Get to Know T44Brian
Inducted into Classic Audi World: April 20, 2013
Number of Audis Owned: 16
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.
I’m not one for brevity, but some of the most common questions I field from car shows or messages are answered below.
Words on 2018 and Going Forward for 2019
2018 was a spectacular year. Not only did the cars travel all over the east coast and we had some wins at shows, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by the POA all the way from France.
Being relatively anxious and camera shy I really didn’t know how the response would be from the video. I thought I totally bombed it! The POA came in July and the video dropped unexpectedly just as I was applying the final coat of wax on Greis at Wolfsgart – so I was already on edge about having a car on display in Alpha Class. As my phone started to non-stop vibrate out of control with responses I expected the worst, but as I read messages and watched the video I felt a sense of relief. Not only that I was glad so many people enjoyed watching me geek out on film about old Audis, but that I said yes to doing the interview and didn’t let my fears get to me. Thank you for reassuring me that while I am out-of-control, I do love my cars and what I do.
Unfortunately we ended 2018 on a bitter note. November 28, 2018 will always be a day that I will look back on with deep sadness when Zygmunt was destroyed. I bought back Zyg and have kept him for the time being – right now he is serving as a parts vehicle to Ottmar who has taken over daily driver responsibilities.
I lost so much time this winter recovering that I was definitely in a bit of a slump – what was I going to do next… is this the end of the road for T44Brian? No Way. When I was in the ER I told my wife I was getting another 5000 (as long as it had blue interior). To appease her, I did look into newer vehicles because God forbid I get into another accident, I could have the luxury of being caressed by advanced energy absorbing crumple zones and airbags. But nothing was right. Nothing replaces an old Audi except another old Audi. So we’re back in business. No airbags, no driver assistances, but we’ve got blue interior anda turbo now.
Here’s the scoop on 2019:
SHOW CARS: The two existing Alpine White show cars (Edelweiss and Greta) have been officially combined to make one perfect example. Other than one being a 100E, the two cars were redundant. Edelweiss has lower miles, less engine bay/underside corrosion, and blue interior, so we used him as the base, and Greta donated her specific “E” bits to create an Audi 100 the T44Brian way. Greta is being kept as the ultimate parts car to keep the other T44s going. Greis, our flood-rescued 1991 100, is staying mostly unchanged this year other than a few minor repairs.
THE DAILY DRIVER: Ottmar is the new daily driver and will also be the sole show car for the year. He’s receiving a little bit of body work, fresh wheels and other bits, and a whole lot of donated parts from Zyg and Greta which we’re trying to pull as long as the weather cooperates.
THE PROJECTS: Once Ottmar is tidied up, the remainder of the year’s garage time will be focused on the 4000s. Erlend, the 4000S quattro, was bought in October and is somewhat dismantled right now. Obviously, my winter plans of working on him were derailed with the accident, so I have to jump back in slowly… I can’t remember where I even left off with things. The good news is that all of the parts from Audi Tradition and everything else I’ve been accumulating over the months have arrived. I do have a twin parts car that I need to first pull items off of, and I’m waiting until it warms up. Then we have Florian, the 4000S that has a severe case of neglect. I’d say a bit of clean up and at least fresh fluids would go a long way, but anything more wouldn’t be a focus – I might wait until after Erlend is done to really dive into this one.
THE WORKSHOP: This year my father and I have decided it’s time to get a new garage built. The Audis aren’t going anywhere, and he has his equipment and own projects to work on. Basically, we’re out of space! Hopefully by the end of the year, T44Brian will have a new home to bring content from, so I can provide more in depth detailing and repair tutorials.
The easiest way to stay up-to-date on the cars is on Instagram. When I’m in the