V.I.S.I.T. – 1985 Audi 5000S is a rarity over here


Walking home Saturday night from my favorite beverage-serving establishment, coincidentally run by a guy who has emigrated here from upstate New York, I noticed an Audi 100 with short plates and bulkier bumpers. Instantly, my synapses made the connection: it had to be an American Audi, it had to be a 5000. It was too dark to get a photo, and the Audi was rolling down the street anyway. Sunday afternoon, I was luckier and noticed the 5000S parked on the street. Compared to a relatively common, everyday Audi 100, the 5000S is a touch more Western.

If you thought the Reatta was rare here, so is a Federalized, 5000-ised Typ44 Audi. Here are the photos.


Really, 5000S. It’s like 100 or 200 just wouldn’t cut it, neither would just slapping another zero in the end. It had to be 4000 and 5000 for the 80 and 100/200.


The US-model bumpers really look sturdy, but then again, they’d have to be, with all those unintended crashes into the garage rear walls? Hur hur, and that’s about the extent of how much I’ll delve into the 60 Minutes fiasco dug up every time the 5000 gets mentioned.

Note also the mandatory headlight washers that tag along on the bumpers. The grille hole is for the block heater plug.


I like the simple aerodynamic wheels complete with centre caps. They remind me of the VW GTI Pirelli wheels.


Goodwrench sticker is a reminder of the days spent in the Old West.


Even if the car is a pre-facelift model and thus had the old dashboard, I do like it. It hasn’t rusted seemingly from anywhere, which on the pre-facelift cars is more likely than on the newer ones, which seem to soldier on unscatched.

[Images: Copyright 2013 Hooniverse/Antti Kautonen]

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20 responses to “V.I.S.I.T. – 1985 Audi 5000S is a rarity over here”

  1. Bren Avatar

    One other US 'raincoat' difference – the front/rear lights have chrome reflectors instead of the painted silver used in Euro models , thereby making them even brighter when in use.

  2. Pete_Gaines Avatar

    Y'know, as I kid I thought of the Audi 5000 as a futuristic jellybean. Now, with 30 years' hindsight and automotive design evolution, it looks downright….boxy. Funny how perspective works.

  3. marmer01 Avatar

    This is the car that made me fall in love with Audi (actually the wagon version of this.) Do I need to mention that the unintended acceleration fiasco was in fact partly Audi's fault? They didn't re-engineer the pedal spacing on the US-market auto trans cars, they just deleted the clutch. Non-enthusiast US drivers moving from other upscale US makes (Buick was commonly mentioned) were used to the brake being quite a bit farther to the left and higher and were pretty sloppy about where their foot was. It was easy to slip off the brake and then the gas was right there. When Audi fixed that, the problem disappeared. Then they started selling the 90, 100, and later A4 at very competitive prices and so repaired their reputation.

    1. JayP2112 Avatar

      The A4 was what saved Audi in the US. The other Audis were uncompetitive with their pricing vs BMW and Mercedes. The A4 was helped with platform sharing with the Passat that it got the price point down to where a well equipped A4 quattro was undercutting the lowest 3 series. The B5 A4 is a great looking car and that helped a whole lot.
      There was a lot of enthusiasm with the A4, especially with the young guys wanting a turbo quattro. JET's A4 page was launched as a place to bellyache about the car they ordered being delayed. That turned into Audiworld.

      1. marmer01 Avatar

        Yes, I remember JET's A4 site. I really wanted a B5 Passat Syncro wagon, but they basically never came to the US in any real quantity, so I got the A4 Avant instead. Took six months.

        1. JayP2112 Avatar

          The good old days.

  4. Nathan Avatar

    Not a 5000s. I have a 1985 5000s turbo the headlights are square and there is two on each side

    1. JayP2112 Avatar

      It is a 5000s.
      '86 was the first year of the aero headlights in the US.

  5. JayP2112 Avatar

    So my son found the Autotrader app. He spends his time car shopping and comes across some interesting stuff- like big Audis. He'd send me an A6 4.2, then a 3.0 Avant, then an A6 biturbo manual. I'm a little gunshy about these high mileage, late model Audis so I'm trying to steer him to a late 80's 4000/5000 quattro.
    But he didn't say no to a 16v Scirocco.
    The bad news- he has $300.
    Good news- he has 4 more years before he can get a license.

    1. P161911 Avatar

      A $300 Porsche would be cheaper to keep running than a $300 Audi, or at least the same price. My dad's audi 5000S is the only car he has ever given away. Those things are EXPENSIVE to keep on the road. Today a running Audi 5000 is a rare sight indeed.

      1. JayP2112 Avatar

        I guess it depends on the car. My 2 5000s were a snap to keep up. The 944 was a money pit.
        Besides, he'll change his mind 3 or 4 dozen times before it becomes an issue.

      2. daniel bozikowski Avatar
        daniel bozikowski

        im still driving my 85 since july 2000. its not so expensive when you can get a good parts car for cheap. I love driving it. in fact I haven't had to align the front end since I installed factory tie rod ends in 2004. it gets way better gas milage than my Volvo 240.

  6. FreeMan Avatar

    "NPOCP" must have been taken as a vanity plate, so this was the closest he could get.

  7. MVEilenstein Avatar

    Seriously, what's with the hitch? Is every car in Finland required to have one?

    1. mdharrell Avatar

      Add it to the list of arguments in favor of Finland.

    2. Perc Avatar

      People that need to move things, like home owners fetching firewood or running garden waste to the recycling, typically own a trailer.
      It's kind of pointless to buy, insure and run a pickup truck just for that, don't you think?

      1. scponder Avatar

        Not if you get the right truck!
        <img src="http://cache.gawker.com/assets/images/jalopnik/2009/06/2007-GMC-TopKick-Ironhide.jpg&quot; width="600">

      2. P161911 Avatar

        In the US a small utility trailer runs $400-$2000 depending on how nice and how big it it. Running and serviceable pick up trucks start at about $800-$1000, another $20-30/month for insurance, plus you now have a backup vehicle if ever needed and don't have to take the time to hook up a trailer.

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