This past week, we have been spoilt with blue skies and fairly warm temperatures here in the High Peak and throughout the rest of the UK. I hope we’ve all made time to take our classic out for at least a small pleasure trip. I’m equally sure that this lovely weather has all of us looking forward with anticipation to the many classic car events which fills the 2019 calendar. For me personally, one of the events which I’m most excited about is Hagerty’s Festival of the Unexceptional on the 20th of July. Last year’s event was phenomenal! But what to arrive in?
As it’s a celebration of the ordinary daily heroes which littered our streets of yesteryear as family transportation, one would think that there would be plenty of choice. But that’s the whole contradiction about it. Today, these regular saloons, hatchbacks and estates are nearing extinction as they have been underappreciated and taken for granted for much too long. You will typically see more E-types and 911s at your average classic car meet than you will Hillman Avengers and Opel Kadetts.
For instance, when did you last see a second-generation Audi 80? Being built in more than 1.5 million examples between late 1978 and 1986, and with the youngest cars being only a little more than 30 years old, you might be inclined to think that there would still be plenty around. Think again…
When Audi launched their second-generation 80 in 1978, it was built on V.A.G.’s new B2 platform which was later to be shared with the Audi Coupé, the iconic Ur-Quattro and from 1981 even the second-generation VW Passat. The new design was complimentary of the great Giorgetto Giugiaro, and managed to separate the Audi from its sister VW and move it upmarket as the entry-level Audi and little-sister to the executive Audi 100, where the second-generation model had been launched two years prior to the new 80.
A wide range of engines were available right from a rather asthmatic 1.3-litre 4-cylinder to the glorious 5-cylinder engines. There was an equally wide range of trim levels and from 1983 onwards, Audi’s versatile four-wheel-drive Quattro system was made available in the more sporty versions of the saloon car as well.
It’s not a traction-grabbing Quattro. It’s not even a front-wheel-drive but rare 80 Sport or 80 GTE. It’s just a regular, middle-of-the-range 80 GL, but being an ’83 car it’s at least one of the first 80’s to be fitted with the 1.8-litre engine and as such it should deliver decent enough performance. Being in GL-trim, it’s also got a 5-speed transmission, front fog lamps integrated into the bumper, and not least a more upmarket interior including four electric windows. Quite posh for 1983.
But why does such an average Audi 80 suddenly grab someone like myself who is generally uninterested in Audi’s? I think it must be a combination of colours and condition. The Topaz Green metallic paintwork is so distinctly early eighties and looks great as this is just not a colour seen on our roads anymore. Also, the black vinyl roof is amusing and helps distinguish the car as a UK market car. By 1983, I honestly doubt very many Audi 80’s would have worn a vinyl roof on their home market, but the vinyl roof seemed to remain a trendy option for a bit longer in the UK. I’ve seen B1 Audi 80’s with vinyl roofs, but don’t recall ever seeing another B2 with it – yet, in some odd retro way, I like it. Let’s move on to the interior. From a design perspective, it too is quite unexceptional. Boring even. But also within this Audi 80, it’s all about colour. That’s a whole lot of green! Not just the seat cloth, but also doorcards, carpets, dashboard and even the centre pad of the steering wheel. A fabulous sea of green. We’ve borrowed these pictures from the advert – have you ever before seen so much green applied to one single car?
Then there’s the condition. This Audi 80 only has two previous owners and is claimed to have covered a mere 66,000 miles in its 36 year life – that’s not even 2,000 miles per year! With the two previous owners being known, there seems to be some history with the Audi, and it presents remarkably original and unmolested. The current private seller from Norfolk, UK has recommissioned the early eighties saloon with a thorough service of the engine, brake system, new tyres and a fresh MOT with no advisories (all of which is refreshingly well detailed in the advert). The seller continues to say that the Audi is overall in excellent condition, though he admits to a few age-related marks and a couple of areas with minor cosmetic rust such as rear arches and the bottom of the driver’s door. With an asking price of £ 2,995 you can hardly expect the Audi to be immaculate in every detail, and if the seller’s description holds true upon a proper inspection, it would seem that this is a lovely youngtimer and a rare example of one of yesteryear’s daily heroes. Hers’s a link to the full advert: 1983 Audi 80 GL
It seems an ideal candidate to drive to the next Festival of the Unexceptional – either as is and park up on the lawn with the many other spectators, or you could tidy up the bodywork a bit further and perhaps even enter it for the unexceptional concours…
With our Saturday instalment of Prime Find of the Week, we’re offering our services to the classic car community, by passing on our favourite classic car for sale from the week that passed. This top-tip might help a first-time-buyer to own his first classic, or it could even be the perfect motivation for a multiple-classic-car-owner to expand his garage with something different. We’ll let us inspire by anything from a cheap project to a stunning concours exotic, and hope that you will do the same.
Just remember – Any Classic is Better than No Classic! We obviously invite our readers to help prospective buyers with your views and maybe even experiences of any given model we feature. Further to that, if you stumble across a classic which you feel we ought to feature as Prime Find of the Week, then please send us a link to firstname.lastname@example.org