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Inline Five: 1978 Audi 5000

Update 9/6/13 – This one has been pulled out out of the barn and cleaned up a bit. They are still asking $980, but it actually looks like a decent project.

From 11/26/12 – Audi was the first manufacturer to release a five-cylinder gasoline engine. Their I5 may have gained fame from the Ur-Quattro rally cars, but it started life in their more humble sedans. Reader Chris sent this 1978 Audi 5000 in which has been stored away since 1986. The seller does not say much except that it includes a clear title and 26 years of dust. Find it here on Lincoln, Nebraska’s craigslist for $980. Thanks goes to Chris for the tip.

Updated Photos:


  1. Mark

    Gosh I see those quite often for less than that and they aren’t covered in debris.

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  2. Barn Finds

    Here is a forum link with some photos of what these can look like. This one could end up being a good find if you are into these, but it would take an in-person inspection to determine the value here.

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  3. Seth Karpen

    I am old enough to remember problems with this car that almost killed Audi in the us.

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  4. gibbs connors

    my parents used to have one of those. it was the first car i ever “flogged”. i was just thinking aboutit the other day, me and my brother driving back from a Police and Go-Gos concert over the Mass Pike.

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  5. Jill Weigel

    My mom bought one new, it nearly burned down our house because the entire exhaust system started the trunk on fire while it was in the garage…
    Then on our way to CA the transmission completely failed, electrical system is junk…
    Definitely the WORST vehicle we have ever had, bar none.
    Warranty & dealer would cover nothing.
    Generations of our family will NEVER own an Audi product because of this car!

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  6. Loits

    Wow Jill, I’ve never had an Audi that was anything other than brilliant. I still reguarly use my 1981 Ur Quattro which now has over 200, 000 miles on it. Its had a couple of turbos and a gearbox outside of regular maintenence and has traveled all over Europe from the Swiss Alps to the Sanish Costas.
    I don’t know how the cars were branded in the US so I don’t know what a 5000 is. We had 100 and 200. The wheels on that suggest it’s a 100 and I doubt it is the desriable 200 turbo. If it’s a 100 its only worth pennies.

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  7. Luc

    Audi 5000 is Euro Audi 200 typ 43.
    The most famous is the 5T http://fr.vehibase.com/audi-200-type-43-5t/photo-1.htm
    Best and very desired in Germany.
    Save this car if it’s a 5cylindres turbo!

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  8. Don Andreina

    Seriously considered looking for a 100CD wagon a while back. Liked the looks, but can’t reconcile myself with front wheel drive on a car of this size. Am told the Toronado and Eldo do good job of it though.

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  9. z1rider

    The auto trans makes this one highly UN-desirable. They had a habit of swapping the hypoid gear lube with the ATF and vice versa. How you ask? These are front wheel drive, but the engine is still longitudinal not transverse. So to keep the front axle centerline reasonably forward enough the final drive/differential is sandwiched between the engine and transmission. If it were a manual trans it would be no big deal as you could lube the trans and the diff with the same lube, also, the input and output shafts can be stacked. Not so with an autobox. With a planetary auto trans, it’s all about concentric shafts with all but the most central shaft having to be hollow. The torque converter is bolted to the crankshaft in the conventional way, but the turbine shaft or input shaft to the trans goes through a hollow final drive pinion shaft before entering the transmission. Once the power is delivered to the transmission, normal shifting between ratios takes place, but the power then has to turn around to get back to the final drive, so this requires multiple seals to keep the different lubricants separated. Those seals often failed, and the fluids started mixing with each other, which leads to early failure of these components. If you are comfortable with rebuilding the transaxle and if improved seals are now available then have at it. I suspect there was a reason this car was parked many years ago. Audis reputation for sudden acceleration helped to obscure the poor quality of their products from the 70’s and 80’s. As a final comment, when I tried to unload mine (after replacing the transaxle with a salvage yard unit) to a use car dealer he informed me that he did not trade for Audi’s or Yugo’s under any circumstances.

    Like 1
  10. Dolphin Member

    That’s an impressive explanation, and I only understood about half of it. Imagine how impressed I’d be if I understood all of it.

    What I get from your comments is that people who say they would never buy another AUDI back then had good reasons. Back then I had friends who had an Audi Fox, I think it was, and had lots of problems with it, saying they would never buy another AUDI. The fact that AUDI has come back to the point that it is contending for the top automaker spot is amazing.

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    • Don Andreina

      Audi had the best looking saloon on the road with the A6 until BMW recently released the 6 Gran Coupe. Both of them have scared the daylights out of Mercedes over the last 20 years or so. S6 wagon hot as!

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  11. jim s

    a diesel with a manual would be interesting. if the motor runs this might be a good parts car but not much information in the listing.

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  12. GermanAudi

    Interesting Point: In Germany these Cars (Audi100/200) are called technical bulletproof. Solid Engine + Trans, no electrical Problems, runs forever. Only big problem with these cars in rainy and snowy (salt) Germany is rust.

    Like 0

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