Federally Fixed: 2001 Audi RS4 Avant

From time to time, we look at European-market cars. Considering the number that were brought here through ‘Grey Market’ channels, we actually get to sample the more original versions of these cars on a semi-regular basis. But that pool of Euro candidates dries up once you crest the 1986 model year. And for that, you can thank the ‘Fed’ and their kill-joy laws, right? Well, sort of. But left to their own devices, they likely would have never done anything. So why did the government get all antsy in the mid-80s to put an end to importation of what amounted to a pittance of cars? For that, you can thank Mercedes-Benz.

It turns out that Mercedes-Benz was more than anyone annoyed by the second-hand importation of its more powerful and prettier European-specification cars. To a lesser extent, BMW was also losing market share, and the two importers – who, it should be noted, paid a fair amount of money to the government in importation duties and taxes on the sale of their cars – claimed they had lost in the vicinity of 50% of their sales to the alternate European crowd. Now, in a true ‘Free Enterprise’ market, one would have looked upon these complaints and said “Well, Mercedes and BMW, produce better cars at a lower cost for your consumers and you’ll solve the problem!” But, of course, the United States is not a free enterprise market, and there are lots of regulations and rules which have been in put in place in part by high-paid lobbyists for certain industries. Mercedes-Benz and BMW had these lobbyists on their side, and the importers did not. As a result, in 1988, the Motor Vehicle Safety Compliance Act was passed. Also called the Imported Vehicle Safety Act of 1988, it’s what you know better as the ’25 Year Rule’, which basically excludes you from individually importing any car on your own unless it’s really old. Many of the perfunctory reasons behind the “safety” aspect of H.R.2628 – they didn’t have DOT-mandated safety headlights, the bumpers didn’t meet U.S. regulations, they weren’t emissions compliant – have since been eliminated, but the law remains. Even if the car is effectively identical to what’s sold here – and many of today’s Euro cars are – while it’s possible to petition for an exemption for certain models, it’s neither easy, nor is it cheap. And that means that since 1988, fans of the hottest models have an agonizing 25-year long countdown until it’s “easy” to import a car they want. And even then, it’s not really very easy, so most U.S. based fans even if they claim they’re interested are just too lazy to actually go through with it.

So that leaves it to a few official importers to go through the not unsubstantial task of locating a car, shipping it overseas, paying heavy duties, and filing all of the paperwork associated with importation. And you can, despite what many claim, legally import car newer than 25 years old to the U.S.. It’ll just cost you:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi RS4 Avant on eBay

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Double Take: 1993 Audi S4

It’s been a while since I looked at some C4s, and a few popped across my computer screen in searches that I thought were worth taking a peek at. As the E34 M5 and W124 500E/E500 creep up in value, if you search you can still find excellent examples of the odd-ball turbocharged inline-5 all-wheel drive wonder from Ingolstadt. While the 1993 model in the U.S. didn’t sit quite as low as the 1992 model, some chassis fans love them because of the carbon fiber interior trim and as ’92s are quite limited and hard to find, coming across a ’93 or ’94 is a touch easier. Which one of these two excellent examples would you prefer to take home?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1993 Audi S4 on San Francisco Craigslist

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Tuner Tuesday Forbidden Fruit: 2012 Audi RS3 Sportec RS550 and 2013 Audi A1 MTM

I’ve been taking a look overseas over the past few days at a few older treats that never came here, so today we’ll look at a few newer Audi products that also were prohibited from U.S. shores. One of the biggest disappointments for many four ring enthusiasts was that the 8P RS3 model wasn’t imported here. Basically a 5-door TT-RS, it was a Golf R on even more steroids – but today’s example upped the power a full 200 more than stock to 550. Similarly, I have one of the 333 8X A1 quattro MTM models produced a few years ago, and while it doesn’t share the monster performance of the RS3 it’s sure an appealing package. Which would you love to have here on this Tuner Tuesday?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2012 Audi RS3 Sportec RS550 on Classic Driver

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1988 Italdesign Aztec #0001

You have to ask yourself when pondering the Aztec, “Did Italdesign really think they’d make 1,000 of these in the late 1980s?” Certainly anything seemed possible then – the world was in the midst of a supercar revolution. Porsche introduced the revolutionary Group B based 959, while Ferrari had the twin-turbo brothers GTO and F40. Then there were countless others on the horizon – Jaguar XJ220 and XJR-15, an all-new Lamborghini Diablo, the Bugatti EB110 and Cizeta-Moroder V16 – even some wild U.S. based creations like the Vector and Callaway Sledgehammer Corvette. But perhaps more wild than all of these was the wild “Aztec” from Italdesign. Giugiaro’s company had long been pioneers of advanced and cutting edge designs, but they really outdid themselves with the Aztec. As if taking inspiration from some of the best futuristic designs from the 60s and 70s, the Aztec looked part jet fighter, part rocket ship, and part Star Trek communicator. Indeed, it wouldn’t be surprising at all to have someone like Mark Hamill or Harrison Ford pull up in an Aztec at a movie premier; it was as otherworldly and futuristic as both Hollywood and the sets of Star Wars and Blade Runner. But even if there were more wild designs that you might have seen on the show circuit in 1988, Giugiaro – with the aid of some hefty backing from Japanese capital – was crazy enough to produce road going versions of these cars. What was not surprising, then, was that there was a market for them – though, admittedly, it was as limited as the daily drive-ability of the car.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Italdesign Aztec on eBay

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Ur-S Double Take: 1992 Audi S4 v. 1995 Audi S6

As Paul and our reader John both noted in last week’s 1991 Audi S4 post, the price of that appealing and clean example of was fairly high relative to what you could purchase a slightly higher miles but still clean model in the U.S. for, even not taking into account the cost of importing the car to the U.S. To underscore that point, today we’ll look at both an early and later version of the venerable 20V Turbo C4 chassis Audi – the enthusiast dubbed “Ur-S” cars. First off we’ll look at a 1992 S4, then a 1995 S6:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1992 Audi S4 on Craigslist.org

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1993 Italdesign Aztec

I have a lot of respect for Bob Lutz and Chrysler in at least one way; in 1989, they came out with the Viper concept, and because of such an overwhelmingly positive response, said that it was going to go into production as is. Of course, that wasn’t true and when the production Viper arrived the next year, it was a lot less hard-edged than the original concept. That’s true of nearly every concept car that goes into production; they’re outrageous for the shows, then watered down for public consumption. Apparently, no one told that to Giugiaro’s Italdesign when they decided to take their hybrid Audi/Lancia/Spaceship directly to the market. If the complete lack of practicality didn’t cool prospective buyer’s desire to own one, surely the $225,000 entry price did. A bit of an oddity to see anywhere but on posters, there is one for sale today in Germany:

Year: 1993
Model: Aztec
Engine: 2.2 liter turbocharged inline-5
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 7,000 km (4,350 mi)
Price: €129,000 ($172,279 today)

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Italdesign Aztec at Sportwagen Engel GmbH

7000 km, Displacement: 2200, Year: 1988, 183 kW (249 hp), number of owners: 1, Petrol, Transmission: Manual, Year 5/1993 Colour: Silver metallic

Vehicle description:
SUPER RARE! COLLECTORS PIECE! INVESTMENT!
In ITALDESIGN in Turin from world-renowned designer GIUGIARO about 20 copies of this mobile DESIGN STUDY were created and offered at a price of DM 500,000. 5 Cylinder turbo 2.2 liter engine from Audi with 183 kW (250 bhp), four-wheel drive, the body is made of aluminum, steel and carbon and wonderfully constructed!
The car is in original condition with original paint and comes from a COLLECTION, which was disbanded due to age of the owner! A highlight for any collection! Also, exchange or trade-in possible! By the way: Designers GIUGIARO not only designed the VW GOLF and other models, but also models for Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Alfa, Lotus, Ford, BMW (M1), and so-on google you’ll find everything about and around this extraordinary vehicle and its designer.

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Outrageous is a pretty good descriptor for this car. Now, I know what you’re saying – it’s not German! But bare with me – aside from the Audi power plant, Italdesign is now owned by Lamborghini (nee Audi), and these cars were assembled with the help of Motoren Tecnik Mayer (MTM) – noted not only as a premier Audi tuner, but Mayer was an ex-Audi engineer. So, if the M1 can be considered German this car should be too. The design is pretty futuristic by 1988 standards, but to me it looks a bit like a Fiero GT that went horribly right. The exterior appears pretty much no-compromise and has interesting features like an external Manometer, which clearly indicates how much of a man you are for driving this beast. Note the dial goes to 11.

Being old and Italian, you can be sure that some of those Speak-n-Spell era electrics aren’t working working particularly well. On the bright side, it appears the passengers can play Contra or Legend of Zelda while you’re driving, which is probably a good thing since the lack of roof ensures you won’t be entertaining them with your conversation at any speed above 10 m.p.h.. As a super-limited production exotic roadsters go, this might not only be an affordable option, but it might even be practical. “What?!?!” you say? Well, it’s got a Audi engine that’s good for the best part of a half million miles without too much work. It probably even gets respectable fuel economy when you’re not flogging it. The drive train is sourced from a Lancia Delta Integrale – World Rally Champion spec-stuff there. And worry about the famous Italian tin worm fades when you ready that the body is mostly carbon fiber and aluminum. All that’s left are those infallible Italian electronics – hey, they could never go wrong! In all seriousness, if you’re going to drop over $150,000 on an occasional car, you might as well make it one that makes every occasion you drive it special. Porsches? Bentleys? Ferraris? Pedestrian. You don’t see them sporting gull-wing tonneau covers, do you? And you probably wouldn’t even drive your GT2 or 458 in the rain, so why do they even have roofs? See, the more you think about it, the more sense it makes….

-Carter

Wagon Week: 2004 Audi RS6 MTM Avant

I’m just going to get this out of the way now: this is my favorite wagon. Ever. This is the cream of the Euro-only crop that I have lusted after for years. Even the RS6 sedan gets my heart racing when I see the big lower intakes and wide fenders rolling down the road, very similar to an A6 3.0 but just beefy enough to hint at the craziness going on under the hood. And as if the not-for-US-consumption RS6 Avant weren’t badass enough, this one has been tuned by Motoren Technik Mayer, one of the premier German tuning firms. These loonies made a double-engined TT Bimoto that went 232 mph. Yeah, um, resume accepted.

This grey beauty looks fantastic on stock Euro RS6 19″ wheels and has a “mild” tune of 500hp, while in Clubsport form MTM can make an earth-displacing 580hp and 598 lb-ft. A 200mph wagon? That’s what Wagon Week is all about. It’s for sale in Germany, but with €17,750 exchanging for roughly $23k, this is the steal heard ’round the world. See you guys later, I’m moving to Europe.

Year: 2004
Model: RS6 MTM
Engine: Biturbo 4.2l V8
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Mileage: 139,000 km (~ 86,000 miles)
Price: €17,750 (~ $23,000 USD)

2004 Audi RS6 MTM Avant for sale on eBay Germany

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Hello eBayers, I’m selling my super Audi RS6 Avant MTM. It has a power boost to 500 hp, but since that is not registered it can not be assigned, so I open it with the original 450 HP and top speed. The top speed is certainly there, as I have been briefly to 300 km/h. The Turbos run smoothly and the transmission shifts smoothly and cleanly. Thus it has more torque, but one should not make light kick downs. I always drive it when it’s warm and sunny out.

After each ride, I will always run after the turbos, so nothing happens! I know how expensive things can be in the RS6, if something breaks, and that’s why I’m very good with my stuff. It is accident free, but a new rear bumper is seen in the Audi history. There was no collision damage. The previous owner had taken time PDC despite a low pillar.

The timing belt is stamped in the service book and the material certificates, etc. I have it all. It was not done by Audi. Things that necessarily don’t take away from the RS premium. When I did the oil change recently, I was shocked at what the stupid oil filter costs. It has the same as the normal V8 but only has a different part number. An RS6 it costs 25.00 euros and 10.00 euros in normal V8. What nonsense. I can understand if you don’t do everything at the authorized workshop! Front discs and pads are new 15,000 miles ago, as are the rear brake pads. The tires are Bridgestone Potenza Extra Load and have around 50% profile.

The DRC suspension has no problems. I had the car on the lift recently and looked at the tie rods and axles, so everything is OK. It was only noted that the back connecting rod (rubber mount) are no longer the best and that I can replace them. My buddy has a garage and can make one for me. Only had to pay material and a six pack of beer :o))

Otherwise, there is nothing wrong with the paint. Here and there a little track use, but no deep scratches, dents, etc. It really is in great condition. Get in and drive off without hesitation. There is a lot of other information than what I’ve offered here, but the fun factor is indescribable. Downshifted at 180, hit the gas pedal, or by F1 paddle (makes it more fun and direct with the paddle) and you’re still pressed into the seat at 250 km/h without flinching. From then on, you must have both hands on the wheel, before that everything is easy :o)

New vehicle owners were Audi, then a doctor, and before me was a self-employed roofer, a car salesman and then me. I count myself as the third owner. I also have a garage where it is kept warm and dry :o))

Here are the amenities: deluxe automatic air conditioning, leather interior with Recaro sport seats, front and rear heated seats front and rear seats, front electric. Adjustable Bi-Xenon Plus headlamps with headlight cleaning system, electric glass sunroof, Bose sound system, tire pressure monitoring system, front and rear parking sensor, ten airbags, exterior and interior mirrors automatic. dimming, folding electric mirrors, alarm system with interior monitoring, ski bag, adaptive damper system, sports suspension with variable damping, board computer, Alcantara roof liner in black, multifunction leather steering wheel with shift paddles, lumbar support Electr., light package, radio-CD with CD changer, cruise control, electric immobilizer, 19″ alloy wheels, ESP, four-wheel drive, 3rd owner (1st owner was for two months), full service history, following repairs were made:

Gear oil change at 125,000 km
New Alternator
New front left boot
Changed rear stabilizers
Front wishbones, both sides
Castrol oil change at 121,000 km
Air service this year
Private sale without warranty or return

Truly the only thing that could make this more my dream is a manual transmission. Style, speed, mods, everything – I love it. I really can’t believe the price, and if it were in the US I would be seriously considering selling my truck and M5 for this RS6. Why have two cars when one can do it all better and faster?

-NR