Your Cars: Ashley Winston’s Audi S6

It isn’t often that Ashley of Palmdale Motors is free, so to hear about one of his motors is quite an honour we think. I’ll let him take it from here…..

I’ll never forget the first time I got to drive an Audi S6 2.2 Turbo Quattro…

In 1995 I spent a year in the USA.  Wisconsin of all places. My cousin in nearby Minneapolis used to take care of me some weekends, and he had a gorgeous green, nearly-new Audi S6.  Best of all, he wasn’t afraid to drive it properly.  It was impressive!

One afternoon we were out and about, and he made a comment about how much I must miss driving (being a lowly student at the time, I had no car in the US).  Then he asked whether I would like to drive the rest of the journey back home to his place!

I remember my response very clearly, “Andrew, I have no US driving license, I’m not insured, I have never driven on the wrong side of the road before, I have never driven a left-hand-drive car before, the gearstick is on the wrong side, and this car cost you $50,000… Sure, why not?”

Almost immediately, we were heading down an on-ramp onto the freeway, with Andrew encouraging me to give it some beans.  I put my foot down and as the turbo kicked in the rev counter needle screamed towards the red line, which it promptly bounced off, and in the confusion I somehow stumbled for the next gear, which I crunched in to a sharp intake of breath from my generous cousin.

It was at that exact moment I decided that I HAD to get one of these amazing machines. The UrS4 was probably the 10th or so car I had owned at that point. Many cars to that were simple run arounds (Renault 19s, Nissan Bluebird Executive, Peugeot 405 SRi), some were classics (my first ever car was a ’67 Volvo Amazon) and some were customs (’27 Model T Roadster hotrod, V8-powered Minor roadster-pick-up), but the common thread was that they were cheap to insure. Yes, believe it or not in 1994 a 19-year-old could still get insurance cover on a 3.5l 1-off custom! The UrS4 was one of many cars I had on my list that I would only be able to insure once I hit 25 – it was always going to be first. The others would have to follow later.

 For four long years I waited for depreciation to take hold and my insurance quote to drop.Not long after my 25th birthday I bought a 165,000 miles urS4 (essentially an S6 before they changed the naming of the cars) and just loved it… for a couple of months until someone careered into it when it was parked up and wrote it off. I also had my second Amazon at the time, this one being a full ‘Euro style’ custom that I had built for me. I remember not realising how upset I was about the car being wrecked until all the built up emotion exploded over my then-girlfriend in an argument (thankfully she forgave me and is still with me).

I did very well out of the insurance, stuck in another few grand and went hunting for an X300-shape Jaguar XJ6. I was 25 at the time but looked no more than 20 – driving that Jag made it look as if I had stolen my Grandfather’s car. Another S6 followed the Jag, but it wasn’t as nice so I fairly quickly sold it to buy the 4th from last UK-supplied Subaru SVX.

After that I realised that I had it the wrong way around: small amount of money tied up in my classic car, a larger sum in my daily driver. I sold the Subaru and the Amazon, bought a cheap Renault 19 16V Cabriolet as my daily driver and went hunting for a Mustang. Wow, was that really 8 years ago now?

I’ve owned 5 different S6s (including the urS4 and one estate) of differing quality but ALWAYS a car with a manual gearbox. The best by far is my current 1996 S6 which has now covered 92,000 miles and has had a complete and rather extensive service history.

The car that started the dream now being lived and driven

 Actually, I’ve owned my current car twice.  I bought it about 7 years ago but then quickly sold it.  It was owned by a local and every few months I would see it and think, “Why did I ever sell that S6, it was the best I’d ever owned!?”  So when the then owner called me up and offered it to me I kept my jumping heart hidden and offered a really low price, which he accepted.

The car now has some light scuff marks and small bit of damage from the last owner’s care (or lack of) but he maintained it perfectly and it runs like a dream.

Nondescript Autobahn stormer

Remapped to 288 BHP it will hit 60 MPH in under six seconds and on to nearly 150 MPH.

A very unassuming five pot Turbo

With the winter tyres now fitted, it will outperform most things on the road in bad weather.

The best feature of the car, and the reason why I love it so much and never plan to sell it… it is completely, utterly and totally nondescript. No-one would guess that behind the unassuming exterior, I’m having so much fun!

You can follow Ashley here.

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