In the early 2000s, the Volkswagen product planners recognized that there was an entire demographic of people who loved driving fast water-cooled Volkswagens. These weren’t stock Volkswagens, but modified Dubs — things that had extra horsepower, extra handling, and extra fun. VW decided to cash in on this by selling a pre-modified VW Golf called the R32 that added a VR6 engine, all-wheel-drive and a 6-speed to the basic Golf…and they didn’t sell many (5000 in total for one model year) because people who wanted a fast VW didn’t want to spend the $30k that VW was asking. The thing that the product planners didn’t realize was that people wanted a CHEAP, fun, fast VW…and that just happened to be the used $1k Jetta they found on craigslist or inherited from a crazy aunt. Anyway, after 17 years and 200k miles this Golf R32 is finally depreciated to the point where a water-cooled VW fan might consider buying it. Find this 2004 Volkswagen R32 bidding on ebay with a $10,000 buy-it-now located in Charleston, SC.
I know what you are thinking…because I had the same gut response when Ford introduced the RS version of the Focus in 2015.. Great, another example of an American car company joining the part about 10-15 years late. Because that is par for the course. Mitsubishi had been selling their Lancer Evolution since 2003 and Subaru had been selling their rally-ready all-wheel-drive STI since 2004…but Ford…they waited until 2015 to release a 4-cylinder turbocharged 300-to-350 horsepower all-wheel-drive rally thing. They were so late to the party that it had been already broken up by the cops….Mitsubishi exited the fun-car market that same year with the obsolescence of the Evolution at the end of the 2015 model year. It’s one thing to be fashionably late, its another to miss the entire raging party and then end up canceling the car 3 years later…because that is exactly what happened. Find this 2017 Ford Focus RS offered for $21,500 in Inkster, MI via ebay.
I secretly want this next car. Well, not secretly, because I just shared it with you guys, but I do want to replace the late model German sports machine in my driveway with another late model German machine, but will be downgrading from 5 seats to 4. Will everyone assume I’m going through a mid-life crisis…sure, but who cares? I’ll be driving one of the worlds premier sports car and it cost less than a well optioned Nissan Versa. Find this 1999 Porsche Carrera 4 offered for $18,500 in Concord, CA via craigslist. Tip from FuelTruck.
This next Saab comes from late in the era of GM produced Saabs. The 2002-2014 Saab 9-3 had more in common with a Chevy Malibu than it did with the original Saab 99…not that its a bad thing. But the interesting thing about the 9-3 Turbo X is that 280 horsepower from a turbocharged 2.8 liter V6 goes into a 6-speed manual gearbox and eventually to all four wheels. Find this 2008 Saab 9-3 Turbo X bidding for $6,000 in Orefield, PA via carsandbids.com.
The STI version of Subaru’s Impreza WRX was first released for the US market in 2004. It has restyled (slightly) in 2006 and then got a major restyle in 2008. The new “jelly bean” styled STI was just as much of a dirt shredding maniac as the previous versions and it was only available as a 5-door wagon/hatch thing until the next restyle in 2011. Values for STI examples have been strangely flat for the last few years, not going up much and not going down much…which isn’t a bad way to go with your late model daily driver — own it and drive for 3-4 years and sell for the same price. Your friend who always buys new cars will end up paying a LOT more in the short term and long term, and you will drive an STI while he drives a base model Impreza. Find this 2009 Subaru Impreza WRX STI offered for $12,000 in Oakland, CA via craigslist.
This next car comes from Erik202 who writes: I came across this car and it interested me so i did a little research and found that the automatic trans version of these B5 S4s is actually much more rare than the 6mt. I’m not sure that is proper justification for choosing it over the manual but […]
The Infiniti G35 we posted the other day was well received because it combines the best characteristics of a reliable modern car with a nicely depreciated price curve. The only thing it was missing was the cool factor of a moderately rusty pickup truck exterior…oh…here we go, another horrorod. Find this 1972 Datsun 521 Pickup with […]
There was a time when Mazda was just another entry into the world of cheap Japanese economy cars. Most Mazdas built in the ’80s & ’90s had all the reliability, charisma, and fun factor of a dollar store enema kit, but sometime in the early ’00s (that’s pronounced “oughts” like “I oughta smack you for […]
BMW built an astonishing 2.5 million E30s in coupe, sedan, estate & convertible trim from 1982 through 1994. The ursprünglicher gangster BMW 3-series was a successful yuppy-mobile when new and has generated a significant cult following as a cheap, fun & reliable sports sedan…but don’t expect the prices of the sporty all-wheel-drive 325ix version with […]
The V8 powered B6 generation Audi S4 is something of a jack-of-all-trades in the world of late model performance super-sedans. It isn’t as fast or viscerale as an STi or Evo, but it is far more refined. The S4 might not offer as much straight line punch as an E55 AMG, but it offers a […]