The Audi 100’s……..
I always played in rock bands as a kid but that was put on hold for a number of years whilst I got a “proper” job and developed a career. It was early in 1999 that I was asked to form a band, and soon gigs followed. It was whilst sliding a drum flightcase across the rear leather seats of the V8 that I realised a luxury saloon isn’t cut out to imitate a transit van for shifting gear. For half the price of replacing potentially ripped seats I could buy an Audi Estate (Avant) to use as a run-around and basically it wouldn’t matter what happened to it because it would be a “shed on wheels.” Having made the decision to get the second Audi, the next thing to get to grips with was where to get one, and what sort to buy. I wanted a quattro -not primarily for the 4-wheel drive, but being top of the range it is more likely that the car is going to come fully loaded. The local Autotrader didn’t turn out to be very fruitful but the recently acquired PC with Internet access did. The Autotrader’s on-line interactive search gave initially 200+ Audi 100s to choose from. The ball-park asking price for a mid 1980’s 100 Avant quattro was about £1,500, though the one I really fancied was a fully loaded quattro Turbo on a G plate at £3,000. I settled for a 100 Avant quattro that was volcano black on a D plate that cost £900, which included 6 months, tax. At half the price of similar cars I knew and could see there were things that needed fixing (like a hole where the radio should be). When buying a car at the end of its life I reckon its better to think you’ll need to fix things rather than be surprised if things are broken. This car came with PAS, central locking 4 electric windows, electric mirrors and sunroof, auto-check and trip computers, fog lights, alloys and a 2.2 engine that developed 136bhp. A trip to Sheffield was arranged.
I drove it back to Birmingham and to the Audi Owners Club visit to rtn in Norfolk on the weekend, so basically it was sound. Now it was time to fix the bits that didn’t work- and there sure were a lot of those! A visit to Big T’s Services in Oldbury was arranged for the following: new steering rack, PAS pump, new radiator expansion tank, replace cambelt, buy and fit a radio, fix the central locking, replace a broken door handle, fix 3 non-operational electric windows, fix the rear wash/wipe and replace the boot struts (there may have been more – I’m writing this from memory). That little lot set me back over £400 and with a further £200 for 4 new tyres, I basically got a 100 Avant quattro for about the normal asking price- but with everything working on it.
Once up and running a whole new world was opened to me. Not only could I easily cart my bass rig about but I was often lumbered with the drums and PA too (good move!). Car parks became less of a worry, as I tend to get a tad upset when other drivers/Neanderthals open their car doors onto the V8 – with the Avant I didn’t care about the additional marks I picked up on trips to town or the supermarket. I went to the local tip for the first time in a car I owned (high living eh?). Where I don’t let Sue’s 2 dogs within 10 feet of the V8, we now took the vomiting creatures out for country walks. Sue did have the good grace to clean the resultant puke off them and the car (and that had nothing to do with cornering speeds). I loaned it to my brother who was over from Brazil to get married whilst the V8 got them to the church on time. He was quite apologetic about seeing it clock up the 100k on the mileometer, but otherwise seemed to enjoy the quattro experience.
Some of you will have seen ‘the old Shed’ at the Club’s Annual Day with a full sound system in it – full PA system, 4 microphones and stands, drumkit, my acoustic guitar and effects pedals and “his and hers” eveningwear. Me and Sue had to leave the Annual Day pretty sharpish in order to get to the Belfry as the band were both playing and attending the wedding of one of the backing singers. The car proved to be no slouch on the autotest that day, setting the best first time run through, though it was subsequently beaten by other cars’ additional runs.
