1988 BMW M5

The M5 might not have been the original super sedan. It wasn’t even the first hot 5-series. But just like the GTI is synonymous with the hot-hatch segment, the M5 became the standard by which all other super-sedans were judged the moment it rolled onto the scene in 1985. Power seemed other-worldly; 280 plus horsepower from the race-derived M88/3 hunkered down with beefy suspension upgrades and huge (for the time) alloy wheels linked with a limited-slip differential. At a time when “fast” cars had 180 horsepower, BMW’s first M-offering in the sedan range might as well have been a space ship.

BMW promised limited production for the U.S. market, too – and, indeed, only 1,239 were produced for the U.S. with the slightly de-tuned S38. Unfortunately, that was 700 more than BMW had promised to make, and that led to a lawsuit. It also wasn’t very long before the M5’s power reign was eclipsed; first by its replacement E34 model, then by the whole range of new V8 models emerging on the market, from the 1992 Audi V8 quattro to the 500E. Values quickly fell as these old-looking (even when new) boxy rockets fell out of favor, and they remained there for quite some time.

But recently there’s grown a much greater appreciation for all things 80s M, and though the E30 has grabbed the headlines as the market star, outside of the M1 it is the E28 M5 that was brought here in fewest numbers. Even fewer have survived, and finding clean, lower mile examples can be tough. This one appears to tick the right boxes:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW M5 on eBay

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1988 Volkswagen Scirocco 16V

How can you talk about 1980s Volkswagens and not mention the Scirocco? Karmann’s lift of the Giugiaro Asso di Picche, Asso di Quadri and Asso di Fiori designs was plainly evident, but that they were borrowed really should come as a surprise. After all, the reception to the master Italian designer’s other pens – the Golf, first generation Scirocco, Audi 80 (4000) and Coupe GT firmly established both companies in the public limelight. In the case of Volkswagen, it defined a company emerging from the shadow of the air-cooled generation; for Audi, it modernized designs and capitalized on the success of the 100 lineup in the 1970s. But Karmann had been integral in the production of the first two as well, making an easy transition from ItalDesign to Volkswagen’s go-to special production for the second generation Scirocco.

But while the design was all grown up and modern for the 1980s, the underpinnings were the same; little changed dynamically between the 1981 and 1982 model year, and though upgrades came over the next few years with higher-spec trim and a bit more power, it wasn’t until 1986 that VW coupe fans finally got to rejoice as the addition of the PL 1.8 liter dual-cam inline-4 finally joined the lineup. Now with 123 high-revving horsepower, the Scirocco went a bit more like the wind it was named after. The wide-ratio, economy-minded gearbox of yore was gone too, replaced by a close-ratio gearbox. Like the GTI and GLI, 14? ‘Teardrop’ wheels and a new bodykit heightened the boy-racer appearance, and the 16V models got all matchy-matchy before the Golf and Jetta, too, with body-colored painted bumpers.

Perhaps this was a shot across the bow of the other Giugiaro-designed, sporty 2-door coupe on the market – the Isuzu Impulse Turbo. Because as much of a VW nut as I am, let’s be honest – the Impulse was cooler. It had much better integrated bumpers, for example, and looked even MORE modern than the Scirocco. And it had cooler wheels. And it had a turbo, and as neat as having dual cams was, having a turbo got you into pants in the 1980s. While it only had one cam, the intercooled 4ZCI was good for 140 horsepower in 1985. That power was channeled through the back wheels, too, with near perfect weight distribution. To top all of that off, in 1987 you could get the “RS” model which was painted all white – yes, even the wheels. That was as radical as it got that year – people actually paid a lot of money to tuners to achieve that look, yet a few models like the 300ZX, Audi Coupe GT and Impulse RS gave it to you from the factory. They came fully loaded with electronic gizmos, and mostly unlike the VW, they worked. Then, as if that wasn’t enough, GM links created the “Lotus Tuned Suspension” package for the 1988 model year. If one of these rolled up to the party you and your Scirocco were at, you were going home lonely (and, more slowly).

But this isn’t “low-production Japanese cars for sale blog”, so we’ll look at the Scirocco.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Volkswagen Scirocco 16V on eBay

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1988 BMW M6

We sometimes get accused of bias in our coverage towards one marque or one model on these pages. Fair enough, I’d fully admit that I’d rather look at another Audi Coupe GT than a BMW 325e. But in the interest of being introspective, I occasionally check up on our coverage to see if we’re doing a balanced job and I’d like to share the results with you. To date this year, we’ve written up 10 Audi related posts, 10 BMW related posts, 9 Volkswagen related posts, and 12 Porsche posts. If we’ve been out-of-balance, it’s been our coverage of Mercedes-Benz models, which account for 26 posts this year so far.

Since our inception, we’ve written 907 Audi posts, 1,963 BMW posts, 1,598 Mercedes-Benz posts, 2,322 Porsche posts and 982 dedicated to Volkswagens. We’re sometimes at the mercy of what’s available at any given time. All things considered, it’s not a bad balance overall.

