80s 4-Banger Icons: 1983 Volkswagen GTI and 1989 Porsche 944S2

I’m back with another “Which would you buy?” scenario, but this one is quite a bit different from the twin S6s I took a peek at over the weekend. Today I’m looking at two very different 80s icons – the GTI and the Porsche 944. In their own right, both were also 80s film stars – the Porsche 944 in John Hughes Sixteen Candles, while the A1 Volkswagen appeared topless in nearly every other movie – most notably, ‘The Coreys’ License to Drive. Today’s subjects are higher performance, driver-oriented examples, and like last time both fall into driver-quality examples. Yet while the performance and original sticker prices of these cars is quite far apart, today in the market they’re not only within reach of budget-minded enthusiasts, but also they’re in direct competition with each other. So which would you score?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 Volkswagen GTI on eBay

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1989 BMW 325ix

I’ve been accused of ignoring the E30 325ix. True enough, I’ve flatly declared that I’m much more an Audi fan from the period. But the BMW was a pretty interesting development from Munich, and as these are still market darlings, it’s certainly worth taking a look.

While BMW wouldn’t launch the U.S. spec ix until 1988, Europeans were introduced to the concept in 1986. Unlike Audi’s quattro system which utilized a rearward driveshaft tacked on to a front-wheel drive transmission output shaft, BMW mated a transfer case and two viscous couplings, which effectively were front and rear limited-slips. This was very different from Audi’s contemporaneous system, which relied on the driver to lock the rear and center differentials that were otherwise open. The 325ix was able to be mated to an automatic transmission long before Audi would do so in the small chassis. BMW’s system was also more rearward biased, with 67% of the power being sent to the back wheels. While still more prone to understeer than a standard 325i, it was less so than the Audi.

Then, of course, there was the power difference. Because of suspension and other changes between the front-drive and quattro Audis, the system added about 225 lbs to the curb weight, while BMW claimed the ix system added around 150 lbs. Since both cars made use of otherwise standard engines, the advantage was again with the BMW. The M20B25 cranked out nearly 170 horsepower, some 40 more than the NG 2.3 inline-5 shared in the 80/90 quattros. The only real external differences between the 325i and 325ix were the addition of the color-matched fender flares and rear spoiler, slightly higher ride height and 15″ BBS mesh wheels, and the simple addition of one “x” behind the normal designation. Weren’t times so much more simple?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 BMW 325ix on eBay

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1989 Porsche 930 Coupe

How do we explain the 930? It’s appeal seems both undeniable, but also uncertain. It’s raw and powerful and appeals to all of our childish sensibilities. It’s kind of a Hot Wheels car come to life. In some cases you might really think that’s what has happened. But we’re grown now and not everyone wants a car with a massive spoiler and bulging rear fenders. All of that power requires your full attention in a world where paying attention has become a novelty. But there are times when I look at one – and I’m sure some of you do as well – and can’t think of why I might want something else.

Here we have a triple black 1989 Porsche 930 Coupe with 80,457 miles on it. This comes from the final year of 930 production, a significant point for those in search of one of these turbos since it was the only year Porsche equipped them with a 5-speed manual transmission rather than the previously utilized 4-speed manual.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Porsche 930 Coupe on eBay

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1989 Volkswagen GTI 16V

Update 11/26/18: After selling as a Feature Listing back in April, the new owner of this GTI 16V has had second thoughts and listed it in a reserve auction. It doesn’t look as though there have been any changes over that time and it sold for $4,200 in the Spring. Though the seller paid a lot to transport it, I wouldn’t expect the value to be much more than the last go around this time.

I was pretty excited to see the 1986 Volkswagen GTI that popped up for sale last week. While the A2 is a seriously popular platform for enthusiasts and tuners, coming across original examples is exceedingly hard. But within the GTI range from 1985-1992, the ’85-’86 probably rank lowest on desirability.

You can imagine what a treat it was for me, then, to get to follow it up with the car that re-injected excitement into the lineup. For 1987, Volkswagen brought its development of the EA827 inline-4 – the PL – to the Golf. Already in the Scirocco, it boasted 16 valves, 10:1 compression, KE-Jetronic injection and 123 horsepower. That was over a 20% jump in power, and mated to a close-ratio 5-speed manual it more than made up for the additional heft of the A2 compared to the A1.

To help differentiate its new engine, and because it was initially run alongside the 8V model, several styling cues were added to the 16V. Shared with the Scirocco, the easiest to spot were the “Silverstone” (Teardrop) alloys that would be the signature of the 16Vs for the next few years. Less noticeable were minor changes; painted lower valances and a deeper front lip spoiler, a relocated Fuba antenna now residing on the roof, and – of course – 16V badges and red stripes throughout. The 16V also got a special leatherette interior and beefy 205-55-VR14 Pirelli P600 tires.

Measured 0-60 times plummeted; now capable of achieving the feat in 7.9 seconds, Volkswagen also installed a pretty optimistic 140 mph speedometer. But it was an indication that this was a quick car, and indeed the GTI again punched above its weight class in performance. The base price was up, too – now $12,250, but you could opt in air conditioning, metallic paint, a sunroof and nicer Heidelberg radio and be pushing $14,000 pretty easily.

Despite the price increase, the GTI was an immediate success, universally heralded by magazines as the best GTI yet. With most of the A2 16Vs now approaching 30 years old, though, they’ve become reclusive legends and rarely appear like this:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Volkswagen GTI 16V on eBay

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1989 Porsche 930 Slantnose Coupe

I am a little excited about this car. Here we have a Forest Green Metallic 1989 Porsche 930 Slantnose Coupe, located in Houston, with a variety of rare options including Recaro classic sport seats and the performance kit that raised output to 330 hp. It has traveled – using the term quite loosely – a mere 217 kilometers over the course of its life. As a final-year 930 this particular example sits as a museum piece showcasing some of the unique history of these machines.

So why my excitement? Well, no lie, I have had my eyes on this car for years, though I’ve never seen it. What I mean by that seemingly contradictory statement is that for as long as I can remember I have seen this 930 listed on RPM’s classifieds and it was clear from the description that it was a special car. The ultra-low mileage obviously makes it super special, but even with more typical mileage it’s still a special car. However, it always was listed as “pictures coming soon.” I began to wonder if it actually existed. Finally it does. I can’t say I know precisely when everything was posted, but I happened over to their site earlier this week and there it was. I am not disappointed.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Porsche 930 Slantnose Coupe at RPM Sportscars

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1989 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet – M491/M470

Whenever I see very rare cars come up for sale more frequently I naturally become curious about what’s going on with the market. I mentioned a while back that I’ve felt like I’m seeing more M491 Turbo-look Carreras coming up for sale than in the past. For many of those cars it isn’t necessarily too surprising since the early years of the package’s availability saw quite a few of them produced. But the later G50-equipped examples are another matter. Even more rare are the final-year examples and it is those that I’m suddenly seeing for sale more frequently. Why? I don’t know.

Prior to this year I had seen only a couple for sale with the coupes almost impossible the find. Those coupes remain elusive, but following on the heels of the M491 Carrera Cabriolet I posted two weeks ago here we have another. This time the exterior is Grand Prix White rather than Black and there is added rarity as it was one of the even fewer that selected the M470 spoiler delete option.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet – M491/M470 on eBay

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1989 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet M491

This is a car I feel I have to bring more attention, but I’ll admit I find the ad quite strange. Not strange in the sense that I think something fishy is going on, but in the sense that this isn’t really the best way to get maximum dollar for your car. It should sell fast though and maybe that’s the point.

This is a 1989 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet with the M491 Turbo-look package. If you’ve been following along lately you’ll know that these are rare. Very rare. Once the 930 returned to the U.S. market in 1986 sales of the Turbo-look package went down rather quickly. That makes decent sense. We also must add to this that Porsche debuted its new G50 5-speed transmission for the 911 in 1987, thus making the last three model years of the 3.2 Carrera a little more special on today’s markets. By the time we get to the final model year in 1989 the number of M491-equipped 911s had become quite low. Granted, of the three available models, the Cabriolet was produced in the greatest numbers so this one isn’t as rare as these 911s get. Nonetheless, there only were 24 of them. Oh and it’s up for auction without reserve. Rare indeed.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet M491 on eBay

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1989 Porsche 911 Speedster with 3,513 Miles

It feels like it’s been a while since I posted a 911 Speedster for sale and this one seems interesting enough to bring to everyone’s attention. At least I think it’s an interesting one. The mileage is very low, but that really isn’t a peculiar thing among Speedsters. It seems like we’re more likely to come across an example like this with a mere 3,514 miles on it than one which actually has been driven. What I am more interested in here is the color. It’s Dark Blue, which is one of the more rare colors we’ve seen. The only problem is that it’s near impossible to tell if that’s actually its color. I’m pretty sure it is. The pictures taken close up do look somewhat blue. Very dark blue. So dark that in most of the pictures it looks black!

Red, white, and black were the dominant colors for the 911 Speedster so I’m always interested in those that are in most any other color. This one fits that bill even if the difference is extremely subtle.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Porsche 911 Speedster on eBay

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1989 Porsche 930 Slantnose Cabriolet

There are a couple things about this ad that make me chuckle, but the overall impression of this 1989 Porsche 930 Slantnose Cabriolet remains the same: it looks very good. With fewer than 6K miles on it this is one of the lowest (perhaps the lowest) mileage 930s I’ve seen and its condition looks the part. As the seller makes clear, these are very rare in general among all 930s, but that this is an ’89 makes it just that much more special. This is the only year you could get a 930 with the 5-speed manual transmission and the premium buyers have been willing to pay for that one-year-only transmission has been significant for quite a while. I don’t know if buyers will pay the steep premium this seller is seeking – this 930 has been up for sale for a few months now – but even if the price comes down some, I do not expect it to come down a lot. If you want a collector time capsule of one of these very unique Porsches, then this one requires a look.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Porsche 930 Slantnose Cabriolet on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday: RUF Auction Roundup

It’s August and that means it’s car auction time. Much of the car-collecting world will be out in California this weekend either at Monterey or Pebble Beach – maybe even Carmel. A lot of cars will change hands and some of those will help set the market over the next six months. I always like to highlight a few that seem particularly fun.

As usual, there are a lot of Porsches on auction, though truthfully there is less this year that really grabbed my attention than in years past. But there is always good stuff even if there are fewer of them. For instance, if you’re a very esoteric Porsche fan, Gooding & Company will be auctioning this 1 of 1 1966 Porsche 911 Spyder. This post will not be about that car, in part because I don’t even know where to begin with that car, and, in fact, this post will be slightly tangential to Porsche. We’re going to look at RUF because there are a few very cool RUFs being auctioned. These are the real deal; these aren’t conversions carried about by shops here in the US nor even are they conversions carried out in Pfaffenhausen at the RUF factory. All three of these have a RUF VIN. They are all insanely rare and like all RUFs insanely fast and focused.

We’ve seen a lot of RUF 911s come up for sale over the years, but the three we have here are some of the best examples available. They all come from the 911’s air-cooled days and are a mix of almost unknown and iconic. Let’s begin with the icon: a 1989 RUF CTR, the model famously tested as the ‘Yellowbird’ and which put the rest of the tuning world on notice:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 RUF CTR at RM Sotheby’s Monterey Auctions

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