German Import: 1974 Audi 100 LS


I thought there was something unusual about this Audi when I saw the headlights; US models had four small sealed-beams that made the car look much less contemporary. This coupe was imported from Germany in 2012 and features original “bananengelb” (banana yellow) paint in really nice shape. The seller says it’s ready to be used as a daily driver after replacing, rebuilding or just cleaning components such as the fuel pump, master cylinder and carburetor. The car still has it’s original ATS wheels and is showing 105,000 miles. It’s located in El Paso, Texas. The front-wheel-drive coupe is being auctioned here on eBay with bidding just over $2,000 at this point but the reserve has not been met. The car certainly appears to have been cherished, with vanity plates and even Audi dealer plate frames added. I’ll bet you won’t find another one of these at your local cruise-in!

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  1. randy

    May be a good candidate for the DOT to come and get and crush it because they can.

    The fate of many much more valuable gray market cars. Hopefully the importer dotted all of the “I”s and crossed all of the “T”s.

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    • Audifan

      Out of all places why would the DOT come and get the car?
      It is over 25 years old and therefore EXEMPT from all DOT and EPA requirements.

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  2. Woodie Man

    My roommate had one in 1974 in college. A light blue one. I used to love to drive it. I think he sold it for 500 bucks

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  3. Dan h

    Wow, looks amazingly simple! What happened??

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  4. z1rider

    I cant remember ever seeing an Audi on this site (I’m sure there have been though), but many of us frequent another one which has featured several of them. The listings there for Audi’s from about 1990 and back generate a lot of hate mail, and serve to validate my own experience. Mine involved a 1983 5000 and a friend who had a Fox from the 70’s. He and I would advise that you run away from this as fast as you can.

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  5. Dolphin Member

    Agree with z1rider, these old ’70s Audis had lots of reliability problems. I knew someone who had a Fox like z1’s friend, and he liked the car because it was a rare brand from exotic Germany but it kept breaking. He kept pumping money into it until he couldn’t take it any more. Before he dumped it I remember riding in it and that engine was the busiest little noisemaker I had ever heard—as loud as an air cooled beetle.

    That was around the time Audi was developing a poor reputation for reliability with high prices, and BMW’s 2002 was changing the landscape for small sport sedans for the better. In the battle between Audi and BMW back then BMW won.

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  6. Mitch

    I lusted after one of these when I was younger, now I’m not sure why. Someone in my neighborhood has one for sale with an exhaust leak (manifold?) and is asking a crazy 5k. Its easy to resist.

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  7. Audifan

    I own a 1980 Audi 5000 gasoline and a 1980 Audi 5000 Diesel. Both have very low miles. They require TLC to keep them on the road and enjoy them. I don’t know if I am brave enough to own a 1974 Audi 100 LS. Only a 1976 US-version, fuel injected, with A/C and sunroof, even A/T could get me excited.
    I do like the color of this one though.

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  8. Grr

    Why couldn’t VW, that paragon of reliability at the time, make these reliable? Knowing they weren’t, why did the 5000 become popular?

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    • z1rider

      The reliability you refer to was limited to air cooled VW’s which is attributable to the fact they changed very little over the life of that design.

      When I lived in Texas in the early 90’s I attended a conference of people in the automobile industry. One of the speakers was the head of the Texas Motor Vehicle Commission who was asked to speak about the Lemon Law. He began with some history. He stated that prior to the mid 1970’s the Commission only got involved with dealer franchise law, sales of dealerships, disputes between competing dealers and between dealers and the manufacturers.

      He then went on to explain that the quality of VW Rabbits when they were introduced was very poor. Furthermore, the response of VW to the complaints of their customers was so inadequate that their activity was forced to open a consumer protection division. This would ultimately lead to the Texas Lemon Law.

      The reliability you refer to did not apply to water cooled VWs and Audis. From what I have read on this and other blogs I still don’t consider them to be reliable, relatively speaking.

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  9. randy

    German cars were the rage. What got Audi in trouble is they kept trying to reinvent the wheel with “new” technology, front bushings and window regulators come to mind.

    I never bought into the uninteneded accelleration though, these cars with the 5 cyl engine did not have enough power to get out of their own way.

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  10. Ron Tyrrell

    I waited until some others posted their take on the Audi 100. I had a VW shop in Tacoma Wash during the time when they were sold and I cannot think of a car with more problems than an Audi 100. These were cars almost new with transmisson disasters, cylinder head cracking, fuel injection problems and electrical failures. The seal between the automatic trans and the ring and pinion would swap fluids and that was the end of the trans. The fuel systems cold start would fail and you would burn up the starter trying to get it started. The electrcal relays were a source of head aches. Whenone would show up at the shop I would let the people know we were to busy to work on it. Many fairly new Audis were sold for almost no money just to get rid of them, stop the bleeding. I am sure there must have been a few good one but naturaly we never saw them. The one thing they did have was excellent paint and color choice and I think that was the reason so many were sold.

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  11. D. King

    We had a Fox–yellow like this one–right when they came to the U.S. I guess it was a ’73 or ’74. We had a number of problems initially, but they seemed to settle down after a while. I don’t remember why we eventually sold it. As for BMW vs Audi, we had a ’69 BMW 2002 first, which had MANY problems. I hated that car, although I have enjoyed the 4 Bimmers we’ve had since, including our current one.

    Our ’80-something Quattro was a considerably better car. My son killed it once; we bought it back from the insurance company and rebuilt it. He killed it again, this time driving a stake through its heart. Teenagers. That was one of the few cars I really regret losing through the decades. (He was uninjured through both crashes.)

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  12. Jeff

    My mom gave me her 72 100ls when I was in high school. I was an auto shop nut. So I wanted to work on this car. However, it ran pretty darn good. After high school, I went to UTI (automotive school). I built that little motor, lowered it, and raced it on Saturday nights at PIR. It was a cool little 13second ride! Then I got into Rally racing. Couldn’t afford a GT so the 100 was resurrected into a Rally Car. Lifted it back up, changed the shocks and tires (Norsmans), caged the bird, and raced it for 4 seasons. They are relatively simple to work on. It was a heavy lil bugger but once I figured out ebrake turning, it worked well. I had to shift the automatic manually to get the RPM’s up, but she would scream. I tinkered with her daily, but always simple stuff. I did install a custom manifold and Weber carb w/headers. I broke the sway bar early on, so this turned into a custom set-up. I kept the car until the mid 80’s and eventually unloaded her in Phoenix. It was a 2door Marine blue color. I have never seen another like it. She was quite the envy of a lot of friends in the day. Nonetheless, I heard all the same negative things years ago, but now I find myself looking for another 30 years later. If anyone knows where to find one of these dinosaurs, please let me know.

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  13. Max Damage

    My first car was a 1974 Audi 100 LS – this color with a black vinyl top and four doors.

    When I bought it, the choke was stuck “on” and it ran like crap and got 10 mpg. I loosened the retaining screws and turned it to the “off” position. Locked it there.

    I had to have the valve guides replaced and had some other problems with it – engine mount broke while on the way from Michigan to Chicago.

    But, the front-wheel drive worked great in the snow and it rode nice.

    It carried five of us from Michigan to the Conn for Spring Break and back. On the way out, the exhaust hangars broke and we kept having to stop every 30 or so miles and try to wire the exhaust up with bent clothes hangars. We finally gave up and the exhaust clattered on the road until it finally broke off about 4 feet from the engine. We finished the last 3 hours of the trip with four feet of straight pipe – no muffler. It was REALLY LOUD!!!

    Had a new exhaust system put on in Conn and had to borrow the $$ for it from my friend’s mother with whom we were staying.

    Epic. Road. Trip.

    Like 1
    • CarNut from Winnipeg Member

      My father bought a 1973 100 GL automatic 4 dr new. Red with black vinyl roof. Said it was THE WORST DECISION EVER. $6k CDN new and $6k repairs in 6 years ownership. Valve guides, rings, carb/choke problems etc. etc. Roomy and comfortable though. Drove beautifully, when it drove.

      Like 0

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