1974 Porsche 914 1.8

Instead of continuing on my trend of bashing you over the head with 924s you should buy, I thought I’d take a look at Porsche’s other budget entry model – the 914. Relatively unloved by all but those who own them, the 914 is an oddball in today’s market – values are literally all over the map. Perhaps that’s in part because of the array of options offered. Porsche threw several engines at the 914 to see what would stick; from the 1.7 liter flat-four through a 2.0 flat-six borrowed from the 911. Today’s example comes from the 1974 model year, which saw light revisions to the exterior and a new 1.8-liter fuel-injected flat-four enter service at the bottom of the range. But, as usual, it was the color that attracted me to this particular example:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1974 Porsche 914 1.8 on eBay

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1974 Volkswagen Brasilia

I’ll start out by saying that the Brasilia is not the most beautiful Volkswagen product. It is not the most beautiful air-cooled product, either. In fact, we can go a few steps further and argue that it’s not even the most beautiful product from Volkswagen do Brazil, but a factor of at least two – since the SP2 and Karmann Ghia TC have that market pretty firmly cornered. But all three of these Brazilian creations share one thing in common, besides being air-cooled and produced in South America – they’re über rare in the states. Today a clean Brasilia has popped up on eBay in Florida, and it was worth a look:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1974 Volkswagen Brasilia on eBay

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1976 Porsche 911S Coupe Signature Edition

What was the first special edition 911? It seems like the chicken and egg argument, if I’m honest. But certainly in the running must be the 1976 911 Signature Edition. Created to commemorate…Ferry Porsche’s signature, apparently….the Signature Edition treatment was applied to just 200 911s, all of which were finished in Platinum Metallic with color-matched wheels over a brown-beige leatherette and tweed interior. The pièce de résistance was the steering wheel, though, replete with Porsche’s signature embossed in the center. These are rare cars to find in the market today, so it was worth taking a look at this 911S Coupe for sale:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1976 Porsche 911S Coupe Signature Edition on eBay

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1970 Porsche 914-6 Tribute

The aura of the 911 is so thoroughly encompassing it overshadows nearly every other Porsche model conceived and constructed, but especially this seems to be true of the 1970s. During that time Porsche launched groundbreaking models like the 924 and 928; generally, both very unappreciated compared to the air-cooled siblings. But the 914 seems nearly forgotten despite its similar engine behind the driver and atmospheric cooling setup. Why? Well, it’s not the prettiest Porsche design, it’s true – but presented properly it is still quite neat.

The most collectable are the original 914-6s, but of course the low cost of ownership for some time meant there are a lot of motor-swapped 914s cruising around. Some are better than others and not all are desirable – I’d take an original and clean 914 over a poorly swapped car. But some really grab attention, as this Signal Orange 2.2-swapped car did to me:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1970 Porsche 914-6 Tribute on eBay

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1958 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia

As much as all of us would love to be Jerry Seinfeld, causally trading the most historic air-cooled Porsches on a whim, the reality is that we’re not. But, as ever, I offer a potential solution. The Karmann Ghia gave you Porsche looks on a Beetle budget. Shortly after the Beetle’s arrival in America, VW’s new sport coupe arrived for the 1956 model year. Like the later Scirocco also built by Karmann in Osnabrck, Volkswagen based its model on the normal production line Beetle but the swoopy body came from the Italians – technically, borrowed from a Chrysler, actually. Those lines were notoriously complicated; outside of items that open, the body is one piece and constructed entirely by hand. The rear-engine, rear-drive 1.2 liter flat-4 air-cooled clatter wouldn’t get you anywhere as fast as the looks suggest, but then why are you in such a hurry?

About 400,000 were produced in total and they’re not impossible to find today. They’re also more affordable than really top-tier Beetles and early VW Vans, but more significantly you really do get exotic looks on a shoestring budget still. While getting into a fully sorted ’58 356A will set you back around $130,000 – $150,000, you can get into a beautiful early example of the Ghia fully restored for only a fraction of that price:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1958 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia on eBay

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1991 Porsche 911 Carrera 2 Tiptronic

During my many miles of walking I do during the week, I run through a lot of hypothetical car purchasing situations. One of those recently was “how much of a discount would you need to buy and own a (pre-PDK) automatic 911?” While certainly not the most common 911s, there are a handful of these traditional automatic gearboxes on the 964, 993, and 996. The 964 and 993 had a 4-speed, while the 996 gained an extra 5th gear. All featured “Tiptronic”, a term Porsche coined and owns, that allows you to select what gear you wanted to be in within some limitations. Most often people who bought these automatic gearboxes were those with a physical limitation who couldn’t drive 3-pedals or the old saying of “so my significant other can drive it too” when in reality that maybe happens twice a year and one of those times is driving it from the garage to the street because the driveway was getting resealed.

Naturally these cars didn’t just go off and disappear because they still have a ton of value, but you’d be kidding if you think all things being equal they would be priced the same as a manual gearbox car. Yes, the look, sound, and feel of an aircooled 911 is still there, but these older ZF gearboxes suck up the power and you notice it. That is exactly what is going on with today’s car, a 1991 C2. This has all the ingredients for a perfect 964. Amethyst Metallic paint, Speedline wheels, and just under 73,000 miles. Problem is, it has the automatic gearbox. Is the price discount enough to make you overlook that?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Porsche 911 Carrera 2 Tiptronic on eBay

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Motorsports Monday: 1975 Porsche 911 RSR

Let’s say for a moment that you came into an extraordinary amount of money and wanted to go vintage automobile racing. Of course, to prove your worth as an enthusiast, you’ll want to buy a historically significant car that will impress all the long bottom jaws, and few raise more eyebrows in the German realm right now than the 911. Truth told, the 911 is really the ‘new money’ of the vintage world – go try racing antique Bugattis or Ferraris, for example, and you’ll soon laugh at the budgets of Porsche racers…but I digress.

Ironically, there was a point in history where your scenario from today wouldn’t have been all that different from the past. Take the case of Diego Febles. Diego was born in Cuba under the notorious dictator Batista, but left in 1957 for “political reasons” you may have heard of at one point. Finally landing in Puerto Rico, Diego took to racing, and specifically racing Porsches. In the 1970s, this led him to be linked up with Peter Gregg’s Brumos Porsche group, and Diego proceeded to buy and build cars which mimicked Gregg’s famous liveries.

In his own right, Febels was fairly accomplished as a racer. He raced some of the most famous races in the world; of course the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring were naturals that Gregg and Brumos had excelled at, but he also raced at Road America, Mosport, Mid Ohio and finally even at Le Mans. This particular car is claimed to be his last ‘RSR’, but looks can be deceiving:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1975 Porsche 911 Carrera RSR at Atlantis Motor Group

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Euro PTS: 1991 Porsche 911 Carrera 2

For some time, the 964 design was relegated to the “least favorite” column for many in the 911 world. Regarded as little more than a bridge between the classic 911 design of the 3.2 Carrera and the sophisticated modern beauty of the 993, appreciation for the clean lines and steadfast simplicity of the 964 has grown. It hasn’t hurt that the cars around it have rocketed up in value, either. So today let’s take a look at a prime example; a ROW 1991 911 Carrera 2 in Paint-to-Sample in Murano Green.

Unlike earlier cars, changes between the ROW 964s and North American cars were relatively minor (minus the special production cars, like the Carrera RS). Power from the 3.6 air-cooled flat-6 was effectively the same as its North American counterpart. The bumperettes were missing on ROW cars, and of course for Euro plates the center rear bumper section was slightly different. Without the 5 mph mandate, ROW cars didn’t have the heavier crash bars behind their bumpers either, nor do they have the collision bars in the doors. As you’d expect, the headlights and tailights are different, and Euro cars had sidelights that were missing on NA cars. Those headlights were adjustable in cockpit via an adjuster next to the key. Foglights were standard on ROW cars and they also had no third brakelight. ROW cars had larger fuel tanks, lower suspension, and a few other minor tweaks. Reading all of that would probably lead you to believe the ROW cars were lighter, and they are – somewhere around 50 lbs or so.

But here it’s not the missing 5-year-old’s weight you’re excited for – it’s just got to be the color:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Porsche 911 Carrera 2 ROW PTS on eBay

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1976 Volkswagen SP2

Here’s another alternative air-cooled Volkswagen from Brazil. We saw the Brasilia recently – Volkswagen do Brasil’s answer to the Golf platform and intended to extend the life of the Beetle platform. Here was their attempt to modernize the Karmann Ghia – the infamous SP2.

‘SP’ referenced So Paulo where the SP and SP2 were produced. The early model had a 1.6 liter flat-4, while the SP2 moved up to a 75 horsepower 1.7 air-cooled flat-4 mounted in the rear. The proportions of the body styling seemed to suggest the opposite though, with the long, low hood and hatchback GT profile looking more like a traditional sports car than any VW had before. Other period designs were borrowed – the Volkswagen 411, the Porsche 924 and Audi’s 100 Coupe S all had similar angles. But it was probably Volkswagen do Brasil’s own Karmann Ghia TC (Typ 145) that looked the most similar.

Only about 11,300 of these ultra-rare, Brazil-only SP2s were produced. They’re about as legendary as air-cooled VWs get in the U.S., so when one pops up for sale it’s worth a look:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1976 Volkswagen SP2 on eBay

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1978 Volkswagen Brasilia LS

Do you ever wonder ‘What if VW had decided to make the Golf platform develop from the Beetle rather than the Audi 50?

Me either. But it’s an interesting thought exercise, and what’s interesting is that we actually have an example of what could have been. That’s because Volkswagen do Brasil did produce a hatchback successor to the Beetle, and here it is – the Brasilia. The Brazilian branch of VW utilized a Karmann Ghia floor, a 1600 cc Beetle motor and borrowed the styling from the Type 4s to create a small 3- and 5-door hatchback.

It was reasonably successful, too – Volkswagen do Brasil reportedly sold somewhere north of 1,000,000 of them over a ten year production cycle from 1973-1982. They were sold primarily in Central and South America, never making it past the Rio Grande officially, but kits of the Brasilia were also sent to Africa. The Brasilia remains the only mass-produced air-cooled rival to the Beetle, amazingly. Today, an absolutely pristine example is up on eBay:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1978 Volkswagen Brasilia LS on eBay

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