Old School Alpinas

This has made the rounds on a number of car sites now but this is a very well done video by Petrolicious.com of some well-kept old school Alpinas. For years, I’ve wanted to get my hands on the E46 Coupe B3S or a B10 Biturbo or even one of the more efficient diesel-powered D3’s.

Alpina has long been renowned for making high quality, well-trimmed automobiles with a focus on tuning up the engine, suspension and adding bespoke interior materials. Interestingly, while the base car is clearly a BMW – under German regulation Alpina is viewed as a standalone manufacturer as their overhaul of a BMW modifies significant elements of the original car – a determining factor under TUV regulations. With that said, Alpina has always been the yin to BMW M’s yang. Where the M3 is a more hardcore driving experience Alpina has always put a focus on a more balanced, dare I say comfortable driving experience. Unfortunately for Americans the only Alpinas that have crossed their way over are typically either the gray market used cars or ultra expensive new ones via the latest Alpina B7 based on the F01 7 Series chassis or the V8 Roadster based around the Z8 chassis but with the powertrain of the lovely BMW X5 4.8is

With that said, they did make some very compelling cars as they established themselves as purveyors of performance cars ala the B7 S and B10 3.5. The guys at Petrolicious did a great job capturing what’s so great about both old school Alpinas and car culture in general. This is my reminder to go back and scour the interwebs for what few 1980’s era Alpinas I might find for sale here in the good ol’ US of A.

BMW Alpinas from Petrolicious on Vimeo.

Aston or Morgan

Not sure what it is but I really do love the looks of the Morgan. For lack of a better word – it’s modern, timeless design and the BMW engine upfront certainly doesn’t hurt my opinion of it!

. . .

Which would you choose? (assuming ‘neither’ is not an option)

Aston V8 sounds superb as usual, but it’s hard to argue with the Morgan’s sub-3000 lb curb (er, “kerb”) weight. Shame testing wasn’t done in dry conditions but hey, that’s Britain for you.

Oh, and how great does Anglesey Circuit (“the circuit by the sea”) look?

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I Stand Corrected…

Or should I say – proven right. The 991 does look fantastic in wide body form.


I stand by my original point, though – the rear deck of the 991 Cup Car looks terrible.



Source: Cult of Porsche(Ferdinand Magazine)

Stuck + M3 GTR + ‘Ring

This video has been around for years but it doesn’t change my enjoyment of it. It’s just Herr Hans Stuck doing what he does best: manhandling an E46 M3 GTR around the full Nurburgring. It’s an oldie-but-goodie when you see just how fast Stuck seems to be going the entire lap(s).

I guess you could say he’s going – *ahem* Flat Out.

Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss

It’s probably one of the most cliche things to say in the automotive world but I’ll say it it anyway: “Gee, Porsche’s designers are lazy – each generation of 911 looks the same as the last.”


I’ll respectfully disagree – it’s gotten fatter and longer. For whatever, reason(perhaps my negative experience with the local dealership and Porsche NA while I had the Cayman has clouded my vision) I cannot warm up to the Type-991 911. I very much enjoy(ed) the look and proportions of the 997 911’s as they made for gorgeous, timeless road cars and angry, musclebound wide-body race cars by way of the GT3 RSR run by the Lizard and Falken teams in ALMS. Even the 997 Cup Car seemed to capture my interest the first time I saw the Black Swan Cup Car go skittering across the concrete slabs of Sebring in turn 17 during pre-season testing a few years ago, disappearing off through 17A followed by the low, flat wail of a Porsche horizontally-opposed six.


But the 991 Cup Car doesn’t seem to grab me the way its predecessor did. It just looks heavy with a seemingly tacked-on rear end. Maybe the 991 carries Porsche’s equivalent of a Stuttgart “Bangle Butt.” Whatever I may think of the styling – I don’t doubt it’ll be a winner. I’m sure Porsche’s customer Cup Car business has been anything if lucrative for them both financially and in reputation and certainly won’t be conceded to other manufacturers anytime soon. But with a history of beautiful race cars in the 917k, 935, 908, and 961 – I just yearn for more from Porsche’s racing aesthetic. Perhaps throw some Gulf, Rothsmans, or Martini colors on there and I’ll be a bit happier? Either way, I’ll be interested to see how these little guys perform on the track – hopefully they’ll start showing up for ALMS this year.

Porsche 991 Cup Car Teaser:


Used Car Steal?

After helping a buddy settle on what will likely be his next car, a Porsche 997 GT3 Mark II, it was a reminder how great the most recent GT3 is. 435HP from a horizontally-opposed 3.8L six cylinder engine, ceramic brakes as an option as well as the dynamic engine mounts to improve the handling of what is already a sublimely agile car. Physics be damned, the 997 GT3 is down right impressive with the levels of grip and power it can throw down on and off the track.

Interestingly, many of the secondhand GT3 Mark II’s from 2009 to 2011 have stabilized at near their original list price or a few grand above the magical $100,000 mark. Some believe, and I happen to agree, that the prices of the 997 GT3 will remain fairly level given its reputation and the widely held thought that the next generation GT3 will be strictly of the flappy paddle persuasion. A clear strike against a car considered to be geared solely toward enthusiasts.

So while grey market prices for the 997 GT3 Mk. II are leveling off at near-new prices – there is another potent Porsche to be had for a fraction of the new price: The 996 GT3 Mk II – predecessor to the 997 platform and what could be a great used car deal for enthusiasts at less than half the price of a 997.

I’ll assert that the Mark II 996 GT3 was the best of the 996 generation. It’s narrow body and subtle(I’ll excuse the wing compared to the GT2!) body kit make it aesthetically simple yet elegant over all-wheel-drive Turbo or occasionally deadly GT2. The naturally aspirated engine, simple set up compared to its brethren and straightforward nature really seem to capture more of the early 911 spirit. What’s better is that less than a decade removed from its original sales price in the $108,000 range, you can pick up 996 GT3’s for 40% to 55% discounts over the original sticker price. That translates to 87% of the power output of the latest GT3 for nearly half the price and relatively low mileage (est. average of 5,000 to 6,000 miles per year). A quick comb through Autotrader revealed ’04 and ’05 GT3’s ranging from $48,000 to $65,000 for spiciest non-turbocharged 996.

If you can get beyond the low-rent interior and the occasionally off-putting amoeba headlamps, the 996 GT3 could be a steal considering it and the GT3 RS of the same breed were able to return sub 8 minute lap times of zee Nordschliefe – assuming that is still a relevant benchmark given the abundance of cars developed there as of late. This pricing point does provide stiff competition in the way of used E90 M3’s, Lotus Evora’s and even Porsche’s Cayman S but the GT3 still provides a very pure driving experience with top tier performance from just a few years ago.

If I can’t sell you on it – perhaps this original promotional video from Porsche can convince you – and prove that Speed Yellow is the color for the 996 GT3.

(Photo credit: B-Artworks photostream)

The Porsche is Dead, Long Live the Roundel

It will go down as the second shortest excursion I’ve had in a car ownership but the Porsche Cayman is gone. Actually, it departed sometime in July but with work and everything else I’ve not had time to update here. Was in written off? Not at all and I can say it actually left my ownership in better shape than when I bought it. It’s gone to a very good home and someone who I feel confident will enjoy and continue to keep it in excellent working order.

In the end, after four months of ownership – the experience as a Porsche owner wasn’t quite what I wanted it to be with a handful of niggling issues like the head liner collapsing, a door handle breaking and the unexpected but apparently common white smoke dumps from oil settled in the cylinders – I just came away from the car more annoyed and inconvenienced than happy. One road trip to see family with the wife and luggage proved to be particularly unenjoyable when we had to transport a few gifts back, unexpectedly, in an already cramped two door, mid-engined car. We needed more room/space/capacity whatever you want to call it, a 6’4 person using a two door sports car as their primary car was not working. Sometimes when you feel things aren’t quite working the way they should – cut your losses and move on. No thanks to a poor experience with Porsche of North America’s customer service losing my title in the mail, the car was sold in a month’s time to a guy who plans to take advantage of the impressive local PCA chapter and really enjoy the Cayman which was reassuring that it went to a fellow enthusiast.

But move on I did. After nearly leaving at 4AM to drive to Miami to pick up a low mileage, one-owner E46 M3 the more fiscally responsible side of me kicked in and I worked a better deal on another car locally. With the savings to be had plus a few other perks, it made the decision to send the Cayman packing even easier.

The replacement? A BMW, of course and I haven’t looked back since. The car in question is a 2007 E91 328i Touring – aka the wagon. While wagons are only coveted by enthusiasts, this one has a few goodies to help it stand out from the rest of the crowd. The car came upgraded from my buddy whom I bought it from with the following:

– BMW Performance Aluminum Struct Brace

– BMW Performance Exhaust

– OEM E90 330i air intake – an enlarged, higher volume intake not equipped on any US-spec cars but came on the direct injection N52 330i

– OZ Alleggerita 18 x 8.5 up front with 18 x 9.5 in the rear – wrapped in Michelin Pilot Super Sports and pumped full of nitrogen

– Active Autowerke’s Stage 1 N52 ECU reflash

Thus far, the car has proved to be faster than any other wagons I’ve encountered, returns 30 mpg on my commute and keeps a low enough profile aside from a deeper, throatier rumble of the uprated exhaust. There’s a game plan in place to carry out additional modifications – primarily with OEM parts to keep the overall feel and aesthetic of the car consistent. Stay tuned as I hope to have better photos up soon plus a more involved write-up!


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