Junkyard Find: 1984 Audi 5000 S, With Voodoo Incantantion To Ward Off Unintended Acceleration

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1984 audi 5000 s with voodoo incantantion to ward off unintended

The Audi “Unintended Acceleration” debacle of 1986, which whacked American Audi sales by about 75% within a few years, makes the 1982-86 Audi 5000 an historically significant Junkyard Find. The 60 Minutes piece about the 5000’s allegedly malevolent behavior turned the car’s image from masterpiece of aerodynamic science to bloody-clawed multiple murderer, with predictable effects on resale value for existing cars. This means that the 5000 of the Unintended Acceleration era that managed to stay on the good side of The Crusher until 2012 is a survivor of astonishing tenacity.

Plenty of cars had smooth lines like this by the early 1990s, so the ’84 5000 doesn’t really stand out from the crowd these days. Back in the early 1980s, however, this car looked double-take-inducing futuristic.

Everybody has flush glass now, but noisy and drag-inducing inset windows were the norm in the early 1980s. Here’s the car that introduced the flush-glass idea to the marketplace.

So, yeah, this car got a bum rap thanks to panic-mongering journalism. Ford managed to emerge comparatively unscathed from the infamous “Park-To-Reverse” controversy of a few years earlier, even though thousands of 1966-80 Fords really did suffer from a dangerous mechanical flaw.

Not that the 5000 was without its real-life weaknesses, of course; high complexity levels and glitchy electrical components kept cost-of-ownership fairly high for these things.

Note the recall-mandated decal applied to the shifter console. It’s too bad that Audi didn’t add a dash decal identifying the difference between the throttle and brake pedals.

I was impressed by how clean this car looked. Here’s why: 62,837 miles on the clock. Original owner who only drove to church on Sundays?

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  • 50merc 50merc on Oct 14, 2012

    Back in the day, the joke was that bad luck is defined as waiting in line at a toll booth with a Pinto in front and an Audi behind you.

  • Audi5000csAvant Audi5000csAvant on Oct 16, 2012

    So to all of you who say how unreliable your Audi was, here is ME , i have 1987 Audi 5000 CS Quattro Avant with 242,000 miles on the clock. so far, i've replaced Clutch, and heater core. Car Runs smooth and strong, Turbocharged 5 cylinder , 5 speed, AWD. Body still has no rust, interior is pretty much perfect. and is used as everyday car today - 2012. So before leaving a stupid uneducated comment, consider if it isn't the car's fault, but perhaps you don't know how to own an old car? oh and i owned it since 2003

  • Art Vandelay The Peter Puffing by Tassos and EBFlex isn't the only thing that's "hot" in these!
  • Art Vandelay That rust isn't terrible honestly. Floor pans commonly need some love on these and I have seen waaaay worse. Car looks complete and original. 65 fastback V8, he'll get that price.
  • Redapple2 Love that year fastback. Is the auto tran rubbish?
  • Jeff S The question is how long will Ford offer the Mustang as a pony car? Dodge is sun setting the Challenger at the end of this year and it is doubtful if the Challenger will come back as an EV. Rumors are the Camaro name will be used on an EV and that will mostly likely be a crossover. There is not enough market for a Detroit muscle or pony car. It is sad to see not only the last of the cars like the Camaro and Challenger go but to see most cars go. Soon this site will have to change its name to The Truth About Trucks (TTAT).
  • Oberkanone Does GM build anything to compete with this? Does GM build any competent hybrids?