1991 Audi 90 quattro 20V Turbo

Everyone talks a good game, but let’s be honest – few undertake the heavy lifting involved with a project car. I’ve certainly been guilty of it more than once, having had a Coupe GT racecar that I just couldn’t quite come up with the resources to get together. Then I was going to drop my spare Audi 4.2 V8 into a derelict 924 chassis that was kicking around. I still think that’s a good idea, but it has not occurred. And I’m not alone, judging by how often ‘project’ cars come up for sale.

One of the more prevalent dreams in the Audi swaps is to recreate what Europeans had the advantage of all along – 20V turbo power in the small chassis. While most take the Coupe Quattro route for their swap, some go the unusual route of choosing an 80 or 90 quattro. They’re not as popular for a few reasons – mostly, the sedan platform doesn’t look as neat to some, but another reason is that tire size is more limited on the sedan. But let’s not forget that Audi built about 300 S2 sedans themselves, so it’s not without precedent.

Today’s car has taken inspiration from that and done the heavy lifting for your project already. So is it the car for you?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Audi 90 quattro 20V Turbo on eBay

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1993 Audi 90CS quattro Sport

As I’ve covered before, Audi made some strange moves in the early 1990s in terms of nomenclature and pricing strategy. The best example for this is undoubtedly the sticker price. In late 1994, the ‘new’ BMW M3 rolled into dealer showrooms in the United States. If you selected no options, you paid roughly $38,000 and got a bunch of pretty reasonable standard features and a 240 horsepower inline-6, some fantastic seats, and the best handling this side of a race car. If you moved over to the Audi side of the showroom, the top-tier offering in their small chassis was the 90CS quattro Sport, which cost about $3,500 less admittedly. However, you got a slow-revving 2.8-liter V6 rated at 172 horsepower. Okay, they had different missions. And the Audi was really intended for inclement weather. Why, then, were heated seats and washer nozzles extra? And why was the sky sack extra? It’s not like this was a stripper car. This was the equivalent of a $60,000 plus dollar car today! To draw it into much sharper contrast, the base price of today’s RS3 – which sprints from 0-60 in under 4 seconds – is $56,000. They apparently got the memo that heated seats should be standard, too.

So you (or I) could make a strong argument that the 90CS quattro Sport was a better built car than the E36, and in many ways, it was. But from and enthusiast’s standpoint, the decisions that went into the launch of the B3 and B4 cars were exactly what caused Audi’s early 90s sales problems. Don’t blame 60 Minutes. They were too soft and not luxurious enough to really justify their price. Good looking cars? Sure. But Audi fixed the issue with the A4 – tightening the looks up in a more aggressive package, adding a touch more (perceived, mostly) sport with turbocharged powerplants, and dropping the base price substantially. A base A4 2.8 quattro in 1996 rolled out the door at roughly $28,000, and at that price point, it’s no surprise that it was a lot more compelling to consider. Today though? Well, these 90s are pretty hard to come by at all, so when a great condition example comes up for sale, it’s more exciting to see than an A4 and always worth a look:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1993 Audi 90CS quattro Sport on eBay

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2008 Audi RS4

For some time, I’ve generally ignored the B7 RS4. This probably comes as a surprise, as being an Audi fan it should be a natural favorite of mine. They look good, offered uncompromising performance, and – while expensive when new – in predictable fashion they became much more affordable recently.

But it’s also an expensive car to maintain, and residual values from the first and second crop of owners has dropped down towards the point where third-tier owners are getting into them. The problem is that if you’re thinking about buying one of these long term, you may be better suited buying one before the typical scenario occurs with these cars – prices drop, people that can’t afford to maintain them well buy them, and when you finally get one it’s an uphill battle to try to keep it going.

Recent sales of great condition, lower-mileage RS4s have been trending upwards, with prime examples hitting betweem $35,000 and $45,000 over the past few months. So it’s tempting to consider one with a few more miles than average to save a few dollars. But is it worth it?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2008 Audi RS4 on eBay

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GCFSB Alumnus: 2002 Audi allroad 2.7T Audi Exclusive Olympic Edition 6-speed

Way back in 2015, I looked at a special Allroad – one of ten that were used in the 2002 Sal Lake City Olympics. They were created through Audi’s Exclusive program and were finished in Sprint Blue Pearl Effect. Since they’re so rare, they don’t come up for sale often. But one did come across my desk this week, and it looked awfully familiar. That’s because it’s the same car I looked at back in ’15! So here it is again, about 70k more miles and not quite as pristine as it once was. But it’s still got the desirable 6-speed manual swap, it’s no reserve, and Sprint Blue is always an eye catcher. So let’s take a look at it today!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 Audi allroad 2.7T Audi Exclusive Olympic Edition 6-speed on eBay

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1992 Audi 100CS quattro

So on to the C4 chassis. Though it was instantly recognizable as an Audi, the all-new C4 bore little resemblance to the boxy C3 it replaced. Fluid lines and curves dominated the design, while new running gear and motors made a splash in performance. The C4 continued to stress Audi’s pioneering aerodynamic tradition, but the result this time was a car which seemed far less top-heavy than the chassis it replaced. It looked more trim even if it was a big bigger than the outgoing model.

On the fly, the 100’s new motivation was a revelation. The 2.8 liter V6 replaced the 2.3 liter inline-5, and though horsepower was only 172 and torque 184, both figures represented a nearly 30% gain over the 5-pot. New, too, was a 4-speed automatic transmission. And while the inside looked little different from the last of the C3, only switch gear was shared and the C4 brought a host of new safety and convenience features to the large-chassis Audi.

Strange, though, was the re-appearance of Audi’s earlier naming convention in the US. Back in the early days of the 5000, Audi had used the “S” and “CS” monikers to denote turbo and quattro models at times (but, again being Audi, inconsistently). Well, the S and CS were back after a four-year hiatus. Base model 100 came with steel wheels, while the “S” model stepped you up in options and gave you alloys. But outside of the 20V turbo S4 model, the 100 to get was still the 100CS, which was the most loaded and gave you the option for Audi’s quattro drivetrain. Fully loaded, they were around $35,000 – not cheap, but also not the most expensive in class, and were still pretty unique in offering all-wheel drive.

However, like the C3, the front-drive 100/100S/100CS outsold the quattro model by a fair margin. Audi claims they traded 2,230 of the new 100CS quattro in 1992, and here’s one of the nicest ones out there:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1992 Audi 100CS quattro on eBay

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1987 Audi 4000CS quattro Special Build

Most enthusiasts couldn’t give a damn about a mid-80s Audi. I am not ‘most enthusiasts’. Indeed, if two people pulled up to a Cars and Coffee – one in a brand-new C8 Corvette and one in a fairly used 4000CS quattro, I know which one I’d gravitate towards. I’d like to think I’m not alone, either. The 4000CS quattro was one of the best examples of the expression ‘greater than the sum of its parts’. With only 115 horsepower on tap and fairly mundane roots in an economy car, you’d be right to not expect much. But the 4000CS quattro over-delivered in just about every way thanks in no small part to a healthy dose of DNA infused from its bigger, turbocharged brother.

To end production, just as they did with the Coupe GT Audi of America rolled out a Special Build 4000CS quattro. Since it already had four-wheel discs, that wasn’t changed, nor was the engine, unlike its two-door counterpart. But what you got was a special Jacquard quattro-script heated cloth interior, blacked-out badges, body-color mirrors, a trip computer, and one of the best all-weather companions ever created:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Audi 4000CS quattro Special Build on eBay

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2002 Audi TT Coupe 225 quattro ALMS Edition

If the minor nomenclature differences between what constitutes a BMW with sport items, a Sport model, and a M-Sport model can be confusing, the ordering of model designation in Audi’s TT lineup is downright infuriating. Technically, I think the correct order for the model is as shown above – Audi TT Coupe 225 quattro ALMS Edition.

Maybe.

And here’s the trick. First you needed to differentiate if you ordered a Coupe or Roadster. In 2002, you could get a front-drive coupe with the 180 horsepower engine, and you could also get the 180 horsepower motor with optional Haldex quattro all-wheel drive. But if you selected a Roadster, you couldn’t get a 180 quattro. Now, if you went for the upgraded 225 horsepower motor, you automatically got quattro – there was no front-drive option. That makes the “quattro” moniker after any 225 model redundant. Even more redundant in this case is the “Coupe” moniker, because if you opted for the ALMS appearance package in the 2002 model year, the hardtop was your only choice. So if you referred to this as a TT ALMS – as many do – the rest would follow – you’ve got by default a 6-speed manual 225 horsepower quattro Coupe. For many, this makes the ALMS one of the most desirable 8N TTs, and the limited run of 1,000 examples in either Misano Red Pearl with Silver Gray Nappa leather or, as show here Avus Silver Pearl with contrasting Brilliant Red Leather tends to command a premium over other examples of the first-gen Golf-based model:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 Audi TT Coupe 225 quattro ALMS Edition on eBay

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1991 Audi 200 quattro Avant

1991 was a great year for Audi and Volkswagen enthusiasts in America, robust with performance options all around. Fans of normally aspirated motors had multiple double-cam choices; the 16V twins from Volkswagen with the GTI/GLIs, each with heavily bolstered Recaros and awesome BBS wheels. Going slightly less boy racer and more upscale yielded the equally impressive 20V inline-5 duo from Audi, with the Coupe Quattro and 90 20V quattro. They weren’t as quick off the line, but they were certainly well built, solid performing luxury vehicles. Of course, the big daddy of normal aspiration in the lineup was the V8 quattro. Still at 3.6 liters and 240 horsepower for 1991, it was also available with a manual transmission and was in the midst of a winning streak in the DTM series, usurping power from the E30 M3 and 190E 2.5-16 in monumental style.

If forced induction was more your choice for speed, there were plenty of options there, as well. 1991 featured a slightly revised Corrado, now also with BBS wheels and the 1.8 liter G-lader supercharged motor. Audi offered you a luxury cruiser still in the 200 Turbo, as well. But the big news was finally the release of the 20V Turbo motor into the lineup. Long featured in the Sport Quattro, then RR Quattro in Europe and later S2, in America Audi brought the 3B turbocharged inline-5 package in the 200. As an added bonus, it was available in both sedan form and the innovative Avant wagon. Producing 217 horsepower and a bit more torque, the Audi was capable of 0-60 runs in the mid-6 second range if you were quick with your shifts. But this wasn’t a bracket racer – the 200 was a luxury car through and through, with a well-appointed cabin full of the things you’d expect – Zebrano wood trim, electric powered and heated leather seats front and rear, and a high-quality Bose stereo. Unusual for a luxury car of the time, but underscoring the German’s feelings towards driving, were the number of driver-oriented items. The dash was full of gauges, and unlike the V8 and 200 Turbo, the 20V was manual-only. Next to the shift lever was the manual rear differential lock, though as with all the second generation quattro drivetrains, the electronic lock disengaged at 15 m.p.h. automatically. The center differential was a Torsen unit capable of varying power as well. And the brakes were unconventional floating-rotor designs, intended to help haul the heavy 200 down from triple-digit Autobahn speed with ease. Unlike the normal 200, the fenders on the 20V were flared slightly to accommodate BBS forged wheels, 15×7.5″ all around and shared with the V8 quattro. It sounded like a recipe for success, and was a well regarded car when new even if the unconventional manual/turbo-5 setup lacked some grunt compared to the V8s of the day.

Yet this was still the fallout period of both the recession of the 1990s and Audi’s fall from grace in the U.S. market, so the 200 was a slow seller. On top of that, the C3 was at the very end of its life cycle, replaced mid-1991 with the C4 chassis. As a result, very few of the 200 20V quattros were built; Audi claims 4,767 sedans and a scant 1,616 Avants were produced with the 3B motor. Of those, only about 900 sedans made it to America. But the number you care about? Well, this 1991 200 20V quattro Avant is one of the 149 originally imported here.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Audi 200 quattro Avant on Autotrader

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2003 Audi S8

I still have this dream of getting a S8. This seems like a strange thing to dream about, I admit. And, it also seems like a quite attainable dream. My father-in-law often tells me about some day procuring his ‘dream truck’ – a manual mid-90s six-cylinder F150. I’ve found several for him that seem like good prospects, and none are ever more than a few thousand dollars. As I’ve said to him several times, ‘If you’re $4,000 away from your dream, what’s holding you back?’

Well, that comment coming from me is riddled with hypocrisy. I certainly could sell my very reliable Passat, save a bit of coin, and buy a S8. The problem increasingly inherent in that plan is that the S8 I can afford will probably not be the S8 I want. See, in the early 2000s I fell in love with the design. In the mid-2000s I lusted over lightly used examples that were out of my price range. S8s are now in a range I can afford, but it’s no longer the early 2000s and most are, to be frank, pretty used up. And though they’re far from the most technologically advanced vehicle, they aren’t exactly an F150 either in terms of complexity and parts availability (not to mention pricing). So looking at a S8 means you automatically need to budget in probably double the asking price or more in potential repairs between the transmission, timing belt service, and other deferred maintenance. Or, you can find one where that’s been done for you:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Audi S8 on eBay

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Imola Yellow 2003 Audi RS6

Well, if it’s not evident already, you know why this one is here. First off, it’s one of just about 1,200 RS6s imported. But the vast majority of those are black, gray, or blue. A little over a year ago I took a look at a rare one that wasn’t – one of five Polar White examples. But in terms of rarity, this one is 250% less likely to be seen. It’s one of a claimed two Imola Yellow examples sold in the US. Some people claim color doesn’t matter, but let’s be honest – here, it does.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Audi RS6 on eBay

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