1963 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Type 34

The Type 34 Karmann Ghia was a sales failure – it was too expensive – costing about 50% more than a normal Type 14 Ghia. But that didn’t mean it wasn’t a very good looking failure. While the underpinnings were shared with its less exotic 1500 cousins, the upscale Karmann Ghia was aimed squarely at making peasants feel like landed gentry and certainly looked the part. Sweeping character lines ran the length of the car, giving it its signature ‘razor’ nickname. Added to the upscale look in terms of desirability today is rarity. Never imported to the United States, Type 34 production only achieved about 42,500 units – less than 10% of the total number of the more popular and familiar Type 14 Karmann Ghia. Today’s light green example is great to see:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1963 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Type 34 on eBay

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1983 BMW 528e

My recent coverage of the 5-series BMWs seems timely. Just last week, I looked at a 1982 BMW 528e. Since it’s been so short a time, I won’t reiterate the major highlights of the model again – click HERE if you’d like to read those details. So why look at what many consider the least excited E28 so quickly again?

Well, in part it’s because of what occurred this past weekend. If you weren’t paying attention, a stellar 1988 BMW 535i came up on Bring a Trailer. It was probably the most impressive older 5-series I’ve seen in a long time. So it was expected to bring pretty big numbers when the auction closed, and like looking through the picture gallery, it didn’t fail to disappoint. The final bid was $50,000 – unfathomable to this point for most of the E28 lineup.

Admittedly, the example I have today isn’t as nice. But it shares many things in common. First, it’s not a top-flight model, though again the Eta motor isn’t what many would prefer. So what does it have going for it?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 BMW 528e on eBay

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Eye of the Survivor: 1983 BMW 528e

It’s funny how priorities change. A decade ago, I would not have given a second look to a 528e. Growing up with a E28 M5 in the garage created both an appreciation for the E28 and the dichotomous dismissal of lower range vehicles. Sure, the M5-look 535is was cool, and alongside the M5 we even had a very nice ’85 535i that was a pretty good driver. But below that? No, I seldom gave the 533i, 528e or even 524td a second look on the road. Today, though? Even if it’s not a performance car by most standards, a survivor 528e is certainly worth a second look:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 BMW 528e on eBay

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1984 BMW 633CSi

I find it pretty interesting that while the E30 and E28 market have really heated up, for whatever reason the E24 market seems to be relatively stagnant. For some time the big coupes held a price advantage over their siblings, but look in the right spot now and you can find a pretty good deal on a nice one. Case in point is today’s late run 633CSi. Now, I’ll admit that at least on paper the 633CSi might be the least appealing of the E24 lineup; the earlier 628 and 630 models were a bit prettier in their simplicity and 1970s style, the later 635 and L6 models were quicker, sportier and more luxurious and the M6 has the name and motor you want. But bear with me, because there’s actually quite a lot to like here:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 BMW 633CSi on eBay

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1985 BMW M635CSi

Though they’re the juggernaut of BMW performance today, the reality is that there were quite a few stumbling blocks and it took many years for BMW Motorsport GmbH to establish themselves as the benchmark for German performance. Though many consider the M1 the genesis of BMW M, in fact the brand was born nearly a decade earlier with the introduction of the 3.0 CSL. The high performance E9 was built together with BMW’s competition department, a relationship which ultimately resulted in the birth of BMW’s Motorsport division. A few years later, the new entity would give birth to an equally legendary creation, the 2002 Turbo. But when it came to the first car to carry the “M” badge, it was of course the legendary M1 with its motorsport derived M88/1 double overhead cam inline six screaming in the middle of the car. You’d think this recipe carried over immediately to the sedan range, but that was not immediately the case. First, BMW produced the M535i in the E12 chassis. Though the E28 model of the same designation was mostly an appearance package, the E12 model was turned up over the rest of the range – but not with the M88; BMW instead relied on the M30 to power the M535i. Then, there was a year where nothing happened; the M1 was out of production, the E12 was replaced by the E28, and ostensibly BMW had no real performance models. That was remedied at the 1983 Frankfurt Motor Show, where a juiced up version of the 635CSi was offered. It was labeled the M635CSi; but unlike the M535i, under the hood wasn’t the venerable M30 that powered the normal 635CSi. In its place, the Motorsport division decided to slot the M88, now with /3 designation; the result was 286 horsepower – a staggering figure at the time, considering that the contemporary Porsche 930 was considered fairly bonkers with a little over 300 horsepower and though it looked much larger, the early E24s only weighed about 200 lbs. more than the Porsche. Coupled with some aerodynamic tweaks, heavier duty suspension, brakes and larger wheels and tires, the result was the menacing presence worthy of the nickname “Shark”. For all intents and purposes, this was really the first “M” car for the masses:


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2003 Volkswagen Passat W8 4Motion Variant 6-speed

Unicorns. They’re what automotive enthusiasts refer to as the cars that just can’t be found easily; they’re out there, people know they exist, but they just don’t come up for sale very often. Such is the case with today’s 2003 Volkswagen Passat W8 4Motion Variant 6-speed; a car which very infrequently turns up for sale because of how devoted the owners of similar models are and how few were imported. While we see W8 6-speed sedans on an infrequent but semi-regular basis the wagons are just very hard to come by. How rare are they? W8s are pretty rare to see in any event, with only around 5,000 imported to the U.S.; but in the case of the 6-speed Variant, less that 100 were imported here – a reported 56 in 2003, and 42 in 2004. A decade on, figure a few of those have disappeared in crashes or other untimely deaths and you have yourself a very rare car, indeed:

Year: 2003
Model: Passat W8 4Motion Variant
Engine: 4.0 liter W8
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Mileage: 95,000 mi
Price: Reserve Auction

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Volkswagen Passat W8 4Motion Variant 6-speed on eBay





275 HP -275 FT LBS







Spark plugs

Valve Cover Gaskets and spark plug hole seals

Front and rear temperature sending units and seals

Front vent hose valve cover to valve cover (front of motor)

Double Serpentine belt

Lower radiator hose

External balancer cogged belt and tensioner and all bolts

Water pump (metal impeller)

Front bumper/ motor mount



Both Front Axels

O2 sensors

How rare is this car? According to the handy-dandy Passat configuration spreadsheet this car is one of one in this particular configuration sold in the U.S.. Pacific Blue isn’t the most popular color on these W8s, nor was it when new, but as stated in the case of the W8 6-speed Variant, it’s not as if you have a lot of options to pick from at this time. The car sports the original BBS Madras wheels, though from the looks of the wheels it appears they have been refinished. That’s not hugely surprising given how these wheels often suffer from neglect but the rest of the car seems to be in great shape. There is some recent maintenance outlined for the car which is a plus, and miles are lower for a Passat wagon at 95,000.

Paul recently asked me the question, “Would you buy one of these?”. I have to say, despite the negative press I think I would if the price was right, and for me, the price would have to fall below $8,000 – which isn’t likely for this car. The most recent W8 6-speed with similar miles that sold traded hands for around $12,000, though that was in a more popular silver color. With two days to go on the auction, bidding for this car is in the low $6,000 range with reserve still on. I’d expect that reserve is probably set over $8,000 and likely closer to $10,000 or perhaps above. That may sound like a lot for this car but it really is a pretty reasonable alternative to the S4 Avant which usually brings similar or stronger money. It’s a highly specialized market, but then this is a highly specialized car.