The downside to owning ‘the Shed’? – No ABS on the brakes and although a quattro, the grip on it wasn’t a patch on the V8. No air-conditioning, I was like a bear with a sore behind in the summer and with no heated seats, a frozen one in the winter. A bizarre problem developed after loading 5 adults, 3 bikes, 2 dogs and the mother of all picnics into and onto ‘the Shed’, then driving to the Peak District and once there going cross-country. The rear suspension started to squeak and would occasionally do so afterwards but only if we didn’t have rain for more than a week. A more embarrassing problem occurred indirectly due to the rain. One day driving to the school where I work it was chucking it down. The unadopted backroad I normally take was flooded for about 40 yards and as another car came the other way we saw 2 kids keep on walking even though the car sent up spray. I wondered if they would keep on going if a car went through the water that bit quicker. The temptation proved too much; I hit the water at 50 mph and as if by magic an 8ft high tidal wave thoroughly washed the kids behind the ears much to the amusement of my passengers. 400 yards further up the road it became a very sick puppy. In the morning rush hour traffic the car started to kangaroo in fits and starts, and then would promptly die. After backfires the car spluttered to a halt at the intersection of the A34 and M6. After speaking to Tom (Big T) I managed to get the car to crawl into a side street where some of our 6th Formers with tremendous bemusement and ridicule at my expense pushed ‘the Shed’ to school. I suppose it was just desserts. After limping down to Big T’s, as I’m sure the more technical of you have worked out (and that basically means everyone), there was more than just a bit of water in the distributor cap. I was prepared to stick with ‘the Shed’ but whilst on the club stand at the NEC in November, Sue rang me. Her brother Chris had picked up a job lot of Volvo Estates and with them there was also a G plated Audi Avant quattro Turbo with, in his words, “everything on it”. It cost him £1600 and was on his forecourt for £2800. Did I know anyone in the club who wanted it? Upon ringing him he not only would he let me have the car for £1,600 but would hold onto it for 3 weeks for me to pick it up and he’d wait until the new year for me to pay him. I ended up selling ‘the old Shed’ for £1,200 so I had 6 months motoring for under £300. Compared to the £4,000 spent on the V8 the previous year it was cheap motoring! The new Avant in polar silver had the same spec as the previous one but with Ronal “Aero” alloys, air-conditioning, heated seats, ABS, sports instrumentation, boot cover and roof-rails. Though the engine has the same cubic capacity as the previous one, the turbo charger increases the power to 165 bhp. The 0-60 time is the same as the V8 (8-sec.) and has similar maximum torque (240 on the Avant compared to 245 on the V8). The downside to this is obviously similar fuel consumption. My only grumble I could have with equipment is no leather and no memory seats and of course, no automatic gearbox. It is like an Estate version of the V8 and with so many shared parts. From picking it up I took it from South Wales to Birmingham no problem. The band had a gig in St. Helens the following weekend and whilst it went well, the aftermath was upsetting. Parking up on the Sunday night rather than unload my bass rig and reload it in the morning, I left my gear in the car overnight. When I went to the car in the morning I found the rear window smashed and £1,700 of bass guitar amplification and effects units missing. Not being covered on the house insurance for being left in the car overnight I had lost the gear and would have to replace it myself. The consolation I had was that I only had my gear in the car at the time and in dropping the rear seats to get the equipment out quickly my bass guitar, the only thing with sentimental attachment had been left. The week before I had been saying this was the first car I’d owned with all of its original glass – not anymore! In the month I’ve had ‘the Turbo Shed’ I’ve only had a service and replaced the above-mentioned glass. Two of the electric windows need fixing and the fuel gauge started to work erratically over Christmas. Hopefully this isn’t a sign of things to come, but if I believed that it would be a triumph of hope over common sense and experience. I’ve been thinking of having the alloys refurbished and replacing the crusty old roof-rails with new ones- or am I losing sight that is still a shed (if a slightly faster one) for shifting band equipment, Christmas trees, washing machines vomiting dogs and not my next show car? Perhaps..
The Car (and Richard!) appeared in the January 2000 Issue of Audience. The car has since been sold, along with the V8, to make way for an S4 Avant Austomatic (based on the newer 100). He and his girlfriend (of the time) have now parted ways. The main reason for the new car? More performance, and a Saint Bernard pup! search thousands of used audi cars in Northern Ireland on the Everything Motoring Ireland website.