World’s First Wankel: 1965 NSU Spider

Mazda may own the volume rotary engine production story, but NSU put them into production first. So, in a sense, Audi has rotary heritage. We’ve not heard of any plans to bring one back, however. All that said, this is a second-year NSU spider, which has a rear-engine, rear wheel drive layout and makes the most of this compact engine with storage above it (see images below). There aren’t a lot of these and they don’t come up for sale often.

Continue reading World’s First Wankel: 1965 NSU Spider

FREE Abandoned Vanagon Pickup Conversion Project

Well, it’s free if you never want to register it. Should you choose to do so in California, you’ll owe $665 in back registration fees.  Still, this looks like a parts van to us, but some ambitious individual might try to finish it as a truck…

We love the ad text (below), as the seller includes a bid for labor in exchange for the van:

“Pull the transaxle for me and you can take the whole thing for parts or make a truck out of it.”

And, only in the final line is the van’s current state mentioned:

“And the back has been cut to start a truck conversion.”

Click for Craigslist ad
San Diego, CA, USA

Someone with a project van might find plenty of good, used parts here, but don’t expect like-new condition.

It looks like someone tried to separate the “cab” from the “bed” – possibly with canvas.  We’re not sure whether that sliding door still slides.

Front end just shows a tired, faded Vanagon in need of love.

And…here’s more of the handiwork.  We’re not sure how (or whether) the “converter” intended to finish it out, but it does look like hinges were welded onto what’s left of the hatch to make it swing open.

Ad text:

Free 1983 VW Vanagon 

Pull the transaxle for me and you can take the whole thing for parts or make a truck out of it. 

I just need the transaxle. 

It doesn’t have any paperwork. 
It owes $665 in back registration as of last week. 

And the back has been cut to start a truck conversion.

Set your own Rekords in this Shift-it-Yourself Opel

With some funds, any European auto fan can score a 1980s BMW, Mercedes or even Audi; but this Opel Rekord will stand out in any American crowd today.

This is the 2.2i version, which came with the most sporting engine available, and this also has the Irmscher sport package, which consists of mostly cosmetic goodies.  The seller claims a number of mechanical upgrades vs. a non-Irmscher; but it seems some came on all of the 2.2i models.

Miles are either 51K or 151K and condition appears to be original and very good.  We love the manual trans and the sporty Recaro seats, as well as the mostly plain-Jane sedan wrapper.

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Iron River, MI, USA
$5,000 with ZERO bids, reserve not met and six days to go

This is the best exterior image provided.  For some reason, there are no shots of the front.

Rear has a certain “American-owned European” look, which reminds us somewhat of the XR4Ti/Sierra and maybe the Scorpio.

What car would be complete without a decal on the fender?  Also, Ronal wheels are labeled Irmscher for good measure.

Cloth-covered Recaros.  It officially does not get better than this – short of harnesses.

Simple, analog gauges look purposeful and sufficiently European.  Note reliable, manual windows, manual shifter and, perhaps most importantly, six cassette storage slots!  Those were the shi!t back in the day.

Ad text:

European VIN No.:  WOL000016F1252397. This is a 1986 Opel “Rekord Sport”, a limited edition of only 500 built by the Opel tuning company “Irmscher”.  “Irmscher” is for Opel what “AMG” is for Mercedes Benz.  Opel has been owned by General Motors for a long time and there is a lot of product- and engineering sharing going on.
The engine is a 2,2 Liter 4 Cylinder with mechanical fuel injection rated at 130 HP (SAE), top speed 120 MPH, weight 1165 kg (~2600 lbs.), 5 speed manual transmission.
The modifications by “Irmscher” to the standard Opel Rekord “GL” model are:
1. increased engine capacity from 2 Liters to 2.2 Liters
2. lowered suspension and increased track width – live rear axle w. trailing arms, “Monroe” gas shocks and separate coil springs,  rear drum brakes,  independent front suspension w. disk brakes
3. tuned exhaust system with exhaust headers, 2″ exhaust piping and 3″ chrome end pipe
4. front and rear spoilers and aero all around package
5. 4 spoke leather steering wheel 15″ diameter
6. “Recaro” sports seats upholstered in tweed fabric
7.  full instrumentation including tachometer, oel/pressure- and volt meter
8.  opening dark tinted glass sunroof by “Augros”
9.  AM/FM, cass. deck stereo w. multiple speakers
10. aluminum wheels by “Ronal” especially made for “Irmscher”
This car is all original, it was never fully repainted and was never in an accident.  The 5 digit odometer shows 51600 km, but I have to assume that the total km are 151600.
This Spring, the car was inspected and some fuel lines and water hoses were replaced.  A new battery, new ignition cables and a new set of  performance radial tires in the size of  215/60X15 were installed.  Opel owners manual, original “Irmscher” sales brochure and price list as well as US import document papers come with the car.  The vehicle was imported into the US by the seller in 2012 and it has a clear Michigan title.
This is a very responsive and sporty car and it gets 30 – 35 MPG!

Forbidden Fruit: 1973 Opel Commodore GT/E

The Opel Commodore was an executive sedan which was never sold in the US. We don’t know how this one found its way to the high desert of California; but we do know it’s the most desirable variant: a two-door GT/E with a four-speed manual.

The GS/E was the top sport trim level and came with a 2.8-liter inline six with about 160HP.  For 1974, the engine was detuned a bit; so one could easily argue this is THE GRAIL!  Well, at least the Grail of period Opels.

Unfortunately, the ad for this car lacks any history and any information or pictures related to the interior.  Based on the whopping three images with the ad, this looks like a somewhat rough, but complete, project.

This is a really interesting, really rare car that will never be particularly collectible; so we hope just the right buyer comes along to get this back on the road.  Also, we’re tempted to call on this car just to see the seller’s collection.

Click for Craigslist ad
Perris, CA, USA

Styling looks interesting for the period and condition looks solid.  If that was a vinyl top, it’s clearly peeling! We also see enough here to be jealous of the seller’s land and car collection!  Note the Opel GT right in front of this one…

Front has prominent GS/E badge and perfectly period driving lights.  Aside from that, it looks like this car’s front end previewed Buick styling that would arrive ten or more years later!

Rear reveals a massive, curved backlight and wide tail lights.  We see some clear Mercedes influence here.

Ad text:

1973 Opel Commodore GT/E. very rare 6 cylinder. 4 speed manual. factory sunroof. gray market car. only one in the US. $6500. ask for Todd…

Rare Callaway Turbo Scirocco

Callaway modified much more than Corvettes in the past, with their Alfa Romeo GTV fairly well-known; but they also got into a few Volkswagens over the years.  Their “Stage I” Sciroccos boosted output from about 74HP to 117HP, which is a huge increase.  The seller claims this car is one if a few “Stage III” cars with a bigger turbo and intercooler, as well as water injection.  No dyno figures are available, but the interwebs claim north of 200HP.

200HP in this little sports car would be a blast, but the seller points out that a lot of work is needed to get it moving.  This is truly a “bring a trailer” find.  Mileage is in the neighborhood of 195K and the car hasn’t been on the road since 2003.  A quick internet search also reveals the seller was trying to figure out how to remove the head and replace the head gasket – it’s not clear whether that was completed.  Also, there are some areas with supposedly minor surface rust; so paint and body might eventually need to be part of the conversation.

This is a dream find for a Scirocco/Corrado fan or any Callaway collector.  We’ll just have to see where the bids land and how high the reserve is.

Here’s a link to a classic Car and Driver aricle on the Stage I:

Click for eBay ad
North Grafton, MA, USA
$1,500 with one bid, reserve not met and 5 days to go

These had little to differentiate the cosmetically from standard Sciroccos, which is fine.  We like the sleeper quality, and this was a great design in the first place.  TSW wheels are aftermarket and were put on by the previous owner.

