We all have a dream car. That one special vehicle that somehow resonates with us. For most of us it’s something unattainable, a supercar that we dream of owning one day but never really believe that it will happen. For others it’s a car they used to own and look back on with fond memories, or a car that a family member owned when they were younger.
I’ve always had a soft spot for the original 80’s Audis, especially the Coupe. I just love its squared-off shape, and that five cylinder engine sounds amazing! Then there’s the quattro heritage. These were the first road cars to have the quattro four-wheel drive system which Audi used to dominate the competition in motor racing. The one I really wanted was the Quattro (capital Q, the quattro 4WD system has a lower case q). The Quattro had the 10 valve five cylinder turbocharged engine making 200bhp and came with flared arches and different bumpers. The one used in the BBC series Ashes to Ashes. But Quattros are rare and go for big money, so I ruled that out and decided the normally aspirated Coupe quattro was the best option.
I owned a Coupe quattro in the UK which I bought after it had been sitting in a barn for three years. It was in a bit of a sorry state, rusty and battered. My dad and I went to collect it and tow it home, and 200 metres from our destination I let the rope go slack. I hit the horn to try and warn my dad to take it easy with setting off, but the horn was broken! The rope went taut with a jerk and ripped the front off the car, pulling me forward, and I promptly ran over the headlight. The car had had a poor repair to the front chassis member where the towing eye was attached, and the weld had snapped off. The next few months were spent getting the car back on the road with loads of help from my friend Steve who had a welder and knew how to use it!
That car always gave me a little excited feeling in my chest when I looked at it. To most people it wasn’t anything special, it broke down almost every time I drove it, and it didn’t look that flash, but I loved it.
Recently I started keeping an eye out for another one here in NZ. I was on the edge of buying a Tornado Red Coupe quattro a few months ago but it fell through. It was probably for the best as something didn’t feel quite right about the seller. I’ve pondered a few Coupe GTs (the 2WD version) but in the end it had to be a quattro. Then I heard about a Coupe that someone was thinking of selling. It was an ex-UK car bought as a project and stored a few years ago, but not yet started. I made a few enquiries and started to get a little bit excited when I learned it wasn’t a Coupe but an UR Quattro that he was selling. The car was a metallic black one and was in Taupo. We were heading to Auckland that weekend to attend Speedshow, so we called on the way for a look. The owner wasn’t there but he left the keys for us. You can see from my face on the photos that I was already falling for the car. A quick wander around made it clear why it was so affordable. Holes! Rusty holes all over the place. But we connected the battery, turned the key and it fired up and ran pretty well! The power steering pump made a weird noise, the digital dash flickered, and the interior had that old-car smell, but the clutch was fine and it moved up and down the drive. I was hooked.
We carried on to Auckland and I couldn’t stop thinking about the car. It was an UR Quattro that I could actually afford. But it was also a rusty mess that needed significant work! Could I take on a strip down and rebuild of a whole car? Did I want to? Would the wife approve? (Spoiler alert: No). The car also came with a body shell Coupe GT donor. This is good for fixing the holes. Not so good for logistics!
Eventually I came to a decision. I was buying it.
So that’s where we are. Money is transferred, registration updated. Car is in Taupo and I’m in Wellington. Vehicle mover is booked and I’ve started researching rust repair places in Wellington. Oh, and I need to work out where I can put two cars!
My build thread will be on our forums here
Follow the full Project Rusty build here.
My build thread is on our forums here.