One Year Only: 1991 Audi 200 20v Turbo Quattro Avant

File this under 'cars I desperately want but are hopelessly endangered and outdated anyways by now '. In other words, I'll probably never own one.

Still, my pulse quickens at the sight of this Audi in the perfect shade of gunmetal grey that contrasts beautifully with the black plastic trim and gorgeous silver recessed cross-spoke alloys. Cars just don't have these sleek and tasteful details anymore. Heck, cars don't even have anti-ding side molding anymore. Why get rid of something when it served a great functional and aesthetic purpose? Oh the wisdom of horizontal lines on cars.

You also have to just 'get' this thing. Audi in the '80s were still pretty underneath the radar and not the upper-crust bling mobiles they are today. Their cars still shared a lot of DNA with Volkswagen, and the styling was extremely conservative but still more forward than old-world rivals Mercedes and BMW. Then there was also the acceleration debacle when a slanderous 60 Minutes report that was later dis-proven supposedly showed Audi 5000 cars with unintentional acceleration. Audi renamed the 5000 to 100 and 200, but the damage was already done. It hurt their car sales and reputation so badly Audi only came out of the darkness by the new millennium, around the time they introduced the TT and revived the brand. So an Audi car from the '80s is a rare, dark horse, best-kept secret kind of thing.

This '91 example comes from their their old heyday - or lowday if you consider that according to a comment on Bring a Trailer citing that only a mere 157 were imported for one year only, 1991. How many can be left? Half? A third? These were bought in colder climates with harsh weather and driven a lot, so finding any surviving, intact example is near-miraculous.

What makes this so special aren't just the depressingly low production and importation numbers. It's the car itself. This car has a 2.2-litre inline 5-cylinder 20-valve turbocharged engine producing a very healthy 220 horsepower powering all four wheels with Audi's patented 'Quattro' 4WD system and mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. Try saying that in one breath. All packaged in an attractive body with power leather seats and a huge wagon/hatchback trunk. There aren't many other cars with that much power and practicality. In fact, there are just about none, save for perhaps Audi's latest wagons at unattainable prices.

Find the autotrader listing here and the dealer page via autotrader here in Sugar Creek, Missouri for only $2,500.

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