I’ve been thinking about this car for a week now since I spotted it. It’s a poignant follow-up to the Canadian Coupe I wrote up last week. That car cleared just over $4,000 – even accepting the silly stereo upgrade, it was a great deal. I also said in that post that it was rare to see early cars and, as if on cue to disprove me, another all-original ’82 popped up. It’s too good to not look at!
In an effort to explain just why I love the Coupe so much, I took my GT for a drive this morning. I’ve owned it now for over 20 years, and despite having far too much abuse at various points in its life, it is still a car that thrills. It’s comfortable, quick, has plenty of room, turns head and makes great noises. It’s never failed to start. It is supremely adept in corners, egging you on to push harder. It somehow rides even better than my newer car in spite of set-to-punish track-oriented suspension. It’s beautiful simplicity still makes me smile, too. Sure, I was pretty amazed when my son folded down the sunvisor and the vanity mirror light turned on. After all, I don’t get into this car expecting all electrical items to work. But I do get a smile out of this car every time I drive it. What more could you ask for $4,000?
While the Audi Coupe is no stranger to these pages due to some ridiculous bias by a certain author (ahem), we rarely get the treat of looking at the first half of B2 production. But before it became the “Coupe GT” I so adore, the 2-door basis for the Quattro was simply referred to as the Audi Coupe.
Europeans got a choice of several engines, but in the United States options were limited to one: the WE 2.1 liter inline-5, rated at 100 horsepower. Mated to a wide-ratio 5-speed with economy in mind, these cars were decidedly not as sporty as the later KX- and especially NG-equipped GTs. Brakes were smaller, too – with 4x100mm bolt pattern wheels on the early models sharing duty with some Volkswagens. But the Coupe had a whiff of class that the VWs didn’t manage, and its upscale construction – when well maintained – meant these cars have serious staying power.
Early models, while numerically superior to late GTs, are harder to come across. Audi sold some 4,236 1982s – the Type 85 Coupe’s most successful sales year in the U.S.. However, ’81-’83 GTs are the least frequently seen on the open market here, so this one from Canada looks to be prime to import:
In the long list of Audis I don’t really consider particularly appealing, the U.S.C2 is pretty high on the leader board. A design befuddled by Federally-mandated bumpers, perhaps its redeeming quality is that it introduced us to the characteristic inline-5 thrum that would hold over until the end of C4 production. Of course, what really made all of those cars sing was forced induction, and so within the C2 range, the model that ostensibly is the most desirable is the Turbo. And it was, when in ‘5T’ Euro 200 form. However, the U.S. cars were turned down, weighed down, and solely opted with a 3-speed automatic. Interest in this post has, at this point, waned nearly as much as the surviving examples have.
There was also a diesel, and a turbo diesel, version the C2. While they make frozen molasses heading uphill look brisk, they’ve at least got the diesel clique going for them. That leaves the normally aspirated Audi 5000S third in desirability in my ranking for a chassis I wouldn’t intentionally seek out. Not high praise, and this is coming from a pretty strong defender of the ringed corner of our world. But you could get a 5-speed manual, at least. This car doesn’t have that going for it, either, alas.
But am I glad someone saved one from being scrapped? Yeah, I sure am!
Anthony Bourdain has been pretty successful with his show Parts Unknown, in addition to the many other reasons he’s been an award winning chef and writer. In that show, he’s always on the lookout for new and rarely heard of cuisine from around world. And, for the most part even though I’m not a ‘foody’, I find his presentation, travels, and quick summaries of far reaching historical periods pretty enjoyable. He is, for lack of a better comparison, the Jeremy Clarkson of food critics – at least, a bit. In one memorable-to-me episode, he set out to find this magical, amazing and hereto unheard of cocoa plant. But he wasn’t going just to taste this new and interesting food; he was going to secure rights to harvest the plant and to profit. And, frankly, he couldn’t have seemed less interested or involved in any step of the process. He complained, whined, and lackadaisically mused about the chocolate he’d later offer for $18 a bar throughout the episode, ignoring the cultural and economic aspects of the lives the people of Peru – where the bar’s magical ingredients come from. I was left feeling at the end of the episode that it was less an investigation of the process, and much more an advertisement for the overpriced consumerism he was going to attach his name to. Why wouldn’t you pay $18 for a chocolate bar – he’s Anthony Bourdain and he obviously knows more than you, so ante up!
The point of this is story that I’m left feeling that many of the inflated markets are doing just what Bourdain did; cashing in on a name and a reputation coupled with a market surge. One classic you can get into without all of the market hoopla, though, is pretty much any classic Audi outside of the Quattro – for now:
Recently, in addition to my usual car hunting I had the pleasure of doing some house hunting. The market is all over the place; you can pay a huge amount and get a brand new but not particularly stylish or well built home, or you sift through overpriced polished up turds and absolute wrecks that require complete rebuilds. Sound familiar? Quite a few of the homes that we went through in our journey featured near original kitchens – remember when Avocado was the color of everything? Laminate, appliances, cooktops, lounge chairs? Everything had to be that shade of green. Now, in 98% of cases, that’s a very bad thing since it not only looks dated, but tired and tasteless too. But sprinkled in just the right amount – a vintage freezer, for example, it somehow is really chic. And just like Chic manages to also be cool in small doses, this C2 Audi 5000 in Onyx Green Metallic with matching green…well, everything looks spectacularly awesome: