Northern Exposure: 1986 Audi 4000S quattro with 38,000 Miles

Today’s Audi 4000 quattro is a great example of what yesterday’s GTI 16V seller was claiming – a true survivor, in completely unrestored form. Unlike the GTI, though, this Canadian-market 1986 4000S quattro is also completely stock and original, too. Nearly as much a legend in its own right, while the performance of the 4000 was no match for the twin-cam hot hatch (at least, in the dry…), the package nevertheless possessed its own draw for a similarly devoted group of fans. Also as with the GTI, finding a clean and original Type 85 quattro is very difficult, too. But the low mileage Zermatt Silver Metallic example we have here should do the trick for most!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Audi 4000S quattro on eBay

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1987 Audi 4000CS quattro

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.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Audi 4000CS quattro on eBay

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1985 Audi 5000S Avant

It’s hard to believe that only eleven years separate the genesis of the inline-5 Avant wagon design and its culmination with the 1995 Audi S6. Audi’s groundbreaking aerodynamic design for the C3/Type 44 looked from the start as if it were intended to be a wagon; a sleek, modern design with flush windows and a sweeping D-pillar. It would be two years until Audi’s quattro drivetrain would debut in the large package, which left you with the sole option of front-wheel drive for 1984 and 1985. Audi also opted to leave the KKK turbocharger out of the package until all four wheels could deal with it, as well – so basically this car was a luxurious 4-door Coupe GT for the first two model years. Thankfully, though you were only allowed about 110 horsepower, Audi allowed drivers to opt for a manual transmission even in front-wheel drive form:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Audi 5000S Avant 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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1985 Audi 4000S quattro

Park a 1984 Audi 4000S quattro next to a 1985 Audi 4000S quattro and you’d be forgiven for thinking they were completely different cars. While few changes were manefested under the skin, the major overhaul in 1985 of the 4000 gave the car a completely different character. Few stones were left unturned; new aerodynamic headlights and smooth, textured body-color bumpers with revised indicators led the charge and did well to integrate the mandatory 5 mph impact bumpers. Wider black moldings surrounded the car. The same Ronal R8 14″ x 6″ 14 spoke wheels were present, but as the revised B2s stretched their legs, new aerodynamic lug covers appeared. The taillight design and rear quarter panels were revised as well – now the lights wrapped completely across the back of the car. But the full-width lights masked a big change to the body, as the trunk now had a much lower threshold, with the center section of the lights integrated into the lid. Inside, the seats didn’t change but the dashboard was entirely new. More up-to-date and modern feeling, power windows now were both front and rear and a few more options for colors were offered.

But underneath, what made the Type 85 quattro great remained unchanged. The 2.2 liter inline-5 JT-code motor was still pumping out 115 horsepower; modest for the weight, but with a great howl and good, usable torque. All-wheels were still driven with twin vacuum-actuated locking differentials, and the robust drivetrain and suspension was largely rally-ready out of the box. The great recipe coupled with the heavily revised and modernized aesthetics meant that the 1985 4000S quattro was a sales success, at least in relative terms. Nearly 5,000 sold that year (4,897 according to Audi), making it the most popular year for the model:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Audi 4000S quattro on eBay

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1987 Audi 4000CS quattro

With a few winter storms heading in to New England today, I’m warming my memories up with this 1987 Audi 4000CS quattro. It’s not so much because of the winter prowess of the model in this case, though; it’s because this particular last model year of the B2 chassis is located in Kula, Hawaii. Road (and boat) trip, anyone?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Audi 4000CS quattro on eBay

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1987 Audi 4000CS quattro

Well, here it is – my first car. Okay, mine was a 1986, but it too was Alpine White with Brazil Brown velour. For all intents and purposes, the opening photo for this advertisement could be the same as the one I bought back in 1995. It was a pretty popular color combination on the Type 85 quattro. Coming from a family with European cars but never an Audi, the technology was intriguing. And, being 18 when I bought it, I did all sorts of stupid stuff with that technology. Locking the diffs on the highway? Yup, I did that a few times, because light up indicators on the switchable differential board were the talk of my friends. I also redlined the car pretty much every chance I got. On my first drive, with the car not even registered, I crested 100 mph. Fall soon turned to winter, and I turned into Hannu Mikkola, sideways as every – and I mean every – opportunity. It was a particularly snowy winter in New England from 1995-6, and my work lot was covered in a solid layer of slushy ice. Every morning I’d arrive, get onto the ice, cut the wheel hard and pirouette in a 270 degree slide into my parking spot. I drove through one memorable blizzard from Westerly to Hartford and back in the high speed lane the entire way, only dipping below 65 when someone lost control in front of me. One time I challenged my lifted Jeep-owning friend to see who could make it through 2 feet of snow. By this time, my CSQ was lowered on Eibach springs, but even though the snow was up to the headlights, it didn’t stop. The Jeep? It got stuck. I’d like to think that all of this was because this was I was a driving God, but the reality was that the survival of my 4000CS quattro – and, more importantly, me – came down to how robustly that B2 was built.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Audi 4000CS quattro on eBay

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Silver Narrows: 1985 Audi Coupe GT and 1986 Audi 4000CS quattro

Though they share many components, each different variant of the Audi B2 chassis took on a character that made them all feel quite unique. Obviously the big headline for the chassis was the turbocharged Quattro model that has gained much more notoriety and respect in the marketplace over the last few years. However, the narrow-body variants still remain very affordable and entertaining options for enthusiasts. Today I’m going to look at two similarly priced 2nd tier options, both in Zermatt Silver Metallic. Let’s start the throaty 5-cylinder up with a KX-code 1985 Coupe GT:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Audi Coupe GT on eBay

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1985 Audi 4000S quattro

I was sure I had seen this car before. Tornado Red and Brazil Brown Kensington Velour? Check, but there are quite a few 4000 quattros that fit that description. But a 1985 model narrows the pool slightly, though numerically Audi reports selling more 4000 quattros at nearly 5,000 in 1985 than any other model year. Pacific Northwest and under 120,000 miles? And in very good survivor condition? Yes, surely this is the car that I wrote up in February, 2014.

But I was wrong. It’s not the same car. It’s another that is in even better condition with less reported miles. Does lightning strike twice? The air sure feels pretty electric around me as I poured over the details of this 1985:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Audi 4000S quattro on eBay

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1987 Audi 4000CS quattro – REVISIT

The shining Tornado Red 1987 4000CS quattro I took a look at back in early February has appeared on eBay this week. The seller has not changed the price – $4,750 – from the earlier advertisement, but has added some more information including maintenance and modifications. Unfortunately, those disclosures also include that the car was totaled at one point. Previously the owner had stated it was simply repainted – not unusual for the single-stage red from Volkswagen/Audi if it was not maintained. While this car looks pretty nice, do you think the branded title hurts the value or does it simply not matter on this old warhorse?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Audi 4000CS quattro on Spokane Craigslist

The below post originally appeared on our site February 11, 2016:

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