Boy, it’s been too long since I did a Wednesday Wheels – amazingly, it seems like late January was the last wheel roundup. But it’s something I love and with the sun shining and most of the potholes on their way towards repair in Rhode Island, I can finally shift my attention from snow chains to summer tires! Today I returned to my favorite subject; BBS wheels, with a roundup of some of neat ones that appear. There are the eponymous 80’s semi-aftermarket wheel choice, the BBS RSs many manufacturers offered at the dealer. This is a set of 16×8 and 9s for a 944 Turbo. Equally neat to see are the the 4x100mm BBS RM wheels; not as prevalent as RSs yet with a similar look, these were the perfect fit for the 16V GTi in 1991 and 1992. If you were looking earlier, you might have been interested in some BBS Mahle wheels; these are a pretty early Mercedes-Benz specific set that would look great on a SL. In more modern times, BBS was still a great option – Volkswagen specified the RXII 2-piece model for the Jetta Wolfsburg 1.8T, and again the BBS RC seemed to be the go-to option in the mid 2000s for a great looking performance wheel – this set is for an Audi. What’s you’re favorite and why?
I have to admit that when I initially heard the details of the 337 Edition GTi, I was very excited. To me, it seemed like Volkswagen had finally gotten the message and brought us a modern interpretation of the car that I loved, the 1990-1992 GTi 2.0 16V. After a period of low performance 4-cylinder variants, the pokey 1.8T was now pumping out 180 horsepower and matching torque – finally, the car had the go to match the show. While the VR6 had continued into the fourth generation GTi, the accompanying weight, luxury items and electronic throttle meant that while horsepower numbers went up, the seat of the pants kick and thrill that was the hallmark of the original and 16V GTi – and even the Mk.3 VR6 – had been replaced by a stout highway cruiser. As if to answer critics and revisit the original formula, in 2001 Volkswagen introduced a stripped down, turned up version of the GTi called the 25th Anniversary edition, celebrating the original 1976 launch. For me, it was a return to form for the original hot hatch with some great updates. Unfortunately, it wasn’t heading to the U.S., because of course we didn’t receive the GTi until the 1983 model year. But U.S. fans were taken care of too when the nearly identical GTi 337 was launched. Outside, it got some awesome shot-peened BBS RC wheels that looked stunning compared the the rather bland wheels styles that had adorned the GTi since the BBS RMs on the 16V. Behind those wheels were beefed up brakes and red calipers, because red is of course faster (or, slower in that case?). It also sported a new body kit that highlighted the lower stance – hunkering the GTi down over those great wheels. After a period of hidden tailpipes, a polished exhaust tip emerged from the rear valance – a nice change for sure! Inside, special details like brushed trim, red-stitched shift boot and special “Golf Ball” knob for the 6-speed manual and some awesome Recaro seats greeted you. And to keep weight down, no sunroof was offered. This was a sporty car that went like it looked for a change! Limited to 1,500 examples, it was an instant hit and apparently a good bet for a future collectable:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 Volkswagen GTi 337 on eBay
Yesterday, Nate wrote up a last-of-the-run 1988 M6 for a budget price. He noted that $12,000 seemed like a deal for a 107K mile car with that magical S38 power plant hidden under the long hood, but concerns about maintenance costs linger with any of these complicated machines. It wouldn’t take you long if you dove into the motor to double that initial investment. Well, from last of the run to first, perhaps this 1984 M635CSi is a better proposition? It’s got a lighter curb weight, more pure European lines outside, and an even more potent engine thanks to the M88/3 pumping a few extra non-catalyzed ponies. Presented in black over black with a great set of BBS RC wheels, it sure looks fresh despite being 30 years old:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 BMW M635CSi on eBay
Want a classic 1980s BMW, a race-bred motor, and a car nearly guaranteed to appreciate over the coming years? The S38 powered M5 and M6 are the place to look right now, since the only other two options – the M1 and M3 – aren’t the best options right now. Traditionally, the M6 held higher values than the long-unappreciated M5; a great looking grand tourer, the M6 is certainly capable of keeping up with sports cars in a straight line and around curves. The other nice thing about the M6 was that unlike the E28 M5, it was available in many shades. Today’s example shows that off nicely in Cinnabar Red with Lotus White Nappa leather: