10 January 2012

Memoirs of the Audi 80

A look at a car back in my childhood – or what my parents drove. I was a child in the 1990s and a silver Audi 80 was a car my father proudly owned.

THIS week, when I was pondering round car dealers. Looking at some prospects as the replacement for my rusty old, Ford Ka. What caught my eye was this old Audi 90  (pictured) I saw at a dealer in East Lancashire.

To some of you, this may just be a ripe old Audi - which it was because it had flat tyres and the interior was pretty much worn out. With a flaky gear knob cover, saggy seats and a shiny steering wheel for example. Personally, taking a glance at this car was a blast from the past.

This is because my father had an 1994 (L-reg) Audi 80 back in my childhood. It was in that same colour and younger than the car I saw at that dealer's forecourt. I laugh at myself when Dad told me that me and my brother "hated" it because our classmates' parents drove "Ford Escorts and Vauxhall Cavaliers". We both felt like that we didn't fit in with the crowd at that time - more fool us.

I look back at that now (cringing) and telling myself... what was I thinking? You can forgive me for being a young boy who just started school. At the age of four, you still have a lot to learn at that age and at 21, still do. When Dad owned his 80 at the time, I didn't know any better in my defence.

What's hard to believe, is that back in the mid 1990s, Audi was a marque in the shadow of civil arch-rivals BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Not what it is now with a number driven by pretentious people. Who tailgate you and are within less of an inch behind your back bumper. Audi was a cut above the mainstream like Ford and Vauxhall - more akin to the likes of Saab, Volvo and Rover at the time. Audi was pushing its way upmarket to be the prestige brand it was pursuing to be within the Volkswagen group.

Dad loved his Audi 80 with it being a solid, sensible, reliable and refined family saloon. That was something different, yet an understated and honest car from the mainstream opposition. The qualities that shone through Audis and what German cars are renowned for. He owned it for a good few years and never missed a beat. The particular feature the Audi had I remember well, was that "beep" sound when the car was locked.

When the family parted company with the faithful Audi. It was passed onto one of my Dad's lifelong friends. As far as we know, it's still on the roads surviving and gracing tarmac. Long may it live.


Do you have any memoirs of cars you grew up with in your childhood? Any particular car you have fond memories and nostalgia of those that your parents drove. If you do, then why not submit your stories which your Memoirs can be featured here on Definitely Motoring.

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