Update 9/26/18: This pristine 4000S has sold to a reader!
While I’m a big fan of the Audi B2 chassis, I don’t spend much time looking at or for the low man on the totem pole – the 4000S. If you read my Audi badging rant from a while ago, you’ll remember that there was no model below the “S” offered here, so the 4000S was the base model. Although these were the least powerful B2s on offer, in manual form they could keep up with the Coupe GT because they were also the lightest of the chassis here. Power came from a 1.8 inline-4 borrowed from the GTI and GLI Volkswagens, but it was mounted longitudinally like all B2 motors. Even though they were down on power to the 5s, the inline-4 also had 20% less motor hanging out front, making them fairly nimble. Like their 5-cylinder GT brethren, you had a choice between a 5-speed manual or the venerable 3-speed automatic that appeared in everything from the Vanagon to the Porsche 944. They were also the cheapest Audi you could buy in the 1980s. Though we often look at 4000 quattros, the reality is that about 75% or more of any given model year’s sales were front drivers. 1987 saw 9,043 out of 11,972 sold in this configuration. These appeared to be bought primarily by older women who wanted a more refined sedan but weren’t ready to buy the W201 Mercedes-Benz or E30 BMW. Much more often than their all-wheel drive counterparts, or even the GT, clean examples of the prolific 4000S pop up for sale:
Do you know how many times I’ve heard “It was just too nice to part out” when referring to an older Audi? Heck, I’ve personally had three that I’ve said that very sentence for, and at least one more I should have said that about. One time I bought a 4000S front wheel drive 5-speed simply because I wanted a door. No, I’m not joking. The entire car was in mint shape – Sapphire with Marine Blue velour, and because I was 18 and had fully subscribed to the idea that the only good Audis were all-wheel drive Audis, I paid $300 to rip what was otherwise one of the nicest 4000S models I had seen to that point in my life apart. Most of it went to the junkyard, in fact. It’s something that near 40 year old me is mad at 18 year old me about, still.
Fast forward 22 years into the future, and since then I keep hearing the phrase in relation to all sorts of obscure, slightly crusty and forgotten examples of the brand. So when this 4000S 4E 2-door popped up for sale with just that thought in the seller’s advertisement, it was worth a look.
Anthony Bourdain has been pretty successful with his show Parts Unknown, in addition to the many other reasons he’s been an award winning chef and writer. In that show, he’s always on the lookout for new and rarely heard of cuisine from around world. And, for the most part even though I’m not a ‘foody’, I find his presentation, travels, and quick summaries of far reaching historical periods pretty enjoyable. He is, for lack of a better comparison, the Jeremy Clarkson of food critics – at least, a bit. In one memorable-to-me episode, he set out to find this magical, amazing and hereto unheard of cocoa plant. But he wasn’t going just to taste this new and interesting food; he was going to secure rights to harvest the plant and to profit. And, frankly, he couldn’t have seemed less interested or involved in any step of the process. He complained, whined, and lackadaisically mused about the chocolate he’d later offer for $18 a bar throughout the episode, ignoring the cultural and economic aspects of the lives the people of Peru – where the bar’s magical ingredients come from. I was left feeling at the end of the episode that it was less an investigation of the process, and much more an advertisement for the overpriced consumerism he was going to attach his name to. Why wouldn’t you pay $18 for a chocolate bar – he’s Anthony Bourdain and he obviously knows more than you, so ante up!
The point of this is story that I’m left feeling that many of the inflated markets are doing just what Bourdain did; cashing in on a name and a reputation coupled with a market surge. One classic you can get into without all of the market hoopla, though, is pretty much any classic Audi outside of the Quattro – for now:
Looking for something a little different in a classic car? A little over a year ago I took a look at this incredible survivor 1982 Audi Coupe in the rare shade of Surinam Red Metallic with Negro Tweed interior. Though the early Coupes lack a bit of the performance of the later Type 85 models like the 87.5 NG motored examples, the early Type 81 looks are a bit closer to the legendary Quattro but on a much friendlier budget. Back in February 2015, this car sold for an impressive $5,500. It appears to have changed little in the past 14 months and is now available in a no reserve auction with bidding currently well below $2,000. This is a really cool time piece from Audi’s early 1980s history that is quite affordable indeed but will help to set you apart from the crowd nonetheless.
The below post originally appeared on our site February 23, 2015:
Just when you think you know everything about a car, one pops up to surprise you. In today’s case, it’s the color which this early U.S. bound Audi Coupe was delivered in – LA3Y Surinam Red Metallic. It’s seriously rare and the first time in my many years of Audi Coupe following that I’ve seen one. Now, off the bat many would be forgiven for believing that all 2-door Audis from this period were GTs; however, the Coupe didn’t become the “GT” until the late 1983/84 models. There are actually a host of changes that differentiate them from the early GTs. First off, the early cars carried the code WE 2.1 liter inline-5 instead of the later KX or NG equipped 2.2/2.3 Coupe GTs. It wasn’t much less power than the later cars, but was rated at 100 instead of the later 110/130 horsepower GTs. Gearing was longer, too – intended to give the GT better fuel economy, coupled with the lower power the early Coupes are a few seconds slower to 60 than the ’84 up cars. The early cars also ran 4×100 instead of 4×108 wheels with smaller brakes. Inside, there were no big changes to the Type 81 between 1981 and 1984, though some of the interiors are more rare to see. In this case, the build sticker tells us this car was equipped with interior “KC”, which thanks to the B2 Resource Guide tells us this was the Negro interior with Tweed Check. The car was also pretty heavily – and somewhat oddly – optioned. For example, the buyer selected sunroof, air conditioning and power mirrors, but oddly not power windows. Whatever their motivation, the buyer clearly coveted this expensive Coupe as witnessed by the condition: