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1969 Audi 100 LS Cabriolet Prototype by Karmann

Audi was never a real volume car manufacturer pre-1970s. In the early days, Audi released to the market very specialized cars, and this 100 LS (C1) drop-top Cabriolet was one of them. Osnabruck-based Karmann Coachworks was commissioned to build and deliver all the bodies, and they already had their own business with Volkswagen, building special models like the Karmann Ghia. However, this would have marked a new space for Audi. Though not quite as exotic in appearance as the Bertone-penned Coupe S, the 2-door notchback body style of the 100 likely marked an easier design from which to engineer a convertible. A prototype was built and the car debuted at the 1969 Frankfurt IAA.

Alas, the car would never move beyond the prototype stage, but it certainly marked an interesting page in the C1/F104 architecture history. For years, Karmann would produce coupe and convertible models for the Volkswagen Group, including the B3-based Audi Cabriolet (1997-2000) and A4/S4 Cabriolets (2002-2008).

By 2009 the company had fallen on hard times and was eventually purchased by the Volkswagen Group. The Karmann-built 100 LS Cabriolet remains today in the collection of Audi Tradition, occasionally pulled out for classic car events.

Source:Audi 100 LS 1969 Model Cabriolet by Karmann.

Images: oldconceptcars