2004 Volkswagen Passat GLX TDi 4Motion Variant 6-speed

Earlier this week I just about broke my neck to catch a second glimpse at a car which probably went unnoticed by nearly every other driver out there. It was a new what appeared to be a B8 Passat Variant, and you don’t have to know a lot about Volkswagens to know you haven’t seen one recently – or, probably ever – on these shores since VW dropped the large wagon from its lineup after 2010. Is this an indication they’re coming here? Unlikely, at least according to VW. With the Atlas and Tiguan relatively fresh and still selling like proverbial hotcakes, along with the many iterations of the Golf Sportwagon available, there just is no need. More likely than not, the car I saw was part of a VW testing program which makes sense since I live very close to one of the importation ports.

So that leaves fans of the larger VW wagon to clamor over older examples. So back we go fifteen years to a B5.5 again! This one, like the last, is a silver example from 2004. Also just like the last, it’s a manual and all-wheel drive. But unlike that rare factory 1.8T 4Motion manual, this one is a home brew, mating a 1.9 TDi out of a Jetta, a 6-speed manual from Europe, and a GLX 4Motion chassis into a neat and thrifty all-wheel drive combo that was never offered here:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 Volkswagen Passat GLX TDi 4Motion 6-speed on eBay

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2004 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8T 4Motion Variant 5-speed

One of the reasons that I felt the B4 Passat I just looked at wasn’t a great deal was that there are just a lot of other great models you can get for less. Case in point, today’s 2004 B5.5 1.8T 4Motion Variant 5-speed. Sure, you loose the great growl of the VR6 – but what you gain far outstrips that auditory shortcoming.

Produced only for the 2004-2005 model year, Volkswagen linked the 4Motion all-wheel drive borrowed from Audi to the AWM 1.8T. Rated at 170 horsepower, it was down a few ponies on the 30V V6 GLX 4Motion that preceded it. But while the GLX focused on luxury and was only offered with the Tiptronic transmission (unless you stepped up to the W8), you could opt for the 5-speed manual with the 1.8T. It was something few people did; a scant 2,333 manuals were sold in North America, with just 657 of those being wagons. 516 made it to the United States, and this is one of 16 Stonehenge Gray over Anthracite leatherette 2004s originally sold:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8T 4Motion Variant on eBay

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Still Dice Rolling: 2004 BMW M3

Over the past year, the E46 M3 market has really started to take off. Back in 2015 it was unusual to break $25,000, but over the past year several have broken double that amount and one bonkers bidding war ended up at $90,000. Have all ships been lifted? That’s hard to say, but certainly more are coming to market in very good to excellent condition and fetching big dollars. As always, collectors are looking for something a bit unusual and BMW Individual-toned cars are hot items. Prior auctions have also shown that big bids won’t be reserved only for pristine original examples, as the top auction draw was a modified car.

So today we’re back with an obviously modified car in an unusual color for the chassis – Dakar Yellow. It’s got the “right” transmission and the subframe has been reinforced too, and the asking price doesn’t seem all that outrageous. So what’s the rub?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 BMW M3 on eBay

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2004 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S

About a month ago I took a look at one of the strangest colors I’ve seen on a Porsche 911. It wasn’t the actual color that was strange, but rather the name of literally “Ferrari-Yellow.” Like I mentioned, Porsche would rather shut the company down rather than put a competitors name on one of their cars now, but it looks like the lure of the Ferrari-Yellow goes further than we thought. Today, I wanted to look at the next generation of that car, the 996 C4S. This 2004 for sale in New York is finished in the popular “Speed yellow” and just like the 993, has the turbo-twist wheels, matching calipers, and some extra bits of yellow on the interior. However, they really went all out with the yellow on this car. Just wait until you see.

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

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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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