Trackside Classic: 1973 Audi 100 Coupe S — Spot The Influences?

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There’s something just a little pretentious about an Audi these days.  Don’t get me wrong, I’d love an A5 and one of my favorite modern cars is the first generation TT, but I never spot an Audi driven by a person who’s just picked up a tall can of Miller High Life at the liquor store.  In contrast is this Audi Coupe S, which doesn’t emit the craft beer webinar vibe of modern Audis, but instead pleases the viewer with a unique German/Italian/American mosaic from a time in Europe where cars had to try pretty hard to look bad.


Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I can’t find any evidence that the Coupe S was ever officially imported to the United States, making our feature car an immigrant of sorts.  Its slender bumpers reinforce this observation, avoiding the railroad tie unpleasantness to which so many federal cars from the 1970s fell prey.  I’ve included the above shot because it includes a pretty girl, pretty flowers, and a pretty car.  It doesn’t take much more to make me happy, and isn’t beauty its own excuse?  The neo-nuclear James Bond town in the background isn’t, however, doing the picture any favors.

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Before I get too carried away with digressions, let’s return to the task at hand: analyzing an Audi.  This coupe was undoubtedly my “best of show” on the day I took this picture.  It reminds me of a fastback Mustang, a late ’60s Sunbeam Alpine GT (see below), an Aston Martin (in the roof), all brought together with some 1970s Giugiaro flair (although I have no idea if he designed it).


The Audi, of course, seems more graceful than this neat Alpine, but there’s certainly a little resemblance in the greenhouse.

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The Coupe S’ interior is typical 1970s German, efficient, morose, but inviting and completely unpretentious, a throwback to when the driver was supposed to focus on driving instead of touchscreens.  Kind of refreshing. There’s no chrome to distract the eye, just a few well-placed gauges and some sparing wood-trim.  Nice job, Audi.

The only driving experience I have with a ’70s German car was with a cream-colored 320i, and I think I’ve liked 1970s German interiors since then, although I remember that reverse was hard to find in that particular example (it’s in there somewhere!).

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WAY up front is this longitudinal four-cylinder that seems to leave little room for a radiator, leaving me to wonder about the weight distribution of this little coupe.  Maybe I’m wrong, but this car looks like a breeze to work on for a home mechanic like myself, unless you have to service the cooling system in any way.  It’s a far cry from modern front wheel drive platforms where the cuts and scratches on one’s forearm are a badge of honor, representing that one is foolish, cheap, or misguided enough to work on one’s own subcompact.

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All of this rambling has left me wanting a theme, because in essence, I just love this car and wanted to share it with my car friends.  Therefore, let’s play “spot the influences.”  I’ve already mentioned a few that come to mind above, so feel free to voice your opinions and ideas in the comments, as always.