You could be forgiven for thinking that the VAG 1.8 liter turbocharged motor was the go-to motor for the company in the late 90s and early 00s. It appeared nearly everywhere in the U.S.; the Golf, Jetta, GTI, GLI, Passat, Beetle, Audi A4 and Audi TT all received the forced-induction unit. And that was just in the U.S.; go to Europe, and you’d find many more models (the A6 and Sharan) and even other companies (VAG’s Skoda and SEAT) with the venerable motor. They were used in race series like Formula Palmer as well. You’d also be forgiven for thinking they were all the same – however, a pause for thought would tell you they couldn’t be. First off, there were the drive train configurations; the Golf-based variants have their engines mounted transversely, while the Audi A4-based cars have them longitudinally. Then there is the output that was available from the factory; the 1.8T started with 150 horsepower in the early 1990s and ended with 240 horsepower in the highest output TT Sport. The natural assumption would be to think they had just turned up the boost, but in fact there were a host of changes to the higher horsepower motors to help sustain the increased pressure.
There are, in fact, no less than 13 distinct versions of the 1.8T from that generation. All shared the same basic structure; cast iron block, 20 valve head with a single turbocharger; but details including injection, crank, computers and engine management and breather systems vary in between each of the models. The Audi TT was the only one to offer various engine outputs here; available in either 180 horsepower or 225 horsepower versions, the later of which was pared with a 6-speed manual and Haldex viscous-coupling all-wheel drive. Though heavy, they were nonetheless sprightly thanks to the turbocharged mill. I’ve said for some time now that I think these will eventually be more collectable as they were an important part of the development of the company, yet few remain in good shape. Were I going to get one, I’d opt for one of the 2002 special edition coupes; the ALMS edition, launched to celebrate the American Le Mans Series victory by Audi’s R8 race car. Available in two colors, Misano Red with extended Silver Nappa leather or Avus Silver Pearl with Brilliant Red Nappa leather, they were mostly an appearance package but also received special 18″ ‘Celebration’ alloys and were limited to 500 examples each:
As much as I love cars with an insane amount of miles on them, finding older cars with just a handful of miles can be just as fun. This 2002 Mercedes-Benz SL500 Silver Arrow checks in from California with just 4,600 miles on the odometer and the classic story of “bought it for the wife, she didn’t drive it”. The last Silver Arrow I looked was a SL600 with just 5,400 miles that carried a truly insane price tag of over $100,000. This SL500 actually looks like a brand new car and the seller states that all the service was done on a regular basis regardless of mileage or use. Thankfully, this car isn’t six figures like the SL600, but it still is going to set you back a boat load more than what a Silver Arrow with around 100,000 miles will run you. Are you in?
The 2002 Turbo is not the type of car that you typically ‘roll the dice’ on. With asking prices for many at or over $100,000 today, they’re one of the established royalty of the storied halls of BMW. The KKK turbocharged slapped on the M10 resulted in a Corvette-killing 170 horsepower in the mid-70s. This was cutting-edge technology as one of the first turbocharged production cars and required the efforts of BMW’s Motorsport division to pull it all off. With just 1,672 produced, they’re rare as proverbial hens’ teeth too.
Yet here is a claimed example that has been restored and is being offered at no reserve, with bids sitting at just $13,100 at time of writing. Is this the deal of the century, or is something amiss?
Update 5/7/19: This 911 Turbo sold for $51,600.
I’m not breaking any news saying that now is a really good time to buy a 996 Porsche 911 Turbo. Deals can be had on the right car and outside of really any extenuating circumstances, I don’t see them getting any cheaper. The overall 996 market is very popular right now because people are finally starting to warm up to the fried egg cars and see the value in them. Naturally that applies to the Turbo cars because the rising tide usually lifts all ships. Today’s car, a 2002 up for sale in California, shows just a little over 30,000 miles and looks every bit the part. It even has a little bit of a surprise when you open the doors.
My never-ending quest to replace my aging Land Rover Discovery has yet to reach a conclusion because of a few reasons. First, I haven’t really needed to utilize my Land Rover all that much because it is strictly used for severe snow travel or when I need to haul something that won’t fit inside a Mercedes-Benz W123 or W116. The winter hasn’t been that bad at all and outside of hauling some leaves away in the fall, I haven’t needed to transport anything large. Second, I haven’t found something I’ve fallen in love with yet. Buying a vehicle for tens of thousands of dollars is a big deal for me because when I buy a car, I don’t mosey on down the local dealership and sign on the dotted line for 78 months at 11% interest then act like I just didn’t commit financial suicide. I’m surely not getting a 0% loan on a 10 year-old used SUV, so paying in full at the time of purchase soothes my soul.
Unfortunately, this past week when I went to replace the dead battery (imagine that) in the Land Rover, I noticed something odd dripping from the rear. I held my hand under the dripping fluid hoping it was water leaking from the rusty exhaust, but no, it was gasoline. As I crawled down on the cold ground to get a better look, I see that the leak was spewing from something on the top of the tank, probably from the return line. Thinking I could get a view of this leak from above where you can access the fuel pump, I peeled back the carpet and sound deadening to find that all six screws that hold the access door are rusted into something that once resembled a phillips head. Next course of action is trying to bust the heads off the screws with some force or cut them off with a wheel a few inches away from a pool of gasoline. This has been another episode of This American Land Rover Ownership Life.
