1999 Audi A8 4.2 quattro

Back in October, I took a look at a refreshed and S8-tributed D2 A8L.

2003 Audi A8L

Truth told, by love of the D2 focuses mostly on the S8, but I have a weird crush on early models in general. First off there was the wacky 3.7 front-drive model that only lived for two model years and amazingly had less power than the smaller displacement 1990 V8 quattro with the 3.6. It seems as though barely any of those sold new between 1997 and 1999, and it’s hard to believe any survive today. Of course, it was also an early pre-facelift S8 that appeared in Ronin, as well – another reason to love them. Just 2,481 A8s were sold in the US in 1999, broken up between the 3.7 and the model we’re looking at today: and standard A8 4.2 quattro. It is perhaps one of the best examples left in the wild – and it’s just a good reminder of how handsome and understated the original design was.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1999 Audi A8 4.2 quattro on eBay

Continue reading

1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS Touring

Back in June I took a look at the 993-generation Carrera RS, which reintroduced the legendary name in the Porsche realm. It was, of course, started with this car that we’re looking at today. The recipe was simple; add lightness, more power, wider wheels, flared fenders, and a bit more downforce. The result was one of the most legendary cars from not only Porsche, but in general. As a result, tributes and replicas of the RS abound; they inspired the looks of the modern recreations such as Singer’s amazing works, and their lineage lives on in the GT models today. It’s no surprise, then, that real RSs are worth a pretty penny. How much? Well, let’s take a look at this ’73 Touring model to find out.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS Touring on eBay

Continue reading

1994 BMW M5 Touring

BMW’s second generation M5 followed the same recipe as the outgoing E28; manual transmission, rear-drive, howling inline-6 under the hood. But the E34 was far from a copy of the car that was really credited with being the first super sedan. BMW upped with power first with the 3.6 liter version of the S38; though the increase in displacement was a scant 82 ccs, the result was impressive. BMW Motorsport GmbH fit a new cam, a higher compression head, and a new engine management system to yield 311 horsepower at a rev-busting 6,900 rpms. They weren’t done.

In 1992 M upped the capacity again, this time to just 5 cc shy of 3.8 liters. Even higher compression, a further revision in electronic management, and a few other odds and ends now netted 340 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque. Again, they weren’t done. Perhaps tired of Audi cornering the go-fast-5-door market with their 200 20V Avant, in 1992 BMW launched the M5 Touring. Production began in March 1992 and ran through 1995. All E34 M5 Tourings were left-hand drive 3.8 models, and a total of 891 were produced.

BMW opted not to bring the enlarged motor or the M Touring model to the United States, as the 540i took over the top rungs of North American production. But now legal for importation, these rare Ms are one of the more desirable models around:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 BMW M5 Touring on eBay

Continue reading

Winter Project: 1979 Mercedes-Benz 450SLC 5.0

Back in April I took a look at a rare FIA homologation special not too many people know about – the 450SLC 5.0:

1979 Mercedes-Benz 450SLC 5.0

The 107.026s were very limited production cars, with a total of under 3,000 produced in all (1,636 450SLC 5.0s, along with 1,133 500SLCs manufactured in 1980 and 1981). So it’s really neat to see them come up for sale – even when they’re not in perfect shape. Today’s car will need a lot of love to get back to its glorious roots, but is it worth it to do so?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1979 Mercedes-Benz 450SLC 5.0 on eBay

Continue reading

2003 BMW 330i Sedan ZHP Performance Package

Developed by BMW Individual, the ZHP Performance Package added $3,900 to the price of your 330i model. That sounds like a lot, but you got some meaningful upgrades. M-Tech body pieces adorned the car front, sides and rear and blacked out trim replaced the chrome. So too were M-branded special Style 135 18″ wheels, with tires to match the width of bigger brother M3. Lower and stiffer suspension was met with more negative camber, special reinforcement, and revised control arms. The engine was upgraded too, with unique cams and a revised engine map resulting in 10 more horsepower, but the ZHP was more than 10 hp quicker off the line thanks to a shorter final drive and a 6-speed manual borrowed from M.

These are fan favorites, and can draw really big bids – indeed, some sell for more than M3s. Let’s take a look at this Imola Red example and see where it falls:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 BMW 330i Sedan ZHP Performance Package on eBay

Continue reading

1982 Volkswagen Scirocco GTI

No, you’re not reading that incorrectly.

While US Volkswagen Sciroccos were sold as base or slightly upscale Wolfsburg Edition trim, in Europe there were up to five trim levels – the base CL, the slightly nicer GL and GT models (which got you fog lights, nicer upholstery, alloy wheels, and a five-speed manual gearbox), or the top-tier GLi and GTi models. Like the original GTi, this got you special trim, a higher-compression 1.6-liter engine with fuel injection, a close-ratio five-speed transmission, vented disc brakes, and front and rear anti-sway bars. We didn’t get a full-on performance model of the Scirocco until the 16V, so it’s neat to see one of these imported:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1982 Volkswagen Scirocco GTI on eBay

Continue reading

1995.5 Audi S6 Avant

Defying the odds and most aspects of common sense, a group of fans out there still loves, maintains, and drives Audis from the 1980s and 1990s. Why is this so outrageous? Well, first off, there just aren’t many left. Audi never really broke many sales records here in the US. When we look at this car’s model year, Audi sold about 18,000 cars in total – helped in no small margin by the early launch of the A4. Between 1991 and 1994, Audi averaged only about 13,000 cars per a year. To give us some perspective on that, let’s look at Ford’s F-Series trucks. Even in the midst of pandemics, global parts and labor shortages, and inflation, Ford has managed to move between 45,000 and 84,000 F-Series trucks from showrooms each month of 2021. But that’s the Ford truck, you say, not a luxury car. Fair enough. Let’s look at the least popular Volkswagen on offer – the Passat sedan. Volkswagen is on track to sell more of those here this year than Audi sold total cars in 1995, and they’ve already outsold the ’91-94 years by a safe margin with two months to go.

The secondary part of the problem is Audi’s insistence that we don’t need parts for our 25+ year old cars. It’s not that Audi doesn’t make said parts – they do, and sell them through Audi Tradition. And judging by their recent partnership with Ken Block, Audi’s interested in showing off its historical cars here in America. But they refuse to sell you parts to fix them.

This means, of course, that enthusiasts are left to fend for themselves, creating groups of faithful fans that buy, trade, and sell parts amongst themselves, tricks and tips, and…of course…really good examples for sale that pop up. So let’s dive in to this late-production Magnolia S6 Avant:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995.5 Audi S6 Avant on Quattroworld

Continue reading

2003 Volkswagen Passat W8 4Motion Variant 6-Speed

This B5.5 sold for $9,600 on October 18, 2021.

There’s always been a fascination for me with the W8 Passat. Not only did Volkswagen take the B5 and B5.5 models upscale by offering the Audi-based chassis, but they pioneered the new engine configurations that would be the top-tier mills in the Passat. Truth told, the “W” configuration had been around for a few years before it finally entered into the mid-sized sedan and wagon. It was first floated in the Bugatti EB116 16/4, but really came into the minds of enthusiasts with the Volkswagen W12 Nardo concept. Now in appropriately named W12 configuration and powering all four wheels, the 600 horsepower mid-engined Volkswagen captured headlines with its 200 m.p.h. 24 hour run and Italdesign-penned Group C for the road looks. While the Nardo was the prototype for what would become the Veyron after some heavy revisions, the W12 would be an exotic engine only powering the most elite of the VAG range. However, Volkswagen also launched a smaller version of the engine for 2001 in the Passat. It was the first introduction to U.S. customers of the W configuration that would later appear in Bentleys, the D3 Audi A8L, and the Phaeton. There was something unique about the Passat’s package, though. First, you could option the mid-ranger in long-roof 5-door configuration. More importantly for enthusiasts, you could select a manual 6-speed, too. The combination of these items coupled with the stratospheric price tag of the model meant very few sold. But briefly, until the new S4 launched in 2004, this was the most powerful manual VAG product you could buy in the U.S.:

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

Continue reading

1997 Audi A4 2.8 quattro

Emerging from the sales slump brought on by the recession and actual fake news, Audi solidified its position in the small executive luxury market with its brand new A4 model in 1996. While in truth the car heavily borrowed from the evolution of the B3/4 series and started life with the same flaccid 12 valve V6 that had replaced the sonorous 7A inline-5 for 1993, the A4 was exactly the model Audi needed to redefine its image.

And redefine it did, going from near zero to hero in just a year’s time.

Car and Driver
immediately named the A4 one of its “10 Best” cars, a position it would repeat in 1997 and 1998. Okay, maybe it wasn’t the perennial favorite as the BMW 3-series was for the magazine, but still, that it was mentioned in the same breath was impressive. New sheetmetal was smooth and tight, full of great angles and well-placed curves. The bumper covers were finally integrated well again – something the U.S. specification B4 had inexplicably failed miserably at. Inside was evolution rather than revolution, but the cabin looked and felt upscale and modern. And the market responded to this instant hit; consider, in 1994 Audi sold 12,575 cars in total. In 1996, some 15,288 of just the A4 models were sold. That was before the many variations and improvements Audi rolled out in the B5, too.

Seemingly every year new changes offered refreshment and redesign to the A4. In late 1995 and 1996, you could only get one specification – the 2.8 either with or without quattro. But ’97 saw the introduction of the 1.8T, and the Sport Package got some revisions as well with new Ronal ‘Swing’ 16″ wheels. Today’s Laser Red example has to be one of the better examples out there:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1997 Audi A4 2.8 quattro on eBay

Continue reading

1989 BMW Z1

BMW took a big leap at the end of the 1980s and introduced some pretty extreme design language. First was the E31 8-series, a seeming quantum leap from the outgoing 6-series. That chassis pioneered, for better or worse, a tremendous amount of technical and electronic innovation for BMW. The 8s relied on a bevy of computers to control its chassis, electronic suite and engine. Side by side with the more famous Grand Tourer though was a diminutive roadster BMW produced based heavily on the E30 chassis. Instead of a heavy reliance on computer technology, the futuristic (hence Z for the German word for future – Zukunft) plastic bodied Z1 looked like a supercar even if it didn’t go like one. Park one next to a E30 convertible and you’d never know the two are related!

The Z1 was a complete departure for BMW; while they were not strangers to small cabriolets, their previous efforts were in the 1930s with the 315/1 and the 1960s with the 700. BMW went away from the idea of an integral body and frame to a separate chassis with removable, plastic body pieces. The idea was that the owners could replace the panels themselves to “repaint” the car with minimal effort. It was something the Smart car would be notable for – a car that launched a decade following the Z1. To get the paint to adhere to the bodywork, BMW had to partner with AZKO coatings to develop a flexible paint which they termed ‘Varioflex’, while the bodywork had to be attached using a unique elastic joint technique. The doors didn’t open out – they slid down into the supporting chassis structure. The underbody was flat, not only for aerodynamics, but the tray turned into a diffuser towards the back, assisting in sticking the rear to the ground as speeds rose. In front was nothing new: the venerable M20 from the E30 popped up here, too – but in the rear the Z1 was new with a multi-link rear axle of its own. This new design would later be incorporated into the E36. It’s interesting that with the Z3 BMW opted to go the opposite route and incorporate earlier E30 pieces into the rear of the /7 and /8. While performance was relatively leisurely, the Z1 nevertheless garnered praise for its innovation, unique design and great looks. They never made it to U.S. shores and only around 8,000 examples were ever produced, but a few have crossed the Atlantic now that they’re old enough to be more easily imported:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 BMW Z1 on eBay

Continue reading