1986 Audi Coupe GT

Being a huge fan of the B2 Audi, and with so few floating around, you’d be potentially forgiven for believing that I’d remember ever single one I see. But even though there are small amounts of them still floating around in comparison to the E30 market, let’s not forget that the Coupe GT was a relatively popular model for Audi, with over 100,000 produced. A reported 22,000 of those made it to the U.S., with the majority being the early Type 81 model with rectangular headlights. Only about 8,500 were the later, higher horsepower post 1985 models with updated interiors and exteriors – for argument’s sake, not many more than the original M3. So, it’s fair to say that I do recognize a fair amount of the survivors that pop up as I’d guesstimate that, unlike the E30, less than half of those originally imported post-85 cars still survive today. This one, in particular, looked instantly familiar – but not because of the color; in fact, in spite of it:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Audi Coupe GT on eBay

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Winter Winner – 1990 Audi 80 quattro

Every year for the past decade I’ve headed towards the colder climates to enjoy some time exploring the limits of winter driving in schools put on by the Audi Club. Held on frozen lakes or in specific dedicated facilities, these schools allow you to do what’s simply not safe or legal on the regular roads; to get the car out of shape and beyond the limit of grip and learn to get back under control. Predictably every year there’s a crop of the newest and greatest from Audi, Subaru and even BMW. But around the ice, the best performers are still the old ladies; Audi 4000, 80 and 90 quattros comprise a small minority but generally blow right by all the “faster” cars once the grip declines. But while examples of the early quattros are never particularly expensive compared to new cars, finding the right one to buy and turn into a “winter beater” is a bit harder since they’re few and far between. So when this complete and solid but slightly weathered 1990 80 quattro turned up, my thoughts immediately turned towards the ice:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Audi 80 quattro on eBay

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Rare B2s: 1987.5 Coupe GT “Special Build” and 1986 4000CS Quattro “Commemorative Edition”

I’m not sure who is funnier – enthusiasts or marketing specialists. Let’s start with marketing specialists; for Audi, the introduction of a new “Fox” design brought with it a specific name for North America – the Audi 4000. There were various trim levels available, but by 1985 the trim specifications were limited to “S” specs. Now, at one point, the “S” actually stood for a slightly different Sport trim specification, but in 1985 you couldn’t get a non “S”. That changed slightly in 1986; if you wanted a quattro, your only option was the 4000CS quattro. Presumably, that stood for Commemorative Sport – but while in 1986 the CS versus S meant the difference of a turbocharger in the 5000 model range, in the 4000 there was no option. In part this can be viewed as the problem with the cars directed towards the United States; in Europe, there were two different trim specs with different motors, too – the 80/90 and 100/200. But to throw even more confusion into the lot, there was then a series called the “Commemorative Design” which was launched in 1986, too. Those Commemorative Design editions were available in Coupe GT, 4000CS (front drive), 4000CS quattro and 5000CS models and were a celebration of 100 years of the automobile. Convoluting things even more, there was now a 4000S and 4000CS front drive, but no 4000S quattro. Make sense? It seemed uniquely un-Germanic, but also signified that Audi did things differently than the rest of their compatriots. What did the Commemorative Design get you? Well, that’s interesting, too – because it varied by model. In the GT and 4000CS quattro, it was color-matched trim in your choice of white or graphite metallic with a special red leather. The GT was slightly different, with a digital dashboard making its appearance in that model – but not only in the Commemorative Design, as a slew of normal 1986 models also came with the digital dash for some reason that no one completely understands. The red leather was not carried over to the 4000CS front drive interestingly – it instead got Audi 5000-spec wheels, Coupe GT brakes and split leather and Alcantara seats. The 5000CS Commemorative was only available in front drive spec and similar to the 4000CS front drive, making the front drive 5000CS more luxurious than the 5000S quattro – which was more expensive. Of course, these cars weren’t called the “CD” models – because there actually was a 5000CD in Canada which was spec’d more like the 5000CS. Still with me? To quote Adam Sandler from a memorable Saturday Night Live skit, “Who are the ad wizards who came up with this one?”

Now to complicate matters even more, in 1987 Audi launched a revised Coupe GT which it then promptly discontinued. The car was substantially changed – a new engine bumped up to 2.3 liters (the NG/NF that would see duty in the later 80,90 and 100 models), along with new to the GT 4-wheel disc brakes and – like the Commemorative Design, color matched trim. There was also a slightly different gearbox and different dashboard – still digital – just to confuse things even more. There were only a few hundred of each of these models that were imported to the U.S., making this whole exercise a bit strange in the grand scheme of things. But what’s undeniable is that B2 enthusiasts generally love these cars the most, creating their own names for them – the “Special Build” GT and “Commemorative Edition” 1986 models:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987.5 Audi Coupe GT on Craigslist

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1986 Audi Coupe GT

Another week, another rare Audi from the same seller in the Pacific Northwest. This time, unlike the 4000 quattro that had been subjected to a series of questionable modifications, the Coupe GT featured today was well built between the late 1990s and early 2000s to compete in SCCA competition. Featuring most of the upgrades of the later 1987.5 “Special Build” GTs, this GT was a favorite of the 4000/GT crowd long before the current seller got his hands on it. Since those days of the original builder, not much appears to have changed except the deteriorating condition of the paint and the skyrocketing price:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Audi Coupe GT on Ebay

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1987 Audi Coupe GT “Special Build”

Since I’ve come aboard GCFSB.com, I’ve really wanted to write up an Audi Coupe GT. In fact, long before I started writing for the blog, I wanted people to appreciate these cars more. Perhaps it’s because I’ve owned a long string of Coupes, or perhaps it’s because not many people even know what they are. I missed the white 87 Special Build Paul wrote up later in the month. I found this particularly disappointing since I love the Alpine White Coupe GTs, especially the CE 1986 and SB 1987.5 with their color matched trim. Still, I always keep my eye out for another, so I was greatly excited to see a clean Tornado Red 1985 pop up on eBay – only to see that Paul had grabbed that one too! Not dissuaded, I challenged him to a “Coupe-off” and found another white 1987 Coupe GT Special Build on eBay. Now, I’ve owned two Oceanic Blue coupes (85 and 86), a 85 Zermatt Silver, a 86 Tornado Red one, and my current Black 1986 GT, but I’ve still always wanted one of the triple Alpine White models, and even more so one of the last of the run, a Special Build 1987:

Year: 1987
Model: Coupe GT “Special Build”
Engine: 2.3 liter inline-5
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 200,720 mi
Price: Reserve auction, $2,000 opening bid

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

This is a survivor, pretty much original except for front, adjustable coil over springs with shocks and the Momo steering wheel but the original parts also come with. Runs great and looks distinctive! Of 1,600 Special Build editions built, about 850 were imported to the USA. They use some of the heavier 5000 drive train pieces like the inner CV joint and transmission. This is the successsor to the famous ralley cars that ran all wheel drive with a turbo 2.2 engine. Advantage here is much more reliable and economical. (You don’t really intend to ralley, do you?) The GT Coupes were voted among the best handeling cars of their time and still do pretty well with modern tires. Original Ronal 14″ wheels white powder coat makes them easy to keep clean.

The Special Build came in 3 colors with the trim including the spoiler and wheels matching body color; white, black and red. They have a heavy duty 5 speed transaxle, four wheel disc brakes, digital dash which incorporates a computer read out of mileage, range, etc. The 5 cylinder 2.3 ltr. NG high compression engine has multi-port electronic fuel injection and a larger throttle body that gives 130 H.P. from the factory. Audi started using this in the new of the lines in 1988. I regularly get 26 +mpg on the highway, but I tend to drive a little fast.

New are the battery and starter. The tires have less than 1000 miles on them and are performance 195x60x14″ BFG G Force Super Speed.tires. I installed new front wheel bearings and strut bearigns when I converted to the coil over front shocks a couple of years ago, so they are virtually new, too.

No obvious rust, dents or scratches; although he car is 25 years old and has been used so there are a few very minor chips and things. Original paint still shines. I had the front of the hood repaired to remove rust on teh front edge 3 years ago. Seats are fine, clean and with little apparent wear. Dash is not cracked. All instruments and controls work except for the right side window, the malfunction is in the counsel switch, I think. Check out Forutitude website for more information.

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I’ll be honest – I think I’m over telling everyone what a great car the Coupe GT is. I’m tired of dragging out the old magazine reviews where it was one of the ten best cars and proclaimed the best handling GT car. I’m tired of telling people that it’s an affordable classic. I’m through explaining why a stock Coupe GT will beat a stock U.S. spec Quattro around a track without four wheel drive or a turbo. I’m not even sure why I’ve defended Audi’s honor, considering they barely acknowledge this car existed. From now on, I’m going to agree with all of the typical Audi commenters, so let me sum this up in a few sentences.

“It’s got 200,000 miles. Who would buy a car with 200,000 miles? It’s sure to break before you even buy it, and then repeatedly every time you look at it. All Audis are horrible. It will cost you the best part of a million dollars to own this car for anything more than a month. It’s sure to rust away to nothing by the end of the week. A good friend of mine once owned an Audi, and after it raped him and killed most of his family, it stole his identity and charged up a storm in Eastern Europe. This car would be great with a quattro conversion. What, no turbo? The RS4 is the only Audi worth looking at.”

Okay, now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, about this car. It’s one of the rarest of the Audi Coupe GTs. The 87 Special Build cars are indeed special and were the highest performance version of the car, and it’s more than capable of holding it’s own against most of its contemporaries. It appears to be in great shape and cared for, minus the one poorly placed political sticker that may be hiding something. I’ve owned enough of these to know the window “switch” issue could be diagnosed quickly – pop out the ashtray, wiggle the switches out of place and swap the switches to find out if it’s the harder to replace regulator, or perhaps the wires broke in the door. Otherwise, it looks like this car is ready to be a fun driver. I bought my current car with 192,000 miles on it 15 years ago, and it’s still running strong. Although there is little dealer and manufacturer support, there is an avid community to back these cars up and keep them running. Parts are reasonably cheap, they look good, get respectable mileage, and are fun to drive. But please, keep thinking they’re horrible and don’t buy them up, because I’ve seen what happened to the E30, and I’d like to be able to afford one of these Special Builds one day.

-Carter