1987 Audi Coupe GT Special Build

I spent a lot of bandwidth covering the many changes from the B2 to the B3 chassis Audi yesterday. However, there was a transitional model between the two chassis in the 1987 Audi Coupe GT Special Build. The Special Build carried many items that would appear in the production B3 front drive 90 the next year. As with yesterday’s 90 quattro, motivation came from the 130 horsepower 2.3 liter NG inline-5. This represented a substantial power upgrade over the outgoing KX 110 horsepower unit. The rear brakes were upgraded to discs, as well – the only Coupe GT to have this setup, which again would be seen on the B3. The interior was revised, too, with the Savoy Velour replacing the Kensington Velour. The easiest way to tell the difference was the triple (opposed to double) striping of the fabric, though several Special Builds were optioned with leather interiors.

In what was a mostly unnecessary move, Audi beefed up the standard gearbox with larger output shafts. The Special Build cars also came with a unique exterior treatment. The spoiler, B pillar and window surround, and mirror housings were all painted in the exterior color choice. This had partially been seen on the 1986 Commemorative Design cars, which often causes confusion between the two. However, the easy way to spot the difference without popping the hood or peering between the fourteen spokes of the Ronal R8s in back is that the rear spoilers on the ’86 models weren’t body color. As with the ’86 CD, color options were limited to Black, Alpine White, or Tornado Red. Also lightly revised was the digital dash, which changed color from Red in the ’86 CD and limited run non-CD models to an orange backlit unit.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Audi Coupe GT Special Build on Central New Jersey Craigslist

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1988 Audi 80 quattro

While the move from the B2 to B3 chassis brought many changes to the small Audi lineup, it was also very much a case of ‘meet the new boss, same as the old boss’. Some of the features of the 4000 were gone; you could no longer opt to lock the center differential, for example, since the manual locker had been replaced by a more sophisticated Torsen unit. You could still opt to engage a rear differential lock, but electronics overrode that at 15 m.p.h.. That change was indicative of movement in the marketplace and where the B3 was aimed – slightly more upscale from the B2. Interior quality was greater, and production was broken into two categories as it had been in Europe. Selecting the top-range 90 quattro got you nicer BBS wheels, color matched bumpers and mirrors, a sportier raised spoiler, a better leather interior and wood trim. The downscale 80 would channel more of the outgoing 4000, with savory Serret Velour and a more plastic-heavy interior. They even opted to keep the same Ronal R8 wheels as the old model early on, and the subtle rear spoiler was a near copy of the B2. The more basic 80 was closer in performance to the 4000, too – the luxury and safety items of the B3 meant more weight, and the 90 tipped the scales at nearly 3,000 lbs. Mechanically identical, the 80 quattro was about a hundred pounds lighter and anyone who has driven 80s normally aspirated Audis knows that 100 lbs. makes a difference in performance. Motivation for both was the same NG-code inline-5 that was seen in the last Coupe GT Special Build models, meaning 130 horsepower and 140 lb.ft of torque – smoothly adequate, but certainly never overwhelming. As with the 1988 5000S I looked at the other day, these models came to market at a time of crisis for Audi, and consequently few were sold. Audi’s best year of sales for the B3 quattro twins was 1988 when just over 3,000 were sold – only a handful more than the outgoing 1987 4000CS quattro, and rare for a new model. This Stone Gray Metallic example is one of the few that come to market and looks like one of the better ones we’ve seen:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Audi 80 quattro on eBay

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1987 Audi 5000S quattro

The 1987 and 1988 Audi 5000S quattro was an interesting model. It took the drivetrain, the wheels and brakes shared with the turbocharged CS model (CD in Canada) but married them with the more modest NF 130 horsepower 2.3 liter normally aspirated inline-5. They ran the standard 5000S headlights as well, single bulb 9004s which had about .5 candle power each when new. Seriously, the Amish have more light at night. Inside was not as luxurious as the CS/CD models, either, with manual seats and velour where there would usually be leather. These omissions helped to keep the price in check a bit as the 5000 in CS quattro form had gotten pretty expensive with a sticker price of $34,000 – $35,500 if you wanted the Avant. The lack of turbo and leather dropped these S quattro models to a much more reasonable $27,000. However, the performance of the 5000S quattro was pretty poor, though fuel economy was the same as the turbo models they made a reasonable highway cruiser. Like most Type 44s, they’re infrequently seen these days:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Audi 5000S quattro on eBay

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1988 Audi 90 quattro

Looking at the outrageous B5 and B6 S4s from yesterday is a stark reminder of how far the company has come from the rather humble roots of Audi’s small chassis. Sure, the B2 was the basis that launched the new direction for the company in the Quattro, but most B2 cars were modest, relatively underpowered near luxury cars. Park one next to a new A4 and you’ll be amazed at just how large they’ve become; from a 100 inch wheel base, 66 inch width and 176″ overall length, the B2 tipped the scales at a little under 2,400 lbs in 1980. The new A4s have a foot more in between the wheels (and the ends of the bumper, no surprise there), are half a foot wider and are half again as heavy at nearly 3,800 lbs for the sedan. Brakes are now the size wheels once were on even the standard A4s, and horsepower? Well, the lowly 2.0T carries more punch than the original Quattro did in all but 20 valve and Sport form, even in European trim. While cars have gotten better at being cars than they once were, they’ve also become smart phones, offices, relaxation oases and sports arenas. Cars start, drive, and park themselves, tell you how to get places and when you’ll get there, and even will tell Big Brother what you did wrong when you get into a accident. It’s somehow a loss of innocence which makes contemplation of simpler times so appealing, and looking at this 1988 Audi 90 quattro is just that. So let’s pop your copy of “Die Hard” in to your VCR, adjust the tracking and take a glimpse into Audi’s past:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Audi 90 quattro on eBay

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1992 Audi 80 quattro

For U.S. customers, 1992 rather quietly signaled the end of an era for fans of the small chassis. Starting in the early 1980s, Audi had offered their offbeat 5-cylinder motor in models like the 4000 5+5 and Coupe models, but it was really the rally success of the Quattro that put the 5-pot on the map. But the turbocharged variant was quiet expensive, so fans of Audi’s WRC campaign rejoiced in 1984 when the all-wheel drive platform became much more affordable in 4000 quattro form. In Europe, there were several variants and power plants available in 80 and 90 form, but U.S. customers only got the relatively high-spec 4000S/CS quattro. Audi revised the model lineup with the B3 model run, introducing the lower-spec 80 and the more luxurious (and later, more powerful) 90. When the 90 went to the DOHC 7A 20V inline-5, the 80 remained with the 10V 2.3 liter NG which had first appeared in the Special Build Coupe GT model. Though not hugely powerful and feeling slightly overwhelmed by the 80 quattro’s mass, it was a very smooth and fun to drive package capable of huge odometer readings. The package remained available until 1992, when life of the 80 ended in the U.S. as it was not upgraded to B4 specification. As with all Audis from the period, it sold in small numbers: Audi reported only 640 sold in 1992, with not many more sold in the years before it. As the book closed on the inline-5 with a whimper rather than a bang, it’s relatively infrequent to spot one of these late 80s:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1992 Audi 80 quattro on eBay

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1987 Audi Coupe GT Special Build

Like yesterday’s Scirocco, the similarly Giugiaro-styled Audi Coupe GT added a touch of upscale Italian design to relatively pedestrian underpinnings. However, there was more of the rally-bred all-wheel drive Quattro DNA in the Coupe GT than its little brother. Nearly everything apart from the door handles in the B2 was overbuilt; massive driveshafts, bigger brakes and heavier duty suspension, and a robust engine meant that in any form these entry level Audis have stood the test of time pretty well. While in Europe there were several different variants of the Coupe in 4 or 5 cylinder and with all-wheel drive, in the U.S. we only got one at any time. Starting with a 2.1 inline-5, the front-drive only GTs worked their way up to the last of the run 2.3 NG motored cars. With 4-wheel disc brakes, special exterior and interior treatments, a unique digital dashboard and 130 horsepower, these lighter “Special Build” GTs were a performance match for U.S. spec Quattros:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Audi Coupe GT Special Build on Charlotte Craigslist

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B2 Love: Audi Coupe GT Roundup

My affinity for the Audi Coupe GT goes without saying, and it’s been a bit since I’ve written one up – but a few nice examples floated past my computer screen thanks to the quattroworld B2 forum and I thought they were worth looking at. Below are three distinctly different versions of the same car – one of the early design 84 Coupe GTs with some great modifications, a stock but automatic 86 model and a last-of-the-run 87.5 “Special Build”. Which is the one to grab as these cars continue to appreciate but are still quite affordable?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Audi Coupe GT on German Cars For Sale Blog’s Self Service Classifieds

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Shifting Gears: 1987.5 Audi Coupe GT Part 3

Has it already been two months since my last update on the project 1987.5 Coupe GT? It seems hard to believe, but the date doesn’t lie. In that time there have been, predictably, some successes and some setbacks, coupled with a fair amount of waiting for both parts and diagnosing the problems. If you want a refresher, you can check out the introduction piece on the new-to-me 1987.5 Audi Coupe GT “Special Build”, or Part 2 when I finally got it running. Now, what’s next? Well, as it turns out, a whole lot….
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The Spark of Life: 1987.5 Audi Coupe GT Part 2

About a month has passed since my introduction piece on the new-to-me 1987.5 Audi Coupe GT “Special Build”, and since then a fair amount of work has occurred. There have been a few successes and a few setbacks; as with any project, some things were unexpected and have complicated matters slightly, but then this is a car that has been sitting outside for over a decade non-running – it was never going to be a cake walk. Still, I’m quite a few steps closer to it being a viable car again, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to update the readership as to just how well it is (or, isn’t) going.
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1987 Audi Coupe GT Special Build

Is a car ever really “free”? This past weekend, with help I managed to get the recently acquired Coupe GT running. That, in and of itself, was both awesome and created a problem. Don’t get me wrong, I was very excited to hear the inline-5 clack to life. But, had the car not run, in some ways it would have been much easier. Sadly, I could have taken the parts that were good and resigned myself to the reality that I just couldn’t save this one. But as old Audis do it sprang to life and immediately presented new problems; a frozen alternator, a leaking auxiliary radiator, and the inability to shift out of first gear. Even before tackling those problems, I’m already a few hundred dollars into the car in parts and delivery. Start adding up the potential bills, and the “free” car gets closer to the reality; it’ll likely end up costing close to market value (or perhaps even more). Wouldn’t buying one that was already done and in great shape be easier?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Audi Coupe GT Special Build on eBay

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