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While traditionally Audi held the reigns in the U.S. fast wagon scene and there’s news that could resume with the return of the RS6, more recently it’s been rival BMW who has offered enthusiasts a dose of quick 5-doors. Like Audi, BMW had two flavors of wagons in the 2000s; the 5-series Sports Wagon was dropped for the U.S. after 2010, but did breifly offer a turbocharged inline-6 that could be mated to a 6-speed manual. The 3-series Sports Wagon still soldiers on in the market today and you can find a few at dealers, but the bad news is that it, too, has been removed from its ever shrinking fan base. On top of that, BMW never offered the top-tier motors with the 3, and more recently even gave up on the signature manual option. These are dark days, my manual-loving friends.
Luckily for us, though, that hasn’t stopped some individuals from saying ‘why not?’ and combining the best attributes of BMW’s sportier Coupes with their versatile wagon:
The 993 market is red hot right now, and few cars stir the emotions of enthusiasts quite like the Turbo models. Of course, this car wasn’t originally a Turbo, but the nameplate on the front and rear more than makes up for that shortcoming – it is the 1995 Ruf BTR press car for the U.S.. Converted originally by Ruf Auto Center, this car has continually risen in price over the past few years. Since November, it has moved from Texas and it’s original $129,000 asking price to Missouri – an expensive move, apparently, since the asking price is now $149,888. Now, I haven’t shipped a car between states, but knowing some people that have (and the type of cars they ship…) I’m pretty certain that’s not a $21,000 trip. It equates to $29 a mile, if you’re counting. Does $150,000 sound like too much for a non-original, but documented history converted Ruf car?
The below post originally appeared on our site November 25, 2014:
The current BMW market is quite interesting. The three posts I did on BMWs yesterday really drew that into sharp contrast for me; first, the E34 M5 Double Take underscored a more simple time at BMW with classic designs and classic motors. Then the “New Blue” BMW roundup outlined what’s currently available – progress happens, but it’s apparent that BMW’s current market has diverged substantially from the blueprint of the 1980s and 1990s success. But capitalizing on that 1980s legend are perhaps some undeserving cars, as the E30 M3 fail from yesterday proved. Where is an enthusiast to look, then? Well, you could argue you don’t have to look back very far to get a great, classic piece that follows in the footsteps of some of BMW’s great designs, but still with a modern twist. The Z4 M Coupe is a great example of this – a slick design, rear drive only, a 6-speed manual transmission and the last of the great normally aspirated inline-6s, the S54, hiding under the long hood:
“Poor Man’s Porsche”; while it’s a moniker usually attached to the 924 series, the reality is these days it applies to everything outside of the 911. The surge in 911 prices has been so great, that it has also pulled other lesser alternatives to the 911 up as well – try to get into a clean 912 and you’ll be surprised by the price. Even the lowly, forgotten 914 is in the mid teens for a really clean example of a flat-4 model up towards $100,000 for original 914-6 models. So does this mean you need 6-figures to be a true Porsche enthusiast? I don’t believe that’s the case – I think there are a plethora of great options at or around $10,000, so I’ve lined up an assortment. Which do you think is most worthy of wearing the crest of Stuttgart?
To Porsche fans, air cooled is more than a preference or novelty; it’s a borderline religion. And if the 993 represented the ascension of the prophet of the boxers to near God-like status, the 996 was most certainly the Anti-Christ. As a result, peppered by their own frenzied quest to prove the merit of the the super-Beetle Porsche fans themselves have driven up the prices on the last of the holy 911s. There are several special versions and owners and enthusiasts of each will kindly explain at length why their pick is or should be top value amongst the 993 crowd; but for most people not interested in that multi-hour conversation look no farther than right here. Porsche once again resurrected the the “S” moniker for the 993 Turbo’s last run and it was surely worthy of the crown; upgraded over the already 959-esque twin-turbocharged all-wheel drive 993 Turbo, Porsche added a few horsepower and some styling tweaks to a few hundred of these special Turbos, ensuring their future collector status and accompanying price: