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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1991 Mercedes-Benz G230

There area bunch of oxymorons in the automotive world. Reliable Fiat. Quality Maserati. Leak-free Land Rover. Inexpensive Porsche. Today, we have another one to add to the list: Restored G-Wagen.

Long before the housewives of the world used the G-Wagen as a grocery-getter and mall crawler, this box on wheels was a utilitarian masterpiece. It was meant to be used and abused, and for the first 21 years of production, they basically were. Then in 1990 when the W463 rolled onto the scene, they got very posh, very fast. However, if you still want that utilitarian experience, there are plenty of them out there. To no one’s surprise, people like to have their cake and eat it too. They want old, but they also want comfortable and luxury. That is exactly what this 1991 G230 is. Someone actually went through the trouble and expense of restoring a G-Wagen with a naturally-aspirated four cylinder that made 123 horsepower when new. I guess that is all you need when the speed limit on Nantucket is only 25 mph.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Mercedes-Benz G230 on eBay

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1991 BMW 850i

I recently looked at a Laguna Green Metallic 850i 6-speed and talked a bit about just why they’re so special. It’s definitely a car you don’t see every day:

1991 BMW 850i

Out of the 4,194 5.0 V12 M70-equipped, only 847 came to the United States between 1990 and 1994 (as the re-badged 850Ci) with a 6-speed manual transmission. While that’s not quite as rare and desirable as the 850CSi, nevertheless the manual E31s are pretty special bits of kit and very hard to come across. But today we get to look at another, and it’s again a cool 90s color:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: on eBay

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1991 BMW M5 with 31,300 Miles

For years weve banged on about the E34 M5, a conundrum of the M lineup. Its got all the right DNA to be a classic, yet like the similar 944 Turbo has generally languished in value compared to similar products. That may sound like a broken record on these pages, but its a tune which is both catchy and sweet-sounding for BMW fans because it means theyre getting more car for their money. Theyve got plenty of the right ingredients the last of the individual throttle body S38 motors producing 315 horsepower, Motorsport details throughout, a great subtle look which still is commanding of respect, supreme road manners and limited numbers only 1,678 were imported. It’s the right recipe for a future classic. This chassis is still generally overlooked compared to the E28 and E39 models, but those that have spent some time behind the wheel of these well engineered, hand-built Q-Ships proclaim theyre one of the best BMW products made. Recent market activity in since 2016 has started to remix the tune, though, and E34s have been on the rise. Hagerty currently places top value on 1991 M5s at over $70,000 steep sounding given what many traded for over the last few years, but perhaps more in line with their legendary build quality and performance especially when considering their siblings. So let’s see what a top value M5 looks like today:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 BMW M5 on eBay

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1991 Audi Coupe Quattro

For some time, the B3 Audi Coupe Quattro enjoyed a coveted place in the lineup, and many enthusiasts still consider them the high point of Audi design. However, in the market place their star has fallen slightly as newer and faster cars have become more affordable. While for some time a solid example would have cost you well north of $6,000, these low production all-wheel drive hatchbacks seem to have fallen on harder times recently, with the pool of remaining candidates dwindling and most coming to market with heavy needs. They have a reputation for being slow compared to the competition the result of being relatively heavy rather than lacking in the motor department. The 7A inline-5 20V motor is a true gem, and on the fly these Coupes are quite entertaining to drive. Of course, as with most of the Audi quattros, turbo conversions are popular and the possibilities are near limitless.

The B3 chassis also upped the electronic quotient for the driver compared to the relatively simple B2s. Electronic fuel injection, electronically locking (and automatically disengaging) rear differential, a Torsen center differential, electric seats and automatic climate control moved the B3 upscale from the B2, along with added safety features. Next year the first of these Coupes turn 30 years old an age that qualifies them as being antique in most states. Audi only sold a reported 1,730 of these Coupes between 1990 and 1991 model years, and the best (and probably optimistic) estimates put only about 75% of those still on the road today. Options on the Coupe were limited to the Cold Weather package, 8-way power seats and Pearlescent White Metallic paint two of which are seen here on this 91. 91s also had the upgraded glass moonroof rather than the early steel panel, though they lost the infamous Bag of Snakes tubular header early models carried. 91s also gained rear sway bars and are the rarest of the bunch, with only 364 sold in the model year and a further 58 traded as leftovers. Like the original, finding a good one is key and difficult:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Audi Coupe Quattro on eBay

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