbox, steering wheel with RUF-embossed center pad, and a boost gauge. The engine was also upgraded as a RUF BTR with 374 HP, thanks to 3.4L pistons and cylinders, an intercooler mounted underneath the vented whale-tail rear spoiler, revised camshafts and a 4-pipe exhaust system.

The BTR designation came from “Group B,” “Turbo” and “RUF.” A respected manufacturer and tuner, RUF had a close relationship with the Porsche factory. Its modifications could easily double the cost of a Porsche 911. In the mid-1980s, RUF-built Porsches ranked among the fastest cars in the world. In top-speed tests conducted by “Road & Track,” the RUF Porsches achieved the highest top speed and best reliability records. Blue with black leather Recaro seats, this 1984 Porsche 930 RUF BTR also comes with Simpson competition seat harnesses and its letter from RUF, which includes a list of all modifications from RUF Automobile. All of the interior is remained untouched an original and completely functional.

Recently serviced it performs like an absolute animal, putting about 300 miles on the car recently this 930 is incomparable to any others in its league. The 3.4L engine starts up first crank always with no issues, no leaks or oil consumption. Once on boost it screams to the redline in any gear, the dogleg transmission enters all gears with no grinds or pop out issues. Set at about 0.8 bar it is rated at about 380hp but was variable up to 1.1 bar safely and the output was about 425hp, there was no Porsche in its era or let alone other sports car that could compare to the performance this 930 offered.

35,014 original miles

Turbocharged 3.4L flat 6 engine

RUF BTR engine upgrade:

RUF intercooler

RUF 4-pipe exhaust system

34.41 pistons and cylinders

Ruf camshafts

RUF 17 inch wheels

Ruf Revised suspension

RUF front spoiler with front oil cooler

RUF Dog Leg 5-speed manual gearbox

RUF steering wheel

RUF boost regulation valve

RUF Certificate

Can be viewed in Miami, FL 33126 – Inspections welcomed – Trade in welcomed

I saw this car cross the auction block at Mecum’s Monterey Auctions. High bidding on that day reached $170K and like many of the cars crossing the block – especially some of the higher end Porsches – it did not sell. As we can see from the asking price here, bidders weren’t even all that close. My sense at the time was that $170K was pretty good money for this car. As noted, it’s not a RUF VIN. Those are the cars that command serious money. It is a really nice example of a converted 930 though and there is value in that.

The mileage is quite low at just over 35K and the condition looks really good inside and out. Everything is said to be completely original with regard to the conversion. I imagine it’s level of documentation will be the deciding factor. It does come with a letter from RUF Automobile confirming the conversion, but that is all, or at least it’s all we’re shown here. If it also has a full maintenance history and other historical documentation then perhaps it will achieve this asking price if the sellers are patient. Cars like this are very desirable so it may just be a matter of waiting for the right buyer to come along. Otherwise, the Monterey auction may be as much as this 930 will see.

-Rob

1984 Mercedes-Benz 300SD with 11,300 miles

File this one under another great Mercedes-Benz that you usually see with hundreds of thousands of miles on but for whatever reason has almost none. This 1984 300SD shows a crazy 11,300 miles and looks every bit the part. You can totally see why people plunked down almost $40,000 (over $93,000 in 2017 dollars) for these when they are new. It’s frugal, handsome, secure, has enough to power to get out of its own way and all this won’t cost you a fortune to keep going. Except this car, as you might have guessed, will need a small fortune to take home with you.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Mercedes-Benz 300SD on Mercedes Heritage

Year: 1984
Model: 300SD
Engine: 3.0 liter 5 cylinder
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Mileage: 11,300 miles
Price: $35,000

Single owner SD through 2015.
Rare 904 Midnight Blue with Creme leather.
Spectacular preservation from new.
Spotless engine bay.
Full handbooks.
Runs and drives beautifully.

What is there to say about this car? I overwhelmingly prefer the gen 1 (1981-1985) W126s over the later ones even though they do look a little more dated, but I think that’s the beauty of them. Give me a clean set of 14 inch Bundts with a OM617 and I’m as satisfied as I can possibly be in owning a car. This is a great color combination with the Midnight Blue and tan interior even with those terrible North America spec headlights.

Like I said, all this is going to cost you. $35,000 is a ton of money for any W126 but it’s tough to fault the seller for asking it. The market for clean golden-era Mercedes diesels isn’t slowing down but I wouldn’t bet on this car gaining anymore value once you start driving it. As I’ve said before, miles don’t scare me one bit so I’m really not the guy that this car appeals to. Cars like these are always fun to see in their original glory, but I’ll gladly take home one of these for less than a third of the price and still enjoy it just as much.

– Andrew