Back in October, I took a look at a refreshed and S8-tributed D2 A8L.
2003 Audi A8L
Truth told, by love of the D2 focuses mostly on the S8, but I have a weird crush on early models in general. First off there was the wacky 3.7 front-drive model that only lived for two model years and amazingly had less power than the smaller displacement 1990 V8 quattro with the 3.6. It seems as though barely any of those sold new between 1997 and 1999, and it’s hard to believe any survive today. Of course, it was also an early pre-facelift S8 that appeared in Ronin, as well – another reason to love them. Just 2,481 A8s were sold in the US in 1999, broken up between the 3.7 and the model we’re looking at today: and standard A8 4.2 quattro. It is perhaps one of the best examples left in the wild – and it’s just a good reminder of how handsome and understated the original design was.
This Type 44 sold for $2,773 on November 21, 2021.
No stranger to these pages, you’re already likely familiar with why this car is here. But if you’re new to GCFSB and would like a quick overview of what was special about the early 90s Audi/Volkswagen lineup, I dove in a bit in May 2020:
1991 Audi 200 quattro Avant
Of the 149 200 20V quattro Avants originally imported here, it’s safe to say a fair number have gone the way of the dodo. So while today’s car is far from pristine, it’s still worth a look. And, as a plus, it’s also no reserve!
This C4 is listed as sold for $12,950 on November 20, 2021.
Back in January (and, again in July!) I took a look at this European-specification 1995 Audi S6 Avant. So why is it back? Well, in July it moved to a different seller, has different photos, and is now a no reserve auction. Strangely, the new photos also appear to be taken in Europe, but the car is claimed to be in Stamford, Connecticut – and the July auction was also supposed to be no reserve, but here’s the car again – and, again, with a slightly different description with some contact information. Each time a bit of new information is disclosed. Scam? Perhaps, but if you’re interested maybe it’s worth a call.
Original text from January 2021:
It used to be a bit unusual to see 90s-era European-specification cars come this way. But with the advent of the internet and 25-year-old cars being relatively cheap in other areas of the world, coupled with a current soaring market in the US and nostalgia for easier (they weren’t, but it’s okay to think they were) times, it’s less unusual to see Euro-only models for sale stateside. That’s not the case today; this S6 Avant was available here in nearly identical spec. However, there are a few things interesting on this one and it’s worth taking a look:
This 8N sold for $9,350 on November 10, 2021.
You could be forgiven for thinking that the VAG 1.8 liter turbocharged motor was the go-to motor for the company in the late 90s and early 00s. It appeared nearly everywhere in the U.S.; the Golf, Jetta, GTI, GLI, Passat, Beetle, Audi A4, and Audi TT all received the forced-induction unit. And that was just in the U.S.; go to Europe, and you’d find many more models (the A6 and Sharan) and even other companies (VAG’s Skoda and SEAT) with the venerable motor. They were used in race series like Formula Palmer as well. You’d also be forgiven for thinking they were all the same – however, a pause for thought would tell you they couldn’t be. First off, there were the drive train configurations; the Golf-based variants have their engines mounted transversely, while the Audi A4-based cars have them longitudinally. Then there is the output that was available from the factory; the 1.8T started with 150 horsepower in the early 1990s and ended with 240 horsepower in the highest output TT Sport. The natural assumption would be to think they had just turned up the boost, but in fact there were a host of changes to the higher horsepower motors to help sustain the increased pressure.
There are, in fact, no less than 13 distinct versions of the 1.8T from that generation. All shared the same basic structure; cast iron block, 20 valve head with a single turbocharger; but details including injection, crank, computers and engine management and breather systems vary in between each of the models. The Audi TT was the only one to offer various engine outputs here; available in either 180 horsepower or 225 horsepower versions, the later of which was pared with a 6-speed manual and Haldex viscous-coupling all-wheel drive. Though heavy, they were nonetheless sprightly thanks to the turbocharged mill. I’ve said for some time now that I think these will eventually be more collectable as they were an important part of the development of the company, yet few remain in good shape. Were I going to get one, I’d opt for one of the 2002 special edition coupes; the ALMS edition, launched to celebrate the American Le Mans Series victory by Audi’s R8 race car. Available in two colors, Misano Red with extended Silver Nappa leather or Avus Silver Pearl with Brilliant Red Nappa leather, they were mostly an appearance package but also received special 18″ ‘Celebration’ alloys and were limited to 500 examples each:
Defying the odds and most aspects of common sense, a group of fans out there still loves, maintains, and drives Audis from the 1980s and 1990s. Why is this so outrageous? Well, first off, there just aren’t many left. Audi never really broke many sales records here in the US. When we look at this car’s model year, Audi sold about 18,000 cars in total – helped in no small margin by the early launch of the A4. Between 1991 and 1994, Audi averaged only about 13,000 cars per a year. To give us some perspective on that, let’s look at Ford’s F-Series trucks. Even in the midst of pandemics, global parts and labor shortages, and inflation, Ford has managed to move between 45,000 and 84,000 F-Series trucks from showrooms each month of 2021. But that’s the Ford truck, you say, not a luxury car. Fair enough. Let’s look at the least popular Volkswagen on offer – the Passat sedan. Volkswagen is on track to sell more of those here this year than Audi sold total cars in 1995, and they’ve already outsold the ’91-94 years by a safe margin with two months to go.
The secondary part of the problem is Audi’s insistence that we don’t need parts for our 25+ year old cars. It’s not that Audi doesn’t make said parts – they do, and sell them through Audi Tradition. And judging by their recent partnership with Ken Block, Audi’s interested in showing off its historical cars here in America. But they refuse to sell you parts to fix them.
This means, of course, that enthusiasts are left to fend for themselves, creating groups of faithful fans that buy, trade, and sell parts amongst themselves, tricks and tips, and…of course…really good examples for sale that pop up. So let’s dive in to this late-production Magnolia S6 Avant:
Back in January, I took a look at a really nice ‘survivor’ 1990 Audi V8 quattro:
1990 Audi V8 quattro
That car was in pretty decent condition overall, and one of the nice (and somewhat rare to see) options it had was sport seats. Today I’m back with another ’90 V8, once again in the optional and expensive Pearlescent White Metallic. This one has similar mileage, a similar lack of disclosed history, and is in generally similar condition, though it does not have the sport seats. Let’s take a look:
Emerging from the sales slump brought on by the recession and actual fake news, Audi solidified its position in the small executive luxury market with its brand new A4 model in 1996. While in truth the car heavily borrowed from the evolution of the B3/4 series and started life with the same flaccid 12 valve V6 that had replaced the sonorous 7A inline-5 for 1993, the A4 was exactly the model Audi needed to redefine its image.
And redefine it did, going from near zero to hero in just a year’s time.
Car and Driver immediately named the A4 one of its “10 Best” cars, a position it would repeat in 1997 and 1998. Okay, maybe it wasn’t the perennial favorite as the BMW 3-series was for the magazine, but still, that it was mentioned in the same breath was impressive. New sheetmetal was smooth and tight, full of great angles and well-placed curves. The bumper covers were finally integrated well again – something the U.S. specification B4 had inexplicably failed miserably at. Inside was evolution rather than revolution, but the cabin looked and felt upscale and modern. And the market responded to this instant hit; consider, in 1994 Audi sold 12,575 cars in total. In 1996, some 15,288 of just the A4 models were sold. That was before the many variations and improvements Audi rolled out in the B5, too.
Seemingly every year new changes offered refreshment and redesign to the A4. In late 1995 and 1996, you could only get one specification – the 2.8 either with or without quattro. But ’97 saw the introduction of the 1.8T, and the Sport Package got some revisions as well with new Ronal ‘Swing’ 16″ wheels. Today’s Laser Red example has to be one of the better examples out there:
There was a point where it was very hard to find a clean Mk.1 GTI anymore, and consequently the values on them rose sharply and quickly. Predictably, the moment that occurred a bunch of really nice examples subsequently popped up for sale and have continued to emerge as the car has finally been recognized as a classic. Now, couple that scenario with the racing pedigree of the Quattro and sprinkle in a dash of ///Mania into the mix and you’ve got a recipe for some very expensive cars.
With only 664 originally imported to the U.S. and a fair amount dead, balled up in rally stages or repatriated to the Fatherland, the remaining cars that do emerge generally fall into two categories: well maintained examples that fetch high dollars, or needy chassis for the project-minded enthusiasts. Today’s car looks quite clean at first glance, and though it’s not a perfect example it does appear to be highly original. How does that affect its value?
From a wheel that was pretty but let the car down, I’d like to move to a wheel that was pretty and really made the car. In the case of today’s A4, it had all the boxes ticked out of the gate: click the S-Line package on your order form, as many did, and you snuck an extra $2,000 out of your bank account. That got you a black-only leather interior, the 1BE sport suspension, brushed aluminum trim, a S-Line 3-spoke multifunction steering wheel, 18-Inch 5-Arm quattro GmbH Wheels with 235/40 All-Season Tires, S-Line door entry plates, and aluminum optic pedals. Considering what Porsche charges you just to take a radio out of a car, that’s not a bad deal, all in all. You then had the option to click the special package on the special package: the Titanium Package. This gave you blacked out trim inside and out, a black headliner, and the special Ronal-made 15 spoke quattro GmbH wheels in 18″ and finished in titanium, of course.
Sure, the rest of the stuff was nice, and in fact you could get these wheels on other A4s as well. But while I usually don’t love dark-toned wheels, the dark finish on these Ronal wheels, the shape, the stance…everything worked just right to make a really awesome package on the B7. I’m not alone in thinking this, as the B7 Titanium cars typically hold the highest value in the marketplace for this generation of A4. So, let’s take a closer look at this one:
I’ve spent a lot of time diving into the V8 quattro, both literally and figuratively, so I won’t rehash what makes the model special (or exceptionally scary to own) – but if you’re unfamiliar, you can check out my post on a Pearlescent one from January:
1990 Audi V8 quattro
The Lang and short of it is that if you see one marked ‘Project’, you really better have your eyes wide open going in. And without much further ado, that’s what we have here – a project 1990 Audi V8 quattro in California. So why look at it?