1977 Audi 100LS with 30,000 Miles

The Audi C1 may have introduced the United States to the concept of a large, luxurious…well, Volkswagen…but time hasn’t exactly been kind to its legacy. Every time one comes up for sale, immediately stories will emerge of how one caught on fire, or left someone stranded, or was difficult to maintain, or just plain broke and was left to die. From a generation where cars rarely reached 100,000 miles before their untimely death, the 100 was an interesting addition to the range of German cars available to the public, though not particularly memorable for anything innovative, unique, or superlative. Yet they signaled a new direction for Volkswagen’s range, and would go on to be an important part of establishing Audi’s foothold in the market.

The new B-range and C-range cars ostensibly replaced the NSU offerings like the 1967 TT, and Neckarsulm plant formed the backbone of the new production. Because of their visual similarity to the storied Mercedes-Benz W123, many often believe Audi just copied the Daimler design; however, when the W123 rolled out for production, the C1 was nearly done and due to be replaced with the C2 only two years later. Married with Porsche dealerships, the new Audi products sold remarkably well, especially considering their pricing. At nearly $8,000 in the mid-70s, you weren’t far off the established norm of American luxury cars like the Lincoln Continental. But this car didn’t have the features, or the ‘Murican V8, of those hulks. Still, Audi dealers managed to sell an impressive 146,583 before the new C2 5000 took over in the 1977-1978 model year.

Few of these 100LSs have survived the test of time, because for so long they’ve been considered an also-ran. For some time a friend of mine had arguably the nicest one in the United States, and he couldn’t sell it in the mid-single digits.…

1972 Audi 100LS

I’m going to say something that’s probably somewhat shocking to many Audi faithful; the original Audi 100 was actually a sales success. Audi produced nearly a million of its new-style sedan, taking the company of a trajectory of innovative and aerodynamic family cars throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Of course, you’ll say, even if the C1 was a success in Europe, it wasn’t so much here in the U.S., right? After all, you see very close to zero of these handsome 1970s designs kicking around today. That would be a misstatement of the truth, since Audi original sold an astonishing 146,583 Audi 100s here. But since Toyota sells that many Camrys every hour, let’s put that into perspective. Some really rare Audis in the U.S.? How about a few of my favorites – 22,356 Coupe GTs sold here in total, and only 3868 V8 quattros made it to the States. Okay, neither the Coupe GT nor the V8 quattro was a particularly popular model for various reasons. How about a wildly popular model, then? Audi’s sales success with the 100 was on par with the company’s more recent star model, the A4 – Audi shifted 98,393 95-99 A4 models, and those are pretty common to see even if the newest of the B5 generation is 14 years old. A bigger perspective? Audi sold more 100LSs than it sold total cars (135598 total) between 1988-1995. I remember the 1980s, and even then – when these cars were newer than the current B5 generation – you just didn’t see them. That makes it especially neat to see one today, especially in the condition of today’s example:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1972 Audi 100LS on eBay

2-Owner, Low-Mile 1974 Audi 100LS for sale

We come to this site, be it to read, write, or just ogle, because we share an affinity for something different.  That something different is German autos, unique in their attention to detail, unrivaled engineering, and strong (if restrained) styling themes.  Today we’ve got an important piece of German-car history that embodies these identifying elements, albeit one that I was heretofore unaware of.  Volkswagen bought Auto Union from Mercedes in 1965 with a main motivation being expanding production capacity for the Beetle.  Audi’s weak lineup led VW to place a moratorium on new model development, a command that was quickly disregarded by a top engineer.  He developed the Audi 100 on his own with VW only seeing it as a completed prototype.  It was good enough that they approved and released the 100 to significant commercial success.

This Audi 100LS has only had two owners over its 36 years and has covered just 50k miles.  It is thankfully not a garage queen, more a well-respected classic that’s not afraid to be used.  The look seems familiar at first but unique upon closer inspection, at first referencing recent Mercedes roots with the greenhouse and chrome trim followed by hints of Fiat in the tapered ends.  Engineering, design, and just the off-the-beaten-path nature differentiates it from more popular cars of the era and separates our tastes from the “standard” car guy or girl.

A testament:

This is a car that can be purchased and then driven with no issues. We drove it 5 hours to Waterfest some years ago, with no problems whatsoever and I would not hesitate to drive longer distances than that. Being an old car, there will always be things to tinker with if the owner chooses, but this is a turnkey, drive away toy- ready for cruising this summer.