When it comes to the argument of which Porsche 911 is the king of the hill, you won’t see me dismiss the 997 GT3 RS 4.0. Porsche and the GT team basically did everything they could to crank 500 horsepower out of a flat-six squeezed in the back of the 997. At the time, this was supposed to be the last GT car with a true six-speed manual. So when these dropped, all 600 were jumped on like wild dogs on meat. Now ten years later, double the MSRP and you can take one home. Fair deal?
My first real car was a B5 Audi A4 1.8t, which means everything related to the B5 RS4 was “it.” That was the holy grail and everything the B5 chassis aspired to be. It had all the little special touches and had just enough differences that made it far from just a B5 S4 Avant with more power. Even more, you are waiting until 2025 to even see one in the US outside of a few rare examples that made their way in. This was the car. Even now that these cars are 20 years-old, the want is still there and the prices reflect that. Today’s example, a 2001 finished in Goodwood Green, is checking all the boxes for me. Just four more years, right?
Go big or go home, right? Just when I thought the $442,540 Porsche GT2 RS I looked at back in May couldn’t be top, someone tried. This 2018 GT2 RS Weissach up for sale in Toronto, Canada went totally crazy with a Python Green Chromoflare finish and an interior to try to match. I hope Santa brings you a truck full of money this year, because that is what you’ll need to take this one home.
If I could find whoever spec’d this car out, I would give them a firm, but polite, handshake to thank them for bringing this car into the world for all of us to enjoy. This 2016 Porsche 911 GT3 RS up for sale in Northwest Germany is finished in none other than paint-to-sample Irish Green, and boy does it look amazing. Even better, the madmen at Manthey Racing put a few little special touches on this.
Ever dream about walking into a dealer, picking out the most expensive model, then clicking every box on the option list? Even more, add in a bunch of other special requests and options that aren’t even offered and tell them to build you that. Well, that is exactly what the original owner of this 2019 Porsche 911 GT2 RS did. On top of the $293,200 base price, this owner added another $149,340 in options for a total price of $442,540. Yes, that is correct. $149,340 in options, $92,250 of which were the coveted CXX “Special Wishes” that needed to be approved by Porsche. Of course, it is finished in paint-to-sample Brewster Green and the interior? Have you ever heard of Noto Green leather?
Did you love last weeks Porsche 911 GT3 Touring painted in Brewster Green but maybe thought to yourself, “I need more excitement?” Well, don’t worry, because Porsche can fix that for you. This is a 2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS painted in, you guessed it, Brewster Green. What exactly is it? A 3.8 liter twin-turbocharged flat-6 delivering 700 hp sent to the rear wheels via Porsche’s 7-speed PDK transmission. Compared to a Turbo S, it is 286 pounds lighter. This car has the $18,000 Weissach package which means you lose another 40 pounds thanks to a bunch of carbon fiber. Also, don’t forget the $13,000 magnesium wheels. The 0-60 time? 2.6 seconds. Quarter mile? 10.3 seconds. Can you drive it work on Monday morning? Yes. Will all of your co-workers hate you with envy? Also yes.
Porsche GT cars are hotter than ever it seems. If you aren’t ordering a new GT3 RS with paint-to-sample, 18-way adaptive sport seats, carbon ceramic brakes and $72,000 in other options, are you even living? Lots of people literally obsess over these things and I guess it makes sense as these are big decisions, like whether or not to spring for the $1,300 carbon fiber door sill plates. However, back when we were still in the infancy stage of Porsche GT car madness, things were much simpler thanks to one of the cars that started it all: the 996 GT3 RS.
Just 682 were ever built and exactly zero were configured for the North American market. You had no choice of color. Carrera white and you’ll like it. However, you did have a choice of wheel and sticker color of either dark red or light blue. From the cars that are publicly seen, it seems like most of them were optioned in red. These RS cars were exactly what you’d expect. A more hardcore version of the 996 GT3 that admittedly was already a pretty raw car. The RS received a bunch of lighter body panels, a Mezger 3.8 liter that could rev to 8,200 rpm, and some other small changes that is detailed below if you really want get nerdy about it. Now that everyone is into respecting their elders, it only was a matter of a time until one of these made its way to America. This 2005 up for sale in California is a left-hand drive Japanese car that is fully EPA and DOT compliant for road legal use in America thanks to the 996 GT3 RS being on the NHTSAs list of cars that can be imported through a registered importer. The price? A brand new 2019 GT3 RS, plus a Cayenne for your significant other, is less expensive than what you’ll have to pay to take this one home.
Update 5/18/18 – After failing to sell last year at nearly $8,000, this sweet and rare 1990 Audi 90 quattro 20V with some fantastic period-correct BBS RS wheels is back on eBay with an opening bid at only $4,000!
Just as they had with the development of the 10V Turbo for their top tier products, Audi’s work on the Group B, Sport and later RR 20V Quattro (along with the creation of the original S-series cars soon after) trickled down into the rest of the range, but only in a very limited fashion. The 7A 2.3 liter 20V motor was the beneficiary of that racing work, and it was at the time a pretty impressive unit. Out of 2.3 liters, Audi squeezed a very reliable 164 horsepower with a screaming 7,200 RPM redline. While it’s true this was down on peak power to racing motors like the M3’s S14, the adding of the second cam and a modern EFI engine management also yielded nearly 160 ft.lb of torque.
So why does everyone claim that this car was under-powered?
Weight. The luxury-oriented B3 was most popular in Coupe form, where at 3,300 lbs in 1991 it was in need of a diet. It was 30 horsepower down on the BMW, and weighed 500 lbs more, with a more frontward weight bias. A performance car this did not make, and the result was that the expensive Audis leisurely gained speed. Despite the near 50% power increase over the outgoing Coupe GT, a stock B3 Coupe Quattro shared near identical 0-60 times and cost $10,000 more.
But if you were a clever buyer, you could get slightly better performance out of the 4-door variant of the naturally aspirated double overhead cam inline-5. That’s because concurrent with Coupe production, the motor and drivetrain was offered in the slightly lighter 90 quattro 20V:
Before we move any further, yes, I know this is a Ford. Ford isn’t German, you’re sure to say, not even when they’re masquerading as Merkur. Right you’d be. However, allow me a bit of latitude; first, Henry Ford was I’m fairly confident the only American to receive the ‘Grand Cross of the Supreme Order of the German Eagle‘ from one Adolf Hitler. I always love to toss that one into a conversation should I be cornered with a true-blue American-devotee proudly wearing a Ford hat at a social function because he’s also a ‘car guy’. “You know Henry Ford was basically a Nazi, right? I mean, beyond hating the entire Jewish race, he was also a megalomaniac who wanted to create his own master race of workers. No, I’m not joking – it was called FordlĂ˘ndia. Look it up.” The conversation usually ends quickly after that.
Okay, how about this – Ford Europe’s headquarters is in Cologne, Germany. And they produce a fair amount of cars in Germany even today. Since we consider the Volkswagens built in Chattanooga and Westmoreland, the BMWs built in Spartanburg, and the Mercedes-Benz models bolted together in Alabama, I think we can deviate for a moment into a hot Ford.
So what Ford is it? In many ways, this is the perfect follow-up for the Quattro. Audi and SAAB helped to mainstream turbocharging, and by the 1980s it was almost expected in performance circles. That culminated in a wave of ever increasing performance hot hatchbacks that completely changed our perception of speed. As newer, faster models emerged, the technology increasingly filtered its way into lower-spec models until the results of all of the turbocharging basically were acknowledged to be wrecking the world’s environment. I call it ‘Trickle-down Turbonomics’. The result? The Fiesta RS Turbo you see here:
Update 4/20/2018 – the asking price of this neat 735i has dropped from $5,995 in December to just $3,995 today.
Following up on yesterday’s Audi S8, I’m reminded just how good the 1990s were for large executive sedans when considering this E32. Sure, the W126 S-Class led the way in the mid-80s, with BMW and Audi playing catch-up. But catch-up they did, with the unorthodox V8 quattro and sporty, luxurious E32 7-series. Both models were followed up with improved models, too – the E38 and D2 are as much fan-favorites (if not moreso) than their predecessors. And while I’m not as much of a die-hard fan of the 3-pointed star, universally the W140 is seen as a worthy successor to the legendary flagship at Mercedes-Benz, too. All around, it was hard to go wrong with these super-executives in the 90s.
While I did own a V8 quattro and pine over the innovative Ingolstadter, my formative driving years were spent with an E32 in the household. It was a great car; the Claus Luthe styling was refined and carried the size and weight of the new 7 much better than the E23 did. It was more potent, too, with the punchy 3.5 liter M30 rated at 208 horsepower, while you could go upscale to the new 5.0 V12 750i kicking out 295 horses. Both could be specified in long wheel base, too – something Audi did pull off with the V8 quattro, but not for the U.S. market.
Yet, like the Audis, the large BMWs don’t have quite the following or the market appeal of the Mercedes-Benz. Perhaps it’s because they’re more finicky, or that parts are harder to find. More likely, it was that they didn’t have quite the same ‘old money’ buyers originally and were more disposable than the inheritance-quality Benz models. Certainly it’s the case that in the economically hard times of the late 80s and early 90s, they just didn’t sell as well as the competition. Those factors combine to make finding one like today’s example extra special: