1988 Audi 5000CS quattro

One of the reasons it’s hard to get excited about the Type 43 Audi is just how far forward the bar was moved with the Type 44. Similar to the leap from the 6-series to the 8-series BMW, the Type 44 was a radical departure both in style, aerodynamics, and chassis dynamics. The basic Type 44 chassis would endure a remarkable run, too – from its basic layout in the Forschungsauto FV Auto 2000 from the 1981 Frankfurt Auto Show right through the derivative D11 V8 quattro through the 1994 model year. The C3 was revolutionary in its incorporation of modern aerodynamic devices, helping to drop drag coefficients to a then-excellent .30 cd. The Audi design prompted many copies, the most notable of which was the very popular Ford Taurus.

But the C3 was about more than just a slick body. Underneath it continued the C2’s turbocharging on top-tier models. With the addition of intercooling, power was up quite a bit from the prior model. Where the 1983 5000 Turbo generated 130 horsepower and 142 lb.ft of torque in U.S. trim, the C3’s MC1 brought 158 horsepower and 166 lb.ft of torque to the party. It was good enough to prompt notoriously BMW-friendly Car and Driver to name it to its ’10 Best’ list for the first time. In the later 200 20V, it also brought a tamed version of Audi’s Sport Quattro motor to market. The Ingolstadt company also pioneered full body galvanization, something that would become the norm for many newer cars moving forward. That body also grew, as Audi added its signature ‘Avant’ model to the lineup. But of course the big news was the 1986 addition of the word synonymous with Audi in the 1980s and ever since – quattro:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Audi 5000CS quattro on St. Louis Craigslist

Continue reading

Double Take: 1980 and 1981 Audi 5000Ss

Update 12/2/18: The manual 1981 5000S has been relisted with a reserve auction and opening $6,500 bid price. It bid to $5,100 last time around and I was surprised it didn’t sell. Based upon the other Type 43 sales recently, the current listing seems ambitious so we’ll probably see this one remain for sale for a bit.

Update 11/11/18: The 1980 5000S sold for $2,600.

I wasn’t particularly effusive with praise for the Type 44 Audi 5000S, although it was almost certainly the car which kept Audi’s doors open and lights on in the U.S. during the 1980s. Part of the reason that the Type 44 was so successful was that it was a major step forward from the Type 43, a car designed in the 1970s that felt…well, decidedly like it was from the 1970s. It was big, boxy, not particularly efficient and not particularly technically advanced – especially when compared to the model which replaced it.

However, there were some great qualities about the Type 43. It was the model that introduced mass turbocharging to Audi with the 200 5T, a de-tuned version of which would appear in the U.S. as the Audi 5000 Turbo. Audi used that idea to launch the Quattro a bit later, and the rest is history. The Type 43 was also quite a handsome car, though like many from the period its looks were hampered by the DOT-approved bumpers. Although well reviewed by magazines and offering class-leading features and technology, the Type 43 never really sold in great numbers. A total of 163,442 sold here between its 1978 launch and 1983, the last model year before the Type 44 replacements rolled into dealers. That was just a bit better than the C1 Audi 100 had sold here, a car with a less-than-stellar reputation. Clearly, the Type 43 spent most of its time erasing the memory of the C1, and consequently it is important as it laid the cornerstones for the more successful Type 44.

Today C2s are pretty hard to come across, though we do see a regular flow of them across these pages. Today’s examples are the more pedestrian (and more common to find) 100 horsepower naturally aspirated versions rather than the early Turbo. Still it’s a bit of a treat to get two at the same time, so here we go:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1981 Audi 5000S on eBay

Continue reading

1985 Audi 5000S

Let’s go back to the beginning of Type 44 production today and take a look at this Audi 5000S. To me, this car represents just about the least appealing model in the lineup for 1985. No turbo, no quattro, automatic, Kalahari Beige Metallic – it really doesn’t get more yawn than this. “But it’s a ‘S’ model“, you say. Ah, but continuing on the theme of Audi’s unconventional naming strategy in the U.S., there was cleverly no non-S model for a few years – everyone got a participation trophy.

As it turns out, there were a lot of ‘everyone’. The new 5000, which started selling in the U.S. in 1984, was a massive success for Audi. In fact, it was far and away the most successful model they sold in the 1980s. And while we love to see turbos and quattro and manuals, it was specifically this car – gold Audi 5000S front-drive automatics – that sold in droves. Audi sold 48,057 5000s in 1985, for example. Only about 20% were Turbos. And the quattro model didn’t launch until very late in the year. Even when it did, they similarly never accounted for more than 20% of sales of the Type 44.

Still, ~40,000 doesn’t sound like a bit number. But consider Audi sold a total of 26,000 other cars between the Coupe, Quattro and all 4000s the same year. And the 5000’s proliferation wasn’t just over one model year. From 1984 to 1988, Audi sold 171,494 Type 44s in the U.S. and was really only limited by the November 1986 airing of the 60 Minutes debacle. This ’85 is representative of how a majority were delivered, but is not indicative of the condition of most today:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Audi 5000S on eBay

Continue reading

1987 Audi 5000CS Turbo

The gulf between North American and European market performance was wide in all manufactures in the 1980s, but no where did it feel more vast than with the Audi products. That was especially true with the turbocharged variants of the large chassis. In European guise, the Type 200 5T developed 170 horsepower even without an intercooler, while the U.S. 5000 Turbo managed only 130 from the 2.1 liter inline-5. That was a 24% drop in performance, and it didn’t get much better with the Type 44 replacement. Though displacement later grew to 2.2 liters in the MC1 and 2 codes, power output never exceeded 162 horsepower. That meant that the 1987 Audi 5000CS Turbo (and the turbocharged quattro model) produced only about 81% of its European equivalent’s power output.

Despite that, the 5000 was a great sedan. It was quite, comfortable, and more modern-feeling than its contemporaries. It was also good enough for notorious BMW-friendly Car and Driver to add it to their 10-Best list – even without the trademark all-wheel drive. With weight fairly far in excess of 3,000 lbs, the luxury sedan wasn’t a rocket off the line, but on the roll it was a competent and quiet cruiser. Audi claimed the automatic-equipped Turbo model would hit 60 mph in 8.7 seconds and flat out would do 130 mph – numbers that were barely better than its normally aspirated smaller brother Coupe and 4000S front-drive models (themselves not particularly notable for being quick!). But thanks to some notoriety in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and great press (ahem – well, for a bit anyways!), these Audis sold fairly well. For example, compared to the 4000 quattro and Coupe GT models, the 5000 Turbo was traded in much greater numbers despite its high price. In 1987, Audi sold just shy of 2,000 Coupe GT models and nearly 3,000 4000CS quattros. But the Turbo? They sold 6,849 of them. Why are they so rare to see then?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Audi 5000CS Turbo on eBay

Continue reading

1983 Audi 5000 Turbo

I think I’m going to lose some credibility in my declaration of rarity of Type 43s, because for the third week in a row we get to view a very nice example. Unlike the previous two, today’s 5000 is one of the last Type 43 Turbo models to make it to these shores. Moving to the turbo model didn’t quite get you the power of the Quattro; without an intercooler, these cars only had 130 horsepower. However, that was a substantial bump over the standard 100 horse normally aspirated model, so they were reasonably quick for the time. The Turbo also featured upgraded 280 mm front brakes and 240 mm rear discs – other 5000 models had only drums. Holding those brakes up were 5-bolt hubs and Ronal R8 wheels shared with the Quattro, giving the 5000 a much more sporting presence. Usually these Turbo models were loaded, too – leather, air conditioning, and automatic transmissions were the norm. Pathetic residual value of the Type 43, though, ensured that very few have survived until today:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 Audi 5000 Turbo on eBay

Continue reading

1988 Audi 5000S Avant

Were you to buy this Audi 5000S Avant, exactly zero people would run up to you and give you a high five. But more likely than not, as you were at a gas station topping off the ginormous 21 gallon fuel tank, you’d have time to hear at least one snicker accompanied by a “hey, ain’t that the Audi that accelerates by itself?” 60 Minutes, the Donald Trump of high-brow journalism in the 1980s, so thoroughly managed to destroy the reputation of Audi that the brand was nearly extinguished from the U.S. market. Never mind that the owners had hit the wrong pedal because the automatics had a normal sized, normally placed pedal instead of the “EXTRA BIG-ASS” pedal ‘Merican cars gave you at the time. Never mind that 60 Minutes had to rig the on-air segment to demonstrate the Audi’s brakes failing. Never mind dealers would demonstrate – even in the turbo models – that if your foot was to the floor on the brakes, no amount of throttle could overcome them. You could stand there and argue yourself blue in the face, and still the person will walk away laughing about the Audi who acts like Stephen King’s Christine. It probably doesn’t help that it’s Tornado Red, though….

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Audi 5000S Avant on eBay

Continue reading

1987 Audi 5000S quattro

The 1987 and 1988 Audi 5000S quattro was an interesting model. It took the drivetrain, the wheels and brakes shared with the turbocharged CS model (CD in Canada) but married them with the more modest NF 130 horsepower 2.3 liter normally aspirated inline-5. They ran the standard 5000S headlights as well, single bulb 9004s which had about .5 candle power each when new. Seriously, the Amish have more light at night. Inside was not as luxurious as the CS/CD models, either, with manual seats and velour where there would usually be leather. These omissions helped to keep the price in check a bit as the 5000 in CS quattro form had gotten pretty expensive with a sticker price of $34,000 – $35,500 if you wanted the Avant. The lack of turbo and leather dropped these S quattro models to a much more reasonable $27,000. However, the performance of the 5000S quattro was pretty poor, though fuel economy was the same as the turbo models they made a reasonable highway cruiser. Like most Type 44s, they’re infrequently seen these days:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Audi 5000S quattro on eBay

Continue reading

1980 Audi 5000 Diesel – REVISIT

When I saw this 5000, it looked familiar to me even though we rarely cover C2s. But when I read the ad, I was sure I’d seen it before. While we try to produce fresh material with every post, once in a while a truly special or unique alumnus of our pages resurfaces. In this case, it’s a quite rare Type 43 Audi 5000 Diesel. Originally, this car was written up at the end of 2013; now, nearly 3 years later, it’s back from a seller in Tennessee, have traveled only apparently 200 more miles and with a $1,000 price drop to $8,995. What’s perhaps even more spectacular is that they stole my words for the advertisement copy, only replacing “New England” as seen below with “Tennessee”. While it was good for a laugh and I’ll choose to chalk the plagiarism up to a backhanded compliment, this remains a very impressive and rarely seen specimen:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1980 Audi 5000 Diesel on eBay

The below post originally appeared on our site December 14, 2013:

Continue reading

Motorsports Monday: 1984 Audi Coupe GT

Far less famous than its wide-hipped brother and mostly unknown to most U.S. customers, the B2 Audi Coupe was available with quattro all-wheel drive in other markets. It shared nearly all components with the sibling 4000 (90) quattro, including 4×108 wheel pattern and 256mm front brakes – items that were also on the U.S. spec front-drive GT. So, one would assume it would be pretty easy to “swap in a quattro”, as the internet posts usually start. Of course, those individuals who start the posts best be wearing flame-retardant clothing, as they are immediately inundated with responses that kindly (or not so) explain the difficulties inherent in this project. You see, everything aft of the firewall on the all-wheel drive floorplan is different than the two wheel drive units; indeed, as I’ve pointed out previously, even the two wheel drive floorpans were different between automatics and manuals. That means to recreate a rest of the world Coupe quattro, you need the floorpan from a 4000 quattro mated to a body of a Coupe GT. This, of course, makes no sense financially as the countless hours involved eliminate all but the DIYers – and even a fair chunk of those with the talent give up on the project. Yet, it apparently didn’t stop the builder of this rally car, who not only swapped the body, but went one step further and dropped in a turbocharged motor and the brakes and wheels from the big-brother Type 44 chassis. The result is a budget Ur-Quattro rally replica without the flare of the original…or, at least, it was a few years ago before it was parked:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Audi Coupe GT on eBay

Continue reading

Avocado Audi: 1980 Audi 5000

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:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1980 Audi 5000 on Cleveland Craigslist

Continue reading