Soaked to Success – And Still Going
Most cars don’t have the luxury of several lives. After a maligned past of mechanical failures, a five-year dormant period of outside storage, and getting half-soaked in a flood, Greis somehow survived long enough to be found for a T44Brian-style intervention. After a nearly two-year restoration process, Greis remains the running and driving testament that anything can be brought back to life.
1991 Audi 100 (Production 5/90) 2.3L I5 (NF) | 4-Speed Auto (097)
Titanium Grey Metallic LY7P | Graphite Leather Non-Power Seats
MSRP: $31,610 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 Restoration, Permanent Collection
Personality Profile: Luxuriously lazy, The 1991s have a few small tweaks that almost create the perfect basic C3. Who knew a little extra sound deadening, a new size tire spec, and CV/axle design could really smooth out the dying platform and hold over the North American market for the next generation coming in 1992? What doesn’t help here is the also-new-but-rushed four speed automatic, which doesn’t make the best use of the already struggling 130-horsepower engine. You gain a little more torque from a stop but the slow upshifts and abrupt downshifts irritate an already slow-motion driving experience. You look good, but at times you’re wincing behind the shades fighting the throttle, the transmission, and the heavy-handed steering all at the same time just to keep up on a winding road. Better suited for those longer, less interrupted journeys.
Notable Awards: 1st Place Audi Other (New England Dustoff 2018), 1st Place Audi VW Stock (81-92) Waterfest 24, Wolfsgart 9.0 Alpha Class
Odd & Unique About This Car: Like other North American 1991 100s, Greis has a 4-speed Automatic transmission which improves power delivery at lower speeds. Greis is also factory equipped with very uncommon non-power leather seats.
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 Audi in Eugene, OR in early 1991 when his owner traded in his ’86 5000S. Centennial had lost their Porsche franchise a short time before this, and unfortunately shut down the Audi side of things as well shortly after. Remaining dealer interactions were carried out at Sunset Audi, and there were many. 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. 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 sometime in late 2010. When his original owner passed in 2012, the family held onto the car. Unfortunately, he lost his garage spot and would see little use, so for the next several years, the elements began to take their toll.
To top it all off, sometime in 2016 Greis was in something of a flood, and he received a bath of muddy water that reached up to the transmission tunnel carpets in the interior, and the engine bay was soaked with crud up to the valve cover. At this point, Greis was handed off a local 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 problems and a mile-long list of other issues. But the classic Audi market had been dry for some time – 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. It was simply… gross. 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. This process ended up being rewarding, as the PNW weather meant all the gold-plated lines and pieces were still very much in like-new shape.
Aside from the extensive cleanup, Greis received full maintenance, transmission repairs, and a custom radiator (because 4-speed 1991s used a unique one, of course). Of all the headaches, the worst was trying to recondition his original paint. At some point somebody thought steel wool was the thing to use for water spots on the paint and trim, and even the glass. While the paint and trim polished up nicely, a new windshield and replacement door glass was necessary. The rear windshield and quarter windows luckily polished up with cerium oxide – and it was a LONG process I wish to never do again!
Greis was completed around March 2018 and had a major show season that year. He was acknowledged at events including a 1st place Waterfest 24 class win and participating in Wolfsgart’s Alpha Class.
Of the Permanent Collection, Greis has the least modification. His restoration was still done during a time when I was very intent on OEM and factory accuracy, and has since stayed that way. Therefore, he is chosen to go to events where this accuracy is required and appreciated. As a 1991, he also represents the short “Take Control” era of Audi in the US, which was Audi’s attempt to regain traction in the market. He is always shown with his promotional Take Control items and banner when parked on the showfield or at T44 HQ.
Heading into the new decade, Greis will remain part of the Permanent Collection as a fully completed restoration.
Notable Mods & Changes
2020-2021: Minor Changes:
- New Fuel Pressure Regulator
- European-Only OEM 4-Spoke Steering Wheel
- Additional Set of NOS Black Floor Mats
- Hood insulation retaining clips
- Center Taillight Panel
- New Fuel Line Retaining Clips/Hardware installed
- Better condition wheels installed from Edelweiss
- Better condition Headlights
- NOS Genuine Audi floor mats w/Rings
- Paintless Dent Repair on Hood, Trunk, and Left Fender
- Custom Radiator for 4-Speed 1991 Models
- Coolant Flush with new Expansion Tank
- V8 Quattro Automatic Leather Shift Knob
2016-2017: New Vehicle Purchase
- Full transmission service, including solenoids
- Timing belt service
- New pads & rotors
- Replacement windshield
- Replacement door glass set
- Better condition Aero Wheels
- Upgrade of Zebrano Center Console climate control and ashtray trim
- New Center resonator