Get to Know T44Brian
Inducted into Classic Audi World: April 20, 2013
Number of Audis Owned: 17
Thank you for visiting T44Brian.com! I appreciate your interest in my continued efforts to promote Classic Audis and keep the ever-changing, always needy collection going.
NEW DECADE, NEW GOALS
2019 took many paths, maybe even a few detours. This was the first time I had two high-level restorations going at once, and because I was determined to get back on track as quickly as possible after accident recovery, they were completed pretty early in the year. That left the majority of show season with minor modifications and changes, and towards mid-summer construction and planning of HQ took up a lot of time.
Here’s an overview of what to expect from T44Brian in 2020:
T44 HQ: The new garage was completed in September. All repairs, detailing, and whatever else I get myself into now happens here.
THE CORE 4: Erlend, Greis, Edelweiss, and Ottmar make up the permanent collection of T44Brian. I have poured my soul into these cars to get them as close to perfect as possible, and they’re not going anywhere. While they are not frequently used vehicles, they will come out on rotation for maintenance drives and certain shows.
THE DAILY DRIVER: Franz is my third Avant and first 20-valve, but also the first car in the family to have both turbo and quattro. Yes, it only took seven years, but now it’s one less thing you can complain about. What made the previous wagons special was the level of enjoyment I got out of them. They were nowhere near perfect examples and always needed weekly repairs. Suffering for me is not keeping busy. Franz is high-mileage and rust-stricken: it’s the perfect storm. Sure, I have a list a mile long of little things I’d like to do, but we’ll start to slowly tackle them and just deal with whatever else comes up.
OTHER PROJECTS: Franz will be occupying most of my time this year, but of course, there’s always room for more unexpected purchases. On the want list are more wagons (always), but if another 4000 came up I wouldn’t be opposed to doing another.
CONTENT: Expect regular posts on Instagram and updates on the website as needed. This may finally be the year for some videos or a YouTube Channel, but we’ll see. Regardless, the most up to date happenings are on Instagram. It’s also still the best place to reach me should you want to chat or have questions.
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
What started as a summer project before college in 2013 has now taken over my life as you can see, which could be good or bad depending on who you ask. I was always a car guy, but it usually either leaned towards big American boat sedans or extremely quirky things like those strange captive imports or 80s French/niche Euro. So I definitely knew what Type 44s were way before dealing with them. One actually sat outside close by to my house and for years when I was a kid and I would always stare intently at it from the backseat of whatever moving car I was in, thinking it was so fascinating. Weirdly, it was the only one I had ever seen in person. Up until I bought my first T44 I had never actually seen it driving/being used as an actual car. Just parked, collecting a nice layer of algae. Maybe that was a sign that I should have chosen something different.
The problem was, that when I went to go take a look at the first Audi, I immediately fell in love with it. Well, actually, I fell in love with the interior first and the overall quirkiness, not so much the fact that it was basically on its last legs and needed a ton of work. But I took it for a test drive, where it ran out of gas and but luckily was able to restart and floor it back to the shop that was selling it. First lesson learned: Never trust anything a T44 tells you, especially how full it thinks the tank is.
Once the first one was home, I went full-throttle on repairs and learned everything I possibly could about the car. I spent hours online looking up resources and forums, studied the Bentley manuals, and allowed myself to make mistakes and try out different repairs so I could get comfortable with these cars, should I buy another (and we all know the answer to that). My master-mechanic dad helped guide me along (and still does today!) and we tackled a lot of items together. So by the end of a couple months, that dying 100 wasn’t doing too bad at all. And the rest is history… Because so much has happened since then that all the cars have just blurred together in my mind!
FWD, Non-Turbo Audis. What’s the deal with that?
Well, you can’t say I am specifically FWD and non-turbo now, can you? In case you need a reminder: the fleet is pretty diverse now. A 4000S quattro, a 5000CS Turbo, and Franz ties it all together as our Turbo-quattro Avant.
However, In the beginning, I was comfortable sticking with what I knew. And that meant I knew my FWD, non-turbo, and automatic vehicles very well. I’ve also amassed a huge collection of parts that are for these vehicles only as well. Now, because the majority of the fleet gets used seasonally, quattro is somewhat of a waste of a drivetrain. I am also extremely picky nowadays about condition and color combination/options, and to this day, when TQ cars come to market, they usually don’t check all the boxes to justify a purchase for the ask.
For my summer road trips, all I really need is mildly-cold AC and a radio with working cassette (can’t let those 80s tapes go to waste). I’m not a speed demon by any means, and the extremely-relaxed nature of my 10-valves paired with a 3-speed automatic fits my driving style well. Who’s that grandma is going the actual speed limit in that really nice Audi 100 over there? Oh, that’s just T44Brian.
How do you manage to keep multiple Type 44s in such nice shape and running condition at the same time?
Simple. I have Super-OCD, and there’s nothing worse than having something not perfect, broken, or close-to-being broken on one of the cars. I have the luxury of devoting a huge amount of time to the vehicles and the patience to sit down and craft replacement pieces with new materials. I could fork over a lot of money and have someone do repairs or fabricate trim bits for me, but that’s not what I want. I also spend many hours a day looking for parts online (which has been reduced significantly with saved search abilities), and if the cars need something, I don’t skimp. If parts I need come up for sale that I’ve been waiting for, I buy them! It’s hard to maintain these cars, even for me. Anytime I’m thrown a bone, I take it.
The only exception to the rule is my current and former daily driven Avants. These were all bought to use, and while I would find myself sometimes going overboard, a lot of things I let go. There has to be one car in the family that can take some abuse without worry.
What’s the endgame for T44Brian? Why do you keep doing what you do?
A couple years ago I would have said all I’m going to do is T44 stuff for eternity. That promise was broken as we now have B2s, but I’m still a large-chassis guy at heart. I do have to realize I’m not 20 anymore, and there’s not infinite time, money, parts, and other resources to do it all, but I try my best. After being in the accident I think my dedication to the cars has become stronger. I truly appreciate other classic vehicles and have considered moving into a Porsche or something of the like at some point (even though my childhood goal was a DeLorean, still somewhat is), but every time I look at one it doesn’t spark the same joy. Long-live 80s Audis, at least in this household.
Every day I wake up and think how I can make the cars better, or what I can learn today that might help me down the road. My dedication to what I do wouldn’t be nearly as strong if I didn’t face any challenges throughout my years as an Audi guy. I always joke that I’m so far into this that there’s no way out, but that’s because with every car I buy, every headache of a repair or restoration I complete, I willingly and gladly dig myself deeper into the “Classic Audi Abyss.” And, I have a wonderful community of people who have shared their knowledge and experiences with me that I wouldn’t trade for anything.
Now that you know a bit about me, go and explore the rest of the site!