Convertible Week: 2011 Porsche 911 Speedster

As a brand new Porsche 911 passed me by the other day, I thought to myself “my this car got fat.” Sure, the new 911 is a perfectly capable and desirable sports car which is (thankfully) still offered with a manual gearbox. Years before the 911, Porsche introduced the Speedster moniker on the 356, a lower cost, simpler option for those seeking drop top thrills. The Speedster name would carry on through several iterations of the 911, up to the latest example we see here, the 997-based 911 Speedster. While many of the 997 Speedsters you see are painted in Pure Blue, this 911 Speedster for sale in Connecticut wears the more classic Carrera White.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2011 Porsche 911 Speedster on JamesEdition

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2011 BMW 135i M Sport

Here we have a very fine example of a car I still think falls into the drastically underrated category despite its reputation amongst those in the know. The 1 Series is viewed by most as a Bangle era failure to modernize the formula that made BMW famous, a tightly packaged two door with a solid powerplant under the hood. While the 128i is no slouch, the 135i with its 300 hp twin-turbo inline-6 is the only spec I’d consider. Add in the M Sport package which gives the car six piston calipers up front, two piston calipers in the rear, a very nice perforated steering wheel/shift knob and super comfortable sport seats. I’ve sat in one of these cars with and without the M-Sport package and in opinion, the M Sport package is a must. Without it the 1 Series appears rather basic, especially the 2008 to 2010 pre-facelift models. Aside from visual tweaks that really tightened up the overall look of the car, from 2011-on the 135i got the N55 inline-6 which used a single twin-scroll turbocharger to make the same power as the N54 and its two turbochargers. While having a twin-turbo motor sounds cool, it’s really just one extra part to worry about. The N55 has less turbo lag, better low rev torque, lower emissions and is more fuel efficient than its predecessor. I’d call that a no contest victory.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2011 135i M Sport on AutoTrader

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2011 Porsche 911 GT3 RS

Ah, the GT3 RS. Push a road-going 911 towards its logical conclusion in terms of power and lightness and this is more or less what you get. And here we have one of the later versions with its 3.8 liter flat-6 delivering 450 hp to the rear wheels via a 6-speed manual transmission. Ever since they were first introduced for the 996 I have always loved these and they follow in a long line of RS variants that have consistently been some of the most sought after 911s Porsche has produced. While previous RS variants focused largely on the combination of power and lightness, the GT3 RS began to add significant aerodynamic aids to help deliver all that power effectively and keep the car glued to the road through even the quickest turns. The RS has long been a way for Porsche to provide its customers with a car that pushes road car limits while also meeting the homologation requirements that have enabled the marque to continue its long history of racing success. Of course, those cars we see thundering down the Mulsanne straight at Le Mans differ markedly from any road car Porsche produces, but that’s why the RS has always been so coveted. It strives for similar racing ideals, while retaining the comforts and conveniences that have always made the 911 such a wonderful road car.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2011 Porsche 911 GT3 RS on eBay

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2011 BMW 550i 6-speed manual

After watching a 2007 Ferrari 599GTB with a 6-speed manual gearbox hammer for almost $700,000 at this year’s Amelia Island RM Sotheby’s auction, I had mixed feelings. Surely that was a princely sum for a relatively new Ferrari, but with only 20 produced with the manual gearbox for the US market, one has to think cars like these with three pedals will continue to increase in value in an era when the shift it your own option seems to be fading away. This 2011 BMW 550i with a 6-speed manual is part of that dying breed for sure, as you can no longer buy a new 550i in the US market with a manual gearbox. Sure, you can opt for the 6-speed manual in some lesser engined variants, but the combination of the lusty turbocharged V8 and joy of rowing your own through what is undoubtedly one of the smoothest gearchanges around certainly has its perks.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2011 BMW 550i on eBay

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2011 Porsche 911 GT2 RS

As most automotive enthusiasts are aware Porsche made a fairly significant change to their 911 Turbo beginning with the edition produced as part of the 993 line. It would now be equipped with all-wheel drive. Every subsequent iteration of the car has remained in this configuration. Much of this decision has to do with Porsche’s mission for the Turbo itself: it is a model intended to showcase both the high performance and luxury end of the 911 line. The 993 model also brought with it a second option – an option for 911 Turbo fans who wanted the highest performance, but without the luxury – the GT2. With each new 911 model there has been a concurrent model of the GT2 – a lightened, high-strung, rear-engined, rear-drive, row your own gears, no regard for your sanity, performance monster. Extremely rare and always at the top end of the 911 food chain the GT2 reduced the 911 Turbo to its purest form (at least for a street car). As the 997 model began to near the end of its life Porsche decided to take the GT2 one step further and released the GT2 RS, which had more power and was lighter than the already spectacular GT2. The GT2 RS, essentially, is Porsche’s attempt to see just how extreme they can push the 911. A serious car for the serious motorist.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2011 Porsche 911 GT2 RS on eBay

