1990 Audi V8 quattro

Back in January, I took a look at a really nice ‘survivor’ 1990 Audi V8 quattro:

1990 Audi V8 quattro

That car was in pretty decent condition overall, and one of the nice (and somewhat rare to see) options it had was sport seats. Today I’m back with another ’90 V8, once again in the optional and expensive Pearlescent White Metallic. This one has similar mileage, a similar lack of disclosed history, and is in generally similar condition, though it does not have the sport seats. Let’s take a look:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Audi V8 quattro on eBay

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1992 Mercedes-Benz 300CE 3.4 AMG

Not that they weren’t valuable before, but it certainly seems like collectors or “want-to-be collectors” are trying to grab every little piece of pre-merger AMG stuff they can get their hands on. The thing is, no one really knows what is all out there and where they are at. Being that they were produced à la carte-style at several different AMG subsidies around the world and record keeping was rather sparse, tracking these cars is difficult at best, and the possibilities were endless in terms of how tame or how crazy you wanted to go. One car might get some bumpers and side skirts, while the one being built beside it might get widebody treatment and a 6.0-liter swap. Once they were finished, off they went to who-knows-where.

Today’s car, a 1992 300CE, is somewhere in the middle. It has the classic AMG bodykit, Monoblock wheels, and an M103 with bumped-up displacement to 3.4 liters. Sadly there is no 6.0 here, but surely it is a great looking automobile and still can be fun. This one is up for sale in central Paris of all places has a fair amount of miles, and is priced somewhat reasonably considering what we saw another 3.4 car sell for back in May.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1992 Mercedes-Benz 300CE 3.4 AMG at L’art de l’automobile

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1990 Audi V8 quattro

From the dated underpinnings of the Type 44 chassis, Audi emerged in 1988 with an all-new 4-cam aluminum engine that could be mated to an automatic transmission. Now, to most enthusiasts that probably sounds like a bad idea. But when it came to selling car – especially expensive luxury cars – the overwhelming majority of buyers wanted the car to do most of the heavy lifting. Audi’s response was the next generation of quattro drivetrains with a series of clutches in the center differential that helped to transfer power and allowed the car to be mated to an automatic transmission. That transmission – the ZF 4HP24A – was a derivative of the 4HP24, the same automatic found in the V12-equipped BMW 750 and 850s. Like the Mercedes-Benz, Audi employed Bosch ABS and a locking rear differential. But unlike other Audis with their manual- or electronic-locking rear differential, the V8 quattro used a Torsen rear differential with helical gears which would automatically split torque in up to a 3:1 ratio to the wheel with grip. Coupled with a more rearward weight bias with the shorter V8 and the gutsy torque on offer throughout the rev range, though much of the car was borrowed from the rest of the lineup it took on an entirely different character. That was matched with new, updated bodywork outside and a wider stance with flared arches. The effect? Magical. And, complicated.

But the V8 quattro wasn’t only about its unique new form of all-wheel drive. The moniker obviously indicated there had been a change in motivation, too, and indeed the V8 launched a new all-aluminum 4 cam, 32 valve V8 displacing 3.6 liters dubbed the PT. Rated at 240 horsepower and 254 lb.ft of torque, it was the most powerful Audi for sale in the late 1980s and brought the brand to a luxury level it had previously not competed at. In the U.S., these mega-Audis were met with mixed success. The 1990 launch of the V8 resulted in reasonably good sales; Audi sold 2,823 between late 1989 and the end of 1990 which represented over 10% of their yearly sales. Values in the used market plummeted after timing belt fiascos on early cars and the general recession of the early 90s, along with the ’92 launch of the turbocharged, manual and later Avant-equipped S4/S6 twins. Today, it’s a bit of a treat to see a clean V8 quattro, and this looks to be one of the better examples out there for sale:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Audi V8 quattro on eBay

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1990 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC

Ever feel like you are having car déjà vu? If you are like me, it happens from time to time. A car that you recognize, but maybe can’t place it or isn’t sure if it was the same model. When I saw this car, a 1990 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC, it took me about 30 seconds to remember the story on it. However, the story does not get any better.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC on eBay

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1990 Porsche 911 Cabriolet

Well, this is something different. Almost every time you see a modified Porsche, more specifically an air-cooled example, those modifications are for performance. Outside of the crazy 1980s coach builders that made some truly horrific stuff, if you were messing around wit a Porsche, it was to go faster around a race track. It makes sense, because that is what these cars are all about. There is no fun driving a Porsche slow because…well, they are’t good at that. So when today’s car popped up for sale, a 1990 C2 Cabriolet in Florida, it caught me off guard. You can probably see why.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Porsche 911 Cabriolet on eBay

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Euro-Spec 24k-Mile 1990 Volkswagen Corrado G60

Jealousy.

I still remember the moment as the wave of envy set over me. A struggling college student, I had tried hard to balance my love of cars with the multiple part-time jobs I fit in between classes. Ultimately, cars probably came before some things they should have, but still fell staunchly behind the realities of life. Rent. Tutition. Books. Utilites. FOOD. These necessities multiplied themselves together over the years, grasping at my meager weekly paycheck more rapidly than I could deposit it in the bank. Trips to the pump were always metered; weeks went by holding breath at every turn of the key, praying for a safe completion of circuit. And when you own a ’84 Volkswagen that sat in a driveway not running for decade rotting away before you resurrected it, often your dreams of a trouble-free commute are unrealized.

As a result of my shoestring budget, I often turned to a friend to help with mechanical work that my GTI often needed. He’d stop by my house after work and wrench for a bit, or I’d drive it by his place for a replacement part or ten. He also had a A1 – a sweet special edition Cabriolet from ’85 which he had spent years tricking out. But on one of these repair stops, he introduced me to his new toy.

It was 1998 and he had picked up a ’90 Corrado G60. He had picked it up cheap, too, as they often broke even when pretty new. Two things struck me about this car. Though it was only 6 years newer than my GTI, it might as well have been a spaceship. The two shared nothing in common outside of the badge. My pyrite-in-the-rough GTI was rusty and not so trusty. Horrible build quality meant things regularly broke, or fell off, or rusted off; often, the trifecta struck. It was a square slowly-deteriorating block of iron oxide in a rounded-off world. In comparison, the Corrado looked well-built, felt modern, was comfortable, had air conditioning and electronic items that…well, functioned, and even had paint all in one color. But the other thing that struck me was just how tired and old that Corrado already felt in 1998. I rarely buy cars that are newer than 10 years old, but this Corrado felt a lot more than that already. Perhaps that was because the VR6 model had so quickly replaced it. Or perhaps it was because I was still excited for new cars to launch in 1998. Looking back, though, my initial impressions of the Corrado G60 still hold true. But am I still jealous that I didn’t have one?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Volkswagen Corrado G60 on eBay

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1990 BMW 850i Euro-spec

Euro cars always hold a special appreciation for me, especially from the 1970s and 1980s. First off, they were much better looking, generally with slimmer bumpers and larger, more clear class lights. There were colors and interiors that we didn’t get in the U.S. as well, helping to set yourself apart. Sometimes there were low-spec engines not imported, but usually the output of the motors that were similar to U.S. cars was higher, giving more performance to enthusiasts. Sometimes that gulf was huge; while usually around 10% higher, a great example is the Quattro which was a full 25% more powerful in Europe than the U.S. restricted version. But as we got towards the late ’80s, the gap inbetween both the looks and performance of the Euro models versus the U.S. models closed steadily. True, in some cases we still didn’t get the full-fat versions of cars like the M3 until the E46 chassis. But for most models, there was a negligible difference. When it came to the BMW E31, in fact, there were almost no differences between the U.S. models and European models; styling was exactly the same, as were the wheels, most of the colors and interiors, and the basic suspension and engine. So, it’s just not nearly as exciting to see a European-spec newer model like this ’91 850i pop up for sale, though it is a bit odd:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 BMW 850i Euro-spec on eBay

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1990 Mercedes-Benz 300CE

I think the days of picking up a nice W124 Mercedes-Benz coupe for very little money is probably over. I remember only a few years ago where a decent example could be had for $4,200 or so and everyone would leave happy. The last year or so? Not so much. Most have been trading in the $10,000 ballpark with some really nice examples selling for much more. Yes, you can probably find a handful of 300CEs that need some love for much less than 10k, but how much as you spending to get it back up to snuff?

That brings me to today’s example, a 1990 up for sale New Jersey that has just over 100,000 miles on the odometer. It looks to be well looked after and not beat up at all. But I think the problem with this car is interesting color scheme of Signal Red with the slightly darker lower cladding. Is it garish? Probably. Is it old enough where a crazy paint scheme is now considered cool? Maybe so.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Mercedes-Benz 300CE on eBay

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1990 Volkswagen Rallye Golf Tribute

Watch out Quattro, here comes the Golf!

While in the 1980s if you bought any of the branded ‘quattro’ systems you basically got the same drivetrain no matter what model you jumped in, the same was not true at corporate sibling Volkswagen. To add all-wheel drive to its lineup, VW had to incorporate three distinct systems all of which fell under the moniker ‘syncro‘. As just discussed in the T4, the T3’s system was a viscous coupling setup sending power forward with twin locking differentials. The B2 Passat shared its platform with the Audi B2, so there the all-wheel drive syncro was really just a re-badged generation 1 quattro system. But in the A2 chassis, a different viscous coupling setup engineered by Steyr-Daimler-Puch helped to transfer power rearward from the transverse engine when the front wheels slipped. The engineering was pretty trick, but underneath it all it was pretty much just a standard Golf – albeit one with potential.

So in the late 1980s when Volkswagen Motorsports wanted to enter Group A racing with the new all-wheel-drive Golf, it needed to build more than just race cars if they wanted a mean motor in it. It was homologation at its finest. Okay, maybe not, but build more they did, with at around 5000 road-going units planned of what was dubbed the Rallye Golf.

Defined by its rectangular headlights with cooling slats underneath, the Rallye continued the Im a race car on the road SHHHHHHH! theme with typical 1980s box-flared fenders. The Sebring alloy wheels were also seen on U.S.-bound Corrados. Despite the racer looks, the extra performance of the 1H G60-supercharged, 1.8-liter 8-valve inline-4 rated at 158 horsepower wasnt enough to overwhelm the additional mass of the rear drive system, and, consequently, a well-driven GTI 16V would be quicker to 60 and around a track. But BOXFLARES!

Consequently, though the Rallye may not win the VW drag race, it won the hearts of enthusiasts. This tribute plays into that with a visual recreation of the Rallye – lacking the viscous coupling setup, but with a lot more motivation under the hood:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Volkswagen Rallye Golf Tribute on eBay

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1990 Porsche 944S2

While cars like the Audi Quattro and BMW M3 may have popularized boxy flares with their racing credentials to back it up, in my eyes no one pulled off the muscle-bound economy look better than the Porsche 944. The addition of several inches of width and wider wheels to the 924 chassis meant an entirely new feel that mingled with supercar lines instead of Volkswagen lineage. Simply put, they were the most sensual looking German car in the 1980s, and that got even better late in the run with some subtle aero additions that enhanced and updated the look. The smooth Turbo bumpers and rear diffuser carried over to the S2 model, along with some lovely Design 90 wheels that were also highlighting the 964 model. As Porsche moved to a full update of the watercooled transaxle cars with the introduction of the 968, the outgoing 944S2 even adopted the new bridge spoiler design from the not yet introduced model.

Turbo looks without the associated power wasn’t an unknown quantity for Porsche, but the 944S2 was no slouch in its own right. Powered by the M44.41 3-liter inline-4 that had been enlarged from the double overhead cam 944S motor, the 208 horsepower wasnt as much as the 968 would sport but was still awfully close to what the original 944 Turbo had produced in power. Better yes, with instant torque the S2 was, and still is, a very entertaining drive. Hardly cheap, on paper they were not immediately the smart choice for a sports car buyer in 1990 and 1991, as twin-turbocharged monsters from Japan were all the rage and often less expensive than the best part of $50,000 a 944S2 would cost you. With only around 3,600 imported to the U.S., theyre a bit rare to see but offer great Porsche build quality, performance and even practicality in a very attractive package:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Porsche 944S2 on eBay

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