A granite etched jaw line. Rabbit legged agility. Warbling rally success. Just three things that the brand new Audi Coupe didn’t have when it was released in 1988. And as they were the best bits of the previous model, it was a bit of a shame. ‘Booooo’ said men in bobble hats. And they were right.
The 1988 – 1996 Audi 80 Coupe was forever being seen next to the word ‘disappointing’, or the phrase ‘lacks the spirit of the original’. Whatever that means.
But now, away from comparisons with 20th Century rally icons, it looks brill. Stocky, classy, clean… the proportions of an 80s hero, without the stupid quiff and face paint.
Yes, the engine is mounted in the ‘traditional’ Audi location of ‘slightly in front of the radiator’, and yes that means Walter Rohrl will look a bit sad if you offer him a go – but he’s a mentalist anyway. The 80 Coupe is now one of the smoothest, cheapest, most stylish Grand Tourers around. And because they now cost less than £1,000, you should go and buy one.
You certainly won’t have to worry about rust. All Audi Coupes have fully galvanised bodies, so unless a partially sighted cretin has driven into a bollard and repaired the damage with a piece of sheet steel from B&Q, the metallic tree bark should stay away.
The biggest problem is actually choosing which engine you want. There’s a 2.0 8v if you like going slowly, a 2.8 V6 Quattro if you like visiting Texaco, a couple of five cylinder jobbies to keep the bobble hats happy as well as an excellent 137bhp 2.0 16v if you like a smart mixture of everything. And, if you’re still feeling down in the mouth about it not being a ‘proper’ turbocharged Quattro, just save up the £5k you need to get a post-1990 S2.
Really, it’s best not to get your knickers in a twist about what’s under the bonnet and concentrate on history and condition. Things to look out for are seized rear brakes (mk2 Golf anyone?), corroded brake lines, noisy fuel pumps and blue oil smoke from the exhaust when under load or on over-run.
If you’ve ever owned a Volkswagen or Audi from the 80s or early 90s, it’ll feel warmly familiar – if you’re a VAG virgin, so to speak, you just need common sense and some reassuring receipts.
The icing on the cake is that prices are at rock bottom right now. So find yourself a late car with a 2.0 16v engine, make sure it’s got tidy bodywork and a wedge of history, pay about a grand and you might be able to sell it on for profit in a couple of years.
If you look stupid in a bobble hat, a £1,000 Audi Coupe could be the best car you ever own.