Sometimes, where a car is sold or turns up for sale is baffling to me. Sometime in 1991, a person walked into an Audi dealer in Florida. Now, considering that Audi only sold 12,283 cars in 1991 that in and of itself was something of a minor miracle. 1991 was the worst year in Audi’s sales history outside of 1970 when the brand was reintroduced. To put it in an even bigger prospective, Audi sold more 100 models in 1971 than it sold total cars in 1991 – by nearly 50%. So, this person had walked by the Mercedes-Benz and BMW dealers – in Florida, mind you – and popped into an Audi dealer. Then, they selected a 90 quattro 20V. Now, starting in 1990 Audi had upped the game with the 7A 20V motor in the 90 quattro, and in terms of horsepower it was at least on par with Mercedes-Benz and BMW. But it was heavy and slower than the competition thanks to the all-wheel drive quattro drivetrain, so these 90s – and the rest of the quattros sold – were mostly relegated to Northern and Mid-Western states. And the buyer paid a steep price in 1991; around $27,000 before options. What was even crazier was that they then opted for the sport package and heated sport seats, as well as Pearlescant White Metallic paint. In short, this was the absolute most expensive Audi 90 you could buy in 1991. Yet, here it is, with low miles and in essentially perfect condition thanks to being stuck in Florida its entire life:
Tag: Pearlesant White Metallic
Recently, I saw a picture of the new Volvo V90. It’s a handsome and striking design, wide, low and some rakish angles – especially in the rear. Where Volvos have traditionally been pretty square, this one reminded me in many ways of another large wagon, but one from 30 years ago – the Audi Type 44 Avant. Pardon the pun, but it was pretty avant garde for the time; much more aerodynamic and futuristic looking than its contemporaries, arguably it still doesn’t look particularly old today. Okay, you can point out some of the 80s styling elements – large black rubber moldings surround the car, the wheels look tiny in comparison to the modern 19″ or 20″ wheels that seemingly everything wears, and there are no fancy LED strips and clear taillights. But this uncluttered design still looks great and stands apart from most other 1980s products. While the Type 44 range was topped by the 1991 200 20V model that most lust after, a clean earlier 5000 example like this is neat to see:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Audi 5000CS quattro Avant on Providence Craigslist
Up through 1995, Audi really liked to do things differently. Since then, they have perhaps become a bit more mainstream – but there are plenty of examples of their unconventional engineering before then. It was even a bit of a joke, with some enthusiasts lovingly (or not so much) using the Audi name for the acronym “Always Unusual Designs Incorporated”. One of my favorite unusual Audi stories, though, must by the development of the Audi V8 race car. Audi looked at what Mercedes-Benz and BMW did in the DTM and said “Sure, we can do that. But, we’ll use our full sized luxury-oriented car”. Then, to add insult to injury, they left the wood trim in the race cars as a reminder that this was their top-tier car. And, of course, you’d assume it would lose to the self-proclaimed most successful race car ever made, the E30 M3. But, it didn’t. It won the championship in both 1990 and 1991. Ever since then, I’ve had a bit of a love affair with the Audi V8 quattro, if for no other reason than it was not the normal choice. Rare to see even when new and quite expensive, nearly all of the 3,868 imported were automatics – a new and important development for bringing Audi to a larger market. But for 72 of those cars, the experience was quite different:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Audi V8 quattro 5-speed on eBay
After lingering and reappearing for some time at a nearly $7,000 asking price, the seller of this “beater” S6 has finally compromised and the car is now offered at no reserve. Our readers previously suggested it was a $3,500 car – bidding is currently around $3,000 with two days to go. How much will this winter weapon end up at?
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Audi S6 on eBay
The below post originally appeared on our site September 15, 2014:
My first car was an Audi 4000CS quattro. It was a wonderful car; for the most part, outside some serious fanboys no one knew what it was. That was in part because in the early 1990s Audi nearly was removed from the U.S. market thanks to some bad P.R. that has been pretty well documented. However, that wasn’t all – if you looked at the 4000CS quattro or its successors on paper, they weren’t very appealing to sporting drivers or to luxury-oriented buyers. BMW and Mercedes-Benz ruled those small executive markets, and the robust but semi-anemic 2.2 inline-5 coupled with a relatively spartan interior had a hard time competing with the other German marques. On top of that, if you wanted a performance model from the Volkswagen Audi group, The Volkswagen Jetta GLi offered many of the same accoutrements as the 4000 quattro – plus more performance – for much less money, and looked pretty similar in many ways. You had to specifically want the all-wheel drive system to select the 4000 quattro, and that meant slow sales. In the 1980s, a loaded Audi 4000 would cost you nearly $21,000 – the equivalent of around $46,000 today. For reference, that amount very nearly gets you into a brand new S4 today – and I assure you, the S4 is in nearly every way a much more impressive car.
To solve this problem in the 90 range, Audi went even more upscale. Audi offered a more luxurious cabin, full of wood accents, power accessories and even more sound-deadening material. The 90 was more aerodynamic, meaning that the heavy wind noise associated with the brick-on-brick B2 design was lessened. The 90 also introduced innovative safety measures, such as the seatbelt pretension PROCON-10 system and anti-lock brakes which previously had been considered superfluous on all-wheel drive cars by Audi. The all-wheel drive system was changed, as well – now with a Torsen center differential and an electronic locking rear differential instead of the vacuum operated locks on the first generation quattro. But the main upgrades to the 90 came in 1990, when the quattro received its first real engine upgrade in the form of the 7A double overhead cam 20 valve motor. With 164 horsepower on tap and a 7,200 rpm redline, the Audi product finally matched the competition’s power on paper. Unfortunately, the weight of the luxury items meant it still wasn’t a particularly fast car off the line – but on the fly, the 20V was a quite capable car. But, as you’d expect, the price had gone up; walk into a dealership in 1990, and you’d have to fork over around $27,000 to get into one of these 90s. Add some options – such as power seats and Pearlesant White Metallic paint, and you were really breaking the bank. Very, very few of these sedans were sold originally; much less than even its rare Coupe brother – making them a rare sight. However, those that have owned and driven them always speak of what an impressive car Audi made – and this example is one of the most impressive available today: