1972 introduced a new platform for the Audi 80 dubbed the B1. It was the replacement for the F103 series covered previously in this blog (see Audi F103). The US and Canada  had to wait another year for the introduction in 1973, and the marketing wizards decided that it should be renamed the Audi Fox in those markets. This was the first time that an Audi had been named, and it was reportedly quite the battle at Ingolstadt, The Fox was powered by 2 engines; a 54hp inline 4 cylinder 1.3 liter, and a 74hp 1.5 liter. Both featured a cast iron block with a single overhead cam aluminum head. Enhanced versions of both produced a good variety of power options for the platform. In late 1973,  The Fox/80 was also the introduction of the water-cooled front-wheel-drive format that served Audi and Volkswagen well for decades. Audi added a sporty GT model featuring a 1.6 liter engine and putting out 99hp.

The Fox had a handsome design with a generous greenhouse due to relatively thin pillars. It had well=proportioned front and rear overhangs, and looked good in both coupe and sedan form. The combination of front-wheel drive and tall roof created a roomy car on the inside despite relatively small proportions. There was also an “Avant” or estate version with copious amounts of space. Suspension wise, it had torsion bars in the rear with McPherson struts up front. The Fox was good enough to earn European Car of the Year in 1973.

The Fox/80 was a very significant car for Audi and VW. Volkswagen was facing declining revenues as the air-cooled beetle was waning, and the type 411 was not the replacement that they had hoped. The previous Audi platform was showing its age and had roots in even older DKW technology. In addition, the exchange rate was making German exports very expensive. The Fox/80 was in many ways the vehicle that bolstered the company, and allowed it to survive the rough patch. Based on its success, VW even badged its own version called the Dasher. The restyling in 1975 was also well received with square headlights and more muscular styling. A GTE variant was introduced as the top of the line. The cars were now fuel-injected as well. The platform continued to sell well, and persisted well into the late 1970s.

3 Replies to “Audi Fox”

  1. I purchased an Audi Fox in 1973, the first year for US imports. I was a Marine soldier earning very little income and driving a ’68 Camaro RS/SS 427. The oil embargo of ’73 created long lines at the petro stations and fears of rising gas prices believed to rise to $4-$5/gal. had me searching for a less expensive means of transportation.
    The Audi Fox was a wonderful car, very good fuel mileage (as much as 40 mpg on a long trip), it handled well and it was the best 4 wheel snow vehicle I ever owned. I had no regrets purchasing the car as it served me well, but in hindsight, I should have never sold the Camaro…it was a low mileage beauty, with the rare RS/SS options. I practically gave that car away to a fellow Marine, when I should have stored in my parents garage until I was released from active duty.

    1. A guy with a few barns full of stuff told me a long time ago that you should never sell anything! Problem is, we lack the barns and the cash !

      The Fox was a decent car that often had a bad rap, but the one I owned was fine until it rusted away…


  2. Yes, I never had any mechanical problems, but the left front fender started to rust where the radio antennae was mounted. I saw other Audi foxes rust in the same area, so it seems to have been an oversight from the factory. I even had the car rustproofed from the dealership, I guess they missed that location.
    I have great memories with that car. After finishing college, I needed a break. I went on a 13K mile tour of the U.S. with a friend of mine. We traveled through most of the lower 48 states and many of the National Parks and of course a long run up the western coast from San Diego to Vancouver, Washington. The only mishap in the whole trip was one flat tire…not too bad!

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