1996 Volkswagen Passat GLX VR6

VW’s radical redesign on the B3 resulted in a unique, angular look at still stands apart from the crowd today. And because the internals were based on VW’s A2 chassis like the Corrado, when the 2.8 VR6 debuted in the sporty coupe for ’92 it was only a matter of time until its four-door friend got it too. That happened in ’93 with the release of the GLX VR6. Slow sales resulted in Volkswagen’s refresh of the B4 Passat into the more traditional looking B4 for 1995; which saw new BBS wheels and body styling but the same dynamic performance. Today a clean Emerald Green Pearl Metallic ’96 manual has popped up for sale, and it’s worth a look:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1996 Volkswagen Passat GLX VR6 on eBay

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1995 Porsche 911 Carrera RS

RS. While the GT3 took the reigns as the hot naturally aspirated 911 with the introduction of the 996 generation, before that those two magical letters ruled the roost. And while for some it was hard to surpass the original, for me the absolute best one made was the last; the 993-generation Carrera RS. It continued the recipe of less is more, with lightweight construction, few options, stiffened-up suspension, and big wheels and tires. At its heart was a 3.8-liter M64/20 flat-6 rated at 300 horsepower, and it was connected only to a six-speed manual. If that wasn’t enough for you, there was an even more hardcore Clubsport model. Porsche made a total of just over 1,100 of these cars, so they’re far more rare than the later models – but they’re also twice as rare as the prior 964-generation RS, and even more dear than the original RS. They were of course never imported to the US, but one’s up for sale here – if you’re feeling quite spendy:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Porsche 911 Carrera RS on eBay

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Euro 1981 Porsche 928

The Porsche 928 introduced radical new styling in the late 1970s, but the power wasn’t really all that outrageous in typical 70s style. The US-spec car produced 219 horsepower from its 4.5-liter V8, which was respectable but also far short of the 930 output. US cars didn’t receive a bump in power until well into the 1980s and the S model’s introduction. However, in Europe cars got a healthy 10% more power early on for performance more in line with the looks, and for good measure Euro cars were about 100 lbs. lighter than US versions. Today’s example is a manual variant that has some nice upgrades:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1981 Porsche 928 on eBay

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2012 Audi R8 GT quattro Coupe

I’ve covered quite a few of the special Audi R8s brought to our market, but most have been color-based and focused on the second generation. But before it bowed out, Audi offered a hotted-up performance version of the 5.2 model:

2010 Audi R8 5.2 V10 quattro Coupe

It was called the GT, and Audi only built 333 of them – a scant 90 of which were directed to the US market. Performance was increased thanks to 35 more horsepower for a total of 560, and weight was down over 200 lbs thanks to lightweight glass, panels, and seats. Audi ditched the magnetic ride damping system as well, opting instead for adjustable coilovers. Add in some aero and carbon-fiber bits, and this limited ride was pretty impressive – and expensive, with a sticker price of over $200,000. One is up for sale, and worth a look – and yeah, it’s a pretty cool color, too!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2012 Audi R8 GT quattro Coupe on eBay

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2002 BMW 316ti

BMW’s attempt to offer a Golf-fighting hatchback didn’t end with the E36 generation; at least, not in the rest of the world. That’s because after the E36/5 bowed out, the company introduced the E46/5 Compact model in 2000. As with the RoW prior model, several engine options were available with 4,6, and diesel powerplants; unlike the one-engine-only US E36 model, though, it never came to North America. Style was substantially more radical than the E36; notably, the front end had a completely unique set of headlights not shared with any other BMW design. Love it or hate it, it helped the /5 stand apart. The same was true out back, where there were jewel-style tail lights that almost looked more as though they belonged on a Lexus. BMW wasn’t done out back though, because the chopped rear end held a multi-link suspension rather than the E30 setup used on the E36 model. You could get some slick options on the E46/5 too, like the SMG sequential gearbox. Today’s example has an upgraded motor, the M Sport body kit, some great looking sport seats, and it’s in North America:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 BMW 316ti on eBay

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1999 BMW Z3 2.3

The conundrum of the Z3 is for me wrapped up in the model’s signature appearance in Goldeneye. There was lots of promotion for the new model; after all, the change from Bond’s signature Aston Martin must have been for a car worthy of such a distinction. Granted, Audi beat BMW to the punch when James sported twin Type 44s in The Living Daylights but the fanfare surrounding the leap to BMW was unprecedented. And, as it turned out, largely unwarranted. Despite the hefty amount of advertising and anticipation of the debut, the 1.9 liter light blue convertible barely appeared in the movie at all – in fact, only long enough for James to toss the keys to someone else. This seems to largely sum up how enthusiasts feel about the successor to the Z1; cute, but a little too soft and not very BMW. Of course, as the model progressed it became more in keeping with the brand – especially true of when outfit by the M division. The resulting M Roadster and especially Coupe versions of the Z3 have become hot commodities in the marketplace, but if you’re willing to forgo the Roadstars, quad exhaust and especially the “S” motors in the front, you can still get a nice inline-six tied to a manual in a roadster.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1999 BMW Z3 2.3 on eBay

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2006 Volkswagen Beetle Smyth Pickup

Okay, the last converted Pickup was a bit of a letdown in everything but concept:

2002 Volkswagen Jetta Smyth Pickup

Well, as luck would have it, another popped up. This one is based on the much curvier Beetle, and as you’d probably guess (or can see) the results are as retro-inspired as the New Beetle was. So let’s check out the execution of this kit and what it’ll set you back today:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2006 Volkswagen Beetle Smyth Pickup on eBay

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2007 BMW Z4 M Coupe

My wife and I had a rather amusing conversation recently. “How much does a new 911 cost”, she asked. Now typically I know questions like this are leading somewhere and she’s not a huge Porsche fan, so after some inquiry she asked why examples from the 80s and 90s are trading for the price of a new car. After I likened the Porsche 911 market to the Tulip craze, she said two really funny things. First, she said “Let’s not base our economy on it!”, something that got me laughing. Then she said that if it was so popular, why were manufacturers like Porsche building new examples of their old cars? The answer, as we discussed, was that it just wouldn’t be profitable. Though limited run manufacturers such as Singer and Eagle have seen success building “new” old cars, the reality is that between making cars safe enough and economical enough to meet today’s standards, they’d be heavy and slow – necessitating even more power, which would raise the price. Take the GT86/FR-S/BRZ clones; while critics have loved their handling and prices have been kept reasonable, they’re generally referred to as “slow” cars with 200 horsepower and 2,700lbs of curb weight – nearly identical to what the 1988 Porsche Carrera was specified at.

However, there are options outside of the 911 market for a personal sports 2-door that throwback to simpler times, and I think the M Coupe was one of the best. With a gutsy inline-6 up front, rear drive and a 6-speed manual, the E86 was a classic blueprint for a sports car. But it was modern at the same time, with over 300 horsepower from the sonorous S54 M motor and a thoroughly modern design. It was also a relatively limited run vehicle, meaning they’re rare to see. Yet, despite this they’re still relatively affordable as a not-particularly-old future classic that can be driven and enjoyed – and will likely appreciate, though…there’s a caveat to this particular one:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2007 BMW Z4 M Coupe on eBay

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1959 Opel Olympia Caravan

Emerging as if from some Philip K. Dick dystopian version of the future where the Germans ruled America, Opel’s lineup in the 1950s broadly mirrored that of its American counterparts – only, in 7/8ths scale or less. The Rekord was Opel’s higher-end family car, and it’s styling was in large part based upon that of the mid-50s Chevrolet lineup, only trailing behind by a few years. The Rekord went on to mimic a few other GM products in later versions, and the 1959 model year was the last of this body style.

It was available in two or four-door variants, and marketed in the US as the ‘Olympia Rekord’. But there was also a wagon version of the Rekord, and that was called the Caravan. There are several different naming conventions on these and technically they’re all Rekords, but this one was either called the Olympia Caravan or simply Opel Caravan. Regardless, under the hood was not a thumping V8 but a thrifty four cylinder, and these were sold through Buick dealerships in the US for a while. Today, a relatively top-spec Caravan has popped up for sale:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1959 Opel Olympia Caravan on eBay

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1981 Audi Quattro Treser

Treser is a name that occupies an interesting place in the tuner world. Both pioneering and polarizing, he pushed the boundaries of his technology at the time, creating stretched, chopped, and off-road versions of road cars. They had special wheels, unique body kits, and additional performance – not to mention optional interior refits. The highest-profile were, of course, his modifications of the Quattro, and today’s example is claimed to be the first modified by him. So let’s check it out!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1981 Audi Quattro Treser on Zwischengas.com

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