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Sitting 24 Years: 1983 Audi Quattro Turbo

In 1983, I was running a mail-order business – which instantly dates me now that I think about it – and was barely 20 years old. No way in my wildest dreams could I have imagined owning a car like this 1983 Audi Quattro, even if I had heard of them back then. The seller has this uber-rare and dusty barn find listed here on eBay in Gilbert, Arizona, there is no reserve, and the current bid is $12,200.

This appears to be a horse barn, but a barn is a barn is a barn, isn’t it? Could you imagine running across a car like this anywhere, let alone one sitting in a barn for over 20 years? The story goes that this car was purchased at a real estate auction and the previous land owner said that it was left to them by a friend and it had been sitting unused in a barn since 2000. I just wept a little, I may need a moment. Ok, I’m back, this car appears to be in nice shape and given its time in storage – minus the sure-to-be rodent damage – the body looks great if not perfect.

U.S. market cars reportedly had four headlights, so either this is a Euro-spec car or it has been converted to single headlights. Audi offered these very special and rare cars here and in Canada from 1983 through 1986 and there were only 664 of them sold in the U.S. and 99 in Canada, with metric speedometers. Hey, weren’t we supposed to have the metric system here 45-50 years ago? Whatever happened with that? I have owned a 2002 Audi TT ALMS edition for over 20 years and am a huge Audi fan, but I haven’t seen one of these in person.

YouTube history says that the next owner could most likely pay off this car with one long video of this car being dry-ice-blasted and otherwise detailed. The interior is an absolute mess, and this goes back to a person’s philosophy as to whether a seller should clean a car or show it exactly as it was found. Clean them too much and people complain that a site called “Barn Finds” isn’t showing cars that are dusty and dirty and in a barn. If you do show one that’s in a barn and all dirty, then they complain that the seller hasn’t cleaned it yet. The only winner here will be the next owner. There is a back seat and it looks like it would clean up nicely. Ok I’ll say it, it looks perfect. The dash, however, appears to have a lot of cracks in it but the steering wheel looks great. That center Turbo badge is righteous.

The Quattro isn’t the Audi Coupe, which is a front-drive car that’s a nice driver and would be fun to own and would draw a crowd at any car show. A Quattro would be gold for those who know how rare these cars are, they’re basically toned-down rally cars for the street. The engine is Audi’s 2.1-liter SOHC turbocharged inline-five cylinder with 10 valves (two per cylinder if you’re counting), and around 160 horsepower and 170 lb-ft of torque for this market. It sends that modest power through a five-speed manual, of course. These are iconic cars, but four decades have passed and a new AWD Prius will sneak past 60 mph faster than this car will, believe it or not. But, then you’d be driving a Prius. This car isn’t running and the seller doesn’t know if the engine even turns over, but this car will be restored, it’s that rare and valuable. Not Bugatti Royale valuable, but Hagerty is at $42,700 for a #3 good-condition car and $70,200 for a #2 excellent car. Have any of you driven an Audi Quattro or even seen one in person?


  1. alphasud Member

    I have both driven and worked on a 83 turbo Quattro. For many years this was a dream car of mine. Really fun cars to own. Funny how they have always remained outside of affordability for me. The coupe body has aged really well.

    Like 7
  2. Larry Brantingham

    Longitudinally mounted engine.

    Like 1
    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      You’re right, and I thought that was the case. So much for believing Motor Trend: “…power came from Audi’s transversely mounted, turbocharged SOHC inline-five…”

      Thanks for the correction.

      Like 4
  3. Ridge West

    Abandoned title “Barn Find”. Buyer be on notice, Neat car, nonetheless. I’d have it with or without a title if the interior was complete.

    Like 0
  4. Alexander

    A dirty little secret: According to the VW/Porsche/Audi expert I knew, the 1985/1986 Audi 5000CS Quattro Turbos were, functionally speaking, Ur-Quattros with that sedan body slapped on them. I once witnessed him prove it in his 1986, outracing a Corvete and Trans-Am that thought they were racing on the Massachusetts Turnpike. (He’d bought it used, and the Audi turbo had been replaced with a Porsche turbo.)

    He pointed out that the close pedal placement of the tree pedals, like any race car, easily enabled any “old geezer” with penny loafers to mash all three pedals simultaneously, and two of them would result in the “unintended acceleration” that was the focus of CBS’s “60 Minutes” story that all but killed the Audi brand in North America–a story that later proved to be largely fiction or fanciful thinking. (The few times he actually had that car on a track for slaloms at VW “Bug-Outs,” he wore a slipper on his right foot!) His plans were to replace the stock 10-valve head with an Audi 20-valve when he found one affordable.

    Sadly, the guy and his cars went to an ignominious end of some sort–the Audi, Jag E-type Itself qualifying as a “barn find” by the end), Super Beetle, three Karmann Ghias, a 500-hp CJ-5 Jeep, and a racing Datsun pickup all disappeared here and there as decades of both drug use and rotating shifts in communications network maintenance caught up with him, and fried his brain and sense……………

    Like 2
  5. Michael Hullevad

    The Brake servo will be a problem if it is not OK, Spares are hens-teeth. A friend of mine found the last one in Europe in one of the Baltic states.

    Like 1
  6. Jasper

    I guess it was 1981, I was in third or fourth grade. A classmate’s father worked for the local Porsche-Audi, Mazda dealer. He rolls up with his totally hot, Cheryl Tiegs-esque mom in a bronze Quattro with the big, graphic rings on the doors. Was like it had been lifted from the cover of a Road & Track magazine.

    Like 3
  7. Jerry

    I have driven two of these in Uk and currently own a 1984 Coupe with a 2.3 20V engine in it

    Like 2
  8. Dan

    Bidding is at $15200. Depending on the quality of the restoration, you could recoup your investment as soon as the resto is finished, unlike some cars. This is a bucket list car of mine but it’s 1000 miles away from me. The issues I see here are if the engine turns, the transmission is sound, and how much damage to the wiring harness did the rats inflict.

    Like 1
  9. Danny V. Johnson

    When I was running the SCCA Pro Rally series, the AUDI Quattro Turbos turned the World Rally Championship upside down. John Buffum got Michèle Mouton’s last years car. Game over.

    Before photographing that car, couldn’t someone take an air hose to the interior and hose the car off with a little water. I know this is Barn Finds but, just because it in a horse stall doesn’t me it has to look like it was rolling in the dirt like a colt.

    Like 2
  10. C3_20vt_avant

    Good luck. 3 words continuous injection system..

    Like 0
  11. Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    It’s up to $21,100 with two hours left!

    Like 0
  12. Alexander

    Holy cr@p.

    Closed at $35,200!

    Like 1
    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      GAAA!!! What?! Thanks for the update, Alexander.

      Wow, the buyer really wanted this exact one, that’s only $7,000 under Hagerty’s “good” condition value! Wowie. You aren’t getting much done for $7,000 on this one.

      Like 1

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