The Legend: Rare 1977 Audi 50
Fundamentally, enthusiasts pour cash into their car for one reason: to make that ride one of a kind. But the hard truth is that no amount of money can change production numbers – there’s a big difference between being unique and being rare. The car you’re looking at is both. Believe it or not, what once belonged to Zach Smith remains to be the only 1977 Audi 50 GLS on American soil, and one of roughly 12 remaining worldwide.
Rewind to the early 1970s. With the oil crisis sending gas prices sky-high, supermini economy cars are quickly becoming the rage in Europe. In 1974, Germany enters the mix via the Type 86 (aka the Audi 50/VW Polo).
“It’s basically the twin of the MKI Polo,” Zach explains. “They ceased building them as Audis after 1978 because of poor sales due to its cheaper Polo counterpart.”
In that four-year span, over 180,000 examples of the Audi 50 were produced. What makes this car so rare, then? Well, registration records in Germany show less than a dozen GLS-trimmed cars remaining in Europe…and yes, the one you’re looking at now is the only known Audi 50 GLS ever imported to the United States.
So how’d he get his hands on a unicorn like this? When the original owner in Germany stopped driving, her son imported the GLS to Arizona. He then sold it Jason Morabito, who shipped it to upstate New York and modified it to current spec. When Zach saw the car’s paintjob (a Porsche color called Albertblau, borrowed from the ’72 911) he had to buy it.
As if a scarce nameplate and custom paint wasn’t enough, this 50 rolls on custom forged Rotiform 3-pieces, sized 14×7” at all four corners with lips measuring 3” out back and 2” in front. An Airlift V2 air-ride system makes sure tires stay tucked perfectly.
Inside, the 50 keeps it OEM fresh with clean, factory GLS carpeting and door panels. Both the dash and glass are in as good of shape as you’ll find for a 36-year old car. Non-Audi bits? Just a Nardi steering wheel and custom leather seats.
Zach has since sold the car and it currently resides with yet another owner somewhere in California. The 50 has already received well deserved recognition from our friends at Stanceworks and was even going to be in an upcoming issue of PVW magazine. Wherever this car may end up, in time we hope to see more of it, because it will never get old. Zach wanted to thank the guys at Rival House, particularly Ryan Harrison and Chris Wells, Jacob Brcic Photography, Max Prince, and Jason Morabito.
WHEELS & SUSPENSION
- Custom Rotiform four-spoke 3-piece forged TMB
- 14x7” with 2” front & 3” rear lips
- Airlift V2 AirRide Suspension System
EXTERIOR & INTERIOR
- Nardi Steering Wheel
- Custom Leather-covered seats
- New carpet
- Original and flawless door panels
- Flawless 36 year old dash and glass
- Beautifully done 1972 Porsche 911 Albertblau paint
ENGINE & PERFORMANCE
- 1.3 Litre 4-cylinder
- Single Carb