Motorsports Monday: ex-Walter Cronkite 1958 Goggomobil TS400

From the land of the obscure comes today’s listing. While Walter Cronkite is a name quite a few still remember well, for most it is a name from the distant past especially when you consider what has become of “the news”. Mr. Cronkite, after all, retired in 1981 – longer ago than the age of the majority of our content. And the name Goggomobil is also, for most, completely obscure. However, the Glas founded company in Dingolfing was pretty successful at making two-stroke, two-cylinder micro-cars which laid the foundations for the Glas GT and later incorporation of the company into BMW. Okay, so an obscure slow car driven by the ‘Greatest’s Generation’s’ greatest newsman sounds…well, boring. But Mr. Cronkite didn’t just drive this Goggomobil TS400, he raced it:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1958 Googomobil TS400 on eBay

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Motorsports Monday: 1973 Porsche 914-6 GT

As I looked across the lawn at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum’s German Car Day between a Porsche Cayman GT4 and the Porsche 914s that lined the row behind it, I couldn’t help but feel that the diminutive design doesn’t get enough credit from enthusiasts. Indeed 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 neatest of the bunch are probably the original, fat-flared 914-6 GT models. Ready to blow your mind? Fresh off their somewhat surprising and unlikely victory at Le Mans yesterday, I thought it would be nice to take a look at a 914-6 GT replica, because 46 years ago Porsche themselves entered such a car at the 24 hour endurance race. Now, 1970 is probably a lot more memorable for Porsche because it was the famous red Salzburg 917K Attwood/Hermann that took overall victory. You might remember the 1970 race for being the basis of the Steve McQueen movie that was appropriately named, too. But what was perhaps the most amazing thing about that race was who finished 5th overall. Following the 917K and the 917LH along with two Ferrari 512Ss was that Porsche 914-6 GT, some three laps ahead of a 911S. How’s that for something to put on your resume?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1973 Porsche 914-6 on eBay

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Motorsports Monday: 1984 Audi Coupe GT

Far less famous than its wide-hipped brother and mostly unknown to most U.S. customers, the B2 Audi Coupe was available with quattro all-wheel drive in other markets. It shared nearly all components with the sibling 4000 (90) quattro, including 4×108 wheel pattern and 256mm front brakes – items that were also on the U.S. spec front-drive GT. So, one would assume it would be pretty easy to “swap in a quattro”, as the internet posts usually start. Of course, those individuals who start the posts best be wearing flame-retardant clothing, as they are immediately inundated with responses that kindly (or not so) explain the difficulties inherent in this project. You see, everything aft of the firewall on the all-wheel drive floorplan is different than the two wheel drive units; indeed, as I’ve pointed out previously, even the two wheel drive floorpans were different between automatics and manuals. That means to recreate a rest of the world Coupe quattro, you need the floorpan from a 4000 quattro mated to a body of a Coupe GT. This, of course, makes no sense financially as the countless hours involved eliminate all but the DIYers – and even a fair chunk of those with the talent give up on the project. Yet, it apparently didn’t stop the builder of this rally car, who not only swapped the body, but went one step further and dropped in a turbocharged motor and the brakes and wheels from the big-brother Type 44 chassis. The result is a budget Ur-Quattro rally replica without the flare of the original…or, at least, it was a few years ago before it was parked:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Audi Coupe GT on eBay

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Motorsports Monday: 1986 Porsche 930

It’s hard to fathom any Porsche 930 as “reasonably priced” these days, but after the $500,000 SLS AMG GT3 from earlier this 1986 Porsche 930 seems positively a cheap way to consider track time. What interests me about this car is something the seller mentions in the listing; this is an original Turbo, and still retains the original motor casing and transmission to prove it. Rob’s recent modified 1984 911 “Turbo” model and Nate’s odd M30 turbo M5 from yesterday prove that turbocharged motors popping up in unexpected packages isn’t particularly uncommon, but original 930s rarely turn up in race car form:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Porsche 930 on eBay

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Motorsports Monday: 2013 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3

While I try to vary the posts up a bit, there’s no denying that my regular “Motorsports Monday” posts are dominated by Porsche and BMW. Occasionally, I search far and wide and manage to include an Audi into the mix, but our readership undoubtedly doesn’t associate this column with Mercedes-Benz products. On top of that, the name of this particular car which is bucking that trend also isn’t unusually associated with the three-pointed star – “GT3”. So synonymous with Porsche is that combination of letters and a single number that one could overlook that it dictates the rules for an entire class of cars in the FIA. Since I like rather unusual candidates anyway, I was excited to see one of the very limited production C197 SLS GT3s come up for sale on eBay this week:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2013 Mercedes-Benz AMG SLS GT3 on eBay

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Motorsports Monday: BMW 120 Rallycross

Rallycross has always struck me as an interesting balance between circuit racing and rally driving, and frankly it’s completely captivating. If Formula 1 is controlled aggression and World Rally is controlled chaos, rallycross is more aggressive chaos. In the 1980s it became very popular in Europe as the dumping ground for ex-Group B cars. If you want to be captivated and feel a bit sick at the same time, go watch some British rallycross from ~1987-1989. You’ll see Audi Sport Quattros, Lancia Deltas and Peugot 205 T16s, Ford RS200s and even an occasional turbocharged, all-wheel drive Porsche. In short, it’s sort of the ultimate in rally racing that never really was, with these cars going head to head at full chat. That’s what is captivating, but watch a few seconds more than the wild start and you’ll quickly feel sick because typically in the first corner one of these legends is completely balled up. By the end of the race, if you have one or two out of the original 6-7 cars fully functioning that is considered an accomplishment. But these aren’t 24 hour grueling tests of endurance – they’re three or four laps of a short grass, dirt and tarmac surface. That’s right – generally 50% plus attrition in 3 minutes.

It’s awesome. It’s like the Outback Steakhouse of racing – no rules, just right.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: BMW 120 Rallycross on Race Cars Direct

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Motorsports Monday: 1988 Porsche 944 “S2”

Building a track car can be a dirty business. You can start with a branded title car or one with a ton of miles, one in poor shape or maybe just a car that needs a ton of mechanical work. The results aren’t always Roger Penske perfection, but that certainly doesn’t mean you can’t have a lot of fun. Indeed, there’s a certain freedom to having a less than perfect, not hugely valuable track-focused weapon. It allows you to head to the circuit without the emotional baggage of what would happen if midway through turn two something let loose. Take today’s 1988 Porsche 944, for example. Thorough upgraded and ready to head to the track, this S2-spec 944 may not be a lot to look at, but the entry price is less than a new set of BBS centerlock wheels for a GT3. No, I’m not joking. I just checked, and it’s $9,800 for a set of BBS FI-R wheels from Tire Rack – without tires, or shipping mind you. See, you could have a whole track car instead and still have $300 left to pay for a track day!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Porsche 944 “S2” on eBay

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Motorsports Monday – Worth Finishing: 1982 Porsche 924 Carrera GTS/R Replica

As a habit, we try not to write up project cars. There are other sites that do that and a project car takes a specific subset of fanatics to be really interested. Most will turn their heads, unwilling to front the cash to complete the build. Some might be interested but have neither the skills, the resources, the time or the space to undertake the project. And, to be honest, most project cars are complete headaches – basket cases that were hastily thrown together or require enough reverse engineering that you’re better off starting from scratch. But once in a while one comes along that is both so cool and unique that it justifies a second look and disregarding the angels of our better nature who chant not-so-softly into our ears “DON’T DO IT!“:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1982 Porsche 924 Carrera GTS/R Replica on eBay

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Motorsports Monday: 1992 Porsche 968

One of my first days instructing at a high performance driving school, my student walked up to me after the morning meeting and told me he was under the weather and not up for driving. But, he said, he didn’t want to miss out on track time, so would I be willing to drive him around Lime Rock Park in his car? Sure, I said, and we strolled over towards his ride – a track prepared Porsche 968 on Michelin Sport Cup tires. I have to admit I was slightly apprehensive; a car I was unfamiliar with wasn’t the end of the world, but that day track was wet and while I had been the wheel man a few times in my father’s 924S on track, most of my seat time was spent in my front-drive Audi Coupe GT. But out on the track we went, and the 968 quickly proved why it gained a reputation as such a superlative driver’s car. Near perfect balance matched with smooth power delivery. The limited slip differential in that particular 968 also helped to translate the power to the ground, and on a soaked track we were one of the fastest cars that session within two laps – it just felt natural to push the car. Down the “No Name Straight” (which both has a name and isn’t a straight), the 968 twitched lightly under full throttle but was never out of control and never once felt uncomfortable. Even before then I had a high regard for the watercooled front-engine Porsches, but it solidified my love even more and it’s always nice when I see a track prepared 968:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1992 Porsche 968 on eBay

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Motorsports Monday: 2007 Volkswagen GTi

There are some (quite a large number, in fact) who claim you can’t have fun on a race track in a front wheel drive car. I know quite a few of them. And in the wrong front driver, they’re likely right. Take a 1976 Cadillac Eldorado with its 8.2 liter V8 channeled through one front tire at any time and enough body roll to mimic a rowboat during Katrina and the recipe might be humorous, but doubtfully fun. However, 1976 also saw the introduction of a revolution in front drive platforms – the very first Golf GTi. Consider, for a moment, that GM’s replacement in 1977 for the thirsty 8.2 V8 was a every-so-slightly less thirsty 7.0 liter V8 (it was, after all, fuel crisis time….). That cast iron monster produced a heady 180 horsepower. Volkswagen engineers took a inline-4 with only 1.6 liters and twisted 110 horsepower out of it in a car that weighed about the same as the motor in the Cadillac. That was the magic of the GTi and it’s why it started the trend of hot front wheel drive cars that still is running arguably stronger than ever today. With clever transmissions, electronics and differentials, perceived weaknesses in the design have been nearly eliminated and most of the really trick nose FWD cars are as quick – if not quicker in some cases – than their rear-drive counterparts around a track. Therefore racing FWD cars is still a popular past time as today’s quite successful GTi is a testament to:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2007 Volkswagen GTi on Racer Connect

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