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Get a 4000?
I'm giving some thought to a 4000 as my next car. I'm currently an
impoverished student, so any decision is a year and a half off, but all the
more time to research the matter! Now, prepare to have your ear bent! :)
First, how troublefree are the cars? Most owners I've talked to have had good
experiences (one of my teachers had a '79 4000 in the family that went nearly
300K miles), but I get the occasional person who says, "It's a can of worms!"
Particular trouble areas, good/bad years?
What about cost of parts and routine maintenance? I see a certain amount of
grumbling about parts prices on the list, but I've heard a bit of that about
every make of car I've owned (Saab, Fiat, Peugeot), so my inclination is to
take it with a grain of salt. I've also heard that even parts for American
cars aren't cheap any more. Is the 4000 really much worse than other cars in
How crashworthy is the 4000? I've had a couple of bad crashes in 25 years of
driving, and I once dated a nurse who worked w/paralytics, some of whom got
that way in crashes, so I don't kid myself that it can't happen to me. If I
heard some stories about people walking away unhurt, or w/minor injuries, from
a really epic crash in a 4000 (the kind of stories you hear about Saabs and
Volvos), I'd really be impressed. If not, so be it.
Much as I'd like to have a 4000 Quattro, I assume that it'd be more expensive
to register and insure, and the Quattro-specific parts would be pricy. Right?
What about the VW Quantum? I understand it falls between the 4k and 5k in
size--I once even read an article that termed it, tongue in cheek, a VW 4500!
I assume it shares engines and at least some drivetrain bits with Audis. While
I haven't done a rigorous year-by-year comparison, perusing the want ads
suggests that those 4 rings on the grille of a used Audi cost at least $125
apiece! I'm wondering if the Quantum is a decent car that just doesn't have a
sporty image and isn't in demand--that's certainly been true of the Peugeot
504's I've owned. I also see that used 4k's sell for more than 5k's--again, is
this a supply and demand issue? I won't say that I absolutely couldn't be
talked into a 5k (my current Peugeot 504 certainly isn't a barge), but I don't
really need a bigger car than a 4k.
I know that at some point in the late 80s, the 4000 got European-style
headlights replacing the previous 4 rectangular units, but did they or didn't
go to a whole new body shell at that point?
The 4000 would be my first fuel-injected car. For the last 15 years I've been
going to a very good self-taught back-yard mechanic in Seattle who's
competent, as fair and honest as the day is long, charges only $25/hr, and
makes house and road calls--but he isn't equipped to deal with FI-equipped
cars. Naturally, I don't want to fix what ain't broke! I know that some of his
other customers have FI-equipped cars (Saab 900's, Peugeot 505's), but I'm not
sure how they deal w/tuneups and FI work. Of course, I wouldn't be so tactless
as to tell a garage straight up, "You're really too expensive, but I'll use
you when there's no alternative," but the issue is still there. Thoughts?
Anyway, you now have a new participant, with an attitude, so get used to it! :)
Thanks for your insights!
--Andrew Buc, Seattle, WA; Internet: email@example.com