With a bit of nostalgia, it’s sad to reminisce about a market segment which has all but eroded from the automotive landscape. In the 1970s and 1980s, small coupes were the rage; they offered sporty looks and a bit of driving fun for the commute, while still being effectively economy cars underneath. But through the 1980s and into the early 1990s, those economy roots were altered in an ever increasing amount of brinkmanship to the point where the lines between a true “sports car” and the “sports coupe” evaporated. Yet the market was still ripe with plenty of options at the beginning of Bill Clinton’s Presidency; the Mazda MX-6 and Ford Probe GT continued to share underpinnings with slightly different style, while the Diamond Star Eagle Talon/Plymouth Lazer/Mitsubishi Eclipse offered technological and performance prowess that really lifted the segment. There was also the Nissan 240SX – not as sporty as the others, but still a popular option. Honda wasn’t left out with its popular Prelude and screaming VTEC motor. There were others, too – even the aging Dodge Daytona IROC R/T offered some 224 horsepower – impressive for the period.
All of them are long gone.
Gone, too, is the Volkswagen Corrado. It didn’t have all-wheel drive or the popular for the period “Turbo” badge stuck everywhere. It was refined, smooth and clean looking. The styling wasn’t exotic or futuristic, and the recipe was simple – especially when it came to the VR6. Quite simply, Volkswagen built the best Mk.2 Volkswagen they could, but compared to the competition in period, that wasn’t quite good enough. Nearly all of the competition had new-for-the-90s styling and chassis, and the VW felt decidedly 80s in comparison. And it was expensive, clearing $23,000 before options in 1993. So even though it was really as good as the 80s VW got, it was a soft seller (as most VWs were). Fast forward to the first of these cars about to be antiques, and suddenly a new light is cast upon the model; it doesn’t look as dated, gimmicky or used up as any of the others, and unsurprisingly has become one of the market stars as a result:
I go back and forth as to whether or not I like the C107. It was just a R107 with a fixed top, 14 more inches added to the wheelbase and some small rear seats. The biggest thing that really turns me off to this car are those window louvers. My eyes are always drawn directly to them and how awkward they look. I understand they needed to differentiate this car enough to sway buyers from the SL and probably couldn’t engineer a window regulator to fit in that space with a large piece of glass, but there had to be another design option on the table. Now that it’s 2017 and I very rarely even see a C107 in the wild, I’m starting to soften my harsh opinion on them. Today’s car, aÂ European market 280SLC in Goldbraun, is certainly helping that cause.
Engine: 2.8 liter inline-6
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Mileage: 107,500 mi
1980 Mercedes 280 SLC (Euro)owners manual in German all original second owner 107,500 miles. Good shape, runs fine, solid car. Was grandma’s car and always garaged and maintained. New tires, new transmission, new exhaust, only maintained by Mercedes dealers, no rust. No rust. No rust solid floors and no rust oh and there isn’t any rust $5,500
Having been accustom to the standard 450SLC with the giant diving board bumpers and those awful chrome wheel arches, this C107 is a breath of fresh air. The M110 twin-cam engine is no powerhouse with only a 185 horsepower, but it should be adequate for this car. Inside, the plaid cloth interior, Â manual climate control andÂ Becker Grand Prix 470 radio are all welcome as what I think is an improvement over what came in the U.S. 450SLC cars. Outside the Goldbraun paint is very rare and look great with clean Bundts and those amazing slim European bumpers.
For $5,500, this is a really good price. If I wasn’t on the other side of the country I’d be on my way to check this thing out in person. For the price you can’t really go wrong given the seller says this is a two-owner car that was dealer serviced its whole life and doesn’t have any rust. This car probably needs the standard $500-1,000 in repairs when you buy it but I still think you’ll come out ahead on this car if you pick it up. I’m not suggesting the C107 is or will be any kind of collector car, but this specific car checks all the right boxes for a desirable car.
7/3/1017 Edit: This car has reappeared with a few more miles and a new seller at $9,500 HERE!
I think I’ve made my gripes with the used Volkswagen market abundantly clear in prior posts. Fuzzy photos, “feelers”, lack of information, failure to wash the car, only posting photos of the car in a carwash covered in foam, junk-strewn interiors, massive miles and broken odometers, poorly executed swaps, maintenance skipped in favor of dubious modifications. We’ve seen it all on these pages; well, a “no thank you” helping sample of “it all”. But once in a while a Volkswagen comes along that really debunks the stereotype of typical VW owners. Today’s GTI VR6 is one of those myth busters:
It’s hard to say which is more popular – S50/52 swaps into E30s or VR6s into everything Volkswagen. But there’s a reason they’re so popular; they’re relatively cheap and they work. Can you achieve VR-power levels in a 9A 16V? Sure. Will it cost you and be a pretty compromised road motor? Yes, so suddenly the appeal of the ubiquitous VR-swap makes a bunch of sense. The results here turn what was a butch looking but relatively slow 8 valve GTI into a performance machine. That’s helped by a dose of performance parts including a trick Schrick intake, but it’s the supercharger that will really motivate you here. With over 100% more power the ride should be exhilarating!
Along with the switch in nomenclature that came with the 1995 A6, there were visible changes. New headlights, all-red tailights and a revised grill stood over smoothed, monotone bumper covers. Gone were the wide black plastic rub strips that had been the signature of Audi products for more than a decade, and in their place were more discrete color-coded units. New wheels from Speedline were the standard 15″ option for both quattro and front-drive models. Outside of that, there were few mechanical changes to either drive configuration and the interiors remained unaffected. Despite this, Audi rolled out one more new name for its lineup that most have forgotten; FrontTrak. What did the fancy name get you? Well, perhaps when being sold it sounded more special than just saying “Oh, you’re not opting to buy a quattro-equipped model? Well, the consolation prize is FrontTrak, so everyone leaves a winner!” The reality is that it was still basically just an open differential front-drive sedan, and so ubiquitous was the name Audi with quattro that many have forgotten the popularity of their front-drive models even into the 1990s.
For those bewildered at the fact that M Coupe prices are skyrocketing, here’s a pleasant surprise. A Z3 coupe with a 5-speed manual for right around $10,000. While it has over 100,000 miles on the clock, it looks tidy enough. It might not have the grunt of the 3.2 liter inline-6, but the 2.8 liter engine with its 190 horsepower is certainly no slouch in such a small package. This example for sale in Houston may be unassuming in Arctic Silver over black leather, but one go in the twisties will have doubters signing a different tune.
Every semester at the culmination of my teaching experience with the college students who have selected my course rather innocently, I let them in on my super-secret double agent identity as your author here. Having suffered through a few too many of my lectures already, most treat the news with about the same amount of enthusiasm and interest as they do when I tell them about the Sudanese Kush Pharaohs – which is to say, none (seriously, it’s a very interesting topic. Egypt basically denies they existed!). But occasionally I get a student who is much more interested in my double-life than in my lecture notes. One such student passed through was perhaps as unexpected to me as I was to him. He nonchalantly aced the class with seeming little difficulty, but upon seeing my announcement regarding German Cars For Sale Blog, he excitedly emailed me about his shared love of Audis. He revealed that he owned a ’97 Cabriolet, which proves two things: first, smart people buy Audis, and second, Audis turn up where you least expect them. And the Cabriolet might be the least expected Audi Audi made – coming from a manufacturer renowned for turbocharged inline-5, manual all-wheel drive coupes, sedans and wagons came a front-wheel drive, automatic only (in the U.S.) V6 2-door convertible. Expensive, a bit slow and soft compared to the competition, the Cabriolet sold slowly with only around 1,000 units moved per a year during its availability here with a total of 5,439 imported through 1998. I think a fair amount of fans view the B4 Cabriolet as the least interesting of the Audi lineup in the 1990s, but to me it’s always been a very pretty and underrated car. In particular, the rear 3/4 view is very attractive and the shape changed little with its progeny. But the unusual nature of the Cabriolet has generally meant that it’s been a pretty big bargain in the used convertible market for the past few years – if you can find a good one:
Back on the market in a reserve auction, the neat to see but slightly questionable 1979 Alpina B6 2.8 from last fall is a great 80s reminder of styling trends. See the post below for some items that look a bit off or out of place. Bidding has been pretty slow and is just over $20,000 – some $12,500 short of the asking price in September. Will it see a new buyer this time around?
The below post originally appeared on our site September 15, 2015:
If yesterday’s mellow yellow 323Ci wasn’t the sunshine you’d like to see, how about something a bit more brilliant in design and presentation? I have to say the fascination with BMW wagons and their ensuing high prices sometimes perplexes me, as Audi offered a sporty, manual, all-wheel drive Avant that is great looking, reliable and long-lived and will make you feel pretty special. That’s especially so when it’s optioned in one of the more rare shades available on the B5; in this case, LY1B Brilliant Yellow. I’m sure there will be claims that, like Pelican Blue and Tropical Green, these Easter colors make the jelly bean shaped A4 a bit too festive, but personally I love the look of this Avant:
We have a tendency to look at older cars through rose-colored glasses. Today, by all accounts, the Corrado SLC is a modern classic – but was it always so? In fact, if we go back to the original tests of the cars, as with most Volkswagen products it wasn’t the fastest, quickest, best turning or braking. It didn’t turn the fastest lap times and yet was usually the most expensive. As such, in comparisons like Car and Driver’s 1992 Sport Coupe comparison, the Corrado finished only mid-pack. But as with other Volkswagen and Audi products, there was an intangible element to the Corrado that made it somehow more appealing than the competition.
By 1992, the supercharged Corrado G60 was underpowered compared to the competition given its relatively high weight. Volkswagen solved the problem with the introduction of the awesome narrow-angle VR6 motor, rated at 178 horsepower and 177 lb.ft of torque. New wheels mimicked the design of the of the outgoing 1991 BBS wheels on the G60, but were subtly different; underneath hid now 5 bolts and a redesigned suspension, brakes and electronic traction control system. Subtle changes were new clear signals and a re-sculpted hood, along with new nomenclature – the VR6 model was now dubbed the SLC. Further changes were rolled out in 1993; a change of wheels again to the more purposeful 15″ x 6.5″ Speedline 5-spoke design was most notable outside, while inside a revised dashboard had mostly new and more upscale switches, dials and gauges. A fair amount of the 1993-1994 Corrado SLCs were shipped fully loaded, now with a price a staggering $10,000 more than the 1990 base price at a lofty $28,000. That meant few sold, but even though by the numbers these Corrados weren’t the best deal, much like the contemporary Porsche 968 the SLC proved more than the sum of its parts. Even a decade ago some like Richard Hammond from Top Gear were declaring the still fairly new Corrado a future classic, but more recently established collector organization Hemmings tipped the Corrado as a great potential collector. Great! Now, where to find a nice one? That’s a larger problem; the Corrado was so expensive that few were sold here, with low thousand numbers in each 1993 and 1994 production which would be the last year of offer in the U.S.. We’ve got quite a great example to feature today, though: