Stored 34 Years: 1975 Audi 100 LS Barn Find

It’s hard to argue with the current success of Volkswagon Group’s Audi division. They’re a finely-tailored, crisply-designed line of cars and SUVs, but I’m biased as a long-time Audi owner. A car that’s always been on my wish list is one like this 1975 Audi 100 LS, especially one with a manual transmission as this car has. The seller has this Audi listed here on eBay in Morristown, New Jersey, and the current bid price is $3,950 but the reserve isn’t met.

Bumpers notwithstanding, I love the style of the C1 Audi 100, which was made from 1968 to 1976. The earlier cars had much nicer bumpers and a two-door would be even more unusual, and rare. The Audi 100 was known to have electrical issues and it’s amazing to see how far the company has come in the last five decades. That being said, at the time, the Audi 100 was seen by many as an elegant car and I think they still are today.

Fun fact: the Audi 100 name reportedly was derived by the amount of PS, or PferdeStärke (horse strength), which is the unit of engine power in Europe, and 100 PS equates to 98.6 horsepower. Make sense? There was a base 80 PS model and 90 PS version called the S, too. The LS had 100 PS, or 98.6 hp that we talked about several hours ago… or it seems like it’s been that long, doesn’t it? By 1970 when the Audi 100 LS entered the US market, they had 115 hp (116 PS).

The seller says that this great looking car is a barn find, it sat in the original garage of the original owner since 1986. They went through the systems and refinished (relined?) the gas tank and rebuilt the mechanical fuel injection system. Rebuilding a German mechanical fuel injection system is a daunting task, one that our own Todd Fitch has some experience in. The interior looks fantastic and it has a 4-speed manual.

This is a 1,871 CC four-cylinder and it has a bit less than 100 hp. The seller says that it runs great and everything works other than the AC. Along with the disc brakes and electrical systems, the AC systems were problematic on the Audi 100s, unfortunately. There’s a lot to like about this car, do any of you have any ownership experience with them? Good buy or good-bye?

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  1. Rex Kahrs Member

    Could this be the last and final Audi 100LS in existence? My understanding is that this car is regarded as the worst car ever made. Well, OK, maybe the Audi 99….or the A4….and the A6….

    I like the car, it’s a cool Euro sedan, but mechanically it’s nothing but trouble.

    Like 7
  2. Bluetec320 Bluetec320 Member

    I’m the high bidder on this at $4550, unfortunately, the reserve hasn’t been met. Too much of a gamble to go any higher. Hopefully it will cycle through EBay for a few months and the seller will face reality and lower the reserve a bit. :-(

    Like 13
    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Wow, that’s as cool as it gets, Bluetec320! I hope that you can somehow make a deal after the fact. Best of luck, sir.

      Like 1
      • Bluetec320 Bluetec320 Member

        Thanks! It is currently bid to 7K now and the reserve appears to have been met. As tempting as it is to place another impulse bid, I am going to have to stick with my instinct and refrain from doing so.

        Like 1
  3. alphasud Member

    I had a 76 Audi Fox that looked a lot like the 100LS. The Fox was a better car compared to the 100. I parted a Audi coupe and used the seats in the Fox and I found a instrument cluster from a Fox GT which had a tach. There’s a model you probably won’t find. Audi Fox GT which had Recaro seats. I only ever saw one back in the day.

    Like 3
  4. Howard A Member

    Once again, I apologize for what I thought “Audi” stood for, apparently not all innernet[sic] sources are correct. Anyway, I remember when the Audi 100 came out. In the late 60’s, German cars were still a tough sell. The Bug was okay, even though it took 30 years, and M-B on the other end, but what’s this malarkey( my old man would have said) doesn’t have a chance, as front drive was still unheard of except in the Toronado. It’s a shame we had such closed minded ideas about these cars, total denial as deep down, we knew they were superior, we just couldn’t admit it, with AMC still in town. We didn’t see many in Milwaukee, but I bet the people that bought them had a nice car. Great find, and I read, the Germans have the best parts network for all their cars. They didn’t throw their parts in the dumpster like a certain Asian company instructed their employees to do,,,,,

    Like 1
    • That AMC Guy

      Throwing out parts is not limited to Asian companies. When Chrysler took over AMC in 1987 they destroyed the inventory of pre-1980 AMC parts and the tooling to make them.

      Like 2
      • Rob

        Yeah, that was such BS. AMC treated it like an implement company. You used to be able to get any part for any car they had made. I miss that. Just one more reason why I hate Chrysler.

        Like 4
  5. angliagt angliagt Member

    When these came out,I tried to talk my Dad into buying one.
    I’m glad he didn’t listen to me.

    Like 5
  6. Wolfgang Gullich

    Not a bad 100 at all. Fun fact: this generation 100 was the first car the famous Claus Luthe would design after NSU was acquired by Audi. Prior to this car he had designed the NSU Ro80 and K70 (which would be rebadged as a Volkswagen) and Prinz4. I see a lot of exterior and interior design cues that resemble the Ro80. You may know him as the designer of the BMW E30 in later years too.

    Like 7
    • Len Burke

      I have a 1976 RO80 sitting in my garage in Florida. A running engine and a new spare engine (never used) in a box, and a trunk full of spares in my garage in Florida. Silver with blue black velour.
      A easy project to get back on the road when I get time.

      Like 4
      • alphasud Member

        You lucky dog! The Ro80 is a really nice car. Love the lines. Too bad they couldn’t get the apex seal design worked out. Mazda still struggles with that although much better. Their renisys engine however was a real dud.

    • Bill McCoskey

      Wolfgang Gullich,

      You are very correct, the Audi 100 was to be the new NSU, but the company had major financial problems due to warranty issues with the rotary engines, and Audi ended up buying the company and making the car an Audi.

      Decades ago I bought out the NSU USA importer [Allied Light Cars, Washington DC], and in going thru the offices I found restricted paperwork for the importer, discussing the new plans for NSU cars, including the large sedan that became the car you see here.

      Like 6
      • Wolfgang Gullich

        If you have any Typ 110s or Prinz 4s laying around, you can ship them to me here in Alaska!

      • Bill McCoskey

        Wolfgang Gullich,

        When my friend and I bought out the remains of the NSU importer, there were still cars that had never been sold, including two Spyder Wankel roadsters. One of the two red cars had a factory black hardtop, this was the car loaned to Road & Track for their cover story. I should have kept the Spyders, but they went to a good home some 25 years ago, to someone who is on Barn Finds today. We did have a Prinz fastback, but it had minor damage from a roof caving in, so it went for spare parts. [This was at a time where those cars were unwanted.] Had over a dozen 110, 1100 and 1200 series cars, even a factory TTS racing car, all gone today. Most were sent to the crusher in the mid 1990s when I moved my shop to smaller quarters. Again, no one wanted them. Not even for free.

        No spare parts, I had a terrible lightning strike that fully burned my large storage building and restoration shop, the NOS NSU parts inventory was destroyed, as was a similar stash of DKW parts. We had over 30 new 4-cylinder NSU doors, plus hoods, trunk lids, etc. All burned & totally warped.

        [Not to mention large Studebaker-Packard & Rolls-Royce spare parts inventories too!]

        Like 1
    • roemerjung

      Sorry, that’s BS: The C1 had been designed by Rupert Neuner from Auto Union around 1966. The merger with NSU was done in 1969, thats the time Luthe became part of Audi NSU. Means the C was already on the road one year earlier. First car Luthe supervised was the Audi 50, aka VW Polo 1 launched in 1974.

      • Bill McCoskey


        Thanks for the update, even some of the mainstream automotive press said this was intended as a NSU.

  7. DanaPointJohn

    I bought an Audi Fox wagon new in 1977. I knew the exact car I wanted: burgundy with tan seats and black dash and doors, sunroof, 4M/T, and radio delete. I went to the local Audi dealer in Berkeley, CA and told them what I wanted. This was before computers to check inventory, but the rep thought he had what I wanted. We went into a warehouse and there it was, tucked into a back corner, covered in dust, and about ten cars needed to be moved to get it out. I bought it for $6,700, drove it to a Pacific Stereo and had a Pioneer system installed. I took that car skiing at Lake Tahoe, surfing in Santa Cruz, keeping it until 1982 when I sold it for $3,500. Never a problem with it. One of the best cars I owned.

    Like 9
    • Blyndgesser

      If you still had that Fox, you’d be able to buy almost any part for it today. Unfortunately the 100LS was orphaned a long time ago—almost at birth.

      Like 1
  8. ken tilly UK

    I had an Audi 500e automatic, which I took as a trade-in under sufferance, and it turned out to be a magic car.

    Like 1
  9. Jasper

    Damn, seemed these were all over the place until the early ‘80s or so. I always liked their raspy exhaust note, but rarely heard much good about their mechanical robustness.

    I actually like this color combo. A friend had a ‘74 Capri in it. He ended up Earl Scheibing it Competition Orange and fashioning baggy black seat covers that resembled plastic garbage bags. The paint was almost passable. The interior remodel, not so much.

    Like 1
  10. mark mitchell Member

    When I was a kid, my dad did legal work for the local VW/Porsche/Audi dealership. Part of his fees included a new car each year. The first was a new Audi 100LS when they first came out. This car seemed super modern and luxurious back then in comparison to the typical American iron being sold. We didn’t have it long enough to know about the dismal reliability record. The following year, he picked up a new 914, followed by a number of 911, 911S, 911SC, etc. over the years. He was nice enough to let me borrow his Porsches for dates and a few memorable road trips when I was in high school. Good times!

    Like 5
  11. redwagon

    I knew a nurse in Maine that had one of these in blue. Loved them both.

    Like 3
  12. Ira Rosenbaum

    I had a 1974 100ls. Not to be a downer, but this was probably the worst car I ever owned. It was a horrible oil burner. Also, the inboard brakes were a fortune to repair. On the upside, it was a very stable highway driver and very comfortable. It took what felt forever to get to speed but then held it without complaint. Yes, the electrical was a problem. It stalled while my wife was coming home from preschool with the kids. She left it with the keys in it. Six hours later when I went to get it, It was still there. Think twice about this car. Repairs and parts are very eexpensive.

    Like 2
  13. Martin Horrocks

    Living in CA in the early 80s, I was surprised at the terrible reputation which Audi had, only Citroën seemed lower. Being European, I was used to Audi 100 being well regarded. Anyway, the brand seems to have found its way in US, whereas Citroën has not!

    I think this is elegant, but they look much better with EU spec.

    • Bill McCoskey

      These had serious problems with outside door locks breaking without warning, and when Audi ran out of spare door handles, they didn’t make more, leaving many car owners unable to open some of their car doors from the outside.

      No attempt at the factory to revise the door handles to correct the problem, and this left a sour note in many owner’s minds. Remember, a door handle is just a handle, until it won’t work anymore. It’s a crisis when it’s the driver’s door handle.

      To make matters worse, as I understand it, all 4 exterior door handles were different, and not interchangeable.

  14. Joe Lohrbach

    I have got some examples of these pre ’77 Audi 100 LS in my collection, having bought the first one in 1984 and I am still happy with it. If you understand the engineering and practise appropriate maintenance you do not need to be afraid of any issues. Most owners and even dealers of these days were just unable to do either.
    The fuel injected 1975-77 model (yes it was sold in the US until May 1977) uses a pretty much similar system as same year VW Rabbit and Porsche 911, it is called Bosch K-Jetronic. And the A/C has got the same York compressor as Benz S-models and Jaguars of same years. In summer I use them as daily drivers to my workplace.

    Like 3
  15. 370zpp

    Wasn’t the Audi 100 the one back in the seventies that was know for spontaneously “popping” into reverse?
    I seem to recall we referred to these cars as being equipped – like some of the cassette decks at that time – with auto-reverse.

  16. Joe

    I bought a near perfect automatic 2 dr. with the smaller bumpers, in the same colors, around 1979. I don’t remember ever having trouble with it and it had very comfortable seats. Sure would like to have it back as it was such a nice car.

  17. Jeff

    My Dad bought a 100LS in Delft Blue in 1973 during the gas crisis. Our Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser and Toronados were killing our gas mileage so along came the Audi. It was a fantastic car…it had its issues but never left us stranded. I took it to college from 1975-1979. No frills but so much fun. Traded it for the new 1980 Audi 5000. A much better car but without the fun memories of the ‘75.

    • Joe

      Same here. After my ex destroyed the 100 by running into everything possible (she had a “downer” addiction), I bought a 5000. Very excellent car. Never any problems and I operated it at it’s higher limit the whole time I had it.

  18. PoppaD

    I own that same year Audi back in 1985 going to school. It’s was silver with black interior. Sharp car! Car always overheated and the prior owner never mentioned that so the Silver Bullet finally met his match with a warped head gasket not to mention how unreliable it actually was.

  19. Steve

    A German auto mechanic friend of mine referred to these cars a “German Jaguars”, based on the comments here, all true!

  20. Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    Auction update: this Audi sold for $7,801.

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