Not All Is Permanently Lost
While I don’t admit it often, the true stars of the fleet have always been the Avants. And since the first one joined the collection in September 2017, they have always been positioned as daily-driven, running projects with less intent to perfect and more to use and enjoy. But there is one wagon that didn’t get to live out its later years peacefully, and that was Zygmunt, my 1984 5000S Wagon. It was devastating losing him to a very bad crash in November 2018. Trying to replace a minty and unique 36 year old vehicle with an exact match is… Basically impossible. And unfortunately Zygmunt was about as minty and unique as I had found. I do have my reasons for picking certain Audis over others, and I flew out and drove him home with every intention to make it a forever vehicle. It was a hard pill to swallow that our time together was so short, and that not only did Zyg bring joy to me, he brought joy to everyone who made (and continues to make) T44Brian a part of their life. In a personal vendetta-esque manner, I’ve been trying to get my station wagon back for the better part of 26 months. And while there were other restorations, Avants, and other successes in the meantime to keep me occupied, I can finally close this case and start getting back to a part of T44Brian that was truly great.
1989 Audi 100 Wagon (Production 4/89) 2.3L I5 (NF) | 3-Speed Auto (087)
Zermatt Silver Metallic LY7Y | Platinum Leather
MSRP (With Dealer Installed Accessories): $33,625
Origin Dealer: Langeland Porsche-Audi, Fort Wayne, IN (Now Audi Fort Wayne)
Factory Options: Automatic Transmission, Metallic Paint, Roof Rails, Leather Upholstery, Cold Weather Package
Dealer Installed Accessories: None
Member of T44Brian Since 1/15/2021
Special Plate: TBD
Status: Project In Progress, Non-Daily
Odd & Unique About This Car: The 1989 100 Wagons are unique in their own right as they were a one-year only offering in the US, along with the 100E Sedan. These were intended to replace the basic 5000S Wagon, but due to slow sales, the 100W was axed for 1990, leaving the flagship 200TQA as the sole option for long-roof buyers.
Name Origin: Derived from the Basque word “zilar,” meaning silver.
Zylar was purchased from Langeland Imports in Fort Wayne, Indiana and remained with his original owner until my purchase in January 2021. Rarely do I actually get to purchase and speak to original owners about their vehicles, so I got a bit of history and insight that will prove useful during Zylar’s restoration.
Each Type 44 wagon… err, Avant, that I’ve owned has been different. But before I get into that, I’m going to sidetrack for a moment:
This is a little pedantic of me, but I live in the United States. My station wagon C3s are US-spec examples and were marketed as “Wagons.” Nowhere in any press-release or marketing publications from Audi of America from 1984-1991 is the word “Avant” mentioned once. Not even the run of 1991 200 20v’s. Avant is the rest-of-world nomenclature that we have overall picked up in speaking about these cars. I’m guilty of using them interchangeably, but I do try and use wagon when speaking at shows or in-person and I’m not backing down. Sorry, people.
Now to being back on track: For those who are new or can’t keep the fleet straight, the wagon lineage of T44Brian is as follows:
’89 100W (Wendell) -> ’84 5000SW (Zyg) -> ’91 200 20V (Franz) -> ’91 200 20v (Marlais) -> ’89 100W (Zylar)
There is an ’85 5000S Wagon that was in between Franz and Marlais, but it is not counted as the project was never started. A few days after purchase I decided to salvage and dismantle for parts. It was a bit of a mess to begin with, but sealed its fate when it went up in smoke in my driveway due to a melted wiring harness (someone did some disastrous prior wiring modifications for lights/stereo) and I was not having it.
All of the wagons except Wendell and Zyg were basically a mess in their own right, too. Wendell wasn’t cosmetically pretty, but I did manage nearly 10K miles out of him in less than a year before I traded-up to Zyg. And even in our short time with Zyg, I did about 8K miles including the road trip back. The two 20v’s intended on making my life a living Hell with all of their drivability issues, and when it stops being fun and I need tows home, that’s when I move on to something else.
So in a nutshell, Zylar is culmination of all the good aspects of each wagon that I’ve had time with. And each wagon that has come and gone has donated its fair share of parts to the collection, and this will be no different.
Zylar’s “restoration” is intended to be B-grade, daily-driver level like the wagons before him. Initial thoughts are to go through easy part-replacements and fixes that can be successfully accomplished in between the busy times of the shop. But even if this is a non-concours project, there’s still plenty that needs a once-over before it sees any time on the road. With no recollection of a timing belt change, soft brakes, and a fuel line that was patched up for transport purposes, he probably won’t see a showfield until 2022.
Accuracy will be maintained – to a point. My initial mention that my 5000 Wagon was a unique car is very true – the ’84/85 early run had a couple special bits and pieces that weren’t featured on later C3s. Once the quick swap of the big “shelf” spoiler and the 9-slot wheels are on, Zylar could easily pass as Zyg, sans quad headlights and the updated interior.
We’ll see where Zylar takes me. Unless another 100W pops up for sale, we’re joined at the hip (quarter panel?) and any parts in my stash and extra time will be devoted to get him back to acceptable mechanicals and cosmetics!
Notable Mods & Changes
2021: New Vehicle Purchase. Listed Items Below Initial Speculative Changes, but likely to Occur:
- Replace Current BBS RAs with 5000S 9-Slot Wheels (Tribute to Zyg) or 15″ OEM Aeros
- Replace Grille and Chrome Trim (Damaged from Branch Incident)
- Remove Mudflaps and Replace with Genuine Set
- Replace Windshield
- Replace Spoiler with ’84/85 “Shelf” Spoiler and Correct Wiper Arm
- PDR and Possible Paintwork
- Replace Fender Molding Audi Logos, or Replace all Side Trim with ’84 Specific Moldings (Thin Chrome)
- Replace Lower Door Moldings
- Replace Rubber Door Seals with CS/200 Color-Matched Cloth Versions
- Replace Malfunctioning Delta Head Unit with Known-Good Spare
- Replace Cracked Wood Trim on Doors
- Swap Instrument Cluster Boards
- Replace Dash and Rear Door Speakers
- Upgrade Steering Wheel to 3-spoke S2-style
- Add Center Console Wood Trim (A/C faceplate and Ashtray)
- Add Genuine Gray Floor Mats with Audi Logo
- Swap Comfort Seats to Sport Seats, Front and Rear
- Add Cargo Mat
- Replace Hatch/Hood Lift Struts
- Secure Headliner While Saving Original Material
- Glue Lifting Door Card Vinyl
- Replace Various Bulbs/Switches
- Repair/Replace Window Regulators
- Full Timing Belt Service (TB/Water Pump, Seals, Drive Belts)
- Transmission Service
- Cooling System Overhaul (Expansion Tank, Hoses, Bypass Valve, G13)
- Tune Up (Plugs, Wireset, Distributor Cap/Rotor, Knock Sensor, Filters)
- Brake Overhaul (Master Cylinder, Rotors, Pads, Calipers, Lines, etc)
- Fuel System (Fuel Pump, Pressure Regulator, Lines)