2004 Porsche 911 GT3

Do you have roughly $65,000 burning a hole in your pocket? I have just the car for you. Well, at least the specific model. I know I’m not exactly predicting the lottery numbers here, but if you were on the fence about buying a 996 Porsche GT3, get off that fence and do it. These are not going to ever be cheaper than they are right now and it already seems like people are snagging them up and putting giant mark-ups on them just because they can. There are still good deals out there to be found if you look hard enough, but I suspect that isn’t going to be for long. Today’s car, a 2004 GT3 up for sale in Seattle, is offered at a Ferrari dealer so that means you are basically paying for the privilege of the staff there to acknowledge your existence. Still, I’ve seen worse deals out there.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 Porsche 911 GT3 on Dupont Registry

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Golf Match! Volkswagen GTI Mk.2 v. Mk.3 v. Mk.4 v. Mk.5

Okay, $22,000 is a lot for an old hot hatch, even if it’s the ‘original’. When I was perusing some cars to consider, I noticed that there was a point where Mk.2, 3, 4 and 5 prices were all pretty equivalent. In fact, you can just about buy all four of these cars shown below for the same price as that Kamei X1 GTI. It raises an interesting question; what generation is the one to get at this price point? Certainly a lot depends on priorities – if, for example, you really want a fun daily driver or you’re looking for more of a weekend warrior show car. But let’s look at this group and see which has potential:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1992 Volkswagen GTI 16V on eBay

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2004 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S

For some reason I’ve been really itching for a Porsche 911 of late. I’ve done all the scenarios in my head from a G-body all the way up to an early 997.1. Naturally the most cost effective way to get into a 911 is a 996.1, but given their less-than-beautiful looks and dreaded IMS issues that the internet compares to a same amount of severity as a tsunami, it might not be the most enjoyable car to buy. However, bump the budget up another $10,000 and you can slide right into 996 Turbo looks without 996 Turbo cost or of course, power. The C4S in my opinion is a great looking car given what you want to work with on the 996 body, and I love they went with a heckblende across the rear like generations past. Today’s car, a 2004 C4S up for sale in Washington state, is painted in the always nice Guards Red and even has a handful of nice little options on the inside.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S on eBay

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2004 Porsche 911 GT3 RS

Porsche GT cars are hotter than ever it seems. If you aren’t ordering a new GT3 RS with paint-to-sample, 18-way adaptive sport seats, carbon ceramic brakes and $72,000 in other options, are you even living? Lots of people literally obsess over these things and I guess it makes sense as these are big decisions, like whether or not to spring for the $1,300 carbon fiber door sill plates. However, back when we were still in the infancy stage of Porsche GT car madness, things were much simpler thanks to one of the cars that started it all: the 996 GT3 RS.

Just 682 were ever built and exactly zero were configured for the North American market. You had no choice of color. Carrera white and you’ll like it. However, you did have a choice of wheel and sticker color of either dark red or light blue. From the cars that are publicly seen, it seems like most of them were optioned in red. These RS cars were exactly what you’d expect. A more hardcore version of the 996 GT3 that admittedly was already a pretty raw car. The RS received a bunch of lighter body panels, a Mezger 3.8 liter that could rev to 8,200 rpm, and some other small changes that is detailed below if you really want get nerdy about it. Now that everyone is into respecting their elders, it only was a matter of a time until one of these made its way to America. This 2005 up for sale in California is a left-hand drive Japanese car that is fully EPA and DOT compliant for road legal use in America thanks to the 996 GT3 RS being on the NHTSAs list of cars that can be imported through a registered importer. The price? A brand new 2019 GT3 RS, plus a Cayenne for your significant other, is less expensive than what you’ll have to pay to take this one home.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 Porsche 911 GT3 RS on eBay

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2004 Audi TT 225 quattro with 28,000 Miles

That a clean first generation TT still looks new some 15 years later is rather miraculous. Perhaps it points to a change in car designs; less revolution, more evolution. Consider for a moment that the TT concept (which went into production largely unchanged) toured the car show circuit in 1995 – only 6 years after the move to the 964 model by Porsche. Of course, it’s easy to see why Audi would only evolve the design of the TT. It was a hit off the bat, as pretty much everyone liked the snappy performance, the unique looks, the economic practicality of a 2+2 hatchback, the available all-wheel drive. So park a 2004 TT next to a 2014 TT, and though the design moved into a new decade, it didn’t change direction.

Because the TT has been ubiquitous over the past nearly twenty years in the marketplace, it’s often taken for granted that you can get one pretty much any time you want. News flash: you can get an air-cooled 911 of any variant, an E30 M3, a Bugatti EB110 – whatever – anytime you want, too. The difference? You and I can afford the TT.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 Audi TT 225 quattro on eBay

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USP Tax: 2004 Audi A4 1.8T quattro Avant Ultrasport

Update 2/17/19: It what’s probably no surprise to most, this A4 remains available with only a $500 price decrease to $9,300 now

A few of us sat baffled several months ago as we watched auction results come in. The model in question was the E46 330i – in particular, the “ZHP” performance package. The ZHP was basically halfway between the regular Sport package and the M3, utilizing unique body bits and wheels, a slightly hotter motor, and the transmission borrowed from its bigger brother. Your only option for a 4-door performance 3-series in this generation, not many bought the over-$40,000 price tag. What’s interesting is that while these cars were sold alongside the M3 for far less money when new, today they can actually command a premium over the real-deal M.

Case in point – a 33,000 mile Coupe traded for $26,000 earlier this year, and it wasn’t alone. It’s been labeled the “ZHP tax”. There are reasons why a proper ZHP brings M3 money, mind you – they’re cheaper to run and they’re quite a bit more rare than the M, especially in good shape. And BMW wasn’t alone offering them.

