Defying the odds and most aspects of common sense, a group of fans out there still loves, maintains, and drives Audis from the 1980s and 1990s. Why is this so outrageous? Well, first off, there just aren’t many left. Audi never really broke many sales records here in the US. When we look at this car’s model year, Audi sold about 18,000 cars in total – helped in no small margin by the early launch of the A4. Between 1991 and 1994, Audi averaged only about 13,000 cars per a year. To give us some perspective on that, let’s look at Ford’s F-Series trucks. Even in the midst of pandemics, global parts and labor shortages, and inflation, Ford has managed to move between 45,000 and 84,000 F-Series trucks from showrooms each month of 2021. But that’s the Ford truck, you say, not a luxury car. Fair enough. Let’s look at the least popular Volkswagen on offer – the Passat sedan. Volkswagen is on track to sell more of those here this year than Audi sold total cars in 1995, and they’ve already outsold the ’91-94 years by a safe margin with two months to go.
The secondary part of the problem is Audi’s insistence that we don’t need parts for our 25+ year old cars. It’s not that Audi doesn’t make said parts – they do, and sell them through Audi Tradition. And judging by their recent partnership with Ken Block, Audi’s interested in showing off its historical cars here in America. But they refuse to sell you parts to fix them.
This means, of course, that enthusiasts are left to fend for themselves, creating groups of faithful fans that buy, trade, and sell parts amongst themselves, tricks and tips, and…of course…really good examples for sale that pop up. So let’s dive in to this late-production Magnolia S6 Avant:
This car sold for $17,672 on June 28, 2021.
Just recently I looked at a very nice example of the last of the C4 S6 Avants offered in the US – the ‘95.5 model in Aluminum Silver Metallic:
1995.5 Audi S6 Avant
With “only” 132,000 miles on the odometer and looking pretty fresh, despite a few question marks I felt like it was a pretty reasonable asking price at $14k. Well, wouldn’t you know it? ANOTHER “low mileage” 1995.5 S6 Avant in Aluminum Silver Metallic has turned up for sale. What are the odds? What are the odds? Well, one in 32 according to this seller – but that was when they were new of course. Let’s take a look:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: on eBay
The last few C4 Avants we’ve looked at have been of the European flavor, so let’s head back to what was available to us. The S6 Avant launched with the host of C4 changes for the ’95 model year – smoothed out bumpers, color-coded trim, and sometimes (but not always) new cast Speedline Avus 16″ wheels. That model was again almost immediately replaced with the ‘95.5’ model, with a revised transaxle, closed headrests, the move from infrared remote locking, and the big one – the rear differential lock switched to electronic function, meaning it was utilizing the brakes rather than the manual differential lock that had existed for low-speed engagement since the end of the Type 44 production.
Regardless of how you feel about those minor changes, all of the C4 S6 Avants are pretty highly sought. A nice Magnolia example just traded on Bring a Trailer for $19,000 even though it likely had over 200,000 miles. Today let’s look at a more stock example with lower mileage:
Predictably, as it did with Mercedes-Benz Pagodas, Porsche 930s, 80s BMW M products and the original GTI, the quick rising of selling prices for the Audi Quattro has continued to bring good examples to market. Where we used to wait seasons between seeing any at all, today you seem to be able to view at least one pretty good one on the market at any given time.
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 as a Quattro 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.
Today’s example wears LA3A Mars Red that was shared with the A1 and early A2 chassis Volkswagen GTI and GLIs (along with a few others), but is less frequent to see on the Quattro than the color that replaced it in 1984 – LY3D Tornado Red. It appears to defy the odds and be a survivor worthy of a closer look: