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Junkyard Find: 1994 Audi 90 S

The folks at Audi got really confusing with their American-market car names for a couple of decades and I have given up trying to sort out from memory, say, when the 5000 became the 100 or the 200 or whatever the hell it became in the chaos following the Unintended Acceleration Debacle. The Audi 80 was sold in the USA as a 4000 or something — it’s all a blur — but then Audi badged it as an 80, except for the sedans, which were 90s, I think.

Anyway, this California ’94 sedan has 90 S badges and it’s a fairly interesting car.

It made it very close to 200,000 miles, which is great for a high-maintenance German car in a state with the ball-bustingest emission testing in the country. My guess, based on the good condition and high miles, is that it’s a one-owner car that was loved dearly … until the time came to trade it in on (probably) a new A4 or S4. Buyer interest in high-mile Audis with manual transmissions and front-wheel drive hovers somewhere between zero and oh gawd no, so it washed up in a San José wrecking yard.

The buyer of this car recognized that all-wheel drive doesn’t provide many benefits in a region with no dirt roads, no snow, and very little rain, and he or she went for the more sensible front-wheel-drive version of the 4000/80/90/6000SUX/Horch 830BL.

Five-speed? Damn right.

Class A Winner 2 - 24 Hours of LeMons Denver 2014

With all the dozens of Audis — including plenty of 1.8T- and V8-powered models — that have competed in the 24 Hours of LeMons, only one has taken the overall win at a race: a front-wheel-drive Audi 90 powered by a V6. Tellingly, it is campaigned by a team made up of Audi dealership mechanics.

The V6 engine in this car made 172 horsepower, which was just 17 less than the straight-six in the 1994 BMW 325i. The 90 S listed at $27,820, versus $29,990 for its BMW competitor; the ’94 Mercedes-Benz C280 with a 194-hp L6 was $34,900, though burly security guards might have escorted you from the dealership if you’d been the kind of person to request a manual transmission in one.

Don’t break the glass!

This era of Audi sedans was all about manly rock-n-roll in Germany.

With the TDI version (not available in the United States, because diesels are all about diminished expectations), you could drive from (some miserably gloomy Northern European location) to (some sunny Southern European location) on one tank of oil!

[Images: © 2016 Murilee Martin/The Truth About Cars]

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