Bangernomics – Audi 80 2.0E

We’ve been discussing Bangernomics lately, a principle I’ve been sticking to for a while having been hit by some rather high depreciation on a fairly new car, and instead turned to running older cars, though usually spending the top end of the bangernomics budget, and getting something supposedly unattainable, the Golf GTi was bought when setting out to find a cheap runabout, the Audi Cabriolet, is rather a lot of car for a £2k budget.

Roll back 5 years ago, my Golf GTi was starting to suffer from 10-20k a year being put on it, not having the time to take her off the road, and extra pressure of me also running my dad around as he’d not replaced his written off 944 (serious high end bangernomics £3.5k). I was starting the hunt for an Audi Coupe, but then got offered a 70k freshly MoT’d 95 Escort Si for £650 and decided to take it. It was horrid, and I carried on the hunt for the Audi Coupe.

A few weeks later I found myself looking at eBay one Friday afternoon at a 14 yr old Audi 80 2.0E saloon, 80,000 miles from new, one owner, all the MoTs, lots of service history, freshly MoT, sitting at £300 with a few hours to go, and it’s in Chesterfield a mile from work…. BONUS. Taking dad home that night even negotiated a deal that he’d buy the Escort off me for not much less than I’d paid 4 weeks earlier, so we could get him back on the road too.

Audi 80 front 3/4

Not much later, dropped a snipe bid in on the Audi for £650 & secured it for £590. The seller had a if you don’t agree with the listing, walk away policy, so went to look it a few days later, it was bang on description, got the Insurance sorted, taxed it, and drove away.  Still wasn’t a Coupe, and was missing a few cylinders, but at £600 was an absolute steal, coupes at the time were fetching £1500-2500. It was immediately light years ahead of the Escort, even if it was older & had less toys, it just had a certain air to it. It went, stopped, handled, and had little details that just made you go “they’ve thought about this”.

Despite the 12 months green ticket, I took it down to my local garage with a certain amount of trepidation, it was after all a £600 eBay find bought virtually unseen. Jacks it up in the air, solid as a rock, nothing at all scary, so committed to a cambelt change & service.

The colour is Ragusa Green, an option on the mighty RS2, looked sparkly in the door shuts, but don’t think it had had too many polishes in its life, and was rather flat, more than an Autoglym required to save. Would need a buff to bring this up, and it wasn’t happening, never did. Some work though was needed to at least bring up the image of the Audi, so some more eBaying was required. FF a few weeks and a set of TSW Imolas secured £110 posted to my door

Audi on TSWs

Which freshened it the exterior nicely. Next to the inside, despite the first owner originally speccing the optional clever aerial hidden in the rear screen, right where you’d expect to find a radio, or even a hole with cut wires on a car of this age, was a Audi blanking plate, it’d never had a radio fitted. Soon sorted in 5 mins with a cheap 2nd hand Kenwood, bit more eBay hunting had the big old steering wheel swapped out for a rather nice Momo Race steering wheel for £15 inc the boss, and an S2 style gear lever gaitor for £10, freshened up the worn original. Also managed to source some genuine rubber mats for £20 from a VAG dealer on eBay.


After that spending was pretty much restricted to putting petrol in the tank, over the next few years I put 20k on the clock and with only minor work required, a few tyres, a battery, another basic service, a clutch, a set of discs and pads, and a pair of CV boots. Think it total spent about £1500-2000 including buying the car.

Whilst the 2.0 engine could also be found in car bearing the GTi badge, the 80 had even more weight than a mk3 Golf GTi, so was slower still, and you could feel the Audi front heavy understeer (though nowhere as bad as the 2.6 Cab I now drive). But it was reliable, comfy, roomy, and did everything could ask of it, and all for a cost over 3 years, that many people spend on depreciation a year, because they’re worried about reliability on older cars…

It did unfortunately develop an ABS fault, which I never traced, and with a few months before the 3rd MoT coming up, decided I was ready to have a look for Coupes again, and then found the Cabriolets had dropped in price. I sold the car for £300 with about 2 weeks MoT left, to a very happy new owner, and based on a quick check, it’s still insured 2 years later, so it’s going for double bangernomics glory.

Audi Paperwork

Addendum May 2012… 

Just checking the DVLA site of previous cars and was nice to see that my old Audi was still taxed, but strangely noticed for some reason the colour was down as yellow. Thought I’d stick the reg in Google, and strangely enough an advert posted two days earlier popped up. It is indeed now yellow

Very yellow. Having just completed a 3000 mile Crumball Rally to Monte Carlo and back! It’s now on 130,000 miles, back on the original style alloys, and yours for the princely sum of £250 ono…

Really hope someone snaps it up as otherwise there’s the threat her bangernomics run will come to an end and she’ll be scrapped if she doesn’t sell. See the full advert on  the Classic Audi website.

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