Note the “Turbo Intercooler” badging on the right.  Supposedly, these also came with a rear window decal which is missing on this one.

Interior has some custom touches not done by Callaway.

One more angle.  Callaway did install the auxiliary gauges.

Here’s the groovy boost controller!

The previous owner installed the Recaro seats, but the originals are included in the sale.

Rear seat shows original leather.

As mentioned, original wheels are included in the sale.

Let’s have a look under the hood…

These have a unique cam cover, but there’s some debate over whether Callaway removed the head to put in a thicker head gasket for lower compression.

Ad text:

An Estate sale offers a true “Barn Find”, a 1983 Callaway Turbo Stage III VW Scirocco.

If you’ve never heard of a Callaway Scirocco, you can read what Car and Driver said about them from a 1983 article:

On the Stage III cars, Callaway included a larger Turbo, intercooler and water injection, variable boost, heftier shock tower braces, stiffer shocks and bigger brakes with cross-drilled rotors.  It’s no wonder these cars were called the “Vette and Mustang killers” of their day.

This example has a storied past of mechanic/owners;  it was originally modified by Reeves Callaway of Old Lyme, CT, from a new VW Scirocco which was then bought by one of the leading Stock Car chassis builders in New England as a car for his wife.    It was later bought by my late brother whose business was building high performance racing engines for Snow Mobile racers.

This is the ultimate “Sleeper” – Minimal exterior badging to announce its heritage, but the heart and soul of a Cheetah.  While the Stage I cars, at around 117hp, were formidible street cars, the Stage III version almost doubled that with a hefty performance increase, surprising many a Corvette and Mustang owner left in its wake.

This unique Scirocco goes beyond the Stage III amenities with the addition of an adjustable Cam Timing gear, 5-spoke TSW 7″ wide rims, and, for creature comfort, a pair of Recarro front seats that look only minimally worn (no rips or tears).  In the cockpit, along with the prominent Callaway boost gauge mounted to the right of the instrument cluster, you’ll find an air/fuel mixture, cylinder head temp and oil pressure gauge, all tastefully mounted in the upper center of the mini-console.

This car is the original very dark brown (Paint code may be verified from the VIN) with black Recarro seats with gray inserts (seats installed by my brother).  The interior, while a bit dusty after more than a decade of being in a closed garage, looks like it just came in off the street.  The “Callaway Turbo” badging has been removed from the rear window.  There is a minimal amount of paint bubbling/surface rust just behind the wheels on the rocker panels (2″ diameter, Max) and only surface rust on the frame and undercarriage – no rot through.  Included in the sale are the original Callaway wheels, the original Scirocco steering wheel and the original, leather front bucket seats, the drivers seat having one minor scuff from seat belt wear.

The car currently has 195,563 miles on the odometer, was last on the road in 2003 and has been in closed storage since then with the usual accumulation of dust, making it a true “Barn Find”.  It will have to be trailered home by the buyer and thoroughly serviced before starting it.  It is in ZIP 01536 (central Massachusetts) with a long, flat loading area very suitable for a pickup/trailer or car hauler.  This car has ALWAYS been well taken care of and, to the best of my knowledge, never driven in Winter.  This is a rare find – as far as I know, Callaway only made 43 of them.  

If you’ve ever heard of the legendary Callaway Turbo Cars, this is your chance to own one.

Why So Bitter, Senator?

Sure, this post has a weird title, but it’s because today’s feature is a particularly weird car.  I remember the Bitter SC from an exotic car book my dad had in the 80s.  Basically, it’s an Opel Senator with a custom body (which looks remarkably like a period Ferrari 400) and spruced-up interior.  This particular example also has a stroked version of the Opel inline six.

Bitter technically sold cars in the US – at Buick dealerships, no less – for a very short time; so some are actual US market cars and some are grey market.  These presented a strange proposition: Ferrari looks with a very luxurious interior and performance nowhere near Ferrari level.  Still, the modified Opel I6 in this version put out over 200HP at the time, which means this might have been reasonably competitive with a basic 6-Series at the time.

Today, as in the 80s, these are unique oddballs with nice styling.  So, if you want to be the only one at your local Cars and Coffee, a Bitter SC might be for you.  That being said, today’s feature car might need a lot of work.  There’s rust at the bottom of the windshield and at least one side window; so, at a minimum, the glass is coming out for metal work and paint.  The car also hasn’t been started in two years and didn’t idle well last time it ran.

Given its Opel roots, basic mechanical parts shouldn’t be hard to find in the scheme of things (though you might have to search outside the us), but most cosmetic parts and much of the interior are Bitter-specific and we must assume they’re not available.  Good news is the interior appears to be in good overall shape on this car.

So, with bidding at about $1,000, is this worth it to you?

Click for eBay ad
Spring, TX, USA (Houston area)
$1,001 with one bid, reserve not met and nine days to go

Here’s the almost-unmistakable profile.  Is it a Bitter or a Ferrari?

The front end has a mean look.

Almost menacing…

The seller didn’t – or couldn’t – even push the car out to get rear pics, so we get shots through a chain link fence.

Here’s a badge few will ever see.

We don’t know the Opel Senator interior well enough to know what’s unique here.  Do you?  Regardless, it’s a nice overall look.

Dash has sun damage.  That could be an issue.

We presume ivory gauges were unique to the Bitter.

Seats remind us of a Maserati Biturbo’s.

As always, the back seat is in great shape visually.  We wonder how brittle it might be.

Let’s have a look under the well-insulated hood.

Here’s the modified Opel inline six.  Supposedly, this put out about 200HP when new.

Have YOU ever seen the ID tag from a Bitter?

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MurderCedes: Zombie Apocalypse Survival Car

Thinking about the bottom falling out around the 2016 US election?  This might be just the ticket, especially if you convert it to veggie oil, which should be fairly easy to do.

The seller built this starting with a clean example from Texas; so it’s claimed to be rust-free, aside from added patina.  The interior was left stock and is claimed to be in good shape, although no pictures are included.  The seller did include a video and that provides some glimpses of the interior, as well as evidence of the car running.

Under it all is a 300SD with the 3.0-liter turbodiesel, which should run for half a million miles or so (it has done about 200K, so far).  This is from the era of the “real Mercedes”, when these were built like tanks.  What could be better for a zombie (or Trump or Clinton) apocalypse survival vehicle?  Well, okay, one might want four-wheel drive.  Still, this thing is really cool…

Click for eBay ad
Higdon, AL, USA
$233.33 with six bids

This seems to check all the boxes, with intentionally faded paint, massive bumper, rusty steel mesh, diesel exhaust through the hood and a makeshift roof rack with auxiliary lighting.

The driver’s side fender hasn’t been reshaped so much.

Front end is menacing! Note the tire tread bumpers.  Chains also add street cred.

Taillights have ostensibly-protective metal covers.

Hmm…interesting badging!

Here’s a close-up.  Yes, the Turbo Diesel badge has been modified to read “U DIE.”

Sunroof apparently works – could be used as a turret of sorts.

Here’s the turbo-diesel.  Yes, it’s turbocharged, but acceleration can assumed to be leisurely, especially with all the extra steel added to this car.

Ad text:

“Mechanically sound, exterior made to look like it has been through the apocalypse.”

Up for auction is my 1983 Mercedes-Benz 300SD with the infamous 5-cylinder 3.0 turbo diesel engine. The car has 204,000 miles on it, which is not even half of what these cars are capable of. I’ve named the car “The Murdercedes” so you know it’s awesome.

The car was created to look post-apocalyptic, in the Mad Max style. I build cars like this and resell them, and I’m ready for my next project, so this one has to go. The car is mechanically sound, starts up every time, and I’ve recently taken it on trips to various post-apocalyptic car events from Chattanooga to Indianapolis, Atlanta, and it’s driven around 75 miles a week as a moderate daily driver. The main reason I drive it so much is because it gets 30-33 miles per gallon, it’s reliable, and it sure turns heads!

The Murdercedes started life as a clean, 100% rust-free Texas car. I transformed it into the post-apocalyptic beast you see now because I feel like those infamous, bullet-proof Mercedes turbo diesel engines will be around long after the bombs fall. I was even interviewed about the car for a Wasteland Weekend website: Will It Wasteland

Recent repairs and upgrades (within the last 3,000 miles) include:

– New motor mounts
– New tires
– New oil pressure lines (a common problem – fixed)
– New ignition lock cylinder (another common problem – fixed)
– Upgraded airflow system with new cone filter
– New oil pan gasket
– Brand new battery (100 miles ago)
– Cobra CB with antenna
– Whelen police siren and PA

Everything works on this car except for the climate control. I never worried about it much, but the heats comes on randomly and the AC does not blow cold. But everything else, including power windows, all gauges, power antenna, power seats, and even power sunroof work. The driver’s side rear power window sticks sometimes as if it’s coming off the track, but the motor works. Also, the lights on the roof aren’t wired up, but they’re good. I had them wired on the grill guard but decided to move them without moving the wiring yet.

I’ve left the interior alone (except for removing the glove box to install the siren control and CB) because I still like the idea of keeping the luxury on the inside with the ratty look on the outside. Who says you can’t be a badass and still enjoy the creature comforts? Turbo runs great with no issues. The automatic transmission shifts smoothly with no problems. 

The car gets a ton of attention and I’m often stopped at gas stations and parking lots for pictures. The photos here don’t do the detail justice, but let me know if you want more specific detailed pics of certain areas and I’d be happy to snap some more shots.

You must pick up from my home in Higdon, AL, which is located about 35 minutes southwest of Chattanooga, TN. Arrangements can be made to meet you at the closest highway exit (Trenton, GA) to make things easier, if you’d like. Please ask any questions before bidding.

Check out a quick video of the car starting and running

Rare Mexican VW: Hormiga

The Hormiga (Ant in Spanish), also known as the Basistransporter, was a front-engine, front-wheel drive mini-truck made in Germany and Mexico from 1975 through 1979.  In some cases, these were shipped as knock-down kits and built elsewhere.

These were only in production for a few years and only in low volume.  As such, only a a few thousand were built.  These were front-drivers with a front-mid engine mounted under the rear of the tiny cab.

This one, however, appears to have a rear-mounted engine, which might have been a strange option or a modification.  The big center console storage compartment may be where the engine used to be, which is a big disappointing, as we’d prefer to see a twin-engine, four-wheel drive setup, a la Citroen.

Value is hard to determine given rarity; but 15K isn’t a ton of money for something so unusual and which might actually be useful as a truck.  Will a US buyer fly in and drive it through Baja?  We’ll see…

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San Jose del Cabo, Mexico

We love the simplicity of this little beast, as well as the white walls and moon mini-moons.

The cargo area holds the spare and, apparently, a Pepsi cooler.

Cab is as simple as one would expect.

Here’s that storage compartment where one might expect to find an engine (?).

If stock, this is an air-cooled VW 1.6.

As we mentioned, this appears to reside at the rear, which is not normal for this vehicle.

The ladies seem to like it.

Ad text:

VW Hormiga (Ant) 1978, very unique piece on its type.
This truck was manufactured in Puebla Mexico from 1976 to 1978 with an exclusive production of 3600 units in total.
Very original and authentic.  Delivery covers California State.
This truck was restored in Los Cabos Baja California Sur Mexico, where I currently live.
Note-  This track was previously announced in my former user alpine1961 but unexpectedly pictures and information was deleted.
Price 15,000 USD