Ah, there’s a ‘y’ in the day – Keith must have bought another car. Yes, sad as it is to say, my self-professed period of abstinence really didn’t last very long – or at all. So, my latest addition to the fleet is this very fine 1982 Audi 80 CL. And I make no apologies. There are two very good reasons for buying this Audi 80 – I have a very strong nostalgic pull towards them on account of having owned and driven them during the early 1990s, and this one was offered to me by David Robertshaw (sometimes of this parish) via Danny Hopkins at Practical Classics for a price I couldn’t resist.
David commented on a blog I’d posted about Audi 80s last year and, although he couldn’t have known at the time, he’d end up making me a very happy man (by allowing me to relive my 20s) in his fine car. And it is a very fine example, as he’s owned it for well over a decade, and it’s clearly been his labour of love. I just hope I do it justice.
I won’t bore you with how strong the pull of nostalgia can be for me but, needless to say, I’m beginning to think I’m living far too much of my life in the past (I drive a 1980s car, listen to a 1990s stereo, and still like wearing 1980s Doc Marten’s), but I guess it is my happy place. Anyway, I’ve always loved the Audi 80 for its design simplicity, lightness, efficiency and, dare I say it, lack of pretension. This one’s been dressed up with some nice bits from the plusher 80 CD model (wheels, spoiler, interior), but that’s okay, as it’s exactly what I did with my 80 CL back in the early 1990s.
I’ve had the car for about a month now, and it’s already the member of the fleet I find myself driving the most. And given (for the moment), it shares space with a Citroën CX (lovely, but I can’t get it to run right, and it’s sooooo frustrating), a Citroën GS (sublime, and perhaps the cleverest small car ever made) and a Renault Alpine GTA (don’t ask), that’s saying something. It packs around 85bhp (a replacement Weber knocks things up a little), and weights 1000kg, so it’s quick enough to keep up with the flow, and drives decently well (albeit a little stiff-legged on replacement springs), and I am very happy with it.
As a classic car, it’s almost too rational. It starts, it goes, and it just works. It’s clever and looks good, and I suspect that, thanks to the whiff of Volkswagen about it, it’s probably quite cool (something I’m really not used to in my cars). But, overall, I just like it loads.
Interestingly, though, when driven back to back with my Citroën GS (below), the lower-powered and less refined French car gets the nod all day long. The Audi is an engineer’s car (one from when Ferdinand Piëch ran Audi) and that makes it one to be admired, but the Citroën is a connoisseur’s car. In every way, that car is on another level, and it shows as soon as you drive it. After all, how can something so light ride so well, and perform so eagerly on such a small amount of power? Well, we know how it does: magic. You’ll be hearing more about the Audi in the coming months (assuming you want to), but for now, let this be a mild introduction to the fleet.
Either way, I’m happy with my lot for now, or I will be when the CX finds a loving new owner. But that’s another story…