For some time, the 964 design was relegated to the “least favorite” column for many in the 911 world. Regarded as little more than a bridge between the classic 911 design of the 3.2 Carrera and the sophisticated modern beauty of the 993, appreciation for the clean lines and steadfast simplicity of the 964 has grown. It hasn’t hurt that the cars around it have rocketed up in value, either. So today let’s take a look at a prime example; a ROW 1991 911 Carrera 2 in Paint-to-Sample in Murano Green.
Unlike earlier cars, changes between the ROW 964s and North American cars were relatively minor (minus the special production cars, like the Carrera RS). Power from the 3.6 air-cooled flat-6 was effectively the same as its North American counterpart. The bumperettes were missing on ROW cars, and of course for Euro plates the center rear bumper section was slightly different. Without the 5 mph mandate, ROW cars didn’t have the heavier crash bars behind their bumpers either, nor do they have the collision bars in the doors. As you’d expect, the headlights and tailights are different, and Euro cars had sidelights that were missing on NA cars. Those headlights were adjustable in cockpit via an adjuster next to the key. Foglights were standard on ROW cars and they also had no third brakelight. ROW cars had larger fuel tanks, lower suspension, and a few other minor tweaks. Reading all of that would probably lead you to believe the ROW cars were lighter, and they are – somewhere around 50 lbs or so.
But here it’s not the missing 5-year-old’s weight you’re excited for – it’s just got to be the color:
The E31 was BMW’s first real attempt at integrating lots of computer designs and controls into one of their road cars. The clean-sheet design resulted in a 2-door grand tourer that shared some visual similarities with the great M1, but stood apart as a more practical cruiser. Unlike the E24, the windows could fully drop, revealing a graceful pillarless design to match the sweeping greenhouse. The sharp nose amazingly hid an even larger motor than its predecessor; in fact, it was basically two conjoined M30s. That configuration certainly has some drawbacks, but there was no denying that the 850i had serious presence and credentials with the M70 V12 kicking out 300 horsepower.
However, BMW softened the character of what potentially could have been a screamer. Many were outfit with 16? wheels for a better ride and tied to an automatic transmission. This was truly a GT car, and not the supercar slayer that BMW teased with its M8 Concept. Still, there are a few which were hooked to 6-speed manual transmissions prior to the launch of the manual-only 850CSi, and they’re a whole lot cheaper than the M-modded model is trading for today:
Update 5/7/19: This time around, the Bamboo Bomber sold for $12,100.
I don’t think there are any young children sitting around pining for the loss of the wagon. It’s hard to imagine a young teen hanging a picture of a Audi Allroad on his wall next to the idealistic Ferraris and Porsches, after all. Say to a average car-obsessed 10-year old “someday you’ll really want a wagon”, and they’ll probably laugh. Then try to tell them it will be beige…
All of this raises an interesting point: at what point does this particular car become appealing? Is it because it’s rare? Certainly there aren’t many 200 20V quattro Avants out there, with most fans accepting that approximately 149 were imported. Is it because it’s old? Now on the verge of being 30, the scant number originally imported has dwindled to the point where I’m sure someone knows them all by name. After all, there were more people in my high school graduating class than 200 20V Avants imported. Is it because it’s powerful? Well, to be honest, the 217 horsepower the 3B turbocharged double-overhead cam 20V inline-5 chucked out originally seems pretty tame today. But at the time, you needed to spend a lot of money to go faster than this 5-door. Is it because it’s beige? Now it gets interesting, as I was frustrated by the drapes-match-the-carpet tones in a recent S8, which otherwise shares most of the characteristics I just mentioned:
2001 Audi S8
Yet here, this rare Bamboo Metallic over rare Travertine in the (you guessed it) rare 200 20V quattro Avant pulls the right strings and becomes quite desirable:
Generally I’m not a big fan of replica cars. I think there is no biggest waste of money than the Mercedes-Benz SSK Gazelle replicas that you have to spend $13,000 on to get a Ford Pinto engine and a sheet of plywood screwed to the dash. It looks terrible, it drives even worse, and you surely aren’t fooling anyone given a real SSK is well into the eight-figure range. However, there are exceptions to everything and today’s car, a 1991 190E up for sale in England, might be one of them. Just by looking at it, you can probably tell what it is all about.
One of my favorite colors from Mercedes-Benz in the 1980s and early 1990s is Bornite Metallic. It is a wonderful shade of light purple that could maybe pass for grey in the right lighting, but purple is a good general name for it. I don’t think I’m the only person who feels this way, as a 1991 560SEC with 8,000 miles painted in this color sold for a $78,400 at auction recently. Yes, I realize that a lot of that price is due to the fact that is a final year 560SEC with 8,000 miles on it, but compare that to a ’86 560SEC with 10,000 miles and you can see that the paint color surely played a factor in the price. Today, I came across a 1991 300SE painted in Bornite up for sale in North Carolina with just 84,000 km on it. Yes, I said kilometers. Let me explain.
Continuing on my quest to bring you odd color combinations, I present a 1991 Mercedes-Benz 500SL painted in Impala Brown Metallic with a dark brown top. I’m trying to imagine someone who would walk onto a Mercedes dealer lot in 1991, find the row of R129s, look at all the colors that were offered and say, ”Yes. The brown one. Here is $90,000”. I understand not trying not to stick out or not wanting something flashy, but you shouldn’t be buying a very expensive convertible in the first place if you wanted to blend in with the earth. Yet, someone out there wanted a SL in this color and now they still remain in the garages of retirees to take out for a drive on a nice day. This example up for sale outside of Philadelphia seems to be exactly that. Owned by the same person for the past 18 years but now ready for a new home. Thing is, you aren’t getting a deal on the drab color. At least not this one.
Update 3/20/19: This Étienne Aigner sold for $11,500.
As I explained back in 2017, towards the end of their lengthy production run, the Volkswagen Cabriolet broke into a three-tier model platform. All shared the same basic underpinnings, but each had a unique trim. The base model and best seller had cloth interiors, with the latter being opted with the ‘Teardop’ Detroit alloys, air conditioning and cruise control. Opting for the upscale Boutique model got you a matching leather interior to your white exterior. These packages had replaced the mid-80s Wolfsburg and Carat packages.
1990 Volkswagen Cabriolet with 23,000 Miles
However, there was a fourth trim model available in 1991; the Étienne Aigner Edition. Étienne Aigner is famed for high fashion leather products aimed specifically at women. So, you guessed it, this Cabriolet featured a cloth interior. As with the other upscale Cabriolets, this was an entirely appearance-based package, full of special details and badges. Étienne Aigners also differentiated themselves from the normal Cabriolets by being equipped with the Fuchs-made forged 14″ Le Castellet wheels and were available in three special colors, Midnight Blue Metallic, Mangrove Green Metallic or Bordeaux Red Pearl Metallic, each with a special color-matched interior fabric and top cover:
One of my new year’s resolutions on this site is to feature less run-of-the-mill common cars and more really special and rare cars. I’m off to a decent start with a 500SEC Koenig Specials Twin-Turbo and a 300SL Gullwing AMG from this past week. Today, I ran across another really cool car and has some awfully cool options. This is a 1991 560SEL 6.0 AMG up for sale in Japan. It looks like it was a normal 560SEL that was converted by AMG Japan into one of the most well-equipped W126s I’ve ever seen. What exactly is so special about it? Wait until you see the rear seats and under the hood.
As the Turbo era died off in the early 90s and nearly everyone abandoned forced induction thanks to newer, more stringent fuel economy and emissions standards, Porsche’s ‘Gott verdammt, ve continue to do things the same vill!‘ attitude extended to boost. Instead of backing away from their somewhat flawed design, Porsche doubled down and launched a ‘brand new’ Turbo model of the 911 for 1991. I say ‘brand new’ because while the body looked modern and the interior updated, in reality this was the same old-school Porsche 911 Turbo underneath. It was still rear-drive only, still a single turbocharger with a ton of lag, and still capable of ripping your face off. Still displacing 3.3 liters, revisions to the intake, exhaust and ECU left the flat-6 churning 315 horsepower and 333 lb.ft of torque, the 964-era Turbo hit 60 in under 5 seconds if you threw caution to the wind and was within a breath of 170 flat-out. Outside, the 964’s smooth bumper covers replaced the impact-era units and 17″ Cup 1 wheels filled the flares, but squint and not much looked different from 15 years prior. Yet sure enough, newfangled technologies had crept in: anti-lock brakes, airbags, power steering *gasp!* In many ways, though modern and certainly capable of hanging with the best cars of the day if not exceeding their performance, they felt a bit like a dinosaur unabashedly sticking its middle claw up towards progress and the future. It’s that attitude, reputation and look that today continues to drive the desirability of this model in the used market:
A Tahoe Blue Metallic 964 is a color I used to never see come up for sale and then suddenly it seemed common. Of course, by common I mean that I have come across and posted three different examples over the past 14 months so they aren’t really that common, but given that none seemed to exist before that you get the idea. Of the three I have posted two have been Turbos and one was a C4 Cabriolet. Were I looking for a 964 those really aren’t the models I’d be looking for. What I’d be looking for is the one we see here: a Carrera 2 Coupe. So for me that makes this one the best of the bunch.