1 Feb 1974
By CHRIS HARRIS
Volkswagen was in a deepening financial crisis when it took over its bankrupt NSU compatriot in 1969, and immediately teamed it with its DKW/Auto Union division to create the front-wheel drive, five-seat family cars for the 1970s that eventually saved the group.
The result was the 1974 Audi 80 (Fox in Australia) and VW Passat twins, and both were manufactured here initially.
They shared an advanced 1.5L four-cylinder engine, roomy body, crisp, modern styling and a four-speed manual or three-speed auto gearbox.
Minor trim changes and a bigger (1.6L) engine and gearbox resulted in the Fox GL from late 1975, while from March 1977 VW ceased local production to source cars from Germany.
Now known as the GLS, the facelifted Fox sported a 53kW 1.6L engine, smoother front styling, a plusher interior and extra equipment.
However slow sales and an entry level Audi C2-series 100GL variant saw the 80 disappear from new car showrooms in early ‘79.
The Road to Recovery podcast series