Time Capsule 1972 Audi 100 LS

This is a highly desirable example of a car probably not a lot of people are looking for, a 1972 Audi 100 LS. The listing, which you can find here on craigslist in Aurora, Colorado is definitely a barn find and has been sitting in a garage in Kansas since 1986 because of a broken plastic bushing in the shift linkage. Isn’t it crazy, the little things that cause people to park cars and forget about them? Was that a $100 repair?

Why put away a car that’s so nice? The paint is shiny, the red cloth interior sparkling, the chrome clean. It sits on steel-belted whitewall radials from Sears, and the receipt is with the paperwork. The original window sticker is still with the car. The first owner paid $4,254.50 for this manual-transmission car at the dealership in Oklahoma City. Extras included the sunroof ($156), antenna ($7.50), tinted glass ($97.50), and a tach instead of a clock ($41.50). Early BMWs also had a tach that replaced the clock. there’s also a honkin’ large trailer hitch.

The owner wants $7,000, which is a steep climb for a bread-and-butter sedan like this one. The idea that the car being 50 years old soon will significantly increase its value is wishful thinking.

The mileage is a pretty low 81,169. The motor turns over, and the transmission shifts. It shouldn’t be hard to get the Audi on the road again. There’s some minor surface rust, a bit of hail damage, and a minor dent on the trunk. I think I’m seeing an aftermarket stereo, but the dash and wood paneling look good. Other than that, it’s awfully nice. Also “99.5 percent original.” Some engine photos would have been useful.

The vendor says this is the first year the 100 LS came to the U.S., but in fact, they debuted in Europe in 1968 and in America circa 1970. It was a very successful model for Audi. My friend had one, in the same color. They looked modern at the time, roughly comparable to a BMW Bavaria but not quite as upscale.

Under the hood was a 1.8-liter, 115-horsepower four, which by the time of this car had been enlarged to 1.9 liters (but down to 91 horsepower). Front disc brakes were a plus for this model. It lasted until 1977 when it was replaced by the revolutionary Audi 5000. There were 796,787 sedans built, and 30,687 coupes (which were not imported to the U.S.)

It’s amazing how these cars have disappeared from American roads because at one time, like the Bavaria, they were fairly common—the first volume seller for Audi in the U.S. But the 100 LS was conservatively styled, unlike the highly aerodynamic 5000, and it never achieved cult status on this side of the Atlantic. I recall them being fairly trouble-prone.

Audi collectors, this is the car that will fill the 100 LS-sized hole in your collection. Anyone else interested? Thanks to David Frick for the listing.

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Comments

  1. alphasud Member

    Yes you are correct. They had reliability issues. When I started as a tech at a VW and Audi Indy in the late 80’s the older techs didn’t speak too highly of them. One of the problems was they dropped valve guides. Still a pretty cool car and in remarkable shape given the age. Hopefully the seller want to negotiate that asking price. As the writer states there may be an army of people that want a car like this for their collection but that might only be an army of one! I had a 76 Audi Fox and if I could find another I would buy it. Got the car for free with a destroyed engine, fixed it and drove it for 3 years. Loved that car.

    Like 4
    • Steve R

      When a deal is struck on this car I’d be surprised if it didn’t wind up on a ship heading back to Europe.

      Steve R

      Like 7
  2. Moncton(was Winnipeg)carnut Member

    My parents bought a new 1973 Audi 100 GL in Toronto, Ontario Canada in 1973. Red with black velour/corduroy-ish interior and black vinyl roof, automatic transmission. Cost almost $6000 Cdn and in six years of ownership cost about the same in repairs after warranty ended. Valve guide repairs at least twice, one ring job I can recall, carb/choke issue of some type I can’t completely recall. Really nice seats and ride though, but so many mechanical problems.

    Like 5
  3. Tom Wasney

    Had a red 71 automatic with black vinyl interior.. Prettiest POS I ever owned… I actually just came across the Haynes shop manual if anyone is in need of one contact me… 10 bucks plus shipping…

    Like 1
  4. Bill D

    aaaaand it’s gone.

    Like 1
  5. sir_mike

    A local VW/Audi shop in my town would work on anything but these.

  6. Kurt W. Krauss

    Fascinating and handsome. Great colors. Apparently it found a buyer; all it takes is one. Knowing their reputation, I’ve always been a moth attracted to a light bulb with these. I just bought a ‘72 Saab 99E which was always compared to the Audi along with Volvo 144 and Peugeot 504 in road tests.

    Like 2
  7. Car Nut Tacoma

    Sweet looking Audi. Although I was way too young to drive at the time, I remember a neighbour who drove one.

    Like 1
  8. Peter k

    To replace the brake rotors on this car, one had to pull the cv axle assembly first. Then they would rust out in the frame.

    Like 2
  9. IRA ROSENBAUM

    We had a 74 LS. It was a horror show of repairs. Brakes were inboard and very expensive to replace. Things went wrong that I never knew could break. When it drove it was enjoyable. Glad when we got rid of it. By the way had VW’s later on that were terrific.

    Like 1
  10. ricky Whiting

    Owned a 1973 LS100 in 1989. Auto crossed it with some success. Of course after replacing the tires, carb and updating the suspension. Ran great until the rear inboard discs gave out. Couldn’t find repair parts anywhere. Can’t imagine being able to find parts nowadays.

    Like 1
  11. Kevin Costello Member

    A kid down the street where I grew up, apparently read of it in the motor press and decided his life ambition (at this point, 20-21yrs. old) was to own one of these. He got it, to the relief of all who had to listen to him wax philosophical about an Audi 100. Two years later it moved to a parking space in front of Mom and Dad’s house. There it sat for the rest of the decade (70’s) because they got tired of shelling out for repairs. A sad end to a sad tale. Meanwhile, I’m tearing up the neighborhood in a ’70 Colorado BMW 2002 that seemed unstoppable…

    Like 1
  12. Joe L

    Hi,
    as a long-time collector and owner since 1979 of classic Audis I own a 1970 model, two 1972s, a 1973, a 1975 and a 1976 model. Yes it takes some passion to locate parts nowadays but if you practise maintenance as originally proposed you do not have to fear issues. And, if you know how to do it, a brake job on the inboard discs takes one hour.
    Joe

    Like 1
    • GTiDave Member

      Great cars, but I was into the next generation Fox’s. Same reputation but I never saw a problem if maintained properly….

  13. matt grant

    I had a boss who was new in the hotel where I worked, in 73. I had a new 2002 (I was 20) and he showed up with a 100LS. I had driven a friend’s and found to be soft, ugly and a totally horrible car in quality and handling. he compared his car to a mercedes-benz. I just laughed. my bmw was a far superior car.

    Like 1
    • Kurt W. Krauss

      Mercedes-Benz largely designed the 100LS before selling Auto Union to Volkswagen. My parents looked at one in ‘72 when they owned a ‘69 Volvo 164 that was problematic and awful in snow. I remember going for a test drive with them at the dealer in Bernardsville, NJ. My dad thought it was too plasticky and passed.

  14. Roger Ross

    I could tell it looked like an older Mercedes-Benz

  15. joe

    I had a 2 dr. automatic in near new cond. Beautiful car with incredibly comfortable seats.
    Wish I had it back.

  16. ChingaTrailer

    Every once and a while a paleontologist will find a nearly perfectly preserved dinosaur turd. This is the automotive equivalent. Those trendy people who buy new Audis have no idea how terrible these cars were. Yes, I speak from experience.

    Like 2
    • Joe

      You must have owned the “deferred maint.” version. Mine was in beautiful cond., drove perfectly and reliably and was very comfortable.

  17. Garth

    My parents bought a ‘74 new. They should have spent more and got a bmw Bavaria. It had all kinds of problems including electrical and oil consumption. The seat belt sensor wouldn’t let the car start on several occasions. The automatic transmission was not smooth. They drove 60000 miles and were amazed to find a buyer.

  18. Jeff Weckman

    My dad had a 74 loaded. Even had a quadrophonic 8 track stereo. It was a cool car… Until the axles kept bending for no reason. Terrible vibration on the highway. They were replaced twice, then my dad got sick of it. Bought a 77 VW Scirocco. Loved it.

    • Joe

      I guess I’m the only one who bought a slightly used, as new 100. It was a beautiful car which gave us no trouble. Ultimately, my wife had gotten addicted to downers, and the car ended up looking like it had been in a demolition derby. Such a shame.

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