By on January 6, 2016

00 - 1990 Audi 100 in Colorado junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

The C3 Audi 100 was sold in the United States badged as an Audi 5000 … until the “unintended acceleration” nightmare nearly killed Audi in North America and the company decided, after a few years of abysmal sales numbers, to go ahead and call this car the 100 over here. Because so few were sold, the 1989-1990 Audi 100s are very, very rare these days.

Here’s one that I spotted in a Denver-area yard a couple of weeks back.
09 - 1990 Audi 100 in Colorado junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

This is a manual-transmission car, and the Unintended Acceleration fiasco was all about the automatic-equipped 5000s. That means you won’t see the big scary “Apply foot brake when engaging Drive or Reverse” stickers near the shifter on 5-speed cars. Thanks to a bit of help from the Reagan Administration earlier in the decade, Ford was able to use similar stickers to avoid recalling 23 million vehicles that tended to pop into reverse with no driver input.

11 - 1990 Audi 100 in Colorado junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

Nearly 200,000 miles on this car, which is pretty good for a (non-Mercedes-diesel) German car of its era.

07 - 1990 Audi 100 in Colorado junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

This car probably wasn’t in terrible shape when it showed up in the junkyard, but anything that goes wrong with a 25-year-old Audi is going to cost plenty to fix.

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96 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1990 Audi 100 Quattro Sedan...”


  • avatar
    RideHeight

    Ewww… marinated in distilled crab spirits.

  • avatar
    Big Al From 'Murica

    Holy overoptimistic speedometer Batman.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Pfft it would easily do 180! That’s just Audi being modest about it’s 5-cylinder, 115HP ish powerplant.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      Big Al,

      The turbo version of the 100 could probably hit 140 mph when new. This one, however, does not seem to be a turbo.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Nope not a turbo. The turbo had a little gauge assembly in front of the shifter.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        The turbo was the Audi 200. My Mom had a 200Q wagon back in the day, with the 20V head. It would top 150 with some ease.

        Even the regular 100 was a 130 mph or so car, they were very slippery.

        In this era, all the Quattros were manuals. I don’t think they had automatic and AWD until the next generation.

        • 0 avatar
          never_follow

          The V8 was the first… Had one up until August.

          Fun fact: In sport mode, it wouldn’t shift up to 4th until 200 kph. I found out that the system defaults into sport mode when I disassembled the centre console and found the selector switch was disconnected. I thought I had a messed up transmission for nearly a year!

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            My dad had a V8 which I got to drive reasonably often. The transmission was a bit weird. From new, when very cold, it wouldn’t shift past second — it had to warm up just a bit and then you’d get a CLUNK into third. It was very reluctant to ever kick down into first. Loved that car in other respects — the interior was ahead of its time and the engine may have had the best sound of any car then available. Typically for a German car, it lasted a long time but required a number of very expensive repairs along the way.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      This one went 206 MPH!

      http://www.sjmautotechnik.com/trouble_shooting/body/tall2.htm

    • 0 avatar

      My 2012 Elantra has a speedo that also reads to 160. I’ve only gotten it up to 105 once and that was plenty scary.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        My ’88 Accord, complete with 98 hp carbureted hamster wheel, had a 130-mph speedo. It cracked me up.

        The fastest I ever went in that car was ~90 mph and there was very little left to give at that point.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    I think these aged really well, and have that logical and austere German interior design aesthetic that I enjoy very much. How hard were these to work on? Not having a bunch of control modules and sensors, and simpler suspension design probably made this a more manageable vehicle for a DIYer to maintain. This generation of Audi strikes me as much less disposable than stuff starting with the mid 90s models.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Ha. It was difficult as everything was crammed under the hood, and also made of rather brittle plastic. Over time clips and hinges and hooks snap off, and sourcing parts is hard (it was hard in 2004, I bet it’s harder now).

      Example, you say? The radiator hose attachment point at the top of the radiator is plastic, and is fused as one piece with the metal of the radiator. When the plastic cracked and fell to pieces on that bit (causing the hose to fall off while driving, of course), the only fix was a brand new radiator. It had to be shipped from Germany, and was something like $550 just for the radiator – in 2002-2003.

      They do have lots of complex electronics and vacuum lines, all of which are finicky. Even the door locks are vacuum actuated. They have hydraulic lifters which go bad and make an awful racket.

      Following my 87 5000, I had a 93 90S with the 2.8 which while slow, was much more robust and capable feeling. I remember thinking at the time “Wow, they really got it together between 87 and 93.”

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        The world of online parts specialists has transformed the scene since then, I think. FCP Euro shows 3 radiator options: OE Audi for $443, Nissens for $99, and Behr for $120. If I was a betting man I’d say those second two options are made in China, but for getting back on the road would do the trick. Okay the rest of that stuff sounds finicky and not something I’d want to mess with.

        I can’t wait to have my dream home/garage setup, I know it’s sick but I want some old depreciated European heap to tinker with. Having been raised on Japanse stuff it is a fascinating unexplored realm. a W124 or W190 Mercedes or E34 BMW 5 series (maybe even E39), stuff like that. Right before they really went nuts with the electronic gizmos ala W140. I watch a bunch of Russian youtube channels where it’s these younger guys that buy super cheap “euro trash” and document in detail how/what needs fixing, how to source parts, etc. Like a poor man’s Wheeler dealers.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Oh yeah, you’ll also have window and door handle issues, as the trigger handles snap internally. Then you get to take off the entire door card, while encountering more brittle plastic snaps and clips!

          And if you’ve got a dead battery one morning, I hope you have a screw driver handy. You’ll need it to access under the back seat (passenger side), which is where it lives.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            [email protected] those door handles! Mine would get stuck in the closed position after I opened my door, and then I couldn’t close it.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Did I ever tell you the time I had basically the same thing happen on my A8L?

            Off work, pulling out onto the highway on a nice warm day, oh I’ll open the windows a bit. Did all the windows about half way down. All the sudden I hear a wind rushing noise, and WTF.

            The rear passenger door is open, and will not close. On that day, the door was apparently mad at me, so when the window rolled down clipped and subsequently pulled loose the door latch cable, making said door non-close-able. I thought the latch had just broken because Audi, so I spent 20 minutes in the back seat rigging it up with seat belts and the belt from my pants, making sure it wouldn’t fly open.

            A fun visual to explain to the cop who arrived part-way into my engineering. Drove that night 35 miles over to Indiana with my right hand gripping onto belts behind me to hold it closed.

          • 0 avatar
            matador

            Face it- if you own an older Audi, you either are MacGyver, or you need your head examined.

            That repair sounds like something I would have done, though….

            You’re the first winner of the matador “I can fix it” award

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Lol,

            On the mantle it will go!

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            The idle stabilization valve fell off of my Audi 5000. I still don’t know how. I fixed it temporarily with aluminum foil and a paper clip.

          • 0 avatar
            matador

            Instead of mounting brackets, we provide you with a small amount of electrical tape, five zip ties of various lengths and colors, three screws (No screwdriver though), and a random piece of metal.

          • 0 avatar
            Dave M.

            Ha! Exactly! My 5000’s driver door trigger broke – I thought it was aluminum – $200 to fix in 1987 $….

        • 0 avatar
          Kevin Jaeger

          gtemnykh, don’t let the naysayers on TTAC dissuade you from picking up one of these older cars. It’s very doable if you’re even a little bit resourceful.

          I don’t have any experience with this particular Audi but I maintain three cars from this era in my family fleet – a Mercedes W123, a BMW E30 and a ’94 Miata.

          As you’ve noted, if you’re just going to buy parts like radiators from the dealer you’ll pay four or five times as much but with a little research you can get the exact same radiator from the OEM supplier in the aftermarket for a fraction of the cost.

          If you’re the type to watch Russian youtube videos you will have no trouble figuring out basic maintenance on these vehicles.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Kevin I’m definitely not afraid of getting my hands dirty on my rides, but so far they’ve been pretty tame as far as parts cost and ease of DIY (my 4Runner in general is a breeze). But I recognize that right now isn’t the time for tinkering around with old stuff just for kicks, I have too much else going on in my life at the moment. No I think I will wait until I have the time and space to really delve into such a project and enjoy it.

      • 0 avatar
        sproc

        All this. They were beautiful cars and a joy to drive when everything worked, and back seat and trunk space were excellent. But the electronics were silly complicated, the hydraulic lifters were a pain, and ours seemed to go through window motors, steering racks and warped front rotors way too frequently.

      • 0 avatar

        OMG, that F&*king radiator hose nub. Turns out, you don’t have to wait for it to fail on its own. Just drop an adjustable wrench on it when you open the hood. Great way to turn a 5-minute battery change into a 2-day ordeal.

        I had the pre-aero version (1980, in this case) of the 100 in Europe, and the best part was that they hadn’t yet adopted unleaded gas and emission controls there. It made working on the car so much easier, and helps explain why the US-version cars were so flaky. They had to put all of those extra vacuum hoses and sensors in for the USA, but they weren’t using them anywhere else. So the otherwise-reliable 2.2 5-cylinder ended up being a miserable experience on this side of the pond because they really hadn’t engineered for that stuff up front. Think 70’s Detroit early catalytic converters, only 15 years later and German-engineered. The motors designed to run on leaded gas and no concern for emissions didn’t make the transition without some pain.

        I’m terribly fond of these cars though – I’ll probably end up with one again sometime, with the right combination of money and delusion.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Joke’s on you, the battery is under the back seat! Funny German trick!

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          The radiator outlet issue is the same on nearly every older Euro car with aluminum/plastic radiators. Happened to me on a couple Volvos, and to the PO of my Range Rover just before I bought it from him. Which was great – it had a brand-new radiator. He made the mistake of leaning on the outlet while checking the oil – snap!

          The trick is simple – when the car gets to be 10-12 years old, replace the radiator before it breaks and strands you. They are cheap (usually). Nissans radiators are just as good as OEM in my experience, and probably ARE the OEM for many of these cars anyway. Maintenance is more than just oil changes.

          • 0 avatar
            Kevin Jaeger

            It isn’t just Euro cars that use this type of radiator. My ’94 Miata has exactly the same type of aluminum radiator with plastic end caps and believe it or not plastic ages and gets brittle when installed in Japanese cars, too. Shocking, I know.

            I noticed my Miata radiator was discolored and deteriorating so I replaced it when I was doing the timing belt – cost me a grand total of $70.

            But now I don’t have any horror stories about getting stranded by an aging Japanese car or paying exhorbitant dealer prices. Oh well.

      • 0 avatar
        Ol Shel

        Or you could machine a sleeve that you would then JB weld into both sides of the break.

        Not that I have personal experience…

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    FIVE THOUSAAAAAAAND

    Inherently implies the same good ideas and financial ease as

    NAAAAAASSSSSSERRRR

    ——
    Anyway, while indeed quite rare, I don’t think the exterior treatment worked as well with the chunky dogleg door handles, which replaced the triggers with the name change.

    86 was the last year of the more chunky rear lights, like so:
    http://germancarsforsaleblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Screen-Shot-2013-01-21-at-1.36.06-AM.png

    87 was the only year the 5000 had the smaller rear lamp lenses and lacked the Quattro rings on the trunk lid. For 87 there was also a revised front end, which saw the loss of the chrome surround and larger headlamps.

    You can see that difference here, along with the sealed beam lights, which I don’t think became a possibility until Ford got the legislation changed for the upcoming Taurus?
    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Audi-5000-pair.jpg

    Changeover to the 100 name also saw interior upgrades, as no 5000 models were available with wood.

  • avatar

    When I was about 8, my grandparents friend had one of these (or maybe a 5000) that he was very proud of. I was impressed that it was designed prior to the introduction of the Taurus, which gets a most of credit for creating the “Aero” look of the 90s, back in 1985. I was less impressed when I found out a brake job for the Audi cost 3x as much as said Taurus. Thus began my decades long love-hate relationship with German cars.

  • avatar

    Very old skool carved swastika. As we learned a couple of months back via the University of Missouri, the modern variation is done using poop though it’s still unclear whether you use your own or borrow from someone else.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I’m still not sure I understand the difference between 4000/5000 and 100/200, either.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I am also amazed the odometer made it to 196k miles. Due to odometer fragility, the accuracy of that number is very suspect. But look, no rust. Thick galvanized steel, even in salt states it was hard to rust one of these.

    • 0 avatar
      never_follow

      The basic 5 banger block is probably amongst the stoutest designs ever. UrS4’s turboed to within an inch of their lives routinely go 400k and longer.

      What this car seems to have had which many didn’t is a loving owner that was willing to put in the time and money to keep up on the little things that no doubt cropped up. Then I guess they died, or something small was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

      It’s a shame, I loved my brick. I’ve also had two of the same platform Audi’s as you… A ’90 V8 (which was basically a 200 with a nicer front end, interior and glorious V8, and a D2 S8)… your stories tend to make me laugh, when they don’t make me cry.

  • avatar
    Joss

    Back in 1990 probably better off getting a 10-year-old Eagle turbo-diesel. No unintended acceleration there…

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    My uncle owns a foreign and sports repair shop that was opened in 1977. The Audi 5000/100 etc not only kept him quite busy with repairs but also made him very wealthy. Electrical gremlins, window regulators, speedometers, seized up rear brakes, failed turbos and sensors/computer issues were quite common. His two flatbed trucks also got a workout during this time period too.

  • avatar
    pwrwrench

    Audi 5000/100/200. Better be very serious if you want to keep one of these on the road. (running that is).
    There is the power steering/power brake system similar to the GM Hydro-Boost. The pump supplies pressure to the steering rack and an actuator behind the master cylinder where you usually find the vacuum brake booster. The rack or pump would wear sending metal particles through the system. Only cure; Replace everything, pump, rack, brake booster, hoses. Clean resevoir thoroughly and replace the filter if it has one.
    If this is not done complete like described, just replacing a leaking rack or pump, there will be another problem within a year.
    Most of these things had a climate control system sourced from GM.
    If it worked it was great. If it didn’t think about lots of replacements parts similar to the power steering. Typically you’d need AC compressor, hoses, and part or all of the control unit. The blower fan motor and it’s speed control would often be bad as well.

    And the “Step on Brake Before Shifting” sticker usually was on the automatics after a retrofitted solenoid was installed on the shifter so you could not move out of Park or Neutral without stepping on the brake. A very expensive recall for Audi.
    The cam followers are not a big deal. The same part is used on millions of VW/Audi motors. Should be inexpensive. Since it is a widely used part there are probably cheap copies out there. Best check with a VW/Audi engine specialist as to which ones to get.
    Also a car that’s been sitting like this one is likely to have moisture in the fuel system. That means corrosion and big $.

    • 0 avatar
      VW16v

      I Sold Audi’s back in the early 90’s. We would often have 1980’s 5000’s and 4000’s come in on trade with over 250k miles. The ones with leather were nice to see. Interiors would look almost new. High quality of leather back in the day.

      • 0 avatar
        Lack Thereof

        My parents had an ’85 4000S Quattro, bought new, ran strong until 140k when it got t-boned by a Taurus. Electrical gremlins aside, it ran great until its death.

    • 0 avatar

      Someone should write a book about a guy driving one of these across the country with $100 worth of tools. It would read like The Martian.

