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?
Recently I took a look at a pretty cool European-market Audi Cabriolet:
Euro 1995 Audi Cabriolet 2.6
Just because Europe got most of the fun colors and options doesn’t mean they got all of the fun colors and options, though! Case in point is today’s Tropical Green Cabriolet. This color was part of Audi’s Lifestyle Colors in the 1990s, and boy is it neat! But this particular Cabriolet isn’t done there; a late model with the Votex Competition wheels, it’s also got an equally rare treat inside:
Following the ‘Hey, that worked pretty well for Porsche!’ sales model, Audi introduced an amazing assortment of special models with the R8. I’ve covered several of them, but I feel as though every time I see another I’m baffled – granted, I was not in the market for an R8 when new a few years ago, but I just don’t remember so many special models – most of which just seem to be a neat color. But that’s not the case with this one.
RWS stands for Rear Wheel Series, and of course that means that Audi gave up their famous quattro all-wheel-drive system in this particular model. It is, in fact, the only rear-wheel-drive car to be marketed as an Audi since the pre-War 920 model, I’m pretty sure. In addition to lower weight, the RWS also dropped Audi’s magnetorheological dampers – but you did still get a 540 horsepower V10 behind the seats, a limited-slip differential, upgraded suspension, and a few other special bits unique to this car. Pricing was about $160,000 when new and Audi limited sales worldwide to only 999 units – and just 320 came here. One’s up for sale:
This car sold for $3,700 on June 29, 2021.
Back in January I took a look at a late B5 1.8T quattro Avant:
2000 Audi A4 1.8T quattro Avant
Audi continued the recipe for sales success in the B6 generation, largely carrying over the drivetrain more or less unchanged from late B5s to early B6s. However, soon into the run a nice change appeared; the sixth cog in the gearbox, which had previously been reserved for the 3.0 model. Under the hood still lay the AWM 170 horsepower version of the venerable motor, and like the B5 you had your choice of nice options like the Sport and Cold Weather packages. Today’s sedan has combined all of those things, and it’s a nice shade to boot! Today it’s a surprisingly hard package to find:
This car sold for $17,672 on June 28, 2021.
Just recently I looked at a very nice example of the last of the C4 S6 Avants offered in the US – the ‘95.5 model in Aluminum Silver Metallic:
1995.5 Audi S6 Avant
With “only” 132,000 miles on the odometer and looking pretty fresh, despite a few question marks I felt like it was a pretty reasonable asking price at $14k. Well, wouldn’t you know it? ANOTHER “low mileage” 1995.5 S6 Avant in Aluminum Silver Metallic has turned up for sale. What are the odds? What are the odds? Well, one in 32 according to this seller – but that was when they were new of course. Let’s take a look:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: on eBay