Audi, too, had a “Diet S4”. Dubbed the Ultrasport Package, for $3,000 it included RS-inspired “Celebration” 18″ wheels with summer tires, the lowered 1BE suspension that was part of the normal Sport package, a unique quattro GmbH/Votex body kit, and a nicely wrapped leather steering wheel and shift knob. It also limited your interior option to black, and a fair chunk of them appear in Light Silver Metallic – also a popular choice on the S4. Unlike the 330i, the USP A4’s engine choices weren’t upgraded, but you did at least have two – the AWM 1.8T rated at 170 horsepower, or the AVK 3.0 30V V6 good for 220 horsepower. Both were available with choice of 6-speed manual (*5-speed for the FWD models) or automatic, and the basic 1.8T model was about $10,000 less than the 330i. While there was no convertible/coupe USP to compare to the 330i, Audi maintained its trump card on sporty wagons. Just like the ZHP, today the USP A4s command a strong premium in the used market, especially as Avants:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 Audi A4 1.8T quattro Avant Ultrasport on eBay

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2004 Porsche 911 40th Anniversary Edition

We like to rib Porsche for their penchant toward celebrating virtually everything by way of ‘Special Edition’ models. Most of that relates to how so many of those special editions aren’t much more than cosmetic additions. This was especially the case in Porsche’s earlier years. But not all of them are just paint and interior specials, like this 2004 Porsche 911 40th Anniversary Edition. Intended to celebrate forty years since the 911’s introduction in 1963 the 40th Anniversary Edition included the X51 performance package (raising hp to 345 from the standard 320), sport suspension, and limited-slip differential. It also received the usual cosmetic updates – GT Silver paint, a unique set of wheels, and Grey natural leather interior – that would help set it apart from other 996s on the road. Only 1,963 were made. More power, better handling, and slightly different silver paint. Not bad!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 Porsche 911 40th Anniversary Edition on eBay

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2004 Porsche 911 GT3

I don’t really know why the 996 GT3 has become one of my favorite cars. Porsche always has produced wonderfully performing cars capable of serving double duty as a track car and daily driver and their various GT or, earlier, RS and CS models shift that balance between performance and luxury decidedly toward the performance side of the spectrum. So we know they’re great and it isn’t really surprising that many, including myself, would find them quite alluring. But the 996 GT3 still feels different to me in the way it more recently has captured my attention. I began to look at them in earnest a couple of years ago when, like pretty much every 996, they seemed like a phenomenal value and prices seemed poised to rise. Well, prices have risen. Not so much that you’d only consider one as a garage queen, but they’ve risen nonetheless. Yet I still find myself coming back to them.

I don’t have any particular relationship to these GT3s; I’ve never driven one and these days see them very rarely. The last point may be part of the attraction as any rarely seen car is sure to elicit stronger emotions than something you encounter every day. Here’s one in my favorite color among the standard offerings: a Speed Yellow 2004 Porsche 911 GT3, located in Connecticut, with 47,200 miles on it.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 Porsche 911 GT3 on eBay

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2004 Mercedes-Benz S55 AMG

I have a kind of love-hate with the Mercedes-Benz W220. The design of the S-Class from the W140 to the W220 was like high school senior who is just starting out in life to now a post-grad with an office job who realizes that this will be his life for the next 40 years. Everything is a little bigger, a little softer, not quite as handsome, but now you have some kind of money to spend on things like screens that will be obsolete in three years. Nothing wrong with that and totally acceptable, but the S-Class was now firmly blended in with the BMW 7-Series, Audi A8 and Lexus LS. There was some hope for W220 if you really wanted a full-size sedan to separate yourself from the rest and that of course came in the facelifted S55 AMG. The styling was much more aggressive thanks to some different bumpers and a quad exhaust setup, but the real gem was under the hood with the M113K. This engine was a gem the day it debuted in the E55 and SL55 in 2003 and to this day is a favorite by many for its relative reliability and ability to make huge power numbers. Now that we are well over a decade into the M113K existence and the regular W220 can be had for the same price as a gourmet pizza, finding an S55 AMG for not much money at all isn’t a problem. Although that doesn’t mean that all problems are solved, especially when it comes to maintaining these monsters. This 2004 up for sale outside of Chicago is no different.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 Mercedes-Benz S55 AMG on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday: 2004 Alpina B3S Cabrio

The prospect sounded promising, but I was left feeling lackluster at best about the 750 mile 2001 BMW 330Ci I wrote up a few weeks ago. Sure, it was nice and that interior certainly was to die for; so, too, was the basically as-new condition. But the 5-speed automatic transmission, coupled with the outrageous $32,000 asking price, had me thinking there were better options out there. So if I was in the $30K range for an E46, what are my options?

Well, obviously there are plenty of M3s to check out any day of the week, and I’ll be looking at one soon enough. But when our reader John sent through this seriously impressive Alpina, I couldn’t help but take a look. The B3 isn’t a model we often look at; in fact, I’ve only reviewed on prior, and it was a E36 chassis. The E46 took an unusual route for Alpinas; rather than a blank-slate motor, the Buchloe company selected the S52B32 from the U.S. spec E36 M3 for their basis. It was bored and stroked to 3.3 liters, netting 280 horsepower. In 2002, the “S” version of the B3 was released, with a bit more bore and a revised engine management and exhaust system. This brought the power to 305, 0-60 plummeted to 5 seconds and with a 6-speed manual you could come close to hanging with the M3. Why buy one, then? Well, the looks were a bit more discrete overall, and you could buy not only a sedan and Touring version, but an all-wheel drive one as well. Today, though, we have a lovely Cabrio with the 6-speed manual to check out:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 Alpina B3S Cabrio on Autoscout24

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