1993 Audi S2

One of the most popular tuning swaps in the Audi world until quite recently was to slot a 3B/AAN turbocharged 20V motor into a B3 coupe. The “Ersatz” (replacement) S2 required a fair amount of custom engineering, but you got a sleeper package that was capable of some serious performance that the U.S. bound Coupe quattro with its normally aspirated 7A 20V inline-5 lacked. For an effectively an entire generation these custom turbocharged examples have held a special place in the market, worth more than generally every other Audi from the period, but that’s changing. Now it’s 2016 and the market has awoken to the original Quattro; really pristine examples have shot through the roof in terms of pricing. But the bigger thorn in the side for custom-made S2s is that the real factory built S2s are now importable to the U.S.. While that’s not the easiest road to travel, if you search around you can find some real budget examples of the real-deal original S2 for much less than the asking price of U.S. bound replica cars. While this 1993 is still a few years from legal importation, it certainly gets me thinking about what could be:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1993 Audi S2 on Classic Driver

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Motorsports Monday: 1992 Audi 80 quattro Supertourisme

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Audi seemed a bit lost in terms of direction of its motorsports programs. With the death of Group B following the development of the monster S1 E2 Quattro, Audi turned to the 200 to lead its racing brigade from Group A rally to the crazy Trans-Am effort. That would continue with the introduction of the V8 quattro, campaigned in the DTM in 1991 and 1992 before being banned. But focus would return to the smaller chassis cars in the early 1990s, with Audi introducing a line of Super Touring 80s and the most memorable of the bunch, the flame spitting Audi 90 IMSA GTO racers. Though few remember the 80 STW, it was run extensively in the DTM and Italian Super Touring series and paved the way for the later A4 STW that would dominate many international touring classes in 1996. But there was a lesser known development, that of the ROC engineered 80 quattro Supertourisme. Built by ROC in 1991 on behalf of Audi Sport for the French Super Touring class, it was unlike any of the super touring cars Audi produced:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1992 Audi 80 quattro Superturisme at Jean Lain Vintage

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Motorsport Monday: ex-Mikkola 1982 Audi Quattro Group 4/B Rally

Motorsports seems to undergo a giant leap every decade or so, where rules changes or massive shifts in technological innovation immediately render the existing designs antiquated. I was thinking of this while watching Le Mans a few nights ago; only a decade after the swoopy 917s ruled the tracks of Europe, the ground effects era of the 956/962 would be ushered in. Fast forward another 10 years and they’d be effectively completely gone because of rule changes as prototypes moved towards open cockpit designs once again. Innovation was not limited to prototypes, though; everything from touring cars to Formula 1 goes through similar cycles of design and innovation, and for fans of each series there are favorite periods. For many in Formula 1, there are the evocative memories of the wingless Cosworth-DFV powered V8 missiles sliding around Spa’s course – or perhaps the flame-spitting Turbo Era and the birth of the Senna legend. For Touring Car fans, it comes down to preference, but I love watching those early to mid-1990s BTCC races, personally. And in World Rally, for many it’s the era that defined the spectacle of the WRC; the roaring Quattro and it’s complete revision of the rules of how to go off-road racing. Big budgets, legendary designers and drivers, an unconventional layout and one absolutely roaring 5-cylinder soundtrack was a recipe worthy of the notoriety the Quattro has gained:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1982 Audi Quattro Rally on Classic Driver

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Motorsports Monday: Reliving the Glory Days – A4 STW v. 320i Supertouring

