The last few C4 Avants we’ve looked at have been of the European flavor, so let’s head back to what was available to us. The S6 Avant launched with the host of C4 changes for the ’95 model year – smoothed out bumpers, color-coded trim, and sometimes (but not always) new cast Speedline Avus 16″ wheels. That model was again almost immediately replaced with the ‘95.5’ model, with a revised transaxle, closed headrests, the move from infrared remote locking, and the big one – the rear differential lock switched to electronic function, meaning it was utilizing the brakes rather than the manual differential lock that had existed for low-speed engagement since the end of the Type 44 production.
Regardless of how you feel about those minor changes, all of the C4 S6 Avants are pretty highly sought. A nice Magnolia example just traded on Bring a Trailer for $19,000 even though it likely had over 200,000 miles. Today let’s look at a more stock example with lower mileage:
The 993 Porsche 911 Turbo sure is aging well. I guess you could say that about most 911s, but the near pinnacle of the air-cooled 911 sure does look long for this world. Its size and proportions are dead on to me, and it is not excessive. You know what it is the second you lay eyes on it, but it doesn’t scream at you like the new GT cars do. I guess that is the point of the Turbo, but something just makes sense with them. I am not alone with this as good luck buying one for under $100,000 now. This 1997 US-market example that returned back home to Germany is no exception. Worth it?
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. Today finding clean examples is getting hard, and they’re heading up in price:
As I mentioned in the last listing, Europe got some really interesting options in the C4 S4/S6 that I’d probably be looking at were I importing one. On top of that, most of the C4 range is relatively cheap compared to both other vintage Audis and the prices they achieve in the US market. For reference, here’s the last example:
1995 Audi S6 Avant Euro-Spec
Now before you get all excited and say that I forgot a very important addition symbol on the end of the title here, this one isn’t a Plus. But, it sure looks like it is! Finished in RS Blue over matching Alcantara, what we have here is a right-hand drive S6 Avant 20V Turbo with a few nice upgrades. We’re still a year away from being legally able to import late C4s like this, but what will it cost?
I suppose I’m not a very fair consumer, if I’m honest. For years, I decried Volkswagen for depriving Americans of the very best offerings it had. Golf Rallye and Country? Nope, and not the Limited either. Passat G60 Syncro? Nope, we didn’t get that either. There’s a string of great TDis that didn’t come here (and still don’t), along with one of the ones that really bugged me – the 4-door GTi. It just never made sense to me how you could argue the GTi was a super practical car when they made a more practical version that just wasn’t brought here. Of course, that ended with the Mk.V, so then my annoyance turned back to the Golf Limited. Sure, we had the R32 – by all rights, a great car, that was not available in 4-door version in the first generation and then not available in either a 4-door or manual in the second generation. To me, in an effort to be gimmicky Volkswagen had really lost the bit. Apparently I wasn’t alone in that thought, because Volkswagen finally made my GTi wishes come true in 2012 with the U.S. introduction of the spiritual successor to the Golf Limited – the Mk. 6 Golf R. Gone was the VR6, replaced by the more potent and tunable 2.0T which could now be specified with a manual and all-wheel drive, and importantly in 4-door guise. Did I buy one? Nope, because this German wonder priced in at a shocking $36,000 with options. For a Golf, mind you.
Today, though, the first generation of Golf Rs has become in some cases cheaper than the car it replaced, the Mk.5 R32 , which as I just explained only came in two-door DSG. This Golf R, though, has four doors and 1.5 manual gears per a door:
It used to be a bit unusual to see 90s-era European-specification cars come this way. But with the advent of the internet and 25-year-old cars being relatively cheap in other areas of the world, coupled with a current soaring market in the US and nostalgia for easier (they weren’t, but it’s okay to think they were) times, it’s less unusual to see Euro-only models for sale stateside. That’s not the case today; this S6 Avant was available here in nearly identical spec. However, there are a few things interesting on this one and it’s worth taking a look:
The story behind BMW’s foray into diesel power in the U.S. was pretty interesting. BMW had developed the M21 2.4 liter turbocharged inline-6 diesel in the 1970s with fuel prices rising; it finally launched in the early 1980s with the E28 524td. But you probably best know that motor for its appearance in mid-80s American iron; an attempt by Ford to improve the fuel economy of its large executive Lincoln Continental. The marriage didn’t work; although the M21 was a good motor (especially when compared to GM’s diesel!), gas prices were falling and the economy was recovering by the time it finally came to market. But since BMW went through the effort to get the M21 legal for U.S. shores, they brought the 524td over here, too. It was a slow seller in the E28 lineup; equipped only with an automatic, BMW dealers shifted 3,635 of the diesels.
No surprise, then, that when the E34 launched, the diesel didn’t come back with it. Though the U.S. market didn’t see the M21 in the lineup though it soldiered on. The M21 was replaced in 1991 by a new version, the M51. Now displacing 2.5 liters and with an intercooler in “s” version, the 525tds upped the power from the 114 seen in the 524td to 141 and it had 192 lb.ft of torque at only 2,200 rpms. This motor carried BMW’s diesels through the 1990s, and was available in everything from the 3-series to the 7-series.
So it’s a bit of a treat to see the M51 in North America. It’s more of a treat to see it in a Touring, and in great shape, and hooked up to a manual transmission. And, it has manual sport seats as well. Yes, the want is strong in this one!
Some days I really like yellow cars. Other days I do not. This might be one of those days I don’t like it. What we are looking at today is a 2007 Porsche 911 Turbo obviously finished in Speed Yellow, but to me it just feels a little too light. I looked at a 2004 GT2 last month that was also in finished in Speed Yellow, but comparing those two cars, they feel totally different to me. Maybe it is just the 996 vs 997 thing, but this Turbo just seems like a real let down to me when it comes to wowing me with the color. Your thoughts?
Another day, another modded 2002. Like the E28, the 2002 is just one of those cars that looks great in stock form and awesome when turned up a few notches. Case in point? Today’s ’70 ‘Roundie’. This car was just a plain ’02 that has been modified with Turbo-style flares and a front valance, small bumpers, a reupholstered interior, and an M42 under the hood. It sounds an awful lot like the last one I looked at:
1974 BMW 2002
While the last car had a few things that I was less favorable about, to me today’s example looks just about perfect. And perhaps the best part? Not only is the heavy lifting done, but the asking price isn’t in the stratosphere:
Let’s say that instead of just hoping that some day your car will be worth a mint, or indeed even caring what other people think about your vehicular choices, you just want have a car which looks good and is enjoyable to drive. Let’s not forget, this advice is coming from someone with somewhat polarizing vehicle choices…so, take the advice with a grain of salt, but I’m going to persist in my argument that the 944 Turbo is the car for you. A true David of the 1980s, the 944 Turbo was the understated and unassuming Goliath slayer, turned down by the factory so as not to have its performance overshadow the 911 range. Being faster than a 911 is pretty much verboten in Germany and especially in Stuttgart, but nearly everyone that experienced a 944 Turbo in the 1980s came away with the impression that in every statistical (and in some non-statistical ways) it was a better car than the Carrera.
But, as our astute readership has previously noted, certain cars – the Audi Quattro, the BMW M3 and M5, and of course the 911 range – were the cars groups of individuals dream of. The 944 Turbo really wasn’t. There weren’t many people that hung 944 Turbo posters on their walls, because there was always something from Porsche that was a little bit more special – the 928 was more futuristic, the 911 was more comforting as a predictable classic, and “Turbo” was synonymous with only one Porsche in history.
That model wasn’t the 944, nor was it the 924. And though both of those respective cars outperformed their brethren in period and were very impressive outside of the Zuffenhausen lineup, the market of today in many ways continues to mimic the original sales trends. The 944 Turbo outsold the Quattro, outsold the M3 – neither, it should be noted, limited production cars. But today, probably in part because of its success, the 944 Turbo just doesn’t get the wows, the attention, or the press of its contemporaries. Of course, there’s one more thing it doesn’t get as a result – their price: