1990 Audi 90 quattro 20V

As I cover the more typically unloved range of German automobiles, finding comps can be at best difficult. At any given time, there are many favorite models of each of the marques available from pretty much any given date range – except Audi. For example, right now there are well over 100 pre-1990 BMWs on eBay. Audi? There’s one right now. One. And, I’ve already looked at it.

The result is that when you have a pristine example of a 26 year old Audi, finding something exactly like it to compare values is very difficult. But we have something unique today to follow up on yesterday’s highly-spec’d ’91 90 quattro 20V, as another very clean Type 89 20V just so happened top come up for sale at the same time. How does it match up?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Audi 90 quattro 20V on eBay

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1987 Audi 4000CS quattro

You either get old Audis, or you absolutely don’t.

It’s something I’ve never quite understood. Put a 1985 Audi 4000CS quattro next to a 1985 BMW 3-series, and the Audi looked more slick. The interior details were certainly on par with the BMW, too. Tech? Sure, the Type 85 had basically all the same gadgets that came on the E30, too – which is to say, not many. Electric windows, sunroof, power antenna, power locks were pretty much standard fare in the marketplace by that point in the near-luxury class. The Audi was reasonably quiet going down the road, fit five in a pinch, had a reasonably sized trunk and got reasonable mileage – though admittedly the “power of six, economy of four” idea of the inline-5 worked out generally in the ‘economy of a 6’, power of a 4 direction. The quattro also featured fully independent suspension, 4-wheel disc brakes and sway bars front and rear. None of this was particularly revolutionary at the time.

What was somewhat revolutionary, though, was what Audi had done in 1983. No, it wasn’t the introduction of all-wheel drive; the Quattro had already been on the market for a few years, and in all honesty the Jensen FF well and truly beat it to the technology by a full decade and a half. Unorthodox, though, was taking that basic supercar (for the day) platform at plunking it in the more reasonably priced 4000 model. Removing the turbo and boxflares reduced the asking price by over 50%, yet you got 90% plus of the Quattro’s performance and driving experience. For an entire generation of rally enthusiasts and VW fans, the 4000 quattro was legendary even while it was still on sale. BMW owners would quip that it was slow and underpowered (apparently, in that case, never having driven an early 318i); Mercedes-Benz enthusiasts would counter that the W201 was better built. They’re probably both right, but to me, they just didn’t get it.

In total, Audi managed to sell around 16,500 of the model over four production years here. That was a resounding success compared to the 664 Quattros the company sold in five years of being offered. There were few cosmetic changes outside of the 1985 entire range refresh; it’s virtually impossible to tell a 1986 and 1987 model apart, for example. The 4000CS quattro was my first car, and so I formed an intimate attachment to it; though I was faced with the choice of which to keep (Coupe or quattro) in 2003 and chose the track-focused two-door, my love for the all-wheel drive model persists. When this lower mileage, pristine ’87 in the same Alpine White I owned popped up for sale in the Pacific Northwest, the flood of memories could only be navigated with both differentials locked:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Audi 4000CS quattro on eBay

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1992 Audi 80 quattro

Just a few weeks ago, I spent a fair amount of time documenting the substantial changes to Audi’s small chassis lineup which accompanied the launch of new nomenclature in the B3 80/90 twins. But while early models like the 1988 90 quattro I wrote up for that article were mechanically identical to the “entry level” 80, changes were on the horizon. In 1990, the 7A-motored, dual-overhead cam 90 quattro 20V and Coupe Quattro replaced the 10V NG powered 90s, which were no longer available in the U.S. market. To accompany their upgraded 165 horsepower mill, the 90s featured an optional sport package which included 15″ Speedline wheels and upgraded brakes (standard, albeit in slightly different offset, on the Coupe).

Soldiering on with the 130 horsepower NG and slightly less flair was the 80. In fact, the 80 outlived the 20V motor in the U.S. into 1992, and was ultimately the last small chassis offering the 5-cylinder until the recent reintroduction in transverse layout in the MQB platform. While power and running gear was unchanged, the 80 received some of the 90’s signature bits from earlier on, including the BBS alloys and painted bumper covers. Like all B3 quattros, they’re exceedingly rare to come across; in the case of the 1992 80 quattro like the one here, a scant 640 made their way to our market.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1992 Audi 80 quattro on eBay

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No Reserve Boost: 1986 and 1987 Porsche 944 Turbos

It’s easy to get lost in a sea of low mileage, crazy asking price 1980s cars – they’re out there, and in reality not particularly hard to find. But then there seems to be a gulf between the cars that are above average with sellers hoping to capitalize on market trends, and forlorn project cars in need of more help than their value. While it would be wonderful to contemplate the salvation of every single example, it’s simply not economically viable. Nor, too, is the idea of just buying the best example in existence and paying a ridiculous premium.

Look in the right place and there is still a happy medium for enthusiasts. Today I’ve located two quite affordable options of 944 Turbos. The miles aren’t crazy, the condition of both is quite good, they each have unique options that make them appealing in their own way. And, each is a no reserve auction. So which is the one you’d want to take home?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Porsche 944 Turbo on eBay

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1997 Audi A4 1.8T quattro

The models of the B5 chassis A4 seemed to bring changes nearly every year. 1996 was the launch year for the mostly new but evolutionary A4; it was, for most intents, quite similar mechanically to the outgoing 90 quattro, which itself seemed to receive upgrades nearly every year. 1997 brought some major changes though; the introduction of the 1.8T turbocharged motor into the lineup signaled the first time the small chassis Audi had forced induction outside of diesel motors. To celebrate, Audi offered the turbo 4 in some exclusive colors called “Cool Shades”. These were, in fact, part of the earlier “Lifestyle” colors that had been available on the B4 chassis; Brilliant Yellow, Tropical Green, and Aquarel Green were offered alongside Pelican Blue (which replaced the earlier and quite similar Kingfisher Blue) were exclusive colors to the 1.8T in 1997. Select the sport package, and you’d also get the Jacquard Satin cloth along with the 16″ 5-spoke wheels shared with the 2.8 models and a 3-spoke sport steering wheel. Though 1.8T A4s are a dime a dozen, with these options selected they’re quite rare – and of those Cool Shade exterior colors, Aquarel Green Metallic might be the rarest:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1997 Audi A4 1.8T quattro on eBay

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