Friday, the stellar low-mileage, significant history and great condition 1985 Audi Quattro I wrote up this past week sold for $81,400. It’s definitely a signal that there’s been more interest in the mid-80s Audi market in the past few years, as finally these cars get a bit of sunlight shone on just how great they are. The problem? There are very, very few good examples left of any mid-80s Audis. Most of the really nice ones are coveted by their owners (this author included) which means they come up for sale infrequently – frankly, there’s not been a reason to sell them up until this point, as no one has been willing to pay a reasonable market value.
But $81,400? I’d wager no one with a 1985 Quattro today has that much invested in theirs. So while I’m sure there will still be a plethora of fans who want to hold on to theirs longer, it wouldn’t surprise me to see the trickle of nice Quattros we’ve seen hit the market over the past two years start to increase.
With that in mind, if you’re a fan of the inline-5 all-wheel drive recipe, you’ve got to turn to ‘lesser’ models, just as the E30 and 911 crowd has. And if you’re a big fan of the original model, there’s only one that makes the most sense – the 1984 4000S quattro.
If yesterday’s 76,000 mile Audi Coupe GT was impressive, today’s example is close to unbelievable. Yet here it is – a 1986 model with a scant 3,390 miles showing on the odometer. You’re probably used to seeing very low mile Porsche 911 models, and occasionally we see similar time capsule Mercedes-Benz or BMWs – but nearly never an Audi. Once again, it would be simple to default to the ‘broken odometer’ argument, but the evidence does seem to mount that this might be a fully original example. Welcome, then, to what is as close to a museum-quality example of a Coupe GT as might exist in the U.S.:
If you really want to stand apart from the E30 crowd and don’t have a ton of money, one of the best ways is the B2 Audi. Like the E30, it was available in many forms and brought interesting and innovative technology and designs to the small luxury market. There was the stylish and sport Coupe GT, the economical 4000S, or the fan-favorite, do anything 4000 quattro.
Okay, you’re not likely to win a drag race against their Bavarian countrymen unless the weather is quite inclement. But build quality was great, they’re all fun to drive in their own unique ways, and each one of them really makes you feel special – especially the growling inline-5. These Audis are universally loved by their owners and misunderstood by nearly everyone else.
Early water-cooled Volkswagens are now entering an interesting phase of market value. For some time, if you bought one and restored it there was only one reason – you absolutely wanted it to be what you wanted it to be, regardless of cost. It was a losing proposition in terms of value as you poured your hard-earned cash into bringing your beloved people’s car back from the brink of extinction. People would openly question your sanity; for your investment, you could have had a brand new car, after all. Even a VW!
But over the past few years, the tide has turned as greater appreciation for the early designs has swelled. Of course, the pool of remaining candidates hasn’t, so prices on pristine original examples have been driven heavily upwards. $22,000 for a low mileage GTI? $17,000 for an original survivor Scirocco? These were numbers that, not long ago, got you a pretty nice Porsche 911 of the same vintage. As a result, it’s suddenly becoming economically viable to restore these early Volkswagens and not lose your shirt.
I had a serious amount of nostalgia when I came across this listing; if finding 1980s Audis has become somewhat rare these days, finding ones in good nick has become even more so. But in this case the nostalgia stems from this particular model in this particular configuration; an Alpine White with Brazil Brown sport cloth 1985 4000S quattro. The reason why is that it’s about as close to the first car I owned as you can come. I had this car in this configuration, but a 1986 “CS” model. Outside of the “C” on the rear, the only other change was the addition of the third brake light at the base of the rear window. I didn’t start out looking for an Audi at all, and to be honest when I was 18 the B2 was virtually unknown to me. I tried – and failed – to buy a decent 2002 tii; an exercise that ultimately led a car-selling friend of my father’s to take me under his wing. He claimed he’d find the perfect car for me, and shortly thereafter I found myself paying for a 4000CS quattro without any real knowledge of it. It had about the same mileage as the car shown here, and generally was in good shape. Over the next few years, it would carry me on many adventures; long highway cruises to see friends, trips to the mountains to ski, my first track event, countless drives sideways through the snow – it became as much as friend as a vehicle. Despite that, the day came when I had to move on; owning both a Coupe GT and the 4000, I chose the former as the car to keep and the 4000CS quattro drove away. I’ve often dreamed of finding another in the shape mine left me in. And though it requires quite a bit of squinting due to the unreasonably small photos in this listing, I think this car just about fits the mold: