Swede Week: 1970 Volvo 1800E

The famous Volvo 1800 actually came about thanks to another unusual partnership in the earlier, and lesser known, P1900. In 1953, Volvo commissioned California-based fiberglass body producer Glasspar to help make a sports car based on the 544. A few were made, but changes in leadership ultimately killed the project.

The idea was reborn in the 1800 and design moved from California to Italy, where prototypes for the new sport concept were produced by Frua. Frua couldn’t handle large-scale production, though, so Volvo took the prototypes to Karmann in Germany. Though it initially agreed to produce the car, Volkswagen’s contract with Karmann to produce the competitor Ghia ruled it out. Stymied, Volvo turned to Jensen in England after exploring some other dead-end options. Jensen’s production possibilities looked promising to Volvo, but ultimately Jensen didn’t have the capacity to produce the bodies. An agreement was struck with Scottish Pressed Steel, which then produced the P1800 bodies so poorly that a very frustrated Volvo ended up moving production back to Sweden in 1962. The renamed 1800S (no longer with a “P”) signified the changeover.

But regardless of how many masications they went through or who was producing it on any given day, one thing remained certain – the 1800 is one of the best looking cars to come out of Sweden and was an unusually round peg from a notoriously square manufacturer:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1970 Volvo 1800E on eBay

Continue reading

Swede Week: 2008 SAAB 9-7X Aero

So the GM-takeover of SAAB is to be completely lamented? Not so fast. A few really cool vehicles came about as a result of SAAB’s combined efforts with other automakers; the 9000 is probably the best example, but the Viggen, the ‘SAABaru’ 9-2X, and 9-5 Aero are also popular alternatives to the normal German performance rides out there. Today, though, I want to take a look at what many consider the low point of SAAB’s GM connection and try to unearth a diamond in the rough – because there was one.

The ‘Trollblazer’ was just that; a SAABafied version of GM’s GMT360 Trailblazer. It was really just a light reskin of the vehicle and was even assembled in Ohio. That doesn’t sound too exciting, as indeed the Trailblazer was not the shining star of GM’s catalog nor its best example of vehicle dynamics. But late in the run, GM upped the game with the ‘SS’ version of the ‘Blazer, which added a 400 horsepower Corvette-sourced LS2, giant wheels, and suspension and body tweeks that somehow made the mundane grocery-getter instantly cool. And for good measure, just over 600 were changed into SAAB 9-7X ‘Aero’ models:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2008 SAAB 9-7X Aero on eBay

Continue reading

Swede Week: 1971 SAAB Sonnet III

Continuing on the Swede Week theme, here’s an instantly recognizable treat that is unfortunately seldom seen today. Like Volvo’s P1800, SAAB’s Sonnet lineup attempted to add some sport to the company’s brochures with exotic Italian looks and an odd combination of DNA. Although the above Sonnet’s lines are familiar to most Euro-centric automotive enthusiasts, this was actually the third version of the car, which had emerged from a ultra-low-production roadster into a similar and striking Coupe design in the late 1960s. 1970s saw a full exterior redesign but it remained very much a unique look, with a long, low hood punctuated by a Kammback tail. Power had developed in the second series cars from the original two-stroke inline-three to a Ford-developed V4 borrowed from the European-market Taunus. The result was 65 horsepower, which doesn’t sound like a lot – and wasn’t. 0-60 was an uninspired 13-second affair, but hey – just look at it! Who cares how fast you were going, most would mistake this for some oddball Maserati or Alfa Romeo were it not for the badges.

These cars are quite rare – far less were produced than the E30 M3, for example – and as a result hold reasonably strong value today. This ’71 sure looks nice!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1971 SAAB Sonnet III on eBay

Continue reading

Right Hooker Week: 1992 Porsche 911 Carrera RS

Truth be told I wasn’t sure if a right-hand drive 964 Carrera RS actually existed. I was pretty sure I’d seen one previously, but couldn’t be sure I hadn’t just imagined it. But here one is: a Rubystone Red 1992 Porsche 911 Carrera RS with triple-tone Recaro seats and 58,900 miles on it. That’s a decent number of miles for a RS, yet its condition still looks quite good. Of course, the Carrera RS was never made available in the States, but they can now be imported. Sure, there are plenty of LHD examples available, but if you really want to take things to their extreme, why not just get a RHD one and really wow people?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1992 Porsche 911 Carrera RS on Classic Driver

Year: 1992
Model: 911 Carrera RS
Engine: 3.6 liter flat-6
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 58,900 mi
Price: £199,995 ($257,461)

The Porsche 911 964 Carrera RS was launched in 1992 and was considered a lightweight version of the Carrera 2 that could be used both on the road and the race track. Arguably, this was the most dynamic and agile 911 since the original version was launched in 1973. The engineers behind the project utilised the philosophy of removing weight and adding power when designing and engineering the car. Remarkably, nearly 175kg of weight was removed from the standard version as a result of using aluminium for the bonnet and doors as well as thinner glass for the windows.
All of the weight-saving measures added up and resulted in a vastly reduced overall mass. Luxuries such as back seats, power windows and armrests could all be disposed of and the increase in power came from a brand new lightweight flywheel and some other minor modifications. The flat-six engine produced 260 bhp and also fitted to the car was a limited-slip differential, modified suspension (with a 40mm lower ride height) and stiffer springs. In another weight-saving move, Porsche chose to remove all the sound deadening and manufactured the wheels from magnesium.
This RHD example was delivered to its first owner Mr Clifford of Worthing, West Sussex in June 1993 via dealer Rivervale Porsche. Finished in the rare 964 RS signature original combination of Rubystone Red over optional Triple-Tone Rubystone Recaro Bucket Seats, the following options were also applied from new, UK LUX Spec and Tinted Windows.
With no less than 14 stamps in the original service book, many from the main dealer who supplied the car, it has been maintained with a no expense spared approach from new, resulting in a superb condition to be expected throughout.
This 964 RS is presented in excellent and original condition having covered just 58,900 Miles, with just 4 prior owners. Accompanied by its original book pack as well as tools, spare wheel, supporting history file and Porsche Certificate of Authenticity confirming the car’s matching engine and gearbox numbers. This RS is ready to be enjoyed by its new owner immediately with viewings available at our showroom, which is based just outside London.

Rubystone is not everyone’s favorite color. You’re probably going to love it or hate it, with little in between. But like it or not it’s become almost an iconic color on the 964 RS. It might even be the color I see most often. The interior is equally as divisive. I’m a fan. I’m not going to say Rubystone is my favorite Porsche color by any means, but I do love the look on the RS. Here it actually looks somewhat subdued. I’m guessing that’s down to the foggy/cloudy lighting conditions. But it’s a fun color on what should be an amazingly fun car.

Everything here looks about as we’d expect of a RS, even with the higher miles. Though I am curious about the exhaust. The ad makes no mention of it being added on, but I’m pretty sure the standard RS has a single exhaust outlet. The 3.8 RS had dual exhaust, but not the 3.6. That’s probably worth inquiring about. The price of just under £200K (about $257K) seems fairly typical given the mileage. We certainly see lower mileage examples priced significantly higher.

Given pricing like this for a Carrera RS that’s already been imported, this one may be downright reasonable. It definitely has a few more miles and that dual exhaust may not be original, but the asking price here is a long way from $400K and if that is what it’s going to take to get one that’s already Stateside then perhaps going through the hassle yourself is the way to go. And heck you’d even have a RHD version!

-Rob

Right Hooker Week: 1991 Volkswagen Scirocco GTII

Okay, enough Audi dreaming. Are there any interesting VWs over in England? You bet! While production of the U.S. bound Scirocco was long over, Volkswagen continued to produce the second generation Scirocco right through the 1992 model year. This particular model, the GTII, was the model which finally wrapped up production a decade after it began in mid-1992.

The GTII was the mid-range model in the Scirocco lineup. Top of the range was the Scala [née GTX(née GTi)] with its 112 horsepower 1.8 liter motor borrowed from – you guessed it – the GTi. Below that model lay the GTII [née GT(née CL)], which shared the bodykit and 1.8 liter displacement, but only had 90 horsepower and steel, rather than alloy, wheels fitted. While not as sought as some of the range-topping models like the GTX or special “Storm” models, this GTII offers classic looks on a modest budget:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Volkswagen Scirocco GTII on eBay.co.uk

Continue reading

Right Hooker Week: Paul Stephens Autoart 911 Retro Speedster

Back for more RHD British action. This time I’m not going with an actual production model, but rather a retro build to produce a 911 that never actually existed: a long-hood 911 Speedster built by Paul Stephens Autoart. I will not pretend to be intimately familiar with the PS Autoart designs; I’ve seen some previously and generally liked what I saw. When I was looking for cars for this theme week I knew that I should take a look at what Paul Stephens had to offer. The plan wasn’t actually to feature one of the PS Autoart builds. I was looking for a neat RHD 911 and knew they’d have some available. Then I saw this Speedster and my decision was made. It’s a beautiful car that marries vintage and modern 911 design to provide the look of a classic 911, but with modern performance and useability.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: Paul Stephens Autoart 911 Retro Speedster at Paul Stephen

Year: 1973
Model: 911 Retro Speedster
Engine: 3.6 liter flat-6
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 10,000 mi
Price: £195,000 ($250,870)

The Paul Stephens Retro Speedster is a unique interpretation of the Speedster theme, that was created to a client’s personal specification in 2014.
An owner of many Porsche models from 356 to current models, our client wanted to create a unique car that took inspiration from the various eras of air cooled Porsche.
He particularly wanted to combine the Speedster style with the delicate appearance of the 1970s 911s, something Porsche never manufactured in period and unlike original air-cooled Speedsters, provide a comfortable and sure-footed driving experience for cross continental tours in all weather conditions.
The 964 Carrera 4 Targa was chosen for the platform, as our client wanted secure handling together with a compliant suspension set up to ensure the car is extremely comfortable on all types of roads.
The car was stripped to a bare shell before being converted to Retro Speedster configuration which like our Retro Touring Coupes, incorporates styling details from the early 70s cars.
Genuine Porsche items were used for the Speedster conversion which incorporates the unique doors, windows and roof assembly from the 964 Speedster and the colour chosen was Porsche GT silver. The rear spoiler still extends and retracts for high speed stability but now features a 70s-style engine grill and the twin outlet exhausts are a nod to original Speedsters gone by. The wheels are PS Classic Fuchs style with original anodised and black finish.
However, with the clients request for an all-weather car, the roof fabric and rubbers were redeveloped to provide probably something unique, which when erected is a watertight Speedster!
The interior is unique too, as it takes inspiration from the 356 Speedsters with its sculptured metal dashboard incorporating the radio and lockable glovebox finished in body colour, whilst the controls are machined from solid brass with a high -quality chrome finish. The dashboard top, doors and seats are trimmed in the finest classic red leather with grey carpets bound in leather and a matching classic red mohair hood. The instruments are finished in a classic style as per our Retro Touring models, whilst the electric sports seats are slightly wider for increased comfort.
LED headlamps, electric windows, power steering, central locking, ABS, air conditioning, cruise control and a retro styled sound system are all modern features, that when combined with a surprising amount of storage space, make this Speedster a friendly companion on long continental journeys.
Rebuilt standard 964 mechanical components were retained underneath allowing it to be serviced by any Porsche centre in the world, but like original Speedsters, the Retro Speedster offers a reduction in weight and lower centre of gravity that completely transforms the way the car performs. The typical understeer that can plague the 4wd 964 has gone, whilst the nimble handling, strong performance and production car quality surprise all that have driven it.
Having covered just under 10,000 miles in 3 years, our client now has another project in mind, so this unique Retro Speedster is now available for its next lucky custodian.

I’ve listed the date of this car as 1973 because that is how the ad has listed it, but this is in no way a 1973 911. The build utilized a 964 Carrera 4 Targa as its foundation and borrowed bodywork from the 964 911 Speedster to produce some of its shape. So properly speaking it’s perhaps a 1994 model year 911, though the actual year of the C4 Targa isn’t stated.

With that out of the way, just look at how pretty it is! The exterior is basically what we’d expect if we were to think about what an early 911 Speedster would have looked like. It looks pretty great and kind of makes me wish Porsche itself had extended its Speedster/Roadster production from the 356 into the 911 line. But it is the interior that I really love the most here. There are so many little details from the metal dash that nicely matches the exterior, to the liberal use of burgundy leather to provide both luxury and beauty, to the metal switchgear. It all comes together quite nicely. This isn’t a spartan, no frills, Speedster like the original 356 Speedster. It’s a modern design that while not luxurious still provides plenty of what you need to remain comfortable on a longer drive. In that regard it stays true to the 911 Speedster itself.

From a mechanical standpoint it sounds like everything remains in a mostly stock 964 configuration. It has retained its all-wheel drive and the engine and gearbox are standard 964 units. Still, there are weight savings to be found so performance should be pretty good should you really want to take it out and put some harder miles on it.

I don’t suspect that will be the goal of most owners, but it’s there if you need it. With an asking price of £195,000 (~$250K) this is by no mean inexpensive. It’s pricier than just about any 964 Speedster I’ve come across. I’m also not sure if it can be easily imported. Perhaps that will depend on the original model year of the 964, or perhaps importing something like this just isn’t feasible if you want it to be street legal. But if you really desire something unique, and you’ve got the funds, it should be worth pursuing.

-Rob

Right Hooker Week: 2009 Audi RS6 Avant

You want power? When Cosworth slapped a few turbos onto Audi’s venerable 4.2 liter V8 for the C5 RS6, that’s what you got. 450 stampeding horsepower and 428 lb ft. of torque meant that in the early 2000s it was the model to beat. But AMG and BMW M quickly caught up and surged past the C5’s power output – even when Audi upped it with the “Plus” model to 469 hp.

The launch of a new RS6 based upon the C6 platform allowed Audi some room to expand the model’s engine output by literally expanding the engine: now 10 cylinders displaced 5.0 liters. Straddled by two turbochargers again, the second generation RS6’s power output leapt into a new league, with an almost unfathomable 571 horsepower and 479 ft. of torque. The C6 is a heavy car, but it was capable of 911-scaring 0-60 runs and could top 170 mph with ease.

What’s amazing is that Audi’s replacement for this car, the C7, moved to the new twin-turbo V8 4.0T motor. More power right? Well, not so fast; it actually produces about 11 horsepower less than the peak performance of the V10, though I’ll grant that the additional gears and greater torque mean it’s a functionally quicker car (as if it needed to be). Well, quicker than a stock one, at least, because this particular RS6 Avant has been ‘slightly’ upgraded to north of 700 horsepower.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2009 Audi RS6 Avant on eBay.co.uk

Continue reading

Right Hooker Week: 2004 Porsche 911 GT3 RS

For as long as I can remember I’ve had a love of cars. Whether it was the childlike wonder for whatever my Dad happened to have at the time or the lust-driven desire of my teenage years, cars were one of those things that occupied way too much of my mind. I even used to be able to identify almost any car at night from a distance simply by its headlights (a pointless skill that actually was useful in a police investigation once). But the car that really impacted my thinking the most is the one we see here: the 2004 Porsche 911 GT3 RS. It was the first car in my post-college years – you know, when I might actually be able to purchase my own car – that grabbed my attention and held it firmly.

At this point I can’t even recall when I first encountered the car. It was in magazine articles and Top Gear tested it. I lived in the U.K. during its production and actually wrote about it for a Theology course. So I’ve seen it in various media and once in the flesh. When Porsche announced that the 997 GT3 RS would be available in the U.S. market I was overjoyed, even if it was well out of my price range. Yet I have always come back to the 996. I actually prefer the design over that of the 997. I don’t know why. It possesses the same problems we typically associate with the 996 design, but on the RS it all works beautifully.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 Porsche 911 GT3 RS on Classic Driver

Year: 2004
Model: 911 GT3 RS
Engine: 3.6 liter flat-6
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Mileage: 28,320 km (17,597 mi)
Price: Price on Request

Presenting this very sought after Australian complied and delivered new 996 GT3 RS.

By Porsche enthusiasts, the 996 GT3 RS has now become a true collectors car. The 996 GT3 RS is the second rarest RS ever made behind the 997 4.0 litre.

This example comes with full service history and has also been fitted with a fron lift kit.

Inspection is a must. Please contact us for more details.

Naturally, for our Theme Week the 996 GT3 RS was one of the first cars I tried to find available. I found only 1 RHD for sale. It isn’t from the U.K., but rather it is one of the very few sold in Australia (I believe I’ve seen 17 total quoted). The mileage is reasonably low (~17,600 miles) and the price likely will be high. I’m almost sure it will be worth it.

Those familiar with the GT3 RS will know that buyers could choose either Carrera White or Carrera White for the exterior paint. Graphics and wheels came with a little more choice: Red or Blue. Of the total production, said to be 682 worldwide, the choice of Red appears to have dominated. I prefer Blue. All those available were White over Red. My search wasn’t entirely exhaustive and I’m sure someone, somewhere, is selling a White over Blue RS, but you get the point. So the color here is the less rare of the two, but being RHD already makes it more rare than its LHD peers so I guess we shouldn’t get too greedy and demand a Blue one.

I’ve been looking at the 911 GT3 quite a bit lately. It’s a car I like a lot and prices really aren’t that bad. But even for less cost the GT3 will always take a backseat to the GT3 RS. I just love these!

-Rob

Right Hooker Week: 2007 Audi RS4 Avant

Okay, enough obscure Audi crap, Carter. You want the real deal. You want what Audi fans look towards der Vaterland for.

You want RS Audis.

Can I blame you? Since 1994, Audi’s RS moniker has stood for performance in all weather, and is usually paired with their signature Avant model for best consumer consumption. While this conversation and most of the internet would immediately turn towards the RS2 as the defacto signature, a model still unsurpassed in its execution, that’s not where I’ll start. There are reasons for this, but for both the RS2 and B5 RS4, Audi had to utilize outside help to make the car they wanted to between Porsche and Cosworth. So, in some ways, today’s model is the first real all-Audi effort.

Instead of the icon we’re going to look at Audi’s mega-impressive B7 RS4. Audi went to great lengths to revise the all-wheel drive system in this car to make it a better competitor to the M3. With a naturally-aspirated Fuel Stratified Injection 4.2-liter V8 chucking out 414 horsepower, it had the motivation to move it around quite a bit too. And the best part? For U.S. fans, it actually was sold over here and remains a great performance value (if you can afford the repairs). So why look to Europe to get one?

Well, there are a few reasons. First, Avant. We only got the sedan version of the RS4 here, so if you really want street cred, importation of one of these bad boys will certainly gain you that, though nearly every conversation will include a “Yes, it’s real…” exchange. But perhaps an even better reason to consider Europe for your RS experience? The price. These cars haven’t hit the collector market yet, but they’re moving outside of normal consumption for daily drivers. So while an 85,000 mile RS4 sedan hits eBay in the $27,000 – $30,000 range, this clean Avant can be yours for a discount:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2007 Audi RS4 Avant on eBay.co.uk

Continue reading

Right Hooker Week: 2010 Mercedes-Benz CLC180

The next Mercedes-Benz up for our Right Hooker Week is a total odd ball that never made it to North America and thank goodness it didn’t. This is a 2010 CLC180. Mercedes calls it a ”SportCoupé” that was an evolution of the W203 hatchback coupe that we (unfortunately) did get in North America. Naturally, when you look at this car you’d think it was a just W204 hatchback coupe. Not the case. In fact, it wasn’t even made in Germany. Let’s dig deeper.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2010 Mercedes-Benz CLC180 on eBay.co.uk

Year: 2010
Model: CLC180
Engine: 1.8 liter inline-4
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Mileage: 89,000 mi
Price: GBP 4,990 ($6,469 Buy It Now)

All Finance Facilities Available, AA 5* Warranty Available, 12 Months AA Breakdown Cover Included Free, All Major Debit/Credit Cards Accepted, 1 Former Keeper, MOT 26/10/17, Service History, Previous Receipts and MOT’s, HPI Certificate Supplied, 16″ Alloy Wheels, Park Distance Control Front/Rear, Parktronic – Audible and Visual Parking Aid, Electric Windows, Electric Mirrors, Multi-Functional Steering Wheel, Bluetooth, iPod Connection, Radio/CD, Climate Control, Air Conditioning, Speedtronic Cruise Control, Split Folding Rear Seats, Automatic Headlights, Brushed Aluminium Interior Trim, Tinted Glass All Round – Green, Alarm System, Remote Central Locking, Isofix. 4 seats, Calcite White Half Black Leather, £4,990

This isn’t a W204, it is still a W203. Mercedes did everything in their power to make you think it was a new chassis, but it wasn’t. They tacked on a front and rear clip to make it look like a (then) new W204 but the majority of this car is still the old W203, especially inside. Yes, the car got a slightly tweaked suspension and a bunch of parts bin stuff for the interior, but it is still largely the same old car that launched over 10 years ago in 2000. What is even more interesting is that these were built in Juiz de Fora, Brazil where Mercedes has a factory that built the A-Class and you guessed it, the W203 C-Class. Powering this CLC180 is the M271 1.8 liter supercharged four cylinder that made a disappointing 143 horsepower. Not exactly something to write home about, but then again that wasn’t the goal with this car.

As for this specific example for sale in Surrey: it looks fine. Yeah, it has some stains on the seats and has a brand of tires tyres called Tigar that are made in Serbia, but it is what it is with this car. This is a seven year-old Mercedes for 4,990 ($6,469) and this is what you get. This was a first Mercedes for a lot of buyers and the brand was willing to take the hit on these to have the owners come back in three to five years to move up to buy an E-Class or ML-Class. The thing is, it worked pretty well. Mercedes said over 40 percent of buyers of these actually came back to move up to other models and frankly, I’m surprised. Personally if one of these were my only Mercedes experience, I’d want nothing to do with the brand after owning this thing, but then again maybe the opposite happened and people couldn’t wait to jump into an E-Class as soon as they could.

– Andrew