Roll The Dice: 1986 Volkswagen Jetta GLI

Update 8/30/18: The car has been relisted at $3,000 Buy It Now.

I keep chuckling as I come across A2 Jettas. I’ve already professed that they’re not my favorite, yet interesting examples continue to pop up and they’re simply too good to pass on. Today’s may buck that trend, however, as it’s a non-original, non-running example. So what’s it doing here? Well, because of how it was built and how it appears today, it was worth a closer look. With a 1.8 PL 16V swap, a great set of Ronal wheels and some other VW-chic mods, is this a Jetta worth saving?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Volkswagen Jetta GLI on eBay

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1987 Audi 4000S

While I’m a big fan of the Audi B2 chassis, I don’t spend much time looking at or for the low man on the totem pole – the 4000S. If you read my Audi badging rant from a while ago, you’ll remember that there was no model below the “S” offered here, so the 4000S was the base model. Although these were the least powerful B2s on offer, in manual form they could keep up with the Coupe GT because they were also the lightest of the chassis here. Power came from a 1.8 inline-4 borrowed from the GTI and GLI Volkswagens, but it was mounted longitudinally like all B2 motors. Even though they were down on power to the 5s, the inline-4 also had 20% less motor hanging out front, making them fairly nimble. Like their 5-cylinder GT brethren, you had a choice between a 5-speed manual or the venerable 3-speed automatic that appeared in everything from the Vanagon to the Porsche 944. They were also the cheapest Audi you could buy in the 1980s. Though we often look at 4000 quattros, the reality is that about 75% or more of any given model year’s sales were front drivers. 1987 saw 9,043 out of 11,972 sold in this configuration. These appeared to be bought primarily by older women who wanted a more refined sedan but weren’t ready to buy the W201 Mercedes-Benz or E30 BMW. Much more often than their all-wheel drive counterparts, or even the GT, clean examples of the prolific 4000S pop up for sale:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Audi 4000S on eBay

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1984 Audi 4000S quattro

Friday, the stellar low-mileage, significant history and great condition 1985 Audi Quattro I wrote up this past week sold for $81,400. It’s definitely a signal that there’s been more interest in the mid-80s Audi market in the past few years, as finally these cars get a bit of sunlight shone on just how great they are. The problem? There are very, very few good examples left of any mid-80s Audis. Most of the really nice ones are coveted by their owners (this author included) which means they come up for sale infrequently – frankly, there’s not been a reason to sell them up until this point, as no one has been willing to pay a reasonable market value.

But $81,400? I’d wager no one with a 1985 Quattro today has that much invested in theirs. So while I’m sure there will still be a plethora of fans who want to hold on to theirs longer, it wouldn’t surprise me to see the trickle of nice Quattros we’ve seen hit the market over the past two years start to increase.

With that in mind, if you’re a fan of the inline-5 all-wheel drive recipe, you’ve got to turn to ‘lesser’ models, just as the E30 and 911 crowd has. And if you’re a big fan of the original model, there’s only one that makes the most sense – the 1984 4000S quattro.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Audi 4000S quattro on Sacramento Craigslist

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Double Down – Vegas Style: 2017 Audi R8 V10 Plus

We’re pretty used to the formula here: take a limited edition or special production 911, slap a neat color on it, and watch the price rise. Even brand new cars – ones that you can roll down to the dealership and order up yourself – are demanding a strong premium in the used marketplace. Insanity? A ‘bubble’? Bad economics? It doesn’t matter what the cause is, it’s the way life is for the foreseeable future.

But it’s not a trend which follows across the board. Take today’s twin Audi R8 V10 Pluses. The ‘Plus’ adds a serious amount of sport to the standard V10 R8, itself no slouch. Kicked up 70 horsepower to 610 and driven through a 7-speed S-Tronic it’s capable of sub-3 second sprints to 60, can obliterate a standing quarter mile in less than 11 seconds from a 5.2 liter normally aspirated V10 capable of spinning north of 8,500 RPMs. Both can hit 205 mph flat out. Both are presented in the searing shade of Vegas Yellow that will generate enough stares to make a GT3 jealous no matter how red its wheels are. . Both feature the upgraded 20″ wheel option and a host of other special carbon fiber touches that come along with the ‘Plus’ package. Despite being able to rip your face off and producing supercar performance from just a few years ago, both are also able to be used in a daily commute – even in winter. They’ll even return above 20 mpg on the highway. They’re astonishing automobiles.

And yet, both are ‘affordable’.

Look, they’re not really cheap. In fact, they’re massively expensive for any car, but many would argue especially so for an Audi. The sticker price on the V10 Plus is $192,000 before options, taxes and destination, after all. Yet with less than 3,000 miles on each of their odometers, this duo hasn’t appreciated like the 911 market – it’s fallen quite substantially. And don’t think I took the cut-rate approach here; I selected the two most expensive used R8s I could find from two of the most expensive dealers on eBay. And yet, combined their asking price is still $80,000 less than the 911 Turbo S Rob looked at over the weekend.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2017 Audi R8 V10 Plus on eBay

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2.Slow Double Take: 1996 Volkswagen Jetta and 1998 Volkswagen GTI

I was thinking about how to relate my feelings about the first few generations of water-cooled small VWs, and I came up with the analogy of the BBC Doctor Who! reboot in the 2000s. The first generation was Christopher Eccleston; edgy, completely different from the prior generations with a fresh face, impossible not to view with a smile but also something you didn’t completely trust. The second generation? David Tennant took ‘The Doctor’ to new levels of popularity; more refined, more fun and with an infectious smile, he was quirky but somehow much easier to live with than Eccleston had been. He also developed a rabid fan base that consider him the best (this author included) even if he had some faults.

Then came Matt Smith. There’s certainly a fanbase who appreciates Smith’s rounder, softer and…well, weird portrayal of the Doctor. I’m not a fan personally, and often find myself pleading with other Who watchers to go back farther because the earlier variations were much, much better. Yet floppy and oddly proportioned, Smith was nonetheless very popular and took the show to a wider audience. See the Mk.3 VW.

Not really the best at anything aside from being pretty expensive relative to its contemporaries, the 2.0 inline-4 ABA-equipped VW’s nonetheless outsold the prior versions. The were poorly built and even more poorly owned; this was clearly a move towards disposable automobiles for the company, and it worked. I never really got the appeal of the third generation until I somewhat reluctantly owned one. And you know what? It wasn’t as good-looking as my ’86 Golf was to me, but in every aspect it was better. It was more reliable (amazingly), got better mileage, had a nicer interior, was faster and had both heated seats AND air con. And both worked! Plus it had fog lights and more stuff fit inside. In short, it was just better at being a car.

While I still don’t lust after Mk.3 VWs, I can appreciate them much more when I see them today. They’re affordable and fun transport that’s quite efficient. In 1993 they felt huge compared to their predecessors. But today? They’re downright tiny. And though this duo has high mileage, they don’t often come to market looking anything like these two anymore:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1996 Volkswagen Jetta on eBay

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1986 4000CS quattro

An interesting counter-point to the very low mileage Canadian ’86 4000S quattro is today’s same year, but U.S. market, 4000CS quattro. Mechanically, there was nothing separating these cars, and indeed even from a trim perspective little was different. Branded the “CS” after 1986 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the automobile, the only real change was the full-time addition of flush centers to the Ronal R8 wheels (it was done haphazardly on some of the ’85 models) and the addition of the mandatory third brake light. However, unlike the Canadian edition car we looked at the other day, U.S. model 4000 quattros all came with the signature polyurethane spoiler painted in the body color.

Options were few on the 4000CS quattro; most came fully loaded with all power accessories and power venting and sliding sunroof. You could opt for a trip computer and heated seats, as well opting for a leather interior. This car, at least from the appearance, has none of those options. However, what you do get is a shining example of the breed in a very unique and not often seen color of Oceanic Blue Metallic:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Audi 4000CS quattro on oldcarsonline.com

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2008 Audi R8

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the introduction of Audi’s supercar-scaring R8. It really was a bit of a leap for the company which typically mastered unsteer-laden sedans to jump into a mid-engine, rear-biased all out sports car, but when they put their mind to it they sure did an impressive job. The design built off existing themes in Audi’s show car history such as the Spyder and Avus concepts of the 90s, but the real foundation work was laid with the twin-turbo Lamborghini V10-powered LeMans quattro show car in 2003. Of course, such a crazy concept would never come to fruition, right?

Fast forward only three years later and the road-ready and newly coined “R8” was brought to the market. Architecture was heavily borrowed from existing models within the company’s umbrella; the basic platform was shared with the Audi-owned Lamborghini Gallardo, while the initial engine came from the RS4 in the form of the 4.2 liter, all-aluminum FSI V8. At 414 horsepower, it might not have given a 599GTB driver much concern, but it surely gave the crew heading into Porsche dealers pause.

From the get-go, journalists swooned over the performance and dynamics of the R8. It was lauded as one of the best packages you could buy – even Clarkson liked it! Even before the mega-V10 model rolled out for 2009’s model year, the 4.2 offered blistering performance in a budget (for the market) package. 0-60 was gone in 4.6 second, the standing quarter in 12.5 and it’d do nearly 190 mph flat-out – at least, that’s what Audi claimed. Car and Driver eclipsed the 60 mark in 4.0 seconds in theirs. At around $120,000 new with some options, the R8 was more dear than any Audi had ever hit market.

But there was something even more odd and unique that this car did, or rather, didn’t do, and it’s one of the main reasons I don’t often write them up. It didn’t fall in value. If you bought a well equipped, V10-engined S8 in 2007, you’d shell out about the same money – $110,000. Today? Less than 20 grand. But the R8 was the first modern Audi not to fall victim to depreciation. Lower mile examples of the early models are still asking over $70,000 – sometimes well over $80,000. So something struck me when I spotted this ’08 – it was cheap. In fact, it was the cheapest R8 I could find on the market. Does that make it a good buy?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2008 Audi R8 on eBay

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1986 Audi Coupe GT with 3,390 Miles

If yesterday’s 76,000 mile Audi Coupe GT was impressive, today’s example is close to unbelievable. Yet here it is – a 1986 model with a scant 3,390 miles showing on the odometer. You’re probably used to seeing very low mile Porsche 911 models, and occasionally we see similar time capsule Mercedes-Benz or BMWs – but nearly never an Audi. Once again, it would be simple to default to the ‘broken odometer’ argument, but the evidence does seem to mount that this might be a fully original example. Welcome, then, to what is as close to a museum-quality example of a Coupe GT as might exist in the U.S.:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Audi Coupe GT on Charleston Craigslist

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1986 Audi Coupe GT

Within the world of older Audis, it’s often a case of pick your poison. Do you want low miles? Do you want good exterior condition? Do you want good mechanical condition? Do you want a manual? Do you want a desirable model?

Running down the checklist when considering the pool of available candidates, infrequently are you allowed to shout out “BINGO”!

But today (and, as it turns out, tomorrow!) we look at something special for fans of the two-door variety:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Audi Coupe GT on eBay

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1987 Audi 4000CS quattro

If you really want to stand apart from the E30 crowd and don’t have a ton of money, one of the best ways is the B2 Audi. Like the E30, it was available in many forms and brought interesting and innovative technology and designs to the small luxury market. There was the stylish and sport Coupe GT, the economical 4000S, or the fan-favorite, do anything 4000 quattro.

Okay, you’re not likely to win a drag race against their Bavarian countrymen unless the weather is quite inclement. But build quality was great, they’re all fun to drive in their own unique ways, and each one of them really makes you feel special – especially the growling inline-5. These Audis are universally loved by their owners and misunderstood by nearly everyone else.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Audi 4000CS quattro on eBay

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