All posts tagged 1986

1986 Audi 80 Sport

It’s easy to get lost in the world of cars that didn’t come to the United States. Enthusiasts in the U.S. swoon over supermodels that never came here; the M5 Touring(s), the Rallye Golf and Audi RS2 name just a few of the many high performance headliners that seem to pop up nearly daily as examples of the arbitrary rules that dictate what comes in to the U.S. market. However, what always tickles me is seeing the lesser known models, and amongst Audi and Volkswagen products there are a plethora of models that are relatively unknown to U.S. enthusiasts. In part, that’s because the U.S. model range did not always mimic what was for sale in Europe – not only in name, but at some points in chassis as well. The Audi B2 is an excellent example of this – to U.S. fans, for example, say “Coupe Quattro” when referring to the B2 chassis and immediately lesser versed individuals will assert that it never existed without a turbo and flares. Of course, they’re wrong – but there were many other models that we didn’t get from the small Audi lineup as well.

In Europe, 1986 was the last year of the B2 Audi 80 sedan – in 1987, it was replaced by the all-new B3 which wouldn’t be seen in the U.S. until 1988. As with U.S. models, the B2 was refreshed in late 1984 with new and more aerodynamic body bits such as headlights and bumpers. Visually, the differences between U.S. and European bumpers – for most of the lineup – was gone at that point. True, underneath there were differences; European cars received integrated fog lights where U.S. cars had blinkers (and the blinkers moved to the reflector blank area for U.S. cars). Now, I say “for most of the lineup” because there was a model which was really part Type 81 and part Type 85 available to Europeans – the Audi 80 Sport:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Audi 80 Sport on eBay

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1986 BMW 528e

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The ’80s “eta” engine from BMW eschew top-end screaming power for low-end torque and efficiency and make for great commuters. Today’s 528e is a gem, having covered less than 40,000 miles and looking outstanding in Burgundy over the like-new Natur comfort interior. It needs a few points of attention to be perfect, but I’m not sure perfection is the way to go with this car. As the number of clean E28s still alive dwindles, this is a great candidate to be a fun and reliable DD that stands out from the rest of the bubbles rolling down the highways.

Click for details: 1986 BMW 528e on eBay

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Beige-off: 1986 Volkswagen Quantum Wagon v. 1987 Audi 5000S Avant

One of the unintentionally funny quotes from Stephen King’s Pet Semetery was the haunting warning from the crusty old Jud Crandall; “Sometimes, dead is better“. Now, I know what you’re thinking – “What, Carter? You’re the biggest Audi/Volkswagen fanboy who writes in complete sentences on a daily basis! And now you want to suggest that these two classic VAG wagons shouldn’t have been buried in the Micmac Indian burial grounds?” Well, I wouldn’t go that far but it does seem that 1980s Audi and Volkswagen products of this ilk are resurrected from the underworld because we see them so infrequently. And for enthusiasts, inevitably they’re not quite the cars we wish had been saved. As a result, besides both being beige in color, these two wagons are completely beige in their totality. Neither was a top-spec car originally though they were both fairly expensive – the Volkswagen stickered at around $14,000 in 1986 without options, while the Audi was the best part of $22,000 base price in 1987. Both come with the long lived but rather forgettable KX-code 110 horsepower inline-5 engine, and both original buyers opted to pay an astonishing $1,000 extra (from memory, it’s been a while) for the dull-witted 3-speed automatic. And then, if that wasn’t enough, both buyers selected their respective marques’ beige tones in a celebration of their mediocrity. Yet here we are, nearly 30 years later, smiling just a bit to see both in overall very good shape. Who wins the “race to watch the paint dry” competition?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Audi 5000S Avant on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday E30s: 1986 Alpina B6 3.5 and 1990 325i Hartge

These days, I think you could slap an E30 badge on just about anything and the cult of the small sedan would perk up and pay attention. If the E30 was the natural choice for a sporting executive in the 1980s, it’s become the defacto way to instant street credentials in the European scene. “Sure bro, you might have a 2JZ-GTE Supra, but I got an E30 dawg!” you might overhear being conversed with a heavy beat from Ludacris pumping in the background and scantily clad women draping themselves over your Claus Luthe designed hood, for example. Is that not what happens? Well, the appeal of the E30 is such that you could easily believe that might be the outcome of turning the key in one. As an Audi fan from the same period, I have to admit a certain amount of jealousy; not so much in the design, but in the plethora of choices of what’s available in the market and the amount of manufacturer and aftermarket support. It’s something you just don’t really see in the Audi camp, for example. That means that you can have some mild to wild examples of E30s to choose from each and every day of the week. They’ve also hit importation status on some later models, so the flood gates have quite literally opened and a steady stream of Euro market cars is popping up for sale, trying hard to capitalize on the car made popular by the success of capitalism. As such, today for Tuner Tuesday I have two E30s to consider; a wild Alpina B6 3.5 from 1986, and a 1990 325i right hooker with a host of Hartge upgrades. Who wins the tune-off?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Alpina B6 3.5 on eBay

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1986 Mercedes-Benz 560SL

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After sizing up that Audi A5 in Teak Brown over the weekend, I came across this lovely, low mileage 1986 Mercedes-Benz 560SL in a not often seen shade of Manganese Brown. Metallic browns have made a comeback recently on cars, no longer being a hue relegated to the decade which brought us disco, an oil crisis and Mayor Ed Koch. The 560SL is one of those German classics that has been rising in visibility amongst collectors. As such, values are beginning to push upwards for what is likely to be the next SL collector vehicle domino to fall. The appear small, but they drive like a much bigger vehicle, if the few I’ve had the chance to pilot over the years are any indication. The legendary bank vault construction is there but the ride quality has a decidedly soft nature about it. They are immensely capable as grand touring machines, but have a bit of float on the twisty bits with the nose rising under acceleration, almost giving you the feel as if you are on a small boat.

Click for details: 1986 Mercedes-Benz 560SL on eBay

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