The 1989 model year was the final year of the torsion-bar 911, and only 1,156 US-market Carrera coupes were made. If that number seems low, it is because the 1989 was a split model year, as the 964s were also sold as 1989 models. Given that the 911 basically looked the same from 1974 to 1989, I can’t imagine it was a fun job trying to sell these 1989 911s when new when totally new 964s were sitting in the showroom. Now some 30 years later, most seek these out for the G50 gearbox and special options like the sport seats. They bring a slight premium over the older 911s with the 915 gearboxes, but at the end of the day its all about condition, mileage, and options. This example caught my eye up for sale in Idaho is finished in classic Carrera White with matching Fuchs and blue interior. A fairly nice spec on its own. Mileage? Just under 121,000. So a potential nice driver-quality 911 for a decent price, right? Not so fast.
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.
Over the subsequent two years there weren’t many changes to the GTI 16V outside of the “big door” single pane glass change and revised grill of all A2s in ’88, as it’d undergo a major overhaul and bump in displacement for the ’90 model year. This particular GTI is also unique as one of the very last Westmoreland built GTIs, as production closed in ’88 and shifted to Puebla.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Volkswagen GTI 16V on eBay
I think it’s becoming pretty clear to everyone that the reality of owning a “new” car that was recently produced for a really long time is slim. Unless you own some factory diagnostic software and tools, or get really cozy with an independent shop that does, the weekend warrior at home in the garage will be a thing of the past. Even with something like an oil change requires software to reset the service intervals, and changing a battery? That literally needs to be coded to the car. No more slapping a new one in and calling it a day. Because of all this, I think the demand for relatively simple cars will grow greater and greater. A perfect example of that? Of course its a W124 Mercedes-Benz E-Class. This example up for sale in Maine is no low-mileage garage queen, but nice enough to make you think is. The thing, the price certainly reflects that.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Mercedes-Benz 300E on eBay
I’m not much of a Corvette fan. Outside of the original ZR1 and some interesting classics (I’m a big fan of the flawed-but-beautiful ’63 Coupe), most just aren’t very interesting to me. However, take the same formula and drop it into a German car, and I take notice. Is this fair? Probably not. Nevertheless, the ‘German Corvette’ – the 928 – has always intrigued me.
I’m not alone, as the market star of early 928s is rising and the GTS models are still breaking records. So what better way to go than to split the middle? The S4 is just that – enough updates to have fun without the budget-breaking buzz of the last-of-the-run GTS. Sure, you give up some horsepower. But it’s not like the S4 is exactly slow – the 32-valve V8 cranks out 316 horsepower, if you’re counting – and here it’s hooked to a 5-speed manual and a limited-slip differential, as well. You also got the updated looks of the later cars, and the Baltic Blue paintwork shows those curves well. Slip inside and you’ll find Linen leather in the luxurious cabin. What’s not to love?
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Porsche 928S4 on eBay
Following up on the recent Callaway Stage IIs, the other best-known American turbocharger of German products in the 1980s was Steve Dinan. Equally highly regarded, Dinan’s products have made their way from a small independent to being offered in BMW dealerships across the country, and the quality of his work is on par with the best independent tuners from Germany – Hartge and Alpina. Dinan has taken on tough projects – turbocharging the S38, BMW’s first V12, and punching out their V10 to 5.8 liters – and come away smiling.
Today, one of his less-exotic historical products is on the market. In this case it’s a 1989 535i that was turbocharged, lowered and stiffened, and given a big set of wheels. It’s the classic recipe, and sure enough, the outcome looks nice. But what makes this car notable is that it was reportedly Steve Dinan’s personal car, and is presented as the poster pinup probably more than a few of us reading about in Car & Driver when new: