Our Cars : Keith’s Audi 80 CD – 1000 miles on

Living the classic dream

Regular readers might have noticed that I keep an updated list of my cars on this site – the blog, My Life in Cars is a personal record of my addiction, and perhaps a descent into madness. On Twitter someone said that I have a unique ability to find something worthwhile in the most mundane of cars, and I suspect that, a) they’re right, and b) that’s why I’m not a wealthy man.

The reason I’m being so thoughtful is that I’m sitting here writing about another car on my drive – despite me still needing to collect another one I’ve bought since. This Audi replaces my last 80, which went away after I purchased this one directly from Audi UK Heritage.

The reason I now have it is that Audi needed to slim down its heritage fleet and, in doing so, decided to let go of some of its ‘less important’ exhibits. I love these B2-generation Audi 80s and had previously asked the people at Audi UK Heritage to give me first refusal on the car if they ever came to sell it. Although it’s sad that Audi needed to cut down the fleet, they did at least acknowledge my wishes by offering me first refusal – knowing it would be going to a good home. So, I can’t really say fairer than that.

That’s why I now have a pair of Audi 80 CDs (wonder if anyone else does?) and I keep questioning my sanity. I’m sure you understand why I had to buy it, though. Anyway, moving on to the car, it comes with a full service history, documenting its time spent being pampered by its former owners, and had a genuine 19,570 miles on the clock. Considering these cars were – generally – bought by business people who liked to cover big miles, it’s a remarkable survivor really. The bodywork is near-perfect, with just a couple of the most minor blemishes, and last month it flew through its MoT without any advisories. Sweet…

On the road, it’s absolutely perfect. The five-cylinder engine fires up easily on the manual choke (the troublesome auto choke has long since been removed) and pulls sweetly through the rev range, giving its best power above 4000rpm. It’s not as quick as I remember, but then again it’s more than happy to keep up with the flow and, thanks to the loveliness of that five-cylinder soundtrack, I don’t really need to use the stereo – all the music I need is controlled by my right foot.

It also rides a whole lot better than my recently-departed 80 CL. This is most probably due to the fact that the CD model was given more sophisticated dampers from new, and that my CL was fitted with slightly stiffer lowering springs as the previous owner, David Robertshaw, was unable to get hold of a set of standard springs when they needed changing. Either way, it makes this 80 a whole lot more usable than my last one, even if it uses a little more fuel.

I’ve already racked up more than a 1000 miles since picking it up back in January, and love the fact it’s a turn-key classic I can just use and not get too much grief from the UK’s stressed out, in-a-rush drivers who make daily driving such a chore. It’s just passed the 20,000 mile mark, so I guess that I’ve devalued it – but, hey, it’s my car, I enjoy driving it, and that’s good enough for me.

What about jobs to do? Ha! Well, actually there is one. The central locking doesn’t work, and as it’s a 1980s-spec pneumatic system, I don’t expect it to work again given that it’s either going to need an unobtanium air pump, or one of the pipes somewhere has split.

However, I do have a plan. I’m going to retrofit a newer electrically-operated central locking with remote actuation, because at the very least, it means I’ll be using the (fragile) door locks and key less that way.

Also, I need to update the alarm and immobiliser. It’s an aged Cobra system which, if I remember correctly, can be quite troublesome – ask me how I know.

Other than that, there’s nothing but fun planned for the rest of the summer. It’s the perfect classic to just get out there and use. So, you can expect to see me at the Festival of The Unexceptional and various other events during the summer. If you see me, come and say ‘hi’. You’ll know it’s me because I’ll be grinning like a fool, and probably penniless.

But what about you? I’d love to see some more of your cars on here and share you stories – send me your words and pics, and let’s share our cars with the world (well, AROnline‘s loyal band of enthusiastic readers!)

Keith Adams


  1. I’m chasing an H reg Audi 80 as we speak – little old lady owner who has had it off the road since October. Original spec with the gorgeous Ronal alloys

  2. One of my fave cars growing up as a kid during the 70s and 80s, thinking it looked smart, but also because it was related to the Quattro! I had a German Siku toy version of the 80. Looks like you have a keeper, but then it’s Keith’s so it probably won’t be around this time next year…

  3. This generation of Audi 80s always looked understated and less aggressive than successor models. It was the sort of car that was bought by middle class motorists who wanted an upmarket alternative to a Ford that was less in your face than a BMW and had the same Germanic build quality and durability. I can remember a pair of teachers at school trading in their Cortina 1.6 GL for an Audi 80 GL and remarking on how well made it was and not built to a price like the Cortina.

  4. Hello, I seek a 1983 or 1984 Audi 80 in white with blue interior like the one in your picture. Automatice would be preferable but, stick will do. Please let me know if you have one. Thank you!

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