Naturally, this has led me back on the hunt for a replacement and over to choice number 1, the G-Wagen. I’m pretty set on a W463, but unless you live in Los Angeles where the person who walks your dog drives one, finding one locally isn’t exactly an easy task. During my nationwide search, I came across this 2004 up for sale in Indianapolis with a monstrous 298,000 miles. I’ve looked at Gs before with a ton of miles on them before, in Los Angeles no less, so seeing one near 300,000 isn’t a total shock to me. The M113 V8 with the 722.6 transmission are tough as nails, so hitting 300,000 isn’t a sweat. What is a shock to me is the condition of this G and of course, the price that is being asked for it.
Update 3/3/19: Sold for an impressive $20,300!
Last month I did a quick history lesson on the W163 Mercedes-Benz ML-Class and how it came to be made in America. One of the most interesting pieces of the ML story also involved another aspect Americans love: wildly fictional movies. If you are looking at this car, you probably know what I’m talking about. Somehow, Mercedes got in contact withÂ Universal Pictures during the filming ofÂ The Lost World: Jurassic ParkÂ about using the then pre-production ML in the film. Somewhat ironically, while Ford Explorers had replaced Toyota Land Cruisers used in the Jurassic Park novel, in Lost World it would be the Explorer now being replaced. Somehow, a deal came together and suddenly you were watching a couple of ML320s with a bunch of added on armor roam around a fictional world full of dinosaurs. One of the stars of the film, Jeff Goldblum, was given a free ML320 as part of the deal and the craziest part is that he actually used the ML as his daily driver for over 15 years.Â He must not be into cars that much.
Unlike other vehicles from the Jurassic Park franchise, the Jeep Wrangler and Ford Explorer, you would never see someone hack up a ML320 to replicate the version from the movie. Probably that’s because it wasn’t very smart to totally destroy a luxury SUV just to pay tribute to a film that was considered a letdown compared to the original. Fortunately, prices of first-generation MLs have hit play money type levels and someone in California took the plunge into full movie mode. Now it is up for sale and ready to be passed on to the next person who constantly wants to be stopped to answer questions about it in the grocery store parking lot.
The past few weeks I’ve come across a few Mercedes-Benz SL500 Silver Arrows that have garnered some attention. This car in Florida ended up selling for $16,900 and this car in Atlanta looks like it is still for sale. Today, I came across one of the 100 SL600 Silver Arrows that were made for the US market. The SL600s differed from the SL500s in that they didn’t receive the two-tone white interior but it did get the very pricey panoramic glass hardtop as standard. You also got a cool metal briefcase with some goodies inside of it that matches the car. Of course, you paid for all that at nearly $140,000 in 2002. Today, I have found one of these SL600 Silver Arrows for sale in Texas with just 5,400 miles. The price? Well, if we are on planet earth, this price is somewhere on Neptune. Seriously, I spit water on monitor when I saw this number and I wasn’t even drinking anything at the time. It is just that crazy.
Last week on Christmas day I looked at a 2002 Mercedes-Benz SL500 Silver Arrow that had a little bit of a mixed reaction. Even though it had only 70,000 miles and spent the majority of its life in Florida, the wood on the center console had some odd stuff going on with it. That is often the one minus of cars in the regions of no snow: you have to deal with the heat, along with the sun, that can wreak havoc on wood and leather. For the $17,000 asking price, you could probably find a better car or at least a better deal if you planned on driving it regularly. Today, I might have found that better deal. This Silver Arrow up for sale Atlanta, Georgia has 40,000 more miles but of course has some flaws to go along with those miles. The good news is the price is much cheaper than $17,000. How cheap?
Update 12/25/18: This Silver Arrow is listed as sold for $16,900.
Last weeks very special 1970 Mercedes-Benz 300SEL 6.6 was one of the most interesting cars I’ve looked at in a while but one of our readers spotted something in the background. As you might have noticed, that something was a R129 SL500 Silver Arrow. Today’s vehicle isn’t that same car because that dealer doesn’t seem to have it listed for sale, but it is another very nice Silver Arrow so I figured that will work just fine. This one up for sale in Florida checks in with just a hair under 70,000 miles and honestly, has a very fair price on it. How much?
With only 1,672 produced now some 45 years ago, your odds of coming across a 2002 Turbo today are fairly unlikely. Yet over the past few years I’ve taken a look at a steady stream of the legendary hot E10. While the M5 is often credited with being the first real ‘super sedan’, a decade before that model launched BMW’s fledgling Motorsports division breathed heavily on the diminutive 2-door sedan, creating a pint-sized sports car killer. I covered what made it so special back in 2017:
1974 BMW 2002 Turbo
The third 2002 we’ve looked at in three weeks, this is one that definitely ticks the right boxes as the collector car left out of the EAG Legends collection. But what will it take to buy today?