Following on the heels of the R32 from yesterday, one other issue I personally have with paying big money for a Mk.4 Golf is that you can get a newer, faster, and more practical model for around the same money – or much less. Take, for example, this 2013 Golf R.
In 2012 Volkswagen brought the U.S. 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 that 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 rang in at a shocking $36,000 with options. For a Golf, mind you. But once they started hitting the used market, to me they became more appealing. Unlike the R32, they dropped in price. And they still came in great colors, like today’s Rising Blue Metallic.
The Porsche 718 Cayman GTS is one of the few new Porsche’s that launched with a thud. Everyone wanted the classic 3.4-liter flat-six, maybe even a 3.6-liter, but instead they were served up a turbocharged 2.5-liter flat-four. To make it even worse, it sounded like a Subaru WRX. Porsche owners don’t want Subaru sounds. The numbers on paper were mightily disappointing as well, given their performance in the real world was nearly identical to the 718 Cayman S. That means you paid over $12,000 more just to get the standard GTS stuff like brake-based torque vectoring, the Sport Chrono package, adaptive dampers with a lower ride height, 20-inch wheels, and sport seats that are otherwise optional on the Boxster S. In that light I suppose that was a good value? Either way, Porsche knew they screwed up so went back to the drawing board and thankfully gave us the GTS 4.0. However, that doesn’t mean the flat-four versions suddenly fell off the face of the earth.
Today, we have a 2018 up for sale in New York with the great color of Sapphire Blue Metallic and just 6,200 miles. But I hope you aren’t expecting a deal on this one.
I’m all for discovered “barn finds” or whatever hot term you want to use as it brings new life into a car that was probably written off and forgotten. Although everyone loves a good story, most of the time there is a good reason why these cars were stashed away and not heard from. Most of the time it is mechanical issues that become untenable due to time and/or money constraints, along with busy life getting in the way. Today’s car, a very special European-specification 1979 Porsche 930 Turbo, doesn’t have much of a backstory from what I can find, but oh boy does it have potential. Or so I thought.
As you might have noticed, this isn’t a stock 930. The front bumper was the first giveaway, then you look out back and see a giant intercooler with the lovely letters of “ANDIAL” tacked on it to. The selling dealer says this is now a 3.4-liter car with a RUF five-speed transaxle, and the crude drawing on the shift knob seems to confirm that. Even cooler than the Pasha sees is the custom mount housing an adjustable boost gauge, which I’m sure was absolutely terrifying to play with. So at this point I’m thinking “Cool. Just pull the engine, give it a full service, and drive it as-is.” Not so fast. This one might be a very hard pass for even the most extreme owners.
This slick ’85 Quattro is still available, now with much better photos and an asking price that dropped to $75,000.
For U.S. Quattro fans, ’85 models are a bit special as they held numerous upgrades over the prior models. Like the rest of the Type 85/B2 lineup, those included revisions to the exterior, most notably the slanted grill and color matched spoiler, but also inside a new dashboard and revised seat fabric patterns. Like the ’84s, wheels were 8″ Ronals, and the more reliable fuse box was also carried over with the upgrades.
A few unique colors were offered on the ’85 up models, but since importation ended after one ’86 made it here, all colors are a bit special. Unique too was the headlight treatment, which had chrome aero bezels to match the grill. A total of only 73 of these upgraded 85s (plus the one 86) made it to the U.S., and they’ve pretty much always been the most sought of the scant 664 original Quattros sold here. This particular ’85 comes to market looking minty fresh in what appears to be Tornado Red.
Once in a while, a truly special package comes along and is seemingly gone in the blink of an eye. The TT RS was that package for Audi, marrying the fantastic 8J chassis with the outrageous 2.5 liter turbocharged inline-5 and a 6-speed manual. With 360 horsepower on tap driving all wheels and a sticker price below $60,000, it was Audi’s answer to the BMW 1M, and it was a good one. Though the driving experience perhaps wasn’t as “pure” as the Munich monster, the TT RS was a potent alternative that was on par with the competition, if not better. It was a Porsche killer at a fraction of the price, and the same rings true today:
There was a point where it was very hard to find a clean Mk.1 GTI anymore, and consequently the values on them rose sharply and quickly. Predictably, the moment that occurred a bunch of really nice examples subsequently popped up for sale and have continued to emerge as the car has finally been recognized as a classic. Now, couple that scenario with the racing pedigree of the Quattro and sprinkle in a dash of ///Mania into the mix and you’ve got a recipe for some very expensive cars.
With only 664 originally imported to the U.S. and a fair amount dead, balled up in rally stages or repatriated to the Fatherland, the remaining cars that do emerge generally fall into two categories: well maintained examples that fetch high dollars, or needy chassis for the project-minded enthusiasts. Today’s car looks quite clean at first glance, and though it’s not a perfect example it does appear to be highly original. How does that affect its value?
If you’re looking for ‘bang for your buck’, Porsche probably isn’t going to be your brand. You pay a lot for Porsches compared to equivalent vehicles from other brands, but on the other hand you do get a that badge. How much value that brings is naturally up to you. You could argue that it is worth it in many cases, but sometimes the numbers don’t lie.
If you want to start entry level, the 718 chassis is going to be launching point in the low $60,000 range; the base 911 is $40,000 more. However, buying a 718 for that $60,000 and change is nearly impossible given the options and how quickly they add up, and the dealer probably won’t order you one unless you are the best customer they have. The solution? Looks in the used market and hope something turns up. That is what we have today in a 2019 Cayman that had an MSRP of $73,000. Three years and 20,000 miles later? Well, I bet the used car discount isn’t going to seem as much as you’d think.
Back when I bought my first Audi, there were two five doors available in the US; the A6 Avant and the S6 Avant. Other markets had more options, its true, but it’s also not like the cup overfloweth. Today? The story has changed. Right now, Audi markets 15 different five door models. FIFTEEN. How is that possible? Well, you’ve got seemingly infinite variants of just a few chassis underpinnings, that’s how. There’s the Q3, Q5, the ‘slinkier’ Q5 Sportback, then the S versions of both of those, the Q7 and SQ7, the Q8, SQ8, and RS Q8, the e-tron, the e-tron Sportback, both A4 and A6 allroads, and finally, the RS6 Avant. Wow, how times have changed!
Today I’m going to look at two of Audi’s most expensive products outside of the R8. Both share a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8, an 8-speed automatic, around 600 horsepower, sub-4-second 0-60 times, ‘track-tuned’ ability, and $110,000 plus starting prices. But what if you just can’t wait to get down to your dealership?
This Merkur sold for $4,350.
As enthusiasts, oddly we often lament new cars. Undoubtedly, newer models turn better, stop better and accelerate faster than most of the cars that they replace. They return better fuel economy, have more gears, and are generally more reliable. In a crash, they’ll save your life and some will even call the police for you. Impressive? Sure, without a doubt. But if I had a nickle for every time I heard how some enthusiast would rather have a brand new example of a car from their youth, I’d be a rich man. I’ve heard it from all sources; desire for a bullet-proof reliable new W126 S-Class, longing for a return of the real Quattro with locking differentials, dreams of finding a new E30 M3 or 3.2 Carrera. But if you’re a bit different, perhaps you’re one of the devoted Merkur fans.
Now, I know what you’re saying. Merkurs are Fords, and Fords are American. 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.
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? Ford launched a series of turbocharged hatchbacks and sedans in the 80s, including the Fiesta RS, the Mustang SVO, the turbocharged Thunderbird, and this car – the XR4Ti, the US version of the Ford Sierra.
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: