Your Cars: Huw Gibbs – Fire up the Audi Ur-quattro!

Back in 1988 I left school and began an apprenticeship with the local Audi Volkswagen dealer. Right from the off I was hooked on anything with an Audi or VW badge on it, so, naturally my first car was a beige Ford Orion. Firstly because the insurance was much cheaper than the affore mentioned marques and secondly because it was my dad’s old car so I had it cheap!

It was a good old car and will always be fondly thought of as it was my first but it never really hit the spot. After a few years I sold it and bought, yes you guessed it an E30 BMW which was a great car and a cheap part ex deal at the time, but I still longed for the Audi or VW badges.

Finally aged 24 I got my first VW, a 1988 Golf GTI in black, not the best example but I loved it. Over the next 10 years I owned a string of GTI’s but the new ones were starting to get a bit boring.

In 1996 I changed jobs and after a few years got a promotion which freed up some cash for a ‘new’ car, but what to choose?

I spent a few weeks looking at all the current cars and nothing seemed to justify the outlay, then one day whilst idly looking on eBay I spotted an Audi quattro. From that moment I knew I had to have one, memories of standing in the garage aged 16 looking at these ‘rally beasts’ and thinking I’d never own one.

Stig blomqvist has a lot to answer for…….

After a couple of weeks searching and looking at some shocking examples I came across an ad on eBay for a Titan Red 1988 MB quattro, the mileage was high at 165,000 but the car looked pristine and the ad seemed too good to be true, it had been fully restored and had pictures to prove it. Also, only 2 owners from new and full Audi service history.

The list of new bits (all from Audi with reciepts to prove it) included:

New cylinder head
New Turbo
New inlet manifold
New fuel mtering head, fuel lines and injectors
New exhaust, full system including manifold
New alternator
New PAS pump
New distributor
New suspension bushes all round, 2 new front wishbones and engine & gearbox mounts
New Radiator, aux radiator, coolent hoses and intercooler
and all of the engine and belt covers.

Quality restoration

The current bid was £7k..it had to be mine!

With an hour to go I was glued to the computer, I bid £8K and was top but not for long. I watched and waited as the price went up and with 3 seconds left hit the send button with my max bid and I’d won. I got in touch with the owner straight away and arranged to pick it up 3 days later.

On the day of pick up I had a phone call from the owner asking if I was sure I wanted to collect it that day, when I asked why he replied ” they’ve given rain for later on “..Quality answer!!

When I got to his house I did feel a little apprehensive, after all this is the first time I’d seen the car in the flesh. I wasn’t disappointed.. it was mint! The guy asked us in and we sorted out the cash at which point he asked what car we had come up in, he seemed relieved when I said a Golf.When he showed me what else came with the car I could see why, he produced a huge box overflowing with a reciept folder, quattro videos and DVD’s, books, magazines, a FULL set of genuine workshop manuals, complete with parts lists, followed by another huge box stuffed with spare parts (all brand new with VAG stickers) and then a VAG microfische reader!

Top man!

The drive home was the best 150 miles I have ever driven, I was in my dream car and it felt brand new (most of it was).

As you can imagine with a list of work like that done I have had very little to do on it as of yet, which is good because everything I have done has been a nightmare, not doing the jobs but finding the spares. Every time I rung Audi I got the reply, “sorry sir that part is no longer available” so a big shout out to Peter Reeve of quattro corner for keeping the quattro alive.

I must admit, it still amazes me how it turns heads all these years on with it’s distinctive 5 pot roar and its not often I go to a petrol station that somebody doesn’t comment on it, although petrol stops are not that frequent as it regularly hits around 28mpg (I’ve had over 40 mpg out of it..Once!) and it has a 100 litre tank. On the down side with that though is that I can, and have put over £145 worth of petrol in it.

Inspiring confidence and rally pedigree

It’s a great car to drive and the 4 wheel drive inspires confidence and urges you to push it into corners and when you emerge out of the corner you feel like it was all you and not a bunch of computers sorting it out for you. The big grin usually says it all! It usually gets nursed around as I know full well that anything goes wrong and it’s off the road for a long time and I’m saddled with a massive bill.

The only changes to the car from original is the addition of a 20v steering wheel and I have 225/55 tyres fitted instead of the original 215/55’s (again due to availability, and cost) everything else is totally standard.

Unfortunately though, this is not a ‘Daily Drive’. Weather conditions would ruin it pretty quickly and spares availability is a big problem, so it is purely a summer show car…so roll on summer!

You can follow Huw here.

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