1991 Audi V8 quattro 5-speed

I’ve had the good fortune to own some pretty interesting cars in my lifetime, but one of the most complex automotive relationships I had was with my late 1993 V8 quattro. It was a car that I had lusted after since they were effectively new. There was just something about the shape, the way it sat and the mystique. Coming from a 4000 quattro, in many ways the step up to a V8 was the ultimate out of the box Audi in the early 1990s. It drove like the 4000 in the tight bits, but was so much better on the highway. Plus, it had what the 4000 lacked – power, thanks to the 4 cam all-aluminum V8. Even the automatic didn’t bother me all that much overall. But, at the same time as I enjoyed automotive bliss in the theoretical ownership of this V8 quattro, the reality of day-to-day ownership was quite different. If Alfa Romeo built a German car, it would be the V8 quattro. First, it was hugely complicated. There were computers controlling everything, and in the great manner in which Audi and Volkswagen developed their late 1980s computer technology, it worked great until it didn’t, at which point the car would be thoroughly incapacitated. One day, during a rain storm, the “convenience controller” failed, opening all of the windows AND the sunroof and not allowing me to close them. Needless to say, it was less than convenient. Second, it hemorrhaged fluids. We’re not talking a little bit, either – full on “Oh, I’m sorry, did you want me to keep that $20 a liter worth of hydraulic fluid IN me?” hemorrhaging. Oil, coolant, transmission fluid…you name it, if you could put it in, it would instantly come out. It tried to kill me, too. Not just once, either. See, that fluid loss resulted in a buildup of oil gunk. Where does the oil gunk build up, you ask? On the throttle. This normally isn’t a problem, unless once in a while you opened the throttle. Then, it became a problem, as the throttle wouldn’t close. Again, not a problem so much on a 4000 quattro with all 115 stampeding horses, but in the ’93 V8 quattro, there were 2.5 times that amount – 276 horsepower with even more torque launching my 3,900 pound missile down route 195. Leaks presented themselves in other odd ways, too – like, for example, when I got a self-imposed flat tire at a winter driving school. Out came the tools to jack the car up, no problem. However, when I went to retrieve the spare, a sad sight awaited me – the trunk had leaked into the spare tire well apparently, resulting in the space saver spare being thoroughly embedded in 10 inches of tire well shaped ice cube. In story generation alone, the V8 quattro was by far the Professor Emeritus of my car history. Thirdly, no one knew what it was when you went to get a part. Allow me to present a theoretical trip to the parts counter – even at an Audi dealer…

Parts Guy: Hi, what kind of car?
Me: Audi
PG: What model?
Me: V8
PG: No, not what engine, what model.
Me: V8
PG: They made a model named V8?
Me: Yes
PG: (turns to other Parts Guy) You ever hear of an Audi V8?
OPG: He probably means A8.
Me: No, the A8 is the model that replaced the V8.
(both look confused)
PG: Okay, what year?
Me: 1993
PG: Audi made cars in 1993?
Me: Yes. Not many.
PG: Okay, the computer tells me that your car doesn’t exist.
Me: It’s outside. Would you like to see it?
PG: No, maybe I can cross reference the part. What do you need?
Me: The transmission control unit.
PG: ………………
PG: ……….. (turns to other PG and looks confused)
Other PG: Ah, you should probably just go to the dealer.

Fourth, when eventually you convinced someone who supplied parts for your non-existent car that it really was real, inevitably the part would be expensive. Really, really expensive. And, on backorder, or no longer available. It made repairs length and always have at least one comma in the price estimate. That estimate was almost always below what it actually cost to get it running again, and when it did run again, inevitably there would be something still wrong that would need to be fixed on the next trip to the mechanic.

Yet, more than any car I’ve previously owned, it’s the one I’d want back.

It was that good. So when one of the 72 5-speed cars pops up for sale, it’s always time to take notice. The officially imported 5-speed cars were all 3.6 PT engine cars, meaning a bit less motivation than the later 4.2 motor. However, they’re lighter and they’re the only Torsen center/Torsen rear differential car Audi brought to the U.S.. This is a rare opportunity to own one of the few remaining:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Audi V8 quattro 5-speed on Burlington Craigslist


Year: 1991
Model: V8 quattro
Engine: 3.6 liter V8
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 168,000 mi
Price: $5,500

It’s time for me to sell my V8. I have way too many family obligations and too many cars to keep up with. Here are some details.

1991 V8 factory manual transmission (1of 72 imported)
Pearl white
168,000 miles
Clean title
Grey comfort interior
Original window sticker and books

All service up to date
Comes with S/M on microfiche and machine
No leaks
Strong engine
No rust
Exterior 7/10
Interior 6/10

Upgrades:

Rare Kenesis K28 wheels. 18×8 with fusion tires
Rare ABT chip
Stromung exhaust
K+N
H+R and Bilsteins
HP2 calipers
SS brake lines
Euro headlights

Issues:

Headliner sags
Cluster acts up once in a while
Heated seats innop
A/C innop
Drivers seat ripped
Driveline shake when it sits (tires)

I’m looking to get $4000 without wheels
$5500 with wheels

A little voice inside my head keeps saying “Don’t do it. Don’t do it. Don’t do it.” It’s got a few typical V8 quattro issues, but it appears that the bones of the car car what you’d want – rust free, an original 5-speed, and some nice upgrades. Personally, I’d not take the wheels and opt instead for the original BBS RG forged units. What else is there to say? You’ll open your checkbook every time you get near this beastie. And, undoubtedly it’ll give you many good stories. The list of NLA parts on the V8s was pretty substantial when I owned mine – now 12 years ago. I can only imagine it’s much worse today, though there is a active community that loves to love these cars. If I had the room, a lift, all tools, and a spare 4.2 parts cars, I’d seriously consider buying it. Alas, I have a few projects as it is under my belt and a foray into another classic Audi will wait for another day.

Of course, you should do it! If nothing else, just so I can hear the stories.

Thanks to our readers Daniel and John who simultaneously sent this to me because they’re as nuts as I am!

-Carter

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3 Comments

  1. Carter,
    Make sure a good running “parts car” is in in your budget.

    I loved my type 44, in my case a 200 20vt, for all the issues it never left me stranded, it drove without headlights, power steering/brakes, and in one case a seized rear caliper, but always got me home. It taught me about German excellence, and what it means to be a good technician. I would never own another unless it was preserved in a vacuum since new, mine lived a pampered life and when I sold it in 2011 the interior was crumbling apart, I started to get frustrated with the condition and stopped enjoying it..

    What a classic tank though, one of these in a Colorado mountain snowstorm makes you feel like you can defy physics.

  2. In hardware store, I:
    “Hi, could you copy this key please?’
    She looks at the template keys all organized in a cabinet.
    “WHAT is is?”
    “An Audi.”
    “A WHAT? AUDI? Is that like made by Chevy? BMW?”
    “No, it’s not a model, it’s a make … an entire car company. It’s not a particular model made by another company. It’s not a Chevy whatever.”

    “What is this?”

  3. Hmm, after reading this post my V8 dreams may stay a fantasy… But I still love the lines!

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