7 Jan 2013

Living with - Audi 80 Sport

The car - 1985 Audi 80 B2 Sport
Owner - James Wright

This story starts with my mate spotting the car on eBay about 12 months ago. He always wanted one as his dad has worked for Audi in the 80s and had one as a company car. So after a few beers and a late night eBay search he bought the car to add to his collection of a further two cars and a super bike.   And he sent me a message with a picture of the 'Congratulations, you’ve just won a beating off your wife' screen shot.

So off we went to fetch the car. The chap who had put it up for sale was selling as he had had a stroke and wasn’t quite strong enough to maul the steering. The car was garaged and covered up. With a quick jump-start the car fired into life and away we went on the steady drive back to Stoke-on-Trent.

The car started life at Dovercourt Audi in London. The cars first owner was Reuters New Agency, who decided on the optional extra spot lights in the front bumper and was used as a press car. It was built in 1984 but didn’t come on the road until 1985. It still has its original number plates from the dealers.

After owning the car for a while the oil pressure switch decided to pack in but my mate managed to sort that from our friends at BVR Automotive, a local VW/Audi specialist in Stoke-on-Trent.  He decided to try different wheels, then it went to a few shows and finally he put it up for sale.  After having a few tyre kickers and silly offers he decided to place the Audi in his mums garage for the foreseeable future.

In September of 2012 I had a high speed accident in my old car, a Bora Tdi, caused by some crazy old fool pulling out across me on a dual carriage-way, writing off the Bora and fracturing my wrist and battering me in the process.

This is where the story really starts for me. I couldn’t get a hire car for another 3 days as it was a weekend and I needed a car to get to work so my mate, Ash, lent me the Audi, although at the time it was hard to drive with a broken wrist and a bad neck, shoulder and back, but it was a joy to drive.  The car felt great for a 29 year old machine.  I have always been a fan of new cars.  I loved my Bora, it was fast, reliable comfy and had plenty of toys to keep me happy but I had fallen in love with the Audi and had to have it.

So I bought it.   It’s a 1985 B2 Sport 1.8 8v Kjet. It’s now done 105,000 miles and has a service history the size of a Lord of the Rings book, and a receipt for everything its ever had.

Upon taking over ownership the car from my mate there were a few jobs to be done, including replacing a split washer pipe, finding a set of carpet matts, replacing the rear light gaskets, replacing the drivers side headlight and a full underside waxoyl.   It was running on a set of black BBS RA’s, which have now been taken off and the standard alloys have been put on until I can get the BBS to the painter to be refurbished in silver.

 The car has been lowered 30mm on HR lowering springs which have helped to improve the ride and handling no end and it keeps the car looking as OEM and sporty as possible. When I took the car to the garage to be waxoyled the garage owner was amazed at the condition of the underside.  It has never seen a welder and still had all the factory waxoyl, so this was just a top-up and worth the £35 all day.

I managed to find a set of mats on good old eBay but most parts from the main dealer are obsolete now.  I'm looking for a new set of bumpers as the originals are faded. I decided to replace the rear light gaskets as I had a bit of water getting into the boot. So after speaking to my friend who owns BVR Automotive he said the rear gasket is still a part used by VW to seal in Cabin filters. So a box of that later and a few hours taking the lights out and re-sitting them I thought I had solved the problem.  Then, more rain, more water in the boot.

After digging about I realised that a tiny boot spacer rubber grommet was missing.  After sealing that up from the underside the job is now done - nice dry boot.

Then the next issue came up.  The drivers side rear rub strip decided to abandon ship and start to peel off, so I decided to take it off bit by bit, trying not to damage the near 30 year old rub strip but also trying not to damage the paint.  What a massive fail that turned out to be.  The rub strip had been off in a previous life and I managed to get it off easy enough but the paint had different ideas as there was so much sika flex on there and it was stronger than the paint.

Cue emergency call to my mate who is a sprayer to get the car in on Christmas Eve to have the door repaired.  But that’s all done now and I'm awaiting to re-attach the rub strip and replace a few more bits when the weather picks up.

The car itself is a pleasure to drive.  It turns loads of heads and is a great conversation starter to most petrolheads who normally say. “You don’t see many of these about in that condition,” or, “Ive not seen one of them since I was a kid.”

I did a bit of research on www.howmanyleft.co.uk but I'm not too sure if I'm looking at the right section or if its accurate.  I know of one other person who owns one from this era and that’s a Quattro.  I cant say I've ever seen one on the road so I'd says its now a rare classic.

It has no power steering and feels more involved than new cars.  Don’t get me wrong, I love driving the Missus' new Beetle - its great fun but I feel I have to concentrate more on my driving.  I only take it up to 60mph maybe 70mph on the dual carriage-ways.

 It starts on half a turn, even in the cold snap we had in November.  It runs fine and £60 worth of petrol will get me neally 400 miles of steady driving.  Yes it's not as fast as my Bora or as comfy, or as good on fuel.  It has no electric windows, no cruise control or heated seats but it was cheap to buy.

 I don’t have the dreaded finance monster anymore. The door handles need adjusting and the stereo is shocking, but I love it.  The built quality is fantastic, it handles like a dream and sounds brilliant. I have a few plans for the future, which may include new suspension, new wheels and a new engine with another 8 valves but that wont be any time soon…….