1997 Audi A4 2.8 quattro

We look at a lot of infrequently seen cars on these pages, but sometimes one really stands out to me, and that was the case with this 1997 Audi A4. Now, rarity is not on the side of the Audi A4, even in its least sold configuration. In its launch year of 1996, Audi shifted more A4s than it sold cars in total in each model year of 1991, 1992, 1993, and 1994. In fact, the only reason the company didn’t sell more 1996 A4s than 1995 total cars was because a few 1996 models were sold at the end of 1995, upping the overall sales for that year. It was a wildly popular model though underneath there were overall few changes to what you could buy in the 1995 90 quattro. Even the look was a scaled down version of the 1993/4 ASF (A8) concept. But that didn’t matter – it was great looking, sporty and compact with a quality feel and still held the trump card for all-wheel drive in the small market. Unlike earlier models where the front-drive version of the chassis outsold the quattro versions, the A4 was also the first to really sell with a majority of all-wheel drive; about 80% (16,333 out of 20,671) of those that were sold in 1997 were so equipped. That would make a FrontTrak model much more rare than what we’re seeing here, so why claim this car isn’t often seen? Well, it’s just not. Think about the last time you saw a really clean pre-facelift A4. I’ll wait. Sure, there are a handful out there, but as with earlier Audis the residuals dropped and most were neglected. The A4, in addition to being a sales success, also brought Audi fully into the disposable luxury class. People that had previously bought Audis generally treasured them, especially so of the quattros. But with the A4, in many ways the small executive just became a German Camry. It was a nice Camry and that name has such a negative connotation it’s not fair to associate with, but moving into a more mainstream sales bracket also diluted the enthusiastic ownership of the brand.

On top of that, 1997 launched a new direction for the A4 which was the introduction of the 1.8T turbocharged power plant. While not a potent mill out of the box, enthusiasts (especially those downstream of initial purchase) welcomed the return of turbos to Audi and the ensuing modifications began. The result of all of this was that while the A4 was popular, it was no longer the heirloom quality automobile that models like the 4000 had been. It became, in many ways, just another car, and ultimately these factors contribute to the result of a model which isn’t often seen in the wild any more:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1997 Audi A4 2.8 quattro on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday: 1979 Alpina B6 2.8

Edit 7/11/2017 – This car is back on the market from the same seller with a reserve auction

Vuarnet shirt, stone-washed high-wasted jeans, neon Wayfarers, legwarmers, Wham!‘s “Make It Big” album playing on your Walkman, a tennis lesson scheduled for later in the day with someone named Chad, Tad or Chaz, and a BMW 3-series; they’re immediately identifiable as a product of the 1980s, even if in this case they were made in the late 1970s. Take a moment to consider the seats in this Alpina; made by Recaro, they’d look as at home on Bill Cosby’s back as he lectured Theo as they would on the race track. But just as those trends from the 80s have been revisited by the “Hipsters” of today, there’s another class I’ve dubbed “Yupsters”, wishing to relive the glory of Wall Street and every club from the Breakfast to the Country. They’re interested in the BMW 3 series, and the major resurgence of the small executive sedan has become ironic in its own right, from the “Respect Your Elders” stickers plastered on cars not much older than the creatures driving them (who, even more ironically, typically don’t know much about history), to the hypocrisy of everyone being different by all owning E30s. The only things missing from the entirely predictable plotline are a Harold Faltermeyer soundtrack and a cameo at the local show by Steve Guttenberg. To me, the 3 series that comes out of all of this smelling like roses is the E21; relatively forgotten and overlooked due to less availability, sport and cliche, a turned up E21 is nonetheless a beautiful thing when properly done:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1979 Alpina B6 2.8 on eBay

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Feature Listing: 1999 BMW Z3 2.8 Coupe

I always felt a bit sorry for the BMW Z3 Coupe. It was introduced at a time when an M version arrived alongside of it and not surprisingly, it was the Motorsports version that made the bigger splash in the market. Even that car was at first a bit misunderstood, with some critics deriding the looks but others shining on to the performance it offered. The M Coupe has reached air-cooled 911 levels of popularity at the moment and as such, the Z3 Coupe can only stand to benefit. This early production Z3 2.8 Coupe comes to us from our friends at Sun Valley Auto Club and looks quite attractive in silver over red leather, with the desirable manual gearbox. If the M Coupe is a little bit rich for your blood, try this lite version instead.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1999 BMW Z3 2.8 Coupe at Sun Valley Auto Club

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Tuner Tuesday: 1984 Alpina B6 2.8

Alpina E30s have exploded onto eBay over the past year; I never remember seeing quite so many of these small tuned 3s for sale on a regular basis. In part that’s because so few were produced; with this B6 model for example, a scant 259 were produced, with just over 1,000 total E30s modified in all forms by the legendary company. The B6 wasn’t as wild as the later big-motored 3.5, but it was still much more than adequate with 210 horsepower from the M30 coupled with lower suspension, bigger wheels and brakes. Alpina, of course, added their personal flare of colors, stripes and awesome interiors, and the B6 is one attractive small sedan in such form. It’s easy to forget that there was a time before the M3, and in early 1984 this was the fastest small German 4-seater you could buy. That would change in mid ’84 with the introduction of the B6 3.5, but today it’s still a very desirable and rare to find package. That’s especially true when it’s presented in signature Alpina Blue with low miles and in pristine condition:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: “1984 Alpina B6 2.8 on eBay

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1995 Audi A6 2.8 quattro 5-speed – REVISIT

The 1995 Audi A6 we featured back in March is back up on offer, at a well reduced price. It’s rare enough to find a clean C4 A6 2.8 in good condition with low mileage, but equipped with a 5-speed manual as we see here, it makes for quite the rare piece.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Audi A6 2.8 quattro on eBay

The below post originally appeared on our site March 18, 2015:

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Wagon Week: 2000 Volkswagen Passat 2.8 GLX 4Motion Variant

While “Wagon Week” is one of our favorite features, I’ve tried to look at cars this go around that are slightly different than the normal candidates we examine. As such, while typically I look at the infamous W8 version of the Passat and it’s headline grabbing, innovative engine or the lighter weight 1.8T 5-speed, my preferred configuration, this time we’re looking at what was a popular platform – the GLX 4Motion. Equipped with a silky smooth 30V V6, as it was with the B2 generation underneath the B5 Passat was effectively an Audi A4 and shared the same all-wheel drive technology with updated 4-link suspension. That gave the Passat a refined and capable drivetrain and composed suspension setup that made it feel more upscale than the B3 and B4 generation had been. For enthusiasts, unfortunately if you wanted the all-wheel drive option coupled to a manual, you’d need to select an Audi over the more budget-friendly Passat or wait until the introduction of the 1.8T 4Motion later in the B5.5 model run. But many selected the package none-the-less, a capable and competent upscale cruiser that punched north of its price point and was a value luxury car:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2000 Volkswagen Passat 2.8 GLX 4Motion Variant on eBay

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1998 Audi A6 2.8 Quattro Avant

Growing up in Southern Vermont a lot of people had wagons. My parents first shared vehicle was a beige 1984 Subaru GL, my grandmother had an 1990 Legacy and my aunt and uncle had an 1989 Loyale . There have been a number of Subarus owned in my family since and I’m actually the first of the clan to go for something German, although it was still a wagon. Point is, there was no history of Quattro love in my family, no reason that I should feel such a strong connection to these vehicles. However, as is often the case in the automotive community, there is no rhyme or reason for feeling a certain way about a certain car. When a car works for you, it just works for you and for me such is the case with the C4 A6 Avant.

My first experiences with one of these was with my buddy’s 1996 Casa Blanca A6 Avant spec’d out just like this example. Right away I was nerding out on just about everything in the car and it’s still just as impressive now as it was then. We all know that your co-pilot needs to be aware of the oil temp, battery voltage and time so the brainiacs at Audi went ahead and made that information easily available to them by extending the gauges over to the center stack. It’s just one of many design details that makes me think of logging many highway hours in this vehicle with a family and a ton of gear. I remember the seats as being some of the most comfortable I had ever sat in and I’d say that still holds true today.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1998 Audi A6 2.8 Quattro Avant on eBay

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2001 Audi A4 2.8 quattro

In the world of post A4 Audis, you’d be forgiven for thinking you went back to the old Westerns with tumbleweeds rolling across the screen when it comes to color selection. There are several different shades of grey or silver, a few whites, some blacks, and then occasionally a blue will pop up. Some really daring folks chose bright red or dark green, but unless you get into a “S” model, you’re not likely to see an unusual color. That’s unfortunate, because Audi actually offered you many very cool options in the B5 A4 throughout its run. However, if you lament the cool colors went away, it should be no surprise; very, very few people bought them. And given the A4s propensity for being discarded, they’re in most cases even more sparse than when new. Yet these special color cars tended to be bought by people who took good care of them, and usually come to market in fairly pristine shape – so I bet you can guess why this A4 is here today. A non sport package V6 tiptronic wouldn’t usually make the list, but a lower mile India Red Pearl Effect with Ecru/Onyx interior in very good overall condition? You bet:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi A4 2.8 quattro on eBay

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1993 Mercedes-Benz 300E 2.8

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We’ve been featuring some high-end metal here on GCFSB this week. It’s always nice to dream but ever the practical one, I’m always on the lookout for a good buy. A car like this 1993 Mercedes-Benz 300E 2.8 for sale in Georgia appeals to my sensible side. We just saw a 1991 300E 4Matic with 71k miles sell for $4,250. Some of us may not want to take on the hassles that come with extra axles, so this rear-drive 300E 2.8 with just over 60,000 miles would be a good choice.

Click for details: 1993 Mercedes-Benz 300E on eBay

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Dwindling Supply: 1996 and 1997 Volkswagen Passat GLX VR6 Variants

The Volkswagen Passat has always been a bit of the odd-man out in the Volkswagen lineup. Not as wildly popular as the Golf or as trendy as the Jetta, the Passat has alternated between the smart choice if you wanted quiet and capable German luxury to the odd choice if you just wanted to be a bit different than the norm. Volkswagen also can’t seem to make it’s mind up on which platform it wants to utilize with the Passat; the B1 and B2 generations, for example, shared their DNA with Audis. But with the B3 and B4 generation, Volkswagen moved to its own bag of tricks and developed a new Passat which mixed items from the Mk.2 and Mk.3 Golf chassis. For the B5 and B5.5, once again Volkswagen turned to the upscale Audi platform and the Passat was more popular than ever – effectively, it was a budget Audi A4, right down to the same powertrains and all-wheel drive systems. As effective as the B5/5.5 was for sales, when the B6 launched it was once again a return to the Golf chassis for the new Passat – and now we hang in limbo with a U.S. specific B7 Passat. But if the B5 and B5.5 were popular as a smart and upscale choice for budget Audi fans, the B3 and B4 seemed a bit odd. First there was the B3, with it’s grill-less design. I always thought it was pretty cool, personally, but apparently it offended actual buyers so much that Volkswagen redesigned the car and in 1993 the car received new body panels and a normal grill. That didn’t seem to bring with it massive sales, though – the Passat was still quite expensive and effectively the same size as the Jetta it was sold alongside. There was really only one trump card that the Passat had – denied the Golf Variant in the U.S., it was the only Volkswagen wagon you could buy here at the time:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1996 Volkswagen Passat GLX VR6 Variant on eBay

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