From Soaked to Success – A Unique Restoration
Old Audis usually don’t have the luxury of several lives. After a maligned past of mechanical failures, a dormant five-year period outside in the elements, and a fast-moving flood that completely soaked his lower half, this is a vehicle that shouldn’t be here right now. However, he has lived to tell, and is our running, driving testament that any restoration is possible. This is Greis: the Audi that came back to life too well.
1991 Audi 100 (Production 5/90)
2.3L I5 (NF) | 4-Speed Auto
Titanium Grey Metallic | Graphite Leather
Dealer: Centennial Audi, Eugene, OR (Defunct)
Factory Options: Leather Upholstery, Metallic Paint, 6-Function Trip Computer, Cold-Weather Package
Dealer Installed Accessories: Front Splash Guards, Floor Mats
Member of T44Brian since 12/12/2016
Special Plate: TYPE44
Status: Completed Show Vehicle
Name Origin: German – nickname for “grey-haired man.” Chosen to represent his first owner, a retired engineer who had an affinity for the C3 Audi.
Greis was bought new at Centennial Porsche-Audi in Eugene, OR in early 1991 when his owner traded in his ’86 5000S. A bit of a troublesome car, he spent plenty of time at the shop and his owner also spent many weekends in the garage with fresh parts from the service counter and a set of wrenches. Many of Greis’s service records are conversations in German by fax with Audi AG, asking for part diagrams or service bulletins. I give a lot of credit to him for his efforts over the years for all the triage he performed himself – most would have given up.
Greis never did sort himself out with age, and as his original owner also aged, repair attempts became more infrequent. At a frustratingly low 54,800 miles, Greis required a transmission rebuild in 2008, and had a long list of other gremlins that were looming and ready to turn into major repairs. It is estimated that Greis achieved lawn-ornament status in late 2010. When his original owner passed in 2012, his wife held onto the car. Unfortunately, she did not drive Greis, or move him into the garage, so for the next several years, the elements began to take a toll on him.
To top it all off, sometime in 2016, an unexpected freshwater flood swept through their neighborhood, and Greis received a bath of muddy water that reached up to the transmission tunnel carpets in the interior, and the engine bay was soaked up to the valve cover. At this point, Greis was handed off to their longtime mechanic where his fate would be decided.
I found Greis online in December 2016 when the shop listed him for sale. He was running, but not well – still caked in mud, with transmission issues and a list of other issues a mile long. But he still looked pretty good – so I took the bait and Greis was off on a 6 day, 3,100-mile trip to the east coast on a car carrier. This was the first vehicle purchased sight-unseen.
He looked mildly better in pictures than in person, but it was mostly because he was still so dirty. As he rolled off the car carrier water poured from the trunk. Over the next 16 months, I fully dismantled Greis, cleaning every part of the engine bay, interior, and undercarriage while preserving every single part I could, down to the nuts and bolts. Due to his prolonged exposure to the elements, his original paint required extensive reconditioning but came back to life with hardly any flaws. And of course, I had to take care of the sorely neglected engine maintenance, the transmission issue, and plenty of other small things along the way. There were plenty of setbacks, but in the end, you would never be able to decipher Greis’s battered past.
Greis had a major show season for 2018 and won many awards, including 1st place at Waterfest 24 in his class and participating in Wolfsgart’s Alpha Class. For 2019, now shy of 61,000 miles, Greis will be staying mostly in the garage this year as Ottmar steps in for shows.
Notable Mods & Changes for 2019
2019: Minor Changes and Improvements
- New Fuel Line Retaining Clips/Hardware installed
- Better condition wheels installed from Edelweiss
- Better condition Headlights from Greta
- Original Floor Mats Restored
Upgrades Previously Installed:
- Center Console Wood Trim (climate control cover and ashtray)
- Center Taillight Panel