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Motorsports Monday: Porsche 911 GT3 Cup v. Cayman S

For German car fans who love racing, it doesn’t get much more exciting than Porsche’s long history of endurance racing. Indeed, Porsche’s venerable 911 seems intrinsically linked with racing – undoubtedly, part of its mystique. However, true factory racing Porsches have always been pretty expensive when new and still are so. Watching yesterday’s coverage of the 24 Hours of Daytona had me cringing as the multi-hundred thousand dollar Le Mans class 991 Porsches took each other out, attacked Opossums and exploded crankcases. It wasn’t a great day for Porsche at a track where the company has had an impressive string of successes. So, today I decided to take a look at two racing Porsches as an homage to their first rate engineering, their enduring appeal and incredible performance:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2014 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup on eBay

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2011 Saab 9-5 Turbo4 6-speed manual

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It’s been some time now since the drama that led to Saab’s demise transpired, leaving intellectuals everywhere scratching their heads when it comes time to purchase another new car. The cars from Trollhättan were always favored by those who enjoyed taking the road less traveled; leading the company itself to launch a media campaign in the mid-1990s entitled “Find Your Own Road.” While the marque has been revived under the brand National Electric Vehicle Sweden, the lineup merely consists of a rehash of the old 9-3 sedan. Before the original Saab took its last breath, we were gifted one pretty midsized luxury sedan in the form of the 9-5.

This car was barely one year old by the time Saab was on life support, with only a few examples of the even prettier estate version produced. Nevertheless, a few thousand made their way to our shores, some even equipped with a 6-speed manual gearbox. With a parts network still in place and an active enthusiast scene, you can have one of the last big Saabs to roam these roads for the price of a new Honda Civic.

Click for details: 2011 Saab 9-5 Turbo4 on eBay

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Price Fixing? BMW 1M Roundup

BMW followed the age old recipe for the 1M and enthusiasts responded. Put a big engine in a small car, flare the arches a bit and slip on some wide rubber but keep the price in the range of mere mortals. What’s not to like about the 1M then? Well, they didn’t make many – 740 were imported, making it more rare than the previously rare E28 and E24 M models. That created an artificial demand right out of the box, and unfortunately these cars hit the market at the same point that the European collector car market really started taking off. That means that these cars have suffered effectively zero depreciation since new – rare for any car, but especially for the small sport sedan market. In fact, not only have they not depreciated, you could have bought one of these cars new in 2011, drove it moderately for the past 3 years, and you could have sold it for a profit today. The 1M, in all of its 335 horsepower twin-turbocharged goodness, hit the market at around $47,000 in 2011 – add a few options in and you were around $50,000 for most. Available in only three colors, these limited production cars have a cornered market and are piggybacking on the value increase of the 1980s M-cars – the spiritual predecessors of this car. Today, there are no less than 7 1Ms on Ebay, mostly in the $57,000 range. It seems almost like price fixing – we often see a wide spread of values even on very similar cars, but these 1Ms are all around the same price regardless of color, miles or number of owners. Which is the one you’d want?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2011 BMW 1M on eBay

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Modern Classic? 2011 Audi R8 V10 Spyder

When judging future collectables, it’s sometimes hard to predict what will be a classic and what won’t. But, it’s a safe bet that halo cars in general will remain the most valuable. Audi re-introduced and re-imagined itself to the world with the introduction of its first halo car, the Quattro. Almost 30 years later, Audi once again re-imagined itself, thanks to acquisitions such as Lamborghini. Whereas the original moved turbocharging and all-wheel drive to the masses, the R8 instead took supercars to a new tier. A celebration of their many wins at Le Mans by the race car of the same designation, the R8 was initially powered by the spectacular 4.2 FSi V8 from the RS4. Later Audi developed its own version of the 5.2 V10 whose sound channeled the original Quattro, and the final development was the introduction of the Spyder model. With slightly revised bodywork – including the removal of the polarizing “blade” the coupe has – the R8 V10 Spyder is a compelling alternative to the 911 Turbo Cabriolet and truly offers supercar-level performance at a relatively budget price:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2011 Audi R8 Spyder on eBay

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2011 Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0

As the 997’s model run slowly wound down Porsche released a variety of special models that showcased both its history and also its engineering and racing prowess. One of those cars is the car we see here: a 2011 Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0. The GT3 RS went through a constant evolution during the life of the 997, debuting with the 3.6 liter flat-six found in the standard Carrera and GT3, then enlarged to 3.8 liters with modified suspension, and finally the 4.0 liter 500 hp flat-six of the car we see here that featured further modifications to the body and suspension in an effort to reduce weight and improve overall performance. Needless to say, these were serious cars designed to showcase the limits Porsche could push the 997 chassis, without being a full-on race car. Only 600 were produced and with a price approaching $200K they weren’t cheap. But as a final send-off for the 997 the GT3 RS 4.0 was a fantastic display!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2011 Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0 on Autotrader

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