Roll the Dice: 1983 Audi Quattro

Update 11/17/19: This Quattro sold for $18,600

Though the basis for what made the Quattro legendary; inspired racey styling, boxflares, turbocharging and all-wheel drive with a near-luxury interior seems almost trite, the Quattro really was a revolution in design. Some ten times more dear than an E30 M3, in recent years the Audi has gained a lot more respect in the marketplace. There are those that say you can’t really compare the Quattro to the M3, or even the 911 – though the pricing was quite similar. But isn’t that the point? In period, the other car you could have bought for the same money was a basic 911. And the market spoke: in 1983, Audi sold some 240 Quattros in the U.S.. Porsche, on the other hand, traded 5,707 911SCs between the Coupe, Targa and new Cabriolet models. There was basically no market overlap with the other two major contenders – the 944 Turbo and the M3. Both those cars, and the 911, were finished to a higher level of quality with better components, arguably, but the real difference was the type of owner who bought the Quattro versus the 911. These cars were built to be used and abused, and many were.

With only 664 brought here in total, and just 240 from the first model year, you’re going to have a pretty hard time finding one for sale at any given time – unlike the other three cars mentioned. That’s why it’s worth taking a look at one of the earliest U.S. chassis, even if it does come with a long list of needs. But that strong potential of heavy needs isn’t slowing bids down…

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 Audi Quattro on eBay

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1984 Audi Quattro

We don’t often get to look at 1984 Quattros, and that’s for a good reason. While Quattros are rare stateside full-stop with only 664 brought here originally, just 10% – 65 – were ’84 model year cars. Like ’85, ’84 was a transition year as the newer dashboard, 8″ Ronals and a few other minor changes crept into production. LY5Y Amazon Blue Metallic was offered alongside the Helios Blue Metallic in 1983, but for 1984 it became the sole dark blue offered. It’s a very pretty color, and is here coupled were with some nice and common upgrades to the early cars. Most obvious are the addition of European H1/H4 sloped headlights and grill, which give the Quattro a more updated and aerodynamic look. More subtle is the tucking of the impact bumpers which combined with the headlights give a more Euro feel to this example:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Audi Quattro on eBay

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1985 Audi Quattro

For U.S. Quattro fans, ’85 models are a bit special as they held numerous upgrades over the prior models. Like the rest of the Type 85/B2 lineup, those included revisions to the exterior, most notably the slanted grill and color matched spoiler, but also inside a new dashboard and revised seat fabric patterns. Like the ’84s, wheels were 8″ Ronals, but hidden was a new and more reliable fuse box location to run the whole car.

A few unique colors were offered on the ’85 up models, but since importation ended after one ’86 made it here, these colors are also a bit unique. Unique too was the headlight treatment, which had chrome aero bezels to match the grill. A total of only 73 of these upgraded 85s (plus the one 86) made it to the U.S., and they’ve pretty much always been the most sought of the scant 664 original Quattros sold here. This particular ’85 comes to market looking minty fresh in Amazon Blue Metallic over Quartz leather:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Audi Quattro on eBay

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1985 Audi Quattro

While everyone has been pining and searching for pristine examples of E30 M3s, there have been a select few that have been snapping up one of the true legends of the 1980s at much more reasonable prices. The Audi Quattro is a legend amongst its peers, bringing a slick looking turbocharged all-wheel drive luxury 4 seater to the masses. The Quattro would also redefine the World Rally Championship, set numerous records and become firmly planted in the mind of every fan of 1980s German car nut. Few were imported to the U.S., and when they were they were saddled with high prices, big bumpers and 20% less power than their European brethren. This left the Quattro expensive and slow compared to many of the competition, but that didn’t stop devoted fans from keeping one of the best secrets in German cars. Today they’re quite rare to come by, with early versions suffering death by rust, neglect or worse. Slow sales led Audi to pull the Quattro from U.S. shores, so we missed the last and greatest non-Sport version, the 20V “RR”. In the U.S. then, the cream of the crop for many are the few 1985s that were imported, with their updated dash configuration, refined interiors, and subtle exterior changes resulting in a fresher package. They’re rare cars to roll across, but one happens to be on Ebay right now in what appears to be Stone Grey Metallic with the correct 8″ Ronals giving it that menacing appearance:

Year: 1985
Model: Quattro
Engine: 2.2 liter turbocharged inline-5
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 114,600 mi
Price: Reserve Auction

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Audi Quattro on eBay

I am the third owner of this car. I have all of the original owners manuals and books for the car. The car was always kept in a garage. No rust! The underside is super clean.
The car has 114600 miles on the clock on original motor. As soon as I got the car I went through all the mechanicals. I had the turbo rebuilt. The head rebuilt. New brakes and rotors. All CV’s have been replaced or rebuilt. Fresh paint, restored stereo, cassette player. Short shift kit, New hydraulic slave. Dual piston calipers for front wheels. New tires, powder coated rims. AC has been rebuilt and works great. Cruise control works well. Grey leather interior. special order. One of 72 sold in 1985. Rally legend. I love this car. I have too many and I am moving to a smaller place. I spent more than 10K on it after I got the car. I have only owned it about a year and a half.

Good news! Looks like the tape player works, judging by that pristine Memorex gem case just waiting to be popped in. Even better news, old car fans – the A/C works! There are a couple of nits to pick; it looks as though the skimped out on the correct sticker decals for the car during the repaint, and instead popped on worn badges from a 5000 or 4000 quattro, which were originally silver but have faded to black. It may be a minor point, but if you’re doing a paint job on a collector-status car, these are some of the things you need to pay attention to, because they point towards a lack of detail-oriented work. On a car such as this, that’s critical, since they have been known to rust and rust repair may have been the cause of the repaint. A slightly less minor issue is that they’ve swapped out the original (and now quite valuable) sloped quad-sealed beam bezels and gone to Euro lights. Personally, I love the look, but were I to go through an entire paint job and installing Euro lights, the much better looking Euro bumper covers would also be on my punch list. That may be personal preference, but again on a car such as this, the mix of Euro bits may not be as appealing as it would be on a lesser model. Maintenance is reported to have been completed, some of it expensive. In part, that makes you wonder why in a short ownership the seller is now flipping it.

Value on these cars has stayed well below E30 M3 level, though the two share many characteristics. Fewer would recognize the Quattro going down the street, and that was part of it’s original appeal; it was understated and conservative performance in a practical package. Recent examples of 1985 U.S. spec models have pushed $20,000, though they were more original than this car is. I’d figure this car would be priced between $16,000 and $18,000, though like the E30 M3 interest has grown and it may sneak higher. At that price point, it could be well enjoyed for years to come and is quite likely to appreciate in value.

-Carter