While Touring Car fans are widespread (after all, we can interpret NASCAR as a form of Touring Cars, right? crickets chirp in the distance), it seems that every fan has their favorite era. For some, it’s the wild wings and gold BBS wheels from the 1970s that defined production-based racers. For others, the winged warriors from the 1980s and early 1990s are the best era; after all, we get the M3 and 190E 2.5-16 Evolution from those generations. I have to admit that my personal favorite touring car has to be the V8 quattro that was won the Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft in 1990 and 1991 is my favorite because Audi just did things differently. They took their largest car, kept some luxury details like the wood trim, and stomped on both BMW and Mercedes-Benz with their lightened luxury liner. But although there was some stellar racing from some superstars of the 1980s in the DTM around then, it’s not personally my favorite period. For that, I’d have to move up towards the mid-1990s, when even more companies like Nissan, Opel and Renault joined Audi and BMW at the front of race series like the British Touring Car Championship. I watched in awe as pilots like championship-winning Frank Biela rubbed doorhandles with the Alain Menu, Matt Neil and John Cleland. And who could forget Rickard Rydell, the Super Swede piloting the 850 wagon replete with inflatable dog in the back? It gave the series more character; you genuinely weren’t sure who would win any day the flag fell, and that made for some great watching. Today, two stars from that period are for sale and allow us the rare opportunity to get into a touring car – if you have the means:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Audi A4 Super Touring on Racecarsdirect

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Motorsports Monday: Audi Quattro Rally Car

While I’m sure we’ve all had moments of regret, I’ll share one of mine. It involves a crazy story of how close I got to a owning Quattro. Several years ago, my then brother-in-law was really into Toyota pickup trucks from the 1980s, and seemingly was buying every single one on Craigslist. He called me,quite excited, one day saying that he needed a hand picking one up not far from where I lived. As a bonus, he told me, the guy owned an “old Audi race car” that I’d like seeing. This somehow turned into me driving to my parents home to get the car trailer, then back to the guy’s home to pick up this Toyota. The wheels were locked and I had to use the tow straps as come-alongs to tow the wreck of a pickup onto the trailer. Once done, sweaty and annoyed I turned my attention to the boxy silhouette that lay behind where the truck had been. The red and brown stripes were unmistakable in their journey over the flared arches and up over the angular C-pillar; it was an Audi Quattro. And, it was in a horrible state; sitting in weeds, the composite hood was warped and full of holes; no engine lay under where it haphazardly lay. Closer inspection revealed that the flares were larger than normal, too – but it was a bit of a wreck. Proudly the owner told me how he was going to restore this car to it’s former glory as an SCCA ProRally car; I nodded in the knowing way that it was unlikely under his ownership to turn another wheel judging by the pickup I had just dragged onto my trailer. I left, shaking my head a bit that it was a car wasted.

Fast forward a few years and I got a call from my brother-in-law; he had heard from the seller of the pickup who wanted to get in touch with me about the Quattro. I told my relation that I wasn’t really in a place to pay for another car – especially one which looked like that car did. But a call to the owner revealed he was in a spot of bother and needed to get rid of the car. If I simply turned up and dragged it out, it would be mine. Hurriedly, I jumped in my truck and was off to pick up the trailer. About 3 miles from my parent’s home, a loud “BOOM” greeted me when leaving a stoplight. The truck still moved but the transmission was obviously not right. I got underneath to find a large hole in the transfer case; so began my complete hatred of General Motors. I called the owner, disappointed, telling him I couldn’t make it. He, too, was disappointed, but put a call in to another potential party who turned up to pick up the car. I was about 20 miles from classic Audi Quattro ownership, and it slipped through my fingers. True, it was probably a mixed blessing – the car needed a full restoration and would have been a bit of a money pit, and it wasn’t an original factory works car but one that had been converted – but running across a listing like today’s similarly converted car makes me wonder what it would have been like:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: Audi Quattro Rally Car on Race Cars Direct

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Wednesday Wheels Roundup

Time for another wheels roundup, and this time I’m focusing on some rare steering wheels. I have one for each major brand here. The Audi Sport Italvolanti wheel is simply an awesome period piece for an early Quattro and a rare find. It matches the Audi Sport colors from the beginning of the WRC run and would definitely suit a car with brown leather. The Ruf wheel goes down in my book as one best looking wheels out there – I simply love the elegant and simple look of it! The Atiwe wheel is one that I have to admit I don’t think I’ve seen before and would certainly help to set your 80s Benz apart. Speaking of setting apart, the Momo Benetton wheel is one of my all-time favorites. I would love to own a Harlequin Golf just to be able to install that wheel. And then there is the rare Petri 2002 Turbo wheel; a very cool period piece even if it is a bit pricey. Which is your favorite for your dream ride?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: Italvolanti Audi Steering Wheel on eBay

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Wednesday Wheels Roundup

I think it’s quite fair to say that vintage Audi parts are quite hard to come by and they’re probably the least supported aftermarket manufacturer in the realm of German cars. Compared to the amount of vintage Volkswagen, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz and BMW parts floating around, it’s just downright rare to come across period correct vintage Audi pieces. Today I’ve assembled a few rare to see bits, plus a neat and inexpensive wheel set if you’ve got a Q7. The Treser wheels are just mega-cool; directionally veined, they where cutting edge back in the early 1980s and the signature of the aftermarket tuner. Unfortunately, they’re metric sized only – so you’re going to have to pay a lot of tires, but they’re available at least. The seller’s claim that they never come up for sale is a bit off base as we typically see them about every six months, and the condition of these wheels isn’t the best – so the asking price is well out of line. However, they’re always neat to see. I’m not a fan of the styling of the Treser steering wheel but it’s period correct and different from the typical Momo or Nardi wheels. The middle wheel I’ve never seen and can’t identify; do you know the model? The Votex Q7 wheels are a twist on the normal wheels but very neat – and in this case quite cheap for a 19″ OEM wheel set. And finally, the Nardi Audi Sport wheel is one of my favorite. They’re always expensive but very cool to see and set off early B2 Audis well. Which is your favorite?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: Audi Treser 390mm TRX Wheels on eBay

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1985 Audi Quattro

If the GTi from earlier was expensive for an economy car in 1984, the Audi Quattro was near ridiculous in its pricing; at over $35,000 in 1982, it was more expensive than most Porsche models at the time, including the 911. But the Quattro was the R8 of its day, redefining Audi’s place in the market and introducing exotic performance to a more mainstream crowd. It wasn’t revolutionary in any one particular way; turbocharging and 4 driven wheels has previously hit the market in other applications. But the Quattro combined World Rally Championship performance in an everyday package that could comfortably carry 4 adults with luggage in style. They’ve been legendary since new, but not always appreciated as such – though Audi’s recent acceptance and acknowledgement that it did indeed build cars before the A4 has helped the rising market value of these models. Arguably the most valuable in general are the last model year; updates to the weak point computer and fuse box, coupled with the perfect stance 8″ Ronals and updated interior, along with slightly revised headlights and trunklid meant these were special cars amongst an already rare bunch. Less than 100 made it to these shores, so coming across them today is something of a treat:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Audi Quattro on eBay

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Motorsport Monday: Volkswagen LT35 Audi Sport Service Van

One of the more interesting vehicles that we didn’t get in the United States was the Volkswagen LT. Much like more recent goes by Mercedes-Benz with their Sprinter, the LT was a heavy duty vehicle available in a myriad of configurations with different weight classes and motors, ranging from a re-tuned Audi 100 2.0 4-cylinder right up through a turbocharged and intercooled 2.4 liter inline-6 diesel. The chassis were utilized for everything from army vehicles to buses, but perhaps to enthusiasts one of the more unique uses was for assisting the Audi Sport works teams in the World Rally Championship. Over the past few years, these service vehicles have gained more attention by enthusiasts, interested in period correct details and having that trump card over their fellow gearheads. Today is one such vehicle; while it’s not an original Audi Sport van, it’s been faithfully recreated to something you might have caught Walter and Hannu hanging out in between stages while mechanics thrashed on their Quattros:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Volkswagen LT35 on eBay.de

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