  • avatar
    dswilly

    More than just diesel Mercedes were good for 200k back then. You could easily get a BMW E30, E28 & E23 to hit 200k. I’ve done it with two of those, one a e23, hit 300k+ and was still going years after I let it go. The other a 91 325iX is still being driven as a ski car out in Colorado. Neither soaked up a lot of money other than preventative maintenance.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Pretty much anything German or Swedish was good for intergalactic mileage. They still are, IMHO. I have had half a dozen 200K+ Volvos (and one that went 400K+), a couple 200K+ Saab 900s, and an ’84 VW Jetta GLI that had 350K when I sold it 10 years ago that I STILL see on the road around town occasionally. My Mom’s ‘3 BMW 528e had 250K when we sold it 10 years ago – that is also still on the road locally. And this is in a climate where 5 months of the year the roads are a salt bath.

      Maybe I have just been extremely lucky over the 30-odd European cars I have had (though I doubt it), but hardly any of them were particularly problematical or expensive to run – and I tended to buy them on the cheap with a ton of miles on to start with.

      The couple that were I never should have bought in the first place – a totally used up Volvo 245T and a Porsche 924S that was really nice, really low mileage, and totally proved that you NEVER want a buy a car that has been sitting for years, and that the “Porsche Tax” is no joke when it comes to parts prices.

      • 0 avatar
        Kevin Jaeger

        I’ve driven several gas VWs of this era well over 200K and many VW TDIs got driven to truly staggering mileage. I’m not sure where the idea that this Audi with 196K would be unusual came from.

        The basic drivetrain on these was pretty solid as far as I recall.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Much more desirable would be the model driven by Gene Hunt in Ashes to Ashes. The actual car was recently sold at auction.

    http://jalopnik.com/now-you-can-own-gene-hunts-audi-quattro-from-ashes-to-1522967911

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/news/10635775/Gene-Hunts-Audi-Quattro-on-eBay.html

    Not only did it help to create its own catch phrase, it helped to decide an election in the U.K.

    “Fire up the Quattro!”

  • avatar
    roger628

    They should have just shipped these directly to the junkyard, saving the middleman (customer) much grief.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

    youtube.com/watch?v=xFGfWrJR5Ck

    youtube.com/watch?v=Eal4fep7pK4

  • avatar
    Ol Shel

    Our famiy had an early fwd 5000 5spd that was a lot of fun. I killed it by looking at the traffic light BEYOND the red light I drove straight through…

    We then got a new 100 quattro. Not fun. Worst throttle response and acceleration of any car I’ve ever driven. Dad’s 2.8L 4wd s-10 was faster. Oh, and the expensive electronics modules. Did I mention those?

  • avatar

    I never did get how Audi was able to bounce back from the unintended acceleration thing. Was it the Audi A4 finally giving people a stylistic breath of fresh air along with enough time passing for people to finally forget about the incident?

  • avatar
    jhefner

    I really loved the 5000s when it first came out, and I still do, since I have not had the experience of owning one to change my mind. Still remember when and where I saw one for the first time, and how revolutionary they looked. I still liked them as they evolved into the 100/200 pictured here; but never cared much for Audi styling after that.

    The 5000s and Taurus get equal and separate credit for ushering in the aero age, in my book. The 5000s was first, but it was the wild success of the Taurus that sent everyone rushing to the wind tunnel while sticking front clips with flush headlights on their existing cars to get them by. Both were also developed independently; though the 5000s came to market first because of the all the corporate changes and the Atlanta Assembly Plant that also came with the Taurus.

    Both great cars in their day.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    “yea, b ther soon.”

    A pudgy hand sent the text, then reached out and dropped the LG G3 back onto the crooked night stand.

    “F-cking Monday, fukk.”

    Eyes adjusting to the early morning light at 10:20, Carl was already running late. He sighed a couple of times while thinking of all the minority dickwads he would encounter today. Sitting up and putting bare feet to some light yellow shag carpeting, dusty blue eyes blinked and focused across the room on a well-worn t-shirt, ZOSO screen printed across the front. Heaving himself out of the bed with a crack or two to his back and neck, hands slid through the sleeves and the large size shirt was applied over a shaved head and chunky body, past its prime at age 27.

    “Gotta get off the Dominos. Eh maybe next month.”

    Some worn black jeans were pulled on as well, along with winter boots. Bespectacled eyes glared at the falling snow outside through a muggy damp window. That would add time to the morning proceedings. Grabbing a particular light grey jacket with some red stripes, he braced for the cold.

    Fresh powder smoothed under his considerable heft, and as the flat, black key turned to the right in the lock cylinder, a pfft could be heard. The old pump in the trunk fired up, and two of four doors unlocked. Which today? Carl pulled the cold plastic handle at the rear passenger door. No.

    “God you piece of scheisse.”

    Smirking to himself “Ha, you understood that too!” Too bad no chicks were around to hear that one – have to remember it for later. Around the other side, the rear door needed less verbal thrashing and opened willingly. Plopping into the aged beige velour, he leaned between the seats and fired up the ancient 5-cylinder. The apartment’s parking lot was immediately filled with the clatter-clatter of ruined lifters, and a new, different clattering underneath the car.

    “Eh, schweigen!”

    His coworker in tow, a few minutes later the old Quattro pulled past the premier level parking lot with its many shiny German ornaments and into the shabbier employee lot. He had to hit the pedal a little harder than normal to make it up the small incline to the lot. Pulling up next to an early Q7 that was losing some silver paint on the hood, Carl scowled contemptuously.
    “That’s not even a REAL Audi, look at it. Piece.”

    A quizzical look came from the guy seated next to him, “It’s aite, what are you talkin’ about?”

    “You wouldn’t understand die Reinheit.” He countered in an irritated tone.

    Tony rolled his eyes and got out.

    Carl affixed a white plastic tag to his slick jacket, reading SNOWMASS – Carl Weismann and sighed with a glance at the lodge above him. Exiting the 100, he didn’t bother locking up. His smoke break was later, and he didn’t want the locks freezing up on him – like last week – twice.

    That afternoon Carl sat in the 100 with Tony, smoking some Swishers while Carl eyed and critiqued the Q7 out loud. Tony was doing his best to ignore the ranting, and opened up the Arizona he’d got from the vending machine for $3.75. The car was making an awful racket underneath, which Carl tuned out by changing the volume on Kashmir from 14 to 26. The lights blinked on the Q7 then, and two sets of eyes shot across the lot to the employee door.

    There she was. Her tag said Helena but Carl wouldn’t have noticed – he was too busy with her form. She must have been off already, one of the early shifters. Slightly wavy blonde hair was adjusted by a pale, fine boned hand, manicured nails dipped in red metallic polish. She must have been 5’10” without shoes, or about three inches taller than Carl. Heeled leather boots crunched the packed snow. He waited, this was his moment. He had seen her a couple of times before, but never knew they had anything more important in common than their race. Waiting, this had to be just right. Her long, cream colored cable knit sweater entered view in the ample rear windscreen.

    Helena approached the driver’s door of the Q7, keys in one hand and a quilted Michael Kors purse in the other. She turned briefly to her left as the window of a ruined old white car rolled down, cherry-scented smoke rolling out over the flush glass window. Kashmir went from 26 to 0, suddenly.

    “Hey, so you gotta Quattro too huh? It’s nice right.”

    Carl punched his right foot down on the small pedal, and the clatter increased while the 5-cylinder tried to escape the embarrassing situation. It was short-lived, as the piece of filter banging around in the catalytic converter had gone through, and the car sputtered to a stop.

    “Huh? Scheisse!” Could be heard, and Carl winked confidently to the beautiful and pure female specimen outside the window. But the silence was superior to all in that moment, and after two blinks of heavily-lashed blue crystal, she opened the door to the Q7 and climbed in. The moment was broken with the heavy thud of a Germanic door built by Slovakians.

    Scheisse.

  • avatar
    mypoint02

    We were an Audi family back when these came out. Started out with an ’86 4000S, which I learned to drive on, and eventually ended up with a ’91 200 Turbo. I remember my Dad getting a crazy deal on that car. Stickered for well over $30k and he got it for ~$21k after trading in a well worn ’87 5000S Quattro. I think ’91 was the worst year for Audi in the US, so yes they were very rare. Even now I’ve only ever seen one or two other examples of the 200 in the wild.

    The 5000/100 with the NA 5 cyl was pretty slow, but the 200 was quick. In my young/dumb high school days, my good friend and I took our parent’s cars out to the country to race. He was piloting a ’93 Bonneville SSE with the 3800 V6 and I the 200 and it was neck and neck all the way up to triple digit speeds. The three speed auto was a limiting factor. God we were dumb back then…

    I remember that car looking just as good when it was traded in in 2004 as it did when it was new, despite accumulating 125k in the rust belt. The gray leather looked brand new. There was not a speck of rust on the outside. It never ran right after they introduced RFG/ethanol in our area in the mid-90s though. No one was ever able to figure out what the issue was…

  • avatar
    matador

    “They’ll have to work.” Josh paid for the mounting job of the two Goodyear Invictas. Leaving the tire shop, Josh was ready to go back to work. He twisted the worn key, resulting in a clatter. The five cylinder engine was prodded to life, with the enthusiasm of a half-dead animal. The old steed spun out of the parking lot. He twisted the knob on the old stereo, and dialed in 103.5. “Hells Bells” eminated from the blown drivers side speaker. Josh laid back, letting the memories flow. Five years ago he bought this Audi from Mike. Five short years. He was a nice man- they’d been friends since Kindergarten. Josh envied Mike- he had two things that Josh didn’t: Mechanical skills, and a wife. He thought he could trust Samantha, but it just wasn’t to be. Mike was the only one who really stood by Josh’s side. He grunted, and walked into Taco Johns to finish another shift.

    Evening here, he punched out and headed for the Audi. He was at wits end- he wanted nothing more than to never see Beth, his boss, again. He turned the key, and began the usual clatter. It didn’t progress, though. This was bad. Josh picked up his cell phone, and made “the call”.

    “Hey Josh- let me guess, the Audi.”

    “Yup. At work.”

    “I’ll be there in 20.”

    The familiar headlights of the 1984 Chevrolet Custom Deluxe came into view through the light Colorado snow. Mike skillfully backed the trailer to the back of the disabled German executive sedan, and lowered the ramps. Josh climbed into the cab, basking in the warmth of the heater. He started to dream.

    The sound of a loud clunk interrupted his train of thought. Mike closed the door, and pushed the four speed into low. They were off.

    “You gotta replace that thing! I honestly can’t believe you got this far.”

    Josh sighed, and gave out the usual reply. “You know I don’t have the money. I lost almost everything in the divorce. What the heck was I even thinking in the first place?”

    Mike offered his usual compassion. “Look, I have this 1998 Regal. She’s not pretty, but she runs like a top. I’d sell her to you for 500. As a friend.”

    “Maybe next month. I just don’t have the money. You know that I picked up those two tires from the junkyard. That almost broke me. The hearing is next week. I know she’s been sleeping with another man. They’ll remove my garnishments, and I’ll be alright. Until then, is there anything that you can do?

    “I’ll see what I can do. I wouldn’t strand a friend.” Mike pulled into his driveway, and unhitched the trailer. “Come in.”

    “Here are the keys to the Regal. It’s insured, and it runs. The right rear window doesn’t go down. Try not to crash her. I’ll let you know what I find.”

    Josh drove off, reaching to tune the radio off of KYGO. Mike was a true friend. He changed his mind, electing to keep Tracy Lawrence. He had no clue what he was listening to, but it warmed his heart.
    “You find out who your friends are. Somebody’s gonna drop everything. Run out and crank up their car. Hit the gas get their fast. Never stop to think ‘what’s in it for me?’ or ‘it’s way too far.’ They just show on up with their big old heart….”

    Mike was the best friend anyone could ask for.

    ************************

    A week passed. Then, the call came. “I’m sorry, but the valves are shot. The old girl has given all she can. She won’t go any farther. Tomorrow’s Saturday- why don’t you come by?”

    “I guess. I just don’t know what to do….” The phone clicked off.

    “Look Josh, you’re the best friend I could ask for. I don’t know how to put this, but Paul quit me, and I need someone to help me around the shop detailing. I can’t pay you a lot, but it should be about what you make now. The Regal is yours. What do you think?”

    Josh started tearing up. He hadn’t felt this welcome in ages. He managed to squeak out the word “yes” before emotions took over.

    • 0 avatar
      MGS1995

      Wow, damn good for a first time.

      • 0 avatar
        matador

        Thanks! I guess I was just in the mood!

        • 0 avatar
          never_follow

          Good work! The mismatched pair of tires was spot on… The one time I did it (on the way to the tire shop), my diff HATED it, 215/50’s vs 225/50’s. I can’t imagine doing it long term.

          Glad Josh ends up with something more suited to him, poor 3rd, 4th, 8th owners have killed many a eurobox.

          • 0 avatar
            matador

            Thanks! I never said mismatched sizes, but the Goodyear Invica hasn’t been made for at least 15 years. We have the original spare that came with our 1992 Dakota when it left the factory (We’re the third owners, but the date code shows it to be a 1992 tire).

            That’s a really good tire. I had to use it once when the truck was heavily loaded (Didn’t know it was that old at the time). If Goodyear made tires like that again, I’d be a lot more willing to buy them ;)

            I can imagine the diff problems. I run matched tires on my Audi for that reason, but I’ve seen a lot of mismatched Subarus. That has to be murder on the differential!

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Nice job!

      Now, you didn’t ask but:

      My recs would be to watch your use of “that,” and sentence length. Sentences were a bit short, so it ended up reading a little choppy. And most instances of “that” in English are extraneous and can be cut!

      • 0 avatar
        matador

        Thanks!

        I checked over and found I only used “that” five times, but three of them were right next to each other. I should have noticed that in proofreading, but I didn’t.

        Sadly, English isn’t my strongest subject. I do better in math (There was less writing!)

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Did you get a vintage tweed sport jacket and bonus English degree with your Cadillac?

        • 0 avatar
          matador

          I’m just the Buick owner. I received a smoking jacket, one of those pine tree things that you hang from the mirror, and about 900 gallons of that vintage “Someone smoked a lot in this Buick” smell.

          Cadillac owners get all the nice perks!

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          I haven’t looked through the gold plated box in the trunk fully yet, so it’s possible.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I’m guessing that’s just the trunk monkey, it was an option in MY93. Might want to give the little fellow some air, assuming the box has been opened since the Clinton administration…

          • 0 avatar
            matador

            A lot of boxes were opened during the Clinton Administration!

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Excellent!

  • avatar
    Bocatrip

    Audi regardless had always been crap.. lately much better.. but with this article.. Crap is very relevant…for the time.

  • avatar
    Bocatrip

    Other than lately with 2014-2016… Audi has not imporoved. better now..

  • avatar
    Bocatrip

    Better interiors.. but never forgotten 100LS and 5000. which were are junk.

  • avatar
    Johnster

    When these were new I thought they were so wonderfully new and round, but now they just look kind of conservative and square and boxy.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      The design is over 30 years old, of course it looks old. Compare it to other things from the early-mid 80’s, and you’ll see it’s aged incredibly well.


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