1991 Isdera Imperator 108i

Back in 2020, just before the end of the year, I took a look at one of my all-time favorite cars – the Isdera Commendatore 112i:

Wish List: 1993 Isdera Commendatore 112i

That car was itself a development of what you see here – the 108i. Developed by Porsche engineer Eberhard Schulz and Mercedes-Benz engineer Rainer Buchmann as a successor to the C111 prototypes, the CW311 stuck a M100 6.3 liter V8 behind the driver and was pretty outrageous. When it came to market in 1984 in as the Imperator, the motor had changed to a 5.0 version of the M117 and later M119 motors. That was still good to push the Isdera to the best part of 180 mph in the same Road & Track test at Ehra-Lessien, Germany in 1987 that made the Ruf Yellowbird famous.

Somewhere around 13 of the later ‘Series II’ Imperators were made with the M119, and this one is coming up for sale soon – though, the location will probably give you a clue as to the expected price:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Isdera Imperator 108i at Bonhams Monaco

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1991 Audi 200 20V quattro Avant

Update 12/26/20: This 200 20V quattro is back up with better photos!

By my account, I seem to have the market cornered on writing up Bamboo Metallic 1991 Audi 200 20V Avants. When today’s example popped up near me in Connecticut, I thought at first that it was the same as the last 200 20V Avant that I looked at in the Constitution State:

1991 Audi 200 20V quattro Avant

An easy mistake, given that 1) they were both in Connecticut b) they were the same color combination and both have Euro headlights and III) there were only 149 imported, so what are the odds?

But that wasn’t the only Bamboo Avant I’ve looked at:

1991 Audi 200 20V quattro Avant

Amazingly, that car also had European headlights, but there were enough differences to tell me that wasn’t today’s car either. So welcome to the third installment of my continuing series that I call ‘1991 Audi 200 20V quattro Avants in Bamboo over Travertine for sale‘. Surely it can’t go to a fourth episode?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Audi 200 20V quattro Avant on eBay

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1991 Porsche 911 Coupe Singer 4.0

Singer Vehicle Design burst onto the air-cooled scene the best part of a decade ago, and they show little sign of relinquishing the crown of champion of the backdates. Indeed, calling a Singer a ‘backdate’ almost seems to be an affront – they so thoroughly re-engineer the vehicle that the results seem to reside in their own genre. Singer has continuously redefined that genre and its own limits, with its bespoke creations demanding attention with their authority and high price tags as a result.So I’ll start off by saying that I was a bit surprised to come across a Singer for sale. There are a few reasons for this; there’s still a fairly sizable wait for one, and they’re not cheap to buy to start with – ranging from half a million to triple or more depending on the level of detail you want. Yet here we are, and this one seems fitting of a Christmas wish:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Porsche 911 Coupe Singer 4.0 on eBay

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1991 Volkswagen GTI 16V

The 1991-1992 GTI followed the same basic recipe as the 1987 model the double-overhead cam motor was introduced in, but everything was turned up a few notches. Starting in the mid-1990 model year, all US bound A2s received the ‘big bumper’ treatment; new smooth aerodynamic covers front and rear. To help to differentiate it a bit, the GTI’s blackened arches were widened. Filling those arches were new 15″ wheels from BBS. The multi-piece RMs were lightweight and the perfect fit for the design, echoing other contemporary class-leading sports cars such as the M3. Volkswagen color-coded the mirrors and rear spoiler to match the car, as well. VW also gave the GTI a fresh face with more illumination; quad round lights filled the grill, and foglights were integrated into the lower bumper. Prominent GTI 16V badges still encircled the car.

Power was up to match the heightened looks. Now with 2.0 liters of twin-cam fun, the GTI produced 134 horsepower at 5,800 RPMs and 133 lb. ft of torque at 4,400 RPMs. Coupled to the close-ratio 5-speed manual, that was good enough to drop 0-60 times below 8 seconds. That may not sound like much today, but at the time it was another league of performance compared to the typical economy car. Holding you in place were the same heavily-bolstered Recaros that special editions like the ‘Helios’ 1989 Jetta GLI Wolfsburg had enjoyed.

It was a recipe for success, but these cars were also relatively expensive in period, and fell into the global recession time frame which affected sales of nearly all European marques drastically. The general consensus is that around 5,000 of the last of these GTIs were imported, putting their rarity on the level of the M3. But because they weren’t M3s, there are far less around today to enjoy and few turn up in stock configuration for a myriad of reasons. This example has not been spared that fate, but it still looks worth consideration:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Volkswagen GTI 16V on eBay

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1991 Audi 90 quattro 20V Turbo

Everyone talks a good game, but let’s be honest – few undertake the heavy lifting involved with a project car. I’ve certainly been guilty of it more than once, having had a Coupe GT racecar that I just couldn’t quite come up with the resources to get together. Then I was going to drop my spare Audi 4.2 V8 into a derelict 924 chassis that was kicking around. I still think that’s a good idea, but it has not occurred. And I’m not alone, judging by how often ‘project’ cars come up for sale.

One of the more prevalent dreams in the Audi swaps is to recreate what Europeans had the advantage of all along – 20V turbo power in the small chassis. While most take the Coupe Quattro route for their swap, some go the unusual route of choosing an 80 or 90 quattro. They’re not as popular for a few reasons – mostly, the sedan platform doesn’t look as neat to some, but another reason is that tire size is more limited on the sedan. But let’s not forget that Audi built about 300 S2 sedans themselves, so it’s not without precedent.

Today’s car has taken inspiration from that and done the heavy lifting for your project already. So is it the car for you?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Audi 90 quattro 20V Turbo on eBay

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1991 Audi 200 quattro Avant

1991 was a great year for Audi and Volkswagen enthusiasts in America, robust with performance options all around. Fans of normally aspirated motors had multiple double-cam choices; the 16V twins from Volkswagen with the GTI/GLIs, each with heavily bolstered Recaros and awesome BBS wheels. Going slightly less boy racer and more upscale yielded the equally impressive 20V inline-5 duo from Audi, with the Coupe Quattro and 90 20V quattro. They weren’t as quick off the line, but they were certainly well built, solid performing luxury vehicles. Of course, the big daddy of normal aspiration in the lineup was the V8 quattro. Still at 3.6 liters and 240 horsepower for 1991, it was also available with a manual transmission and was in the midst of a winning streak in the DTM series, usurping power from the E30 M3 and 190E 2.5-16 in monumental style.

If forced induction was more your choice for speed, there were plenty of options there, as well. 1991 featured a slightly revised Corrado, now also with BBS wheels and the 1.8 liter G-lader supercharged motor. Audi offered you a luxury cruiser still in the 200 Turbo, as well. But the big news was finally the release of the 20V Turbo motor into the lineup. Long featured in the Sport Quattro, then RR Quattro in Europe and later S2, in America Audi brought the 3B turbocharged inline-5 package in the 200. As an added bonus, it was available in both sedan form and the innovative Avant wagon. Producing 217 horsepower and a bit more torque, the Audi was capable of 0-60 runs in the mid-6 second range if you were quick with your shifts. But this wasn’t a bracket racer – the 200 was a luxury car through and through, with a well-appointed cabin full of the things you’d expect – Zebrano wood trim, electric powered and heated leather seats front and rear, and a high-quality Bose stereo. Unusual for a luxury car of the time, but underscoring the German’s feelings towards driving, were the number of driver-oriented items. The dash was full of gauges, and unlike the V8 and 200 Turbo, the 20V was manual-only. Next to the shift lever was the manual rear differential lock, though as with all the second generation quattro drivetrains, the electronic lock disengaged at 15 m.p.h. automatically. The center differential was a Torsen unit capable of varying power as well. And the brakes were unconventional floating-rotor designs, intended to help haul the heavy 200 down from triple-digit Autobahn speed with ease. Unlike the normal 200, the fenders on the 20V were flared slightly to accommodate BBS forged wheels, 15×7.5″ all around and shared with the V8 quattro. It sounded like a recipe for success, and was a well regarded car when new even if the unconventional manual/turbo-5 setup lacked some grunt compared to the V8s of the day.

Yet this was still the fallout period of both the recession of the 1990s and Audi’s fall from grace in the U.S. market, so the 200 was a slow seller. On top of that, the C3 was at the very end of its life cycle, replaced mid-1991 with the C4 chassis. As a result, very few of the 200 20V quattros were built; Audi claims 4,767 sedans and a scant 1,616 Avants were produced with the 3B motor. Of those, only about 900 sedans made it to America. But the number you care about? Well, this 1991 200 20V quattro Avant is one of the 149 originally imported here.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Audi 200 quattro Avant on Autotrader

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1991 Porsche 911 RWB

Oh boy.

It was bound to happen. Everyone’s favorite “love them or hate them” Porsche tuner, RAUH-Welt BEGRIFF (RWB), has suddenly been pumping out a ton of builds over the last few years thanks to the magic of the internet. These cars are extremely divisive in the car community as some think they are rolling art, while others think they are all show and zero go, along with the fact is it literally cutting up clean Porsches. The formula is pretty straightforward on the builds, as you contact Akira Nakai, give him a giant pile of money, a 911, and enough beer and cigarettes to get him through the process, and he gives you a one-of-kind car that will never be overlooked. Some builds are pretty tame like this backdated G-body, while others go really wild like this 993. Either way, these cars are not for the purists.

Naturally, when things get popular organically, companies want to jump in and try to capitalize. This is exactly what went on with the build we are looking at today with a 1991 964 that was commissioned by a video game maker Electronic Arts for their Need For Speed series. Just as a side bar, I grew up addicted to the Need For Speed games, especially Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit and Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed and can directly correlate some bad grades on report cards because I was playing those games instead of studying. Although look at me now; we all have spell check and I write about cars for a living. Back on track, this 964 was built in the typical wild JDM style we are used to seeing, but also had some help from some other builders. Electronic Arts also reached out to Magnus Walker for the styling and Bisimoto Engineering for drivetrain. They must have been writing some pretty big checks for this one.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Porsche 911 RWB on eBay

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1991 Mercedes-Benz 600SEL

Don’t look now, but it seems like the Mercedes-Benz W140 chassis is finally getting its due. Does that mean go out and buy every Craigslist W140 you can find like people do with the 2.3-16v and W124 500Es? No. Please don’t do that. What I’m trying to say is that the very best of the best W140s are finally selling for prices that I would consider “premium”. Just as an example, a 1996 S600 Coupe with 36,000 sold for $32,500 last week and it looked every bit the part of a new car. The sedan is no different either, although the V12 cars and Grand Edition certainly seem to be the most desirable, and rightfully so. Today, I came across a 1991 600SEL up for sale in Germany with just 15,000 miles. Naturally the car perfect, but this one has a little surprise once you open the doors.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Mercedes-Benz 600SEL at Janzen Klassik

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M5r. October: Ex-Reggie Jackson 1991 BMW M5

Until quite recently, the best value in the classic BMW M market was the E34 M5. First off, if youve never seen a used advertisement for a second-generation M5, you might have missed that these supreme sedans were the last of the handbuilt M models. If you hate movies, you might have missed that a M5 was also an unsung hero in the cult classic Ronin, even if it couldnt get away from a Citroen and the S8 was more memorable. If youve been living under a rock, you might not know that its father the original M5 is a lot more expensive today than it was a decade ago.

Yet the second generation M5, while considered a bit softer than the E28, was a potent sleeper nonetheless. And for me, its the ultimate M car; not because its the fastest, prettiest or most valuable; but because it expresses the ethos of what made BMW great. A Spartan warrior wolf in taxi-cab clothes, the M5 combined literal race-bred technology into an easily digestible package; it was a pleasure to drive fast or slow, it was reasonably reliable (and especially so considering the performance envelope), and yet unlike Porsche Turbos, Lotus Esprits, Chevrolet Corvettes or any other sports car that offered similar performance, it was a stealthy package it was the adult choice. In 1991 if the M5 was graduating high school, it would have been Valedictorian and voted most likely to succeed, but it would have gotten my vote for most athletic and prom king as well its that good. Despite these superlative qualities, a reputation second to none in terms of quality and driving experience, the E34 M5 is just now catching on in the marketplace – and values are reflecting that:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 BMW M5 on eBay

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Wolfsburg 3:16: A trio of modified Volkswagen GTI 16Vs

For some, the A2 is a religion and the GTI 16V is their prophet. Being that it’s the Christian Sabbath today (observed, at least – forget for a moment that it’s supposed to be Saturday!) I thought I’d take a look at a chosen few. The other meaning of sabbath, interestingly, is a meeting of witches with the Devil at midnight. Perhaps that’s more appropriate for these hot hatches, all of whom have a slightly evil temper and love mischief? Regardless, in the wake of the Rallye-inspired Golf this interesting trio of what were once original GTI 16Vs popped up, and all are worthy of a look. They range from mild to wild both in terms of mods and price. Are any of them winners?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Volkswagen GTI on eBay

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