Audi was not always the brand it is today. In the late ’70s, Audi was more of the plucky German alternative to BMW and Mercedes-Benz that was always cheaper and quirkier. It had a following but it was more of a cult following than anything else. In the early ’80s, Audi started dominating the rally scene with its Quattro-badged cars. Those early ’80s Audis have become fan favorites among enthusiasts, as they’re charms are addictive. But, to the outsider, it can be hard to see why.
Old Audis, while hilarious and fun, are damn near impossible to own. They’re incredibly unreliable and rust like crazy. They also haven’t held up well over the years, with most of the interior falling apart and anything made from rubber or plastic completely rotting away. They aren’t the best cars to rely on, to say the least.
However, as a side car or project car, old ’80s Audis can be a ton of fun and provide charms that can become addictive. This old Audi 4000 S Quattro changed the mind of one Jalopnik editor during some snowy driving in New Hampshire.
With the engine slung so far out ahead of the front axle, the Audi 4000 understeers like crazy and requires almost brutish force to get it through corners. But if you lift off before the corner, chuck it in hard, floor it and use its incredible Quattro all-whee drive grip, it becomes a tenacious handler. Once you learn its style, you start stringing corners together smoothly and become faster and faster. On a track, especially a snowy or muddy one, this is some of the most fun driving you can do. On the road, not so much.
Although, you have to learn to deal with the intolerable rust, increasing repair bills and spare part scarcity, which al make ownership incredibly difficult. But if you can afford to have one of these cars as a second car or project car, their charms are hard to deny.