Junkyard Find: 1975 Audi Fox

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

No, this car isn’t this kind of Fox, though it is a sibling of the first Volkswagen Passat aka Dasher. The Fox was the name given to the Audi 80 for the United States market, and we can all be forgiven for not knowing this (as very few were sold). This completely used-up, not-so-quick brown Fox jumped over the lazy junkyard dog after a life spent almost entirely in the East Bay, and now it rests in a self-service wrecking yard about two miles from its owner’s longtime place of employment.

I know this because of the thick stack of Oakland Airport North Ramp employee-parking permit stickers on the bumper.

Looks like at least 30 stickers here, so we may be looking at a one-owner car.

I thought I might pull this Motometer clock for my car clock collection, but it turned out to be a case full of broken gears. Sadness.

The interior was completely cooked, which suggests that the car spent its entire life unprotected from the California sun.

According to Audi tradition, the timing belt should be located where it’s the first thing to get crushed in a minor crash.

Other than the usual California surface rust around the back window, this car is fairly solid in spite of all the bent metal.

I couldn’t find any US-market TV ads for the Fox, so we’ll go back to Germany.

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • Jimal Jimal on Apr 01, 2014

    My first recollection of the Audi brand was the Fox one of my counselors had when I went to summer camp in the summer of 1979. I don't know how old the car was, but it was brown (what other color is there for a Fox?) and 8 year-old me thought it would be a good place to get some engine grime so that I could dress up like a mechanic for costume day. He didn't think that was such a good idea. Or particularly funny.

  • Arthur Dailey Arthur Dailey on Apr 14, 2014

    In Canada they used the Fox name on 2 distinct cars. In the mid 70's an Audi. In the mid early 80's a rebadged VW (Polo?) sold as an entry level vehicle. Both had problems with oil leaks and self destructing exhaust systems. VW also sold Sciroccos and 'Dashers' in Canada in the 70's. We didn't own either of those but did own a 3 series and a 4 series as well as 2 Beetles. The 3 and 4 series were both what I believe are called 'flying brakes', 2 door station wagons. Not a great idea because most people buying a station wagon have kids so entrance to and from the back seat was compromised.

  • Mike Beranek I wouldn't want to own this car. But I sure would love to borrow it.
  • CFS I can’t believe these comments aren’t 100% in favor of CarPlay/Android Auto. They don’t add much for music and other audio that you don’t get with just a Bluetooth connection, but they make navigation so so much better. Why is it better? Because inputting the destination address is so much easier. And I don’t need to think about updating my car’s maps. Plus, I can switch between Google Maps, Waze, Apple Maps, or whatever else seems best suited for my trip. Hands-free calling features are OK, but not such a big deal for me.
  • TheEndlessEnigma I've owned a VW in the past and learned my lesson. Any kind of repair was absurdly expensive which I understand is typical of VW nowadays.
  • TheEndlessEnigma Interesting how Stellantis (and can we take a moment to acknowledge how piss-poor a company name this is - it invokes....what....MBA marketeers failing at their job) is pursuing cuts to reduce costs instead of, oh I don't know, designing-building-marketing vehicles people *WANT* to buy? What has Stella done with what was Chrysler? Suck off the cash flow generated by Chrysler brands, essentially kill the Chrysler brand by cancelling successful models, eliminate any market advantage Dodge had by killing successful models (G Caravan was the #1 minivan until it was killed, Charger & Challenger *were* profitable, etc,) and progressively and continually neuter Jeep all this while ignoring component and build quality. What's done in return? Push Fiat as the new and exciting brand then watch as it fails in North America (did you know ONLY 603 Fiats were sold in the US in 2023). All new Stellantis releases in North America are Euro designs......that then fail in North America because they are not design for our market. The Stellanis solution? Fire Fred, Hank, and Jim and replace them with Apu, Jose and Bernardo. Yup, that will work.
  • 3-On-The-Tree To say your people are total monsters is an unfair statement. You can judge the Japanese government but to say the citizens are culpable or responsible is wrong. That’s like saying every Caucasian person in the U.S is responsible for slavery or the civil rights era of violence and discrimination against African Americans and are benefiting from it. That’s 79 years ago, the average Japanese citizen born during WWII has nothing to do with what happened. Even my Japanese grandmother who was living in Yokohama whose home was firebombed was just trying to survive with 3 kids and a husband fighting in the war. Just like every war the citizens suffer, I saw it in Iraq. You can’t judge the people from the misdeeds of their government, my mom was born after the war, you really think she is responsible for what happened?