In 1987, there were quite a few Jettas to like (as Jettas go, that is). If you absolutely had to have a trunk, you could grab a turbo diesel for its last year until the 1990 Ecodiesel arrived. The “GL” trim package gave you power options like windows, mirrors, locks, and even a power antenna – remember when breaking antennas off cars was a hoodlum pastime? Your GL would even come with a ski sack! There was the new Wolfsburg Edition, which gave you all the options of the GLI without sport seats – so you got the special Pirelli P-slot wheels, deeper spoilers, and even a power bump to 105. Did I mention the GLI? For good measure, there were two that year, with the 8V bowing out to the incoming 16V model.
This car is not any of those trim levels, though. This is a plain-jane Jetta; steel wheels, the lowest power available, and manual everything (except, predictably, the transmission). So why look at it? Well, two reasons – and they both open. Oh, and it only has 5,581 miles, too.
If you pop on to the Audi USA configuration site, it’s easy to shake your head at how expensive it seems the range has gotten. The A3 is the cheapest product you can buy, but at $31,200 without options it’s hard to see how this gussied up Golf is affordable.
Yet, relative to where Audis used to sticker, that price is downright cheap.
Take this 1987.5 Audi Coupe GT Special Build. At the end of the run, Audi sold approximately 850 of these B2/B3 hybrid Coupes to the U.S. market. While things like the suspension and basic body were unchanged, the Special Build got the NG-code 2.3 inline-5 that was seen in the later Type 44/C3 and B3 chassis cars with 130 horsepower. The gearbox was also unique to the Special Build, having beefed up drive shafts (for some unknown reason, as the existing ones were already overbuilt). The Special Build was also the only front drive B2 to carry 4-wheel disc brakes – again, shared with the B3 instead. Inside, the Special Build got a special digital dashboard in a slightly different hue than the ’86 Coupe GTs with digital boards had. The interior fabric was updated to the Savoy Velour (also from the B3) instead of the B2’s Kensington Velour – this was signified by a triple stripe instead of a dual stripe. To help distinguish the limited cars, the exteriors featured a “dipped” look; window surrounds were body color as were mirrors and spoiler, and if you opted for Alpine White (L90E) the Ronal R8s were also painted body color. As with most later GTs, the Special Build came relatively loaded with few options, though most don’t seem to have the rear wiper selected for some reason. Sunroof, leather steering wheel, power windows, power defogging mirrors, cassette stereo and power antenna, cruise control and a trip computer were all standard. Only heated seats, a rear wiper, leather interior and an automatic transmission could be optioned.
The price for this “heavily optioned” exclusivity was $20,600, and you’d be hard pressed to leave a dealer for much under $21,000 after delivery charges. Inflation corrected from 1987 dollars to 2016 dollars, that’s about $44,500. The brand new, 2017 Audi A5 Sport with the 2.0 TSFI motor, quattro all-wheel drive and a 6-speed manual starts at $41,200 and has many more amenities standard. Is it any surprise that we see so many more luxury vehicles today than what we saw in the 1980s?
Park a 1984 Audi 4000S quattro next to a 1985 Audi 4000S quattro and you’d be forgiven for thinking they were completely different cars. While few changes were manefested under the skin, the major overhaul in 1985 of the 4000 gave the car a completely different character. Few stones were left unturned; new aerodynamic headlights and smooth, textured body-color bumpers with revised indicators led the charge and did well to integrate the mandatory 5 mph impact bumpers. Wider black moldings surrounded the car. The same Ronal R8 14″ x 6″ 14 spoke wheels were present, but as the revised B2s stretched their legs, new aerodynamic lug covers appeared. The taillight design and rear quarter panels were revised as well – now the lights wrapped completely across the back of the car. But the full-width lights masked a big change to the body, as the trunk now had a much lower threshold, with the center section of the lights integrated into the lid. Inside, the seats didn’t change but the dashboard was entirely new. More up-to-date and modern feeling, power windows now were both front and rear and a few more options for colors were offered.
But underneath, what made the Type 85 quattro great remained unchanged. The 2.2 liter inline-5 JT-code motor was still pumping out 115 horsepower; modest for the weight, but with a great howl and good, usable torque. All-wheels were still driven with twin vacuum-actuated locking differentials, and the robust drivetrain and suspension was largely rally-ready out of the box. The great recipe coupled with the heavily revised and modernized aesthetics meant that the 1985 4000S quattro was a sales success, at least in relative terms. Nearly 5,000 sold that year (4,897 according to Audi), making it the most popular year for the model: