While we’re on the subject of modified cars, this Quattro that I looked at back in February is back on the block. If nothing else, it’s nice to look back to a time just before lockdown – and the car isn’t bad, either!
Today’s post is not about how revolutionary the Quattro was. I’ve written plenty of those and I’m sure you’re tired of hearing about it. So instead, today’s post is more of a philosophical question.
At what point do modifications become sacrilegious?
There seem to be several camps of automotive enthusiasts; one seems to always be wrapped up in the biggest, brightest, and fastest things to come out. Another group embraces the history of automobiles and celebrates most who love the cars. And then there are the preservation people. They’re a very special group who deem it necessary to fault someone’s vision or personal preference in their expression of automotive enthusiasm.
Perhaps we transit through these groups as we age. I can certainly remember a point in my life where I was part of the newest and fastest group. I can remember moving into the second group as I attempted to modify my car to be a personal expression. And, more recently, I’ve found the appeal of originality much greater. I’ve certainly even poked fun at or criticized my fair share of cars. Which brings us to today’s example of a 1983 Quattro.
Having just looked at a few modded fails, I think it’s relevant to remind ourselves that not all modified cars are in bad taste! And where better to start than one of the most popular classics that people like to customize; the BMW 2002.
A few months back I took a look at a wild Zender-bodied example that pulled it all together rather well, if a bit extreme:
1973 BMW 2002tii Zender Widebody
Today’s example is one year newer and a lot more tame, but no less shouty. This example has undergone the knife and come out sporting Turbo-style flares, an M42 DOHC inline-4, and a host of other mods all draped in Porsche’s Miami Blue. Does it pull it off?
Following up on the recent Callaway Stage IIs, the other best-known American turbocharger of German products in the 1980s was Steve Dinan. Equally highly regarded, Dinan’s products have made their way from a small independent to being offered in BMW dealerships across the country, and the quality of his work is on par with the best independent tuners from Germany – Hartge and Alpina. Dinan has taken on tough projects – turbocharging the S38, BMW’s first V12, and punching out their V10 to 5.8 liters – and come away smiling.
Today, one of his less-exotic historical products is on the market. In this case it’s a 1989 535i that was turbocharged, lowered and stiffened, and given a big set of wheels. It’s the classic recipe, and sure enough, the outcome looks nice. But what makes this car notable is that it was reportedly Steve Dinan’s personal car, and is presented as the poster pinup probably more than a few of us reading about in Car & Driver when new:
As counter-intuitive as it might seem, Porsche made a bunch of automatic 911 Turbos. Specifically automatic 911 Turbo Cabriolets. Why? Well, that is what their buyers want. I know we are all dyed in the wool enthusiasts obsessed with heel toeing and nailing the perfect shift, but there are a lot middle-aged dentists out there who want a convertible Porsche to drive to the Daily Queen on Sunday evenings with their midsize dog in the back seat. Thus, we have a glut of 911 Turbo Cabriolets.
The 1978 model year was a big change for Porsche 911 Turbo as the turbocharged 3.0 liter was swapped out for a 3.3 liter with an addition of an air-to-air intercooler. That made an already dangerous car into one that was truly capable of ruining not only your day, but your life. Lifting while going around a corner would result in some pretty nasty snap oversteer, and if you aren’t ready for it or had some so so tires, watch out. Some people loved the absolute rawness and danger of the car, but personally I’ll take a pass. Still, every 930 from 1975 to 1989 is sought after no matter what the condition, thus resulting in big prices.
This 1978 might look familiar as we took a look at it a few years ago from when it was for sale under previous ownership. It is finished in paint to sample Medium Green Metallic, which pointed out previously is an old GM color. It has some wild green carpets to match, which of course results in a big price tag. Funny thing is, the price on this one actually went down.
The paint to sample world strikes again. About six months ago I looked at a 2005 Porsche 911 Turbo S finished in Linen of all colors. As crazy and non-traditional as it was, I didn’t hate it. Different for sure and I gave them credit for going off the board on that one. Today, we’ve got another 996 Turbo in a wild color. This 2002 up for sale in London is finished in Light Green Metallic and shows just 16,000 miles. It borders right on the edge of being called lime, and is actually pretty pleasant to look at. The price? Woo-boy.
I’m never one to overlook a car with a seemingly tame exterior, but in some cases when you open the doors you wonder if there was a mistake at the factory. I’d love to have a conversation with a production scheduler to figure how and why, outside of customer requests, crazy color combinations get made. If you haven’t caught on where I’m going with today’s car, let me explain.
This 2007 Porsche 911 Turbo, a fine car in its own right, is finished in Arctic Silver Metallic. Outside of plain black, this is surely one of most common 911 colors. Open the door however, and you are treated with a full Palm Green leather inside. Palm Green seats, Palm Green carpets, Palm Green dash, Palm Green everything. Dare I say I really like it?
There is always something fascinating about “time capsule” cars, even on stuff that isn’t all that old. I know the car I’m talking is far from new, but it is hard to believe the newest Porsche 996 Turbos are 14 years-old now. These cars were incredibly tough and more than reasonable to use as a daily driver, so that is what people did. I think from the 993 and prior, if you bought a 911 Turbo, that was a car that wasn’t leaving the garage on a Tuesday morning in November to drive to work when it was raining. In the 996 Turbo, go for it. And people did, lots of these have a healthy amount of miles and them and honestly, good for them. However, it looks like one example was spared to rain, along with basically everything else.
This 2003 up for sale in Florida has just 963 miles on it. Thats it, 963. How and why? No idea. If you want, bring a check with six-figures on it.
Last week Porsche announced the new 992 Turbo S and of course, the stats were bonkers. All you really need to know is that it does 0-60 mph in 2.5 seconds and will top out a little north of 200 mph. Much to no one’s surprise, it will be an 8-speed PDK gearbox with almost zero chance of a 6 or 7-speed manual gearbox given that the entire 991 Turbo generation did not offer a true manual gearbox. I totally get why, and you can’t blame Porsche for not offering it. First, the majority of 911 Turbo buyers don’t want a three pedal car, and if they did, as soon as they smashed the throttle in first gear, they’d be banging it off the redline. As much as we like to think we are all amazing drivers, your dentist Gary is not. That means if you do want a 911 Turbo with a 6-speed manual gearbox, you have to venture all the way back to the 997 generation.
This 2012 911 Turbo up for sale in New York is just 1 of 163 examples produced for the North American market with the 6-speed compared to the significantly more PDK cars. That means finding one is very a tough task to say the least. Finding one in Carrera White with a Carrera Red interior and just 6,000 miles? Bring your checkbook.
This S6 Avant sold for $8,182.52.
If you want in on the zenith of the BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche production – what many argue are the late 80s to mid 90s cars – you’re going to pay a lot of money for a prime example. But turn to Volkswagen and corporate partner Audi, and you’ll still be able to get into a legend for pennies on the dollar. Witness, the Audi S6 Avant.
I’ve previously covered just how special these cars are and to say that they’ve got a cult following is an Internet-breaking understatement. Seriously, tell an owner of one of these that he’s got just another car and you’re likely to end up with a bloody nose and an earfull of Ingolstadt. Yet prime condition S6 Avants are surprisingly hard to come by, in part because they were used heavily and more notably because so few came here originally. Here’s a great-looking black on black ‘95.5 to consider, though, and it’s no reserve to boot: