1994 Porsche 911 Speedster

The 964 Porsche 911 Speedster is still one of those models that I can’t believe Porsche actually produced. In a time when the company was strapped for cash, they went through the trouble of engineering a bunch of new parts only to produce 936 examples. Maybe it had something to do with 427 of them going to the US for big profits? One would think they all would be sold with the traditional 5-speed manual gearbox given this was a homage to the original Speedster and that is overwhelmingly the enthusiasts choice, but believe it or not, a handful of them were made with the 4-speed Tiptronic automatic gearboxes. Perhaps they had some leftover as the 964 production was wrapping up or some kind of market research said it was a good idea, but either way they are out there. This example up for sale in Japan is exactly that.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 Porsche 911 Speedster at Garage 911 Japan

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2004 Audi A4 3.0 quattro Avant Ultrasport

Just like BMW’s E46 ZHP package, which was effectively an M3 without the flares and M engine, Audi, too, had a “Diet S4” in the B6 generation. Dubbed the Ultrasport Package, for $3,000 it included RS-inspired “Celebration” 18″ wheels with summer tires, the lowered 1BE suspension that was part of the normal Sport package, a unique quattro GmbH/Votex body kit, and a nicely wrapped leather steering wheel and shift knob. It also limited your interior option to black, and a fair chunk of them appear in Light Silver Metallic – also a popular choice on the S4. Unlike the 330i, the USP A4’s engine choices weren’t upgraded, but you did at least have two – the AWM 1.8T rated at 170 horsepower, or the AVK 3.0 30V V6 good for 220 horsepower. Both were available with choice of 6-speed manual (*5-speed for the FWD models) or automatic, and the basic 1.8T model was about $10,000 less than the 330i. While there was no convertible/coupe USP to compare to the 330i, Audi maintained its trump card on sporty wagons. Just like the ZHP, today the USP A4s command a strong premium in the used market, especially as Avants:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 Audi A4 3.0 quattro Avant Ultrasport on eBay

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2006 Porsche 911 Carrera S

In terms of value in the Porsche 911 world, where the “value” is a little bit of misnomer, I personally think the 997 is in a wonderful spot. You have a respectable amount of safety and performance, the unmistakable looks of a 911, all while not needing a six-figure income to buy or maintain. Yes, some of the more special 997s still bring huge prices, but for the more common 997s, its one of those or a new Honda Accord. The early Carrera and Carrera S cars are particularly appealing to me, especially when equipped with the 19″ lobster claw wheels. As luck would have it, this is what we have today in this 2006 Carrera S up for sale in California. The thing is, it isn’t equipped with the traditional six-speed manual transaxle, but rather the last of its kind five-speed automatic. Is this a deal breaker?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2006 Porsche 911 Carrera S on eBay

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2002 Porsche 911 Turbo

Continuing on my run of interesting 996 Porsche 911 Turbo cars, I came across a very nice example up for sale in New York finished in Carrara White. Not only is it in a desirable color in my eyes, but of course it has a bunch of extra goodies like the aero kit, sport seats, matching center console and gauges, and the always desirable X50 powerkit. However, there is one big problem for some. The same problem as the Miami Blue 997 I looked out last week.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 Porsche 911 Turbo on eBay

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1997 Porsche 911 Carrera S

I don’t know about you, but I love white cars. Not cream, not pearl, but as white as the giant glaciers in the Swiss alps. Well wouldn’t you know, I just happened to stumble across a 1997 Porsche 911 CS2 painted in none other than Glacier White. It has everything has everything to that made the 993 so great and then some. Widebody rear end, 18″ Turbo Twists, painted hardback sport seats, matching white gauges, and more. Even better, this example has just 58,000 miles. Everything is perfect then, right? To a lot of people, not so much. Let me explain.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1997 Porsche 911 Carrera S on eBay

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1996 Porsche 911 Carrera 2 Tiptronic

A little over a month ago I checked out a 964 Porsche 911 C2 in a great spec until you noticed it was equipped with the Tiptronic transmission. Nothing really wrong with that, but I felt like it shouldn’t be priced on the same level as the 5-speed cars given the what recent 964s are selling for. Would I kick it out of my garage? Of course not. Would it be my choice all dollars being equal? Of course not.

Building on that, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the next generation 911 with the old slushbox, the 993. The transmission was exactly the same, a ZF box with four forward gears, as opposed to the standard 6-speed you get with the manual cars. Even worse, the Tiptronic was 55 pounds heavier. Even worse than that, it sucked up the power big time. A 0-60 time in a C2 with the 6-speed was around 5.3 seconds while the same car with the Tiptronic box was 6.2 seconds. Yes, not great. However, this 1996 C2 painted in the lovely Guards Red could be cheap enough for you to consider it, right?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1996 Porsche 911 Carrera 2 Tiptronic on eBay

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1991 Porsche 911 Carrera 2 Tiptronic

During my many miles of walking I do during the week, I run through a lot of hypothetical car purchasing situations. One of those recently was “how much of a discount would you need to buy and own a (pre-PDK) automatic 911?” While certainly not the most common 911s, there are a handful of these traditional automatic gearboxes on the 964, 993, and 996. The 964 and 993 had a 4-speed, while the 996 gained an extra 5th gear. All featured “Tiptronic”, a term Porsche coined and owns, that allows you to select what gear you wanted to be in within some limitations. Most often people who bought these automatic gearboxes were those with a physical limitation who couldn’t drive 3-pedals or the old saying of “so my significant other can drive it too” when in reality that maybe happens twice a year and one of those times is driving it from the garage to the street because the driveway was getting resealed.

Naturally these cars didn’t just go off and disappear because they still have a ton of value, but you’d be kidding if you think all things being equal they would be priced the same as a manual gearbox car. Yes, the look, sound, and feel of an aircooled 911 is still there, but these older ZF gearboxes suck up the power and you notice it. That is exactly what is going on with today’s car, a 1991 C2. This has all the ingredients for a perfect 964. Amethyst Metallic paint, Speedline wheels, and just under 73,000 miles. Problem is, it has the automatic gearbox. Is the price discount enough to make you overlook that?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Porsche 911 Carrera 2 Tiptronic on eBay

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USP Tax: 2004 Audi A4 1.8T quattro Avant Ultrasport

Update 2/17/19: It what’s probably no surprise to most, this A4 remains available with only a $500 price decrease to $9,300 now

A few of us sat baffled several months ago as we watched auction results come in. The model in question was the E46 330i – in particular, the “ZHP” performance package. The ZHP was basically halfway between the regular Sport package and the M3, utilizing unique body bits and wheels, a slightly hotter motor, and the transmission borrowed from its bigger brother. Your only option for a 4-door performance 3-series in this generation, not many bought the over-$40,000 price tag. What’s interesting is that while these cars were sold alongside the M3 for far less money when new, today they can actually command a premium over the real-deal M.

Case in point – a 33,000 mile Coupe traded for $26,000 earlier this year, and it wasn’t alone. It’s been labeled the “ZHP tax”. There are reasons why a proper ZHP brings M3 money, mind you – they’re cheaper to run and they’re quite a bit more rare than the M, especially in good shape. And BMW wasn’t alone offering them.

Audi, too, had a “Diet S4”. Dubbed the Ultrasport Package, for $3,000 it included RS-inspired “Celebration” 18″ wheels with summer tires, the lowered 1BE suspension that was part of the normal Sport package, a unique quattro GmbH/Votex body kit, and a nicely wrapped leather steering wheel and shift knob. It also limited your interior option to black, and a fair chunk of them appear in Light Silver Metallic – also a popular choice on the S4. Unlike the 330i, the USP A4’s engine choices weren’t upgraded, but you did at least have two – the AWM 1.8T rated at 170 horsepower, or the AVK 3.0 30V V6 good for 220 horsepower. Both were available with choice of 6-speed manual (*5-speed for the FWD models) or automatic, and the basic 1.8T model was about $10,000 less than the 330i. While there was no convertible/coupe USP to compare to the 330i, Audi maintained its trump card on sporty wagons. Just like the ZHP, today the USP A4s command a strong premium in the used market, especially as Avants:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 Audi A4 1.8T quattro Avant Ultrasport on eBay

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Melange à quattro: 2001 Audi A4 1.8T quattro Avant

Update 9/26/18: This A4 Avant sold for $6,986.

Even though for me the B5 chassis A4 was the beginning of the dilution of the Audi brand, I admit I have always had a soft spot for nice examples. And the first A4 had plenty of things to celebrate. First off, it effectively saved and resurrected the brand in the U.S. from near extinction; consider for a moment Audi sold a total of 18,124 cars in 1995, the same year that the A4 was introduced as a 1996. By 1997, Audi sold 16,333 of just the A4 quattro model alone. As a success, that subsequently meant that there were a plethora of options to be had in the new chassis as production opened up. Soon we had the 1.8T turbo model joining the V6, the V6 was soon revised to have 30 valves, there was a light refresh in ’98 as well and another in ’01, the Avant joined the lineup for ’98, and of course we got a new S4 in 2000.

Considering that for some time there had only been one way per a year to get the small chassis in quattro form, this relatively dizzying array of chassis configurations meant that there are still quite a few nice ones out there to be had. But unlike other cars that have skyrocketing asking prices, a very clean B5 quattro can still be had for a song:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi A4 1.8T quattro Avant on eBay

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Audi A4-off Double Take: 1996 A4 2.8 v. 2000 A4 2.8 quattro Avant

Following up on the A8 3.7 front-driver oddity I posted last week, today I’m going to look at a few of the cars that put Audi back on the map. 1996 was the year Audi brought the brand-new A4 model in to replace the aging B4 90. So successful was the A4, and so ubiquitous in the small German executive market today that you’d assume the early examples were far more prolific than they were, in reality.

Still, the A4 is credited with saving the company, at the very least for the U.S. market share. Is it true? Take this into consideration; Audi sold 18,960 A4s from the launch in late 1995 until the end of 1996. Doesn’t sound like much, does it? Toyota, after all sells about 400,000 Camrys every year for the last half-decade – and that’s in a market that very much no longer values the sedan. But in 1995, Audi sold a total of 18,124 cars including those early A4s. Go back a year, and the number was substantially lower; 12,575. Entering into the 2000 model year, Audi crested 100,000 A4s sold in the U.S. market. The proof was in the pudding. By the time the new C5 A6 launched, Audi’s sales had crested 65,000 units a year and they haven’t looked back. 1994’s sale figures represented 0.08 of the marketplace; today, Audi sells a still modest but sustainable 1.3%.

But while Audi and “quattro” are synonymous, like the A8 I looked at, a fair chunk of the early A4s avoided the extra cost of all-wheel drive and came configured as FronTrak models. About 7,000 of those nearly 19,000 1996 A4s were so ordered. The prolific nature of these cars, coupled with typical low Audi residual value, has meant that they’re hard to find in clean condition. So today I have two; one from the beginning and one from the end of the run. While both are white, it’s just about there where the similarities end:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1996 Audi A4 2.8 on eBay

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