The Audi Fox, called the Audi 80 in Europe, was a milestone car for both Audi and Volkswagen. Introduced in 1972 in Europe and sold in North America from 1973 to 1979, the 80/Fox was the parent of every water cooled, front wheel drive Volkswagen that replaced the Beetle and its air cooled, rear engined progeny during the 1970s: Passat/Dasher, Golf/Rabbit, Jetta, Scirocco, Polo, the T4 Transporter, – all of them branched from the tree that Audi planted with this design, as well as all subsequent Audis too, of course.
Audi Fox Overview
The Audi 80/Fox rightfully takes its place as the second most significant car in Volkswagen’s 75 year history alongside the Beetle. But unlike the Beetle, few Foxes seem to have survived, and the model has received little interest from the automotive press or enthusiasts on the internet so far. So finding a Fox parked at the local public library after decades of never seeing one was a surprise, and a chance to tell its big story. The Audi 80/Fox was a major step in the evolution of Audi from its roots in DKW/Auto Union.
The 80/Fox established design principles that still endure today in Volkswagens and Audis. Although the front wheel drive drive train with its longitudinally mounted engine layout was inherited from DKW and the Audi 60-100, the 80’s engine was all new, the EA827, which begot a huge family of engines that are still being produced today. If for no other reason, the 80’s EA827 engine alone made the 80/Fox a cornerstone of the new water-cooled era of VW. The 80/Fox entered markets worldwide to accolades.
The end of the Fox came in 1980, when the new 4000 (B2) replaced it in the U.S. Still called the 80 in other markets around the world, the 4000 continued Audi’s invasion of the mainstream American automobile market with a new body by 1980s car design master Giorgetto Giugiaro and the Quattro all wheel drive system starting in 1984. With the last Fox sold in 1979, any surviving Fox out of the 142,500 that were imported is at least 34 years old, and most likely few have survived in the condition of this example.