1992 Opel Lotus Omega

“Youngtimers” have been popular in the automotive news segment over the past few months, as a greater appreciation for cars just turning “vintage” has set the market ablaze. Within that category, automotive collaborations between manufacturers in the 80s and 90s produced some of the most memorable and, consequently, the most sought creations today. There was the Yamaha-powered Taurus SHO, the Mercury Marine-powered Corvette ZR-1, the Porsche-built Mercedes-Benz 500E and Audi RS2, Lamborghini had a hand in the BMW M1, and of course there was the Cosworth-built….everything, from Escorts to 190Es to Audi RS4s and RS6s. But one of the hottest cars from the period was, undoubtedly, the Lotus-built, Corvette-gearboxed Opel Omega/Vaxhaull Carlton twins.

Lotus was majority-owned by General Motors in the early 1990s, which led in part to the “Handling by Lotus” Isuzu Imark and Impulse models. Lotus, in turn, got an engine for their small Elan from the Japanese manufacturer which worked in partnership with GM. But their best work was certainly their last joint venture before GM sold them off to Bugatti in 1993. For the Omega/Carlton, Lotus took the production 3.0 inline-6 and punched it out to 3.6 liters, while fiddling with the 24V head from the Carlton GSi. Then, they hooked it up to a 6-speed manual ZF borrowed from the General’s parts bin. Also borrowed was a limited-slip rear end from GM’s Australian division, Holden. Then, they slapped not one, but two turbochargers on it. Brakes were Group C units employed from AP Racing. The result? A crushing 370 plus horsepower and over 400 lb.ft of torque from the C36GET produced the fastest sedan in the world:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1992 Opel Lotus Omega on Classic Driver

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1990 Audi V8 quattro

From the dated underpinnings of the Type 44 chassis, Audi emerged in 1988 with an all-new 4-cam aluminum engine that could be mated to an automatic transmission. Now, to most enthusiasts that probably sounds like a bad idea. But when it came to selling car – especially expensive luxury cars – the overwhelming majority of buyers wanted the car to do most of the heavy lifting. Audi’s response was the next generation of quattro drivetrains with a series of clutches in the center differential that helped to transfer power and allowed the car to be mated to an automatic transmission. That transmission – the ZF 4HP24A – was a derivative of the 4HP24, the same automatic found in the V12-equipped BMW 750 and 850s. Like the Mercedes-Benz, Audi employed Bosch ABS and a locking rear differential. But unlike other Audis with their manual- or electronic-locking rear differential, the V8 quattro used a Torsen rear differential with helical gears which would automatically split torque in up to a 3:1 ratio to the wheel with grip. Coupled with a more rearward weight bias with the shorter V8 and the gutsy torque on offer throughout the rev range, though much of the car was borrowed from the rest of the lineup it took on an entirely different character. That was matched with new, updated bodywork outside and a wider stance with flared arches. The effect? Magical. And, complicated.

But the V8 quattro wasn’t only about its unique new form of all-wheel drive. The moniker obviously indicated there had been a change in motivation, too, and indeed the V8 launched a new all-aluminum 4 cam, 32 valve V8 displacing 3.6 liters dubbed the PT. Rated at 240 horsepower and 254 lb.ft of torque, it was the most powerful Audi for sale in the late 1980s and brought the brand to a luxury level it had previously not competed at. In the U.S., these mega-Audis were met with mixed success. The 1990 launch of the V8 resulted in reasonably good sales; Audi sold 2,823 between late 1989 and the end of 1990 which represented over 10% of their yearly sales. Values in the used market plummeted after timing belt fiascos on early cars and the general recession of the early 90s, along with the ’92 launch of the turbocharged, manual and later Avant-equipped S4/S6 twins. Today, we it’s a bit of a treat to see a clean V8 quattro, and this looks to be one of the better examples out there for sale:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Audi V8 quattro on Bend Oregon Craigslist

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1994 Porsche 911 Turbo 3.6 with 6,350 Miles

As I discussed in the ’91 911 Turbo post, while Porsche claimed that a fair amount (85%!) of the “new” Turbo was “new”, in reality it was an evolution of the ’89 Turbo wrapped in a smoother package. However, as our reader Howard pointed out in the comments, one very important change outside of the look was the suspension, which moved away from wooden carts the antiquated torsion bar setup to ‘modern’ coil springs. Coupled with the new limited-slip differential, anti-lock brakes and more sophisticated engine management (hence, smoother power delivery), the ’91 Turbo was a lot more livable in day-to-day situations.

Of course, that meant that it was possible to introduce even more power. Since the ’91 Turbo was a replacement for the defunct 965/969 V8 project, it made sense that Porsche hadn’t developed a new Turbo motor for the initial 964 Turbo launch. But for 1993, Porsche took the 964’s 3.6 liter and mated it with the turbocharger from the 3.3. The result was, of course, the Turbo 3.6. The extra displacement meant power was up 40 to 360 and torque 52 to 384 lb.ft, while both numbers were achieved lower in the rev range. To show off this new-found power, Porsche installed some fantastic Speedline-made Cup wheels and discrete “3.6” badging after the Turbo script. Despite the relative undercover looks, these are sought cars.

Today’s car is listed as one of the 288 Turbo 3.6s imported in ’94, and with a scant 6,350 miles on the odometer you know the price will be high. How high?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 Porsche 911 Turbo S 3.6 ‘Package’ on eBay

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1995 Mercedes-Benz C36 AMG

Last week I checked out an interesting Mercedes-Benz C36 AMG that needed some help up for sale in Canada. It seems like no one wanted to give a helping hand for this car as it ended with no bids even at it’s reasonable $2,500 US starting price. Today, I ran across another C36 AMG up for sale in Canada although this one has a much different story. This 1995 is actually a Japanese-spec car that has a few little touches that set it apart from the North American-spec cars. Unlike last week’s example, this one isn’t a basket case that needs thousands of dollars to make it presentable again. In fact, it is actually pretty clean.  The price? Not all that bad in my eyes.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Mercedes-Benz C36 AMG on eBay

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Roll the dice: 1997 Mercedes-Benz C36 AMG

The W202 Mercedes-Benz C36 AMG has gone from being a neat little footnote in Mercedes-Benz and AMG history as being the first post-acquisition AMG car to a car that collectors are now seeking out to add them to their stable. They aren’t at the level of the 190E 2.3-16v, nor do I think they will ever be, but the demand has definitely picked up over the past year or two. Because of these cars being unloved and overlooked for as many years as they were, lots of them fell into the hands of people who used and abused them then moved on to the next cheap car. At the end of the day, this is still a W202, so its tenancy to rust is always a major issue as well as some other things that plague the chassis such as the tendency for head gasket in the M104 engine to leak oil from the back of the head. Sadly, this 1997 C36 up for sale in Canada, seems to suffer from both of these mentioned things. Although if you do the math on the purchase price plus potential repair costs, maybe you could come out ahead and have yourself a really cool car that the value is slowly rising on.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1997 Mercedes-Benz C36 AMG on eBay

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Roll the Dice: 1990 Audi V8 quattro

Update 9/26/18: This V8 quattro sold for $1,775.

We’re going from one of the best 200 20V quattros out there to the more typical comparison point for an early 90s Audi – a project. I won’t bore you with all the details of what made the V8 quattro unique because I did so back in August when we looked at a very clean and tidy ’90 in Indigo Blue Metallic. Sufficed to say, they’re neat cars that all too often are parted out rather than going through the laborious task of keeping them afloat.

So here we have a ’90 V8 quattro. Like the majority, it is a 4-speed automatic in Pearlescent White Metallic. Generally speaking, I mentioned in my last few V8 posts that the cars to have are the rare 5-speed manuals, the less often seen 4.2, or the absolute best 3.6 you can find. But there are a few reasons to be interested in this particular one – let me tell you why:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Audi V8 quattro on eBay

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1994 Mercedes-Benz E320 ‘Hammer Tribute’

Last week I checked out a 1983 Mercedes-Benz 500SEL that was styled after the legendary ”Hammer” from AMG. Notice I said styled and not another word because it was exactly that, styled. It looked amazing, as most people agreed, but under the hood was the stock 5.0 liter M117 V8 that wasn’t touched by AMG. Today, we have a different kind of tribute car that still isn’t the real thing, but has a lot more power over stock and still looks just as good.

This is a 1994 Mercedes-Benz E320 Coupe with a 3.6 liter M104 inline-6 engine from AMG swapped in. To go even further, this car has fenders from the legendary W124 500E grafted onto it for that extra wide look that every loves. And just one more thing while I’m at it, it has a 5-speed manual transmission too.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 Mercedes-Benz E320 ‘Hammer Tribute’ on San Francisco Craigslist

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1997 Mercedes-Benz C36 AMG

I’m going to be really honest with everyone, I didn’t want to feature this car. Why? Because I want it very badly for myself. I want to drive down to Virginia, hand this seller an envelope full of money, then drive this car home and slide it next to my other cars to make it one big happy Mercedes sedan family. But I can’t do that. Well, I could, but it would be a really bad idea seeing as I am out of garage/driveway space as it is and I already own a silver AMG sedan from the same time period thus making this car repetitive. Still, I’ll sleep on it.

So what is this car I want so badly? It’s a 1997 C36 AMG, the last year of the first official production car from the Mercedes-Benz and AMG merger that North America got. It’s not really that fast with only 276 horsepower and the W202 chassis it’s built on isn’t really that great either. Yes, it’s rare with only a few hundred built but they’ve never been all that desirable. They’ve always been available if you really looked hard enough, but now that they are getting close to drinking age, finding a really nice C36 is getting tough. Fortunately, thanks to people who still look at these cars like I do, this C36 for sale in Virginia looks like a winner.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1997 Mercedes-Benz C36 AMG on eBay

Year: 1997
Model: C36 AMG
Engine: 3.6 liter inline-6
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Mileage: 171,000 mi
Price: Reserve Auction

For sale is my 1997 C36 AMG. I bought the car last year from the previous owner of 9 years. He serviced the car at his shop (Blueridge Mercedes) the duration of his ownership. I collect Mercedes and this car is my current daily but I just sold my SUV and I need to replace this with something bigger.

The overall condition is very good, previous owner had the wheels professionally refinished and ceramic cleared, interior leather was periodically conditioned, headliner has been redone in sued and is sewn in as it should be, I have taken the time to detail the paint and correct any minor imperfections.

This car has some cosmetic flaws, being a southern car the Georgia sun got the better of it and it has faded the roof and one small spot on the passenger side hood, very hard to notice honestly. There are some minor rock chips on the front of the car as well.

The car has 171k currently, new brakes, new tires will be purchased prior to sale, water pump was recently changed along with thermostat, heater core, ac compressor, bushings and some other things I can’t recall off the top of my head. They only made a total of 1018 between 95-97. There was only 326 ever made in 1997. So this is a very rare car. Over all the car is in very good condition and the photos speak for themselves.

This car wasn’t a garage queen or treated like some kind of investment as it covered over 170,000 miles. But for it being a W202 and all, this car looks great. It’s not perfect by any means, but the mountain of expensive maintenance this car had makes up for any minor cosmetic issues this C36 has. On the 1997, you got some minor interior updates with a different steering wheel and an improved climate control system that the 1995 and 1996 cars didn’t have. The refinished AMG Monoblock wheels make a world of difference in this cars appearance and in my eyes it was worth every penny that was spent on them.

So what is this car worth? Well, if this C36 had half the miles it has, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it maybe touch $10,000 given the way values on clean, older Mercedes are heading. But it does have the 171,000 miles and I think the bidding will reflect that. If I had to guess, I’d bet this one will land around the $7,000 range give or take a few hundred. These cars have reached the bottom of their deprecation and will probably never been cheaper than where they are at right now. I’d be confident in saying that if you pulled the trigger on this C36 you probably won’t lose any money on it as long as you kept it in the condition it is currently in. It’s probably not going to shoot up in value like the 2.3-16v has, but you aren’t going to be stuck with a $3,000 C36 either.

– Andrew

Double Take: 1991 Audi V8 quattro

You know when you watch a horror film and the protagonist sees a door ajar with a strange light, noise or smell emanating from behind it? Despite the obvious warning signs and 100% metaphysical certitude of impending doom, they creep towards their demise as if unable to escape fate. As a viewer, I’m often baffled by their behavior.

But then I think about the V8 quattro.

There is nothing – and I mean nothing – that makes the V8 quattro a sensible choice for a car. Parts are hard to find, they seem needlessly complicated, and the reality is that now some 26 years old and vintage, the cutting edge of technology for 1991 is pretty easily outpaced by a Honda Civic. There are prettier, more significant, faster and more economical Audis, if you have the itch.

But like the open door, I’m always drawn to looking at them. So, cue the scary music and dim the lights, because we’ve got a twofer of 3.6 quattro action coming at you!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Audi V8 quattro on Central New Jersey Craigslist

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1995 Mercedes-Benz E320 Wagon with 3.6 AMG swap

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I really enjoy a well done engine swap. Three months ago I featured a W113 Pagoda with a M104 3.2 inline-6 swap. Today’s car is another M104 swap but with a little more displacement and a lot more AMG. What started out as a nice W124 E320 wagon was transformed to a hybrid C36/500E/E320 borrowing various parts from both cars. It’s a unique build that I haven’t seen and sure is an improvement over what Mercedes offered from the factory. So let’s take a closer look at this uber W124 wagon for sale in Connecticut.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Mercedes-Benz E320 Wagon 3.6 AMG on eBay

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