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Audi 100. The successful secret of Ludwig Kraus

Audi 100

“It could just happen that I no longer work for Auto Union after today.” Ludwig Kraus - sold to Volkswagen by Daimler Benz in 1963 - has worked on a new project in the deepest secrecy. The Volkswagen management is planning an unannounced visit to Ingolstadt and Kraus is getting a breath of it. On the day of the visit, the fearful Kraus VW boss Heinrich Nordhoff leads to the development room. Nordhoff is completely stunned not much later. Project Audi 100 is taken from under the canvas. "Grünes Licht für diesen Wagen" is what Kraus is told. That choice does not hurt the VW group.


The new 100 seals fate for Audi in a positive way. Initially, the F103 successor to the DKW F102- would become the only post-war Audi. That has proven to be successful from 1965 and that fact inspires Kraus to work on a new modern middle class in the deepest secrecy. Kraus sees little benefit in the existing and aging VW program. That is why he uses a new model with few resources and advanced computer technology. This is how the foundation is laid for the 100, which gets its public debut in 1968. The Audi 100 is initially available as a four-door sedan and will be joined by the two-door sedan a year later. The sedans, internally called F104, also get a coupé brother (F105), and that is another masterpiece by Kraus, which shows to what extent his Bavarian homeland inspires him.

Mitteldrück engines and the arrival of the Coupé

The 100 debuts with front-wheel drive, four doors and an enlarged Mitteldrück engine. Kraus is still developing this concept in Daimler Benz service. At VW's acquisition of Auto Union by Wolfsburg, this type of engine and its developer are part of the deal. The power source debuts in the F103, and for the 100 (the F104) is increased to a cylinder capacity of 1.760 cc. The power source gets an underlying camshaft that is driven by a duplex chain. The more potent Audi 100 S also appears on the scene and it gets the same engine with a registered carburetor. The Coupé, launched in 1970, gets an 1.871 cc engine that puts 115 PK on the crankshaft. The new sporty is certainly recognizable as an Audi 100, but the bodywork technically does not match the bodywork in any way with that of the sedans. What corresponds from 1971 is the power source. That is because it also finds its way to the new GL, the top model in the sedan area that, among other things, is fitted with a grille with double headlights and is placed above the rather luxurious LS performance level.

A lot of demand

There is now a lot of demand for the Audi 100 variants. It compels Audi to adjust the 100 and for the 1974 model year the front side is modified, the rear side is retouched and the transverse spring disappears in favor of coil-spring struts. The 1974 L is born in September 100. The most important novelty is the integration of the EA827 engine with the overhead camshaft and 1.588 cc. The EA827 power source will find its way into many VAG models for decades and in multiple configurations.

On the way to the end

The latest modifications are taking place for 1975. The front disc brakes are placed outwards. The standard steering circuit (the 1.6, the Coupé and the GL did have a floor switch) is canceled and is replaced by a poker on the floor. In the meantime, the first signs of successor 100 C2 are coming, which will replace the C1976 in the summer of 1. Incidentally, the first 100 for America is built on for another year.

Important in several respects

Audi has become a fully-fledged Volkswagen luxury brand. The Audi 80 is now available from 1972. The Audi 100 has been a resounding success. Initially, it was intended that 100.000 units would be built. Even Ludwig Kraus - the quirky and revolutionary engineer - could never have guessed that the counter will stop at 827.474-built copies of the model, which perpetuated the return of Audi.


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  1. See it still standing ……. Dark brown metallic 4-door sedan… ..in the then
    showroom of car company Boelens in Leeuwarden, together with the NSU Prinz, where
    my mother had one of them.
    That is where the love for Audi started and ended.
    That of NSU remained, despite the fogged and frozen windows in the winter, but that was commonplace
    in that time…..
    The metallic-blue 1000Prinz, with license plate 91-92-RS, was later exchanged for a Fiat 127, which had a heater, fan and a larger space for groceries in a less accessible place, due to the small boot lid.
    So no more loud coaxing fellow road users, because my brother is misting / freezing the windows
    could not keep up with a wiper and / or scraper and the 'pond' behind the front seats we no longer had wet feet.
    The wonderful sound of the boxer engine still stayed with me and later I often heard it in my Alfa 33, albeit slightly different …….

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