1990 Audi V8 quattro

If there is one German car that is an honorary Alfa Romeo, it’s got to be the V8 quattro.

From the dated underpinnings of the Type 44 chassis, Audi emerged in 1988 with an all-new 4-cam aluminum engine that could be mated to an automatic transmission. While today most enthusiasts decry the death of the manual, it was still a luxury that people paid dearly for at other points in automotive history, and the technical achievement necessary to combine the two was not unsubstantial. It benefited from a new generation of quattro models, which instead of utilizing manual differential locks had a Torsen unit in the center to automatically split power. But the V8, equipped with the automatic, couldn’t use that Torsen in the middle, instead relying on a multi-clutch differential. Instead, the Torsen unit was moved to the rear of the car. Coupled with a more rearward weight bias with the shorter V8 and the gutsy torque on offer throughout the rev range, though much of the car was borrowed from the rest of the lineup it took on an entirely different character. That was matched with new, updated bodywork outside and a wider stance with flared arches. The effect? Magical. And, complicated.

The results of both were that the V8s developed a unique fanbase separate from most of the other models. The Phantoms of the Four-Ringed Opera, these cars have long-lived in the shadows, myths that are only seen rarely, cars no average mortal would consider owning. The social pariahs who do own them are even more strange, lurking in the dark corners of the internet muttering “NLA” to themselves while figuring out creative ways to keep their coveted creations running, mostly though cannibalization of others. It seems Audi managed to pull off the unfathomable achievement of creating a whole new and unique set of VAG problems specific to the V8.…

Motorsports Monday: 1963 Porsche TM Special

Entering the world of historic racing in general is not something that can be terribly easily achieved, but when you start talking about historic Porsches the dollar signs start increasing rapidly. To race a historic 956 or 962, for example, one reputable Porsche shop quoted me on the order of $5,000 – $6,000 an hour once you factor in crew, tires, brakes, race fuel and rebuilds. That, of course, doesn’t include the purchase price of the car which can easily exceed a million dollars – even for a non-winning chassis. Okay, so not everyone races Group C cars, but even 911s, 912s and 914-6s can be expensive to run competitively – and are increasingly expensive to purchase. One way to step a bit outside of the normal Porsche mold, then, is to look for the many privateer special race cars that were built in the 1960s, such as this DKW/Porsche hybrid “TM Special”:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1963 Porsche TM Special on eBay