But one thing did strike me as I put this information together – February has, so far, passed without a BMW gracing our coverage. That simply won’t do, and so I thought I’d check out this M6. The classic E24 lines coupled with the stellar S38 engine and BBS wheels have always been a favorite of mine. Now, this particular M6 is probably not the best one out there I’ll admit up front. But the combination of colors, stance, presentation and asking price all grabbed my attention and made it worth sitting up and taking a further look:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW M6 on eBay

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1988 Mercedes-Benz 300CE with 60 miles

It seems like every so often a car pops up that somehow has completely fallen off everyone’s radar – including the owner. Usually it is some story about how they were bought for a business but shut down suddenly and everything was left as-is, or how an owner bought the car and suddenly passed leaving the car sit while the family had other things to deal with. Sometimes you might hear about how someone bought a car and stashed it away thinking it’ll be worth big money sometime in the future. As a result, most of these cars have but a few thousand miles – maybe somewhere in the hundreds – but I can’t recall seeing too many cars with this few miles.

This 1988 Mercedes-Benz 300CE up for sale in Poland has just 98 kilometers on the odometer. For those who live their lives in miles, that is roughly 60. That’s it. How did this happen? I don’t know. The seller says that this car was originally sold in Sweden where it sat in a barn for the past 30 years before somehow ending up in Poland. It has never been washed and everything is included from when it left the dealer’s lot. Problem is, this C124 isn’t exactly a time capsule as you might have noticed by the photo. On second thought, it maybe is a time capsule, only one of those that wasn’t sealed correctly and when they dig it up to open it, everything inside is ruined from water damage. Yes, that’s more like it.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Mercedes-Benz 300CE on eBay

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1988 Audi 5000S quattro

Update 3/25/19: This Audi 50000S quattro sold for $1,500.

Did I say ‘trio’ of Audis? Well, when a clean older quattro pops up for sale, it’s always worth a look, so here’s numero quattro. As with the 80, the 5000S was an interesting addition to the marketplace for Audi. When the Type 44 quattro was introduced in the U.S. for the 1986 model year, it was solely available as a top-tier turbocharged 5000CS model. That continued for the ’87 model year, but in ’88 – the last year for the ‘5000’ moniker – Audi started to bring the C3 in line with its European counterparts. In Europe, Audi had offered the 100 quattro and 200 quattro, the latter being the turbocharged model. That would be the same in the U.S. starting in 1989. But in 1988, both models were termed “5000” and, as it did with front-drive models in the large-chassis range for 86-88, the “S” or “CS” would denote naturally aspirated and turbocharged models, respectively. This was somewhat confusing as the same naming convention did not carry to the B2 chassis.

To make it even more confusing, it was reasonably hard to tell the 5000S and 5000CS quattros apart – at least, from the side. There were no body differences and both wore aerodynamic 15″ wheels, also associated with the Turbo model. This was changed in 1989 as the naturally aspirated 100 moved to 4×108″ wheels and brakes, although the quattro model had BBS wheels that visually matched the 200 model. Both models moved to the new, smaller chromed badges. One easy way to tell the models apart was from the front, where instead of the dual-chamber European-look headlights the 5000CS and Turbo models wore, the 5000S quattro shared the normal single chamber 9004 U.S. DOT lights. Peek inside and you were much more likely to see velour instead of leather. And, of course, pop the hood and the motivation was completely different:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Audi 5000S quattro on eBay

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1988 Porsche 911 Carrera Club Sport

This will be my last regular post here at GCFSB so I wanted to go out with a personal favorite: a 1988 Porsche 911 Carrera Club Sport. I won’t say that the 3.2 Carrera CS is the best 911 ever made, but for reasons of history and its particular quality it is my favorite. I grew up in the ’80s so the 3.2 Carrera and 911SC always have held a special place in my heart. As the classic 911 design would give way to the more modern 964 the Carrera CS served as a great way to send off these fantastic machines, which had played such an important role in solidifying the 911’s place at the top of the Porsche lineup.

The Club Sport followed typical protocol for producing a performance-oriented variant: the engine was blueprinted and rev limit raised, the gearbox was modified to provide closer ratios, the suspension was retuned for a more track focus, and unnecessary weight was removed. The CS wasn’t as stripped out as a 964 Leichtbau, but most creature comforts were gone and total weight savings was around 50 kilograms. Only 340 were made.

I have featured the Club Sport a few times over the years, ranging from ultra-rare original examples to modified track cars and in each case they were a treat to behold. I figured we could look at one final example, and it just might be my favorite of those I have come across.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Porsche 911 Carrera Club Sport on Classic Driver

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1988 Porsche 944 Turbo S

Update 1/17/19: This ’88 944 Turbo S has been relisted at $27,000, down $2,000 from December.

Here’s an interesting one. At first glance, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this was one of the very special and very limited ‘Silver Rose’ 944 Turbo S models. All painted in unique Silver Rose Metallic (F1) with multi-tone maroon studio cloth, and ushered in a long list of revisions to the standard Turbo. The new option M758 “Turbo S” included a new turbocharger with redesigned vanes and a remapped DME which increased boost to a max of 1.82 bar. The resulting M44/52 had 30 more horsepower and 15 lb.ft torque to a max of 247 and 258, respectively. But the “S” package was far more than just more boost, as the cooling system was revised, the clutch and transmission were beefed up with hardened first and second gears.

Brakes were borrowed from the 928 S4 and now measured 12″ in front with four piston aluminum calipers. Wheels were Club Sport 16″ forged, polished and anodized units measuring 7 inches in front and 9 in the rear. Suspension was also beefed up with the M030 package; this included adjustable rebound Koni shocks and adjustable-perch coilovers in front. Limited slip differentials (Code 220) were not standard, but a must-select option. So too was a beefed up radio.

But the interesting thing about this particular car is that it’s not a Silver Rose. The original purchaser of this car ticked the $5,510 option box for the Turbo S M758 options, then paid a further $685 to have it painted Stone Gray Metallic:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Porsche 944 Turbo on eBay

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1988 Audi 5000CS quattro

One of the reasons it’s hard to get excited about the Type 43 Audi is just how far forward the bar was moved with the Type 44. Similar to the leap from the 6-series to the 8-series BMW, the Type 44 was a radical departure both in style, aerodynamics, and chassis dynamics. The basic Type 44 chassis would endure a remarkable run, too – from its basic layout in the Forschungsauto FV Auto 2000 from the 1981 Frankfurt Auto Show right through the derivative D11 V8 quattro through the 1994 model year. The C3 was revolutionary in its incorporation of modern aerodynamic devices, helping to drop drag coefficients to a then-excellent .30 cd. The Audi design prompted many copies, the most notable of which was the very popular Ford Taurus.

But the C3 was about more than just a slick body. Underneath it continued the C2’s turbocharging on top-tier models. With the addition of intercooling, power was up quite a bit from the prior model. Where the 1983 5000 Turbo generated 130 horsepower and 142 lb.ft of torque in U.S. trim, the C3’s MC1 brought 158 horsepower and 166 lb.ft of torque to the party. It was good enough to prompt notoriously BMW-friendly Car and Driver to name it to its ’10 Best’ list for the first time. In the later 200 20V, it also brought a tamed version of Audi’s Sport Quattro motor to market. The Ingolstadt company also pioneered full body galvanization, something that would become the norm for many newer cars moving forward. That body also grew, as Audi added its signature ‘Avant’ model to the lineup. But of course the big news was the 1986 addition of the word synonymous with Audi in the 1980s and ever since – quattro:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Audi 5000CS quattro on St. Louis Craigslist

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1988 Porsche 911 Carrera Targa

What is it that we look for in these cars? Assuming you’re not after the perfect collector example the list is fairly straightforward though not short. The availability of documentation and a known history obviously are of great importance. A knowledgeable seller helps in this regard as well. Abundant photos, paint meter readings, an assessment of its current mechanical condition including any known flaws, and possibly originality of the equipment. Obviously, the last point will vary quite a bit from buyer to buyer, but any buyer will want to know what is original to a particular 911 and what isn’t even if that buyer does not mind the lack of originality. Lastly, we all want a fair price, but perhaps even more so when looking at driver-quality cars. Their value typically is pretty locked in so you can’t bank on higher resale down the road.

I think this Marine Blue 1988 Porsche 911 Carrera Targa fulfills most of those points and that’s part of what I like about it. It’s up for auction without reserve so the price should be fair. It also looks pretty great. It sounds like there isn’t a huge amount of documentation, but some does exist, and it does appear we know the ownership history. There is one red flag in its history – it was a theft recovery back in the ’90s – but that red flag doesn’t seem to be causing it any problems. It is stated to have a clear title. It isn’t perfect, but looks like a very nice example of a late Carrera Targa and could find itself in a sweet spot in the market.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Porsche 911 Carrera Targa on eBay

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Feature Listing: 1988 Porsche 930 Coupe

If you’ve been reading these pages long enough you’ll know that I love a bright red interior. You might also recall that for me a white exterior is a color for which I have a very love/hate relationship. I think it can work incredibly well on some cars and look incredibly boring on others. In both cases, what I like about these colors comes down to contrast. It is not the individual color itself that I enjoy, but rather the way in which it complements other colors. I can think of few better examples of this than the presentation of this Grand Prix White 1988 Porsche 930 Coupe with Lipstick Red interior and just 26,842 miles on it.

The interior is about as bright as they come on a Porsche. Contrasted with the Grand Prix White exterior it stands out in sharp focus. It’s ostentatious, but because the exterior is white I don’t find it garish. It brings some excitement to the car in a way that the much more standard black interior simply could not do and it enhances that white exterior. Overall, this is really nice looking 930 whose color combination is quite befitting of the car’s dynamic capabilities.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Porsche 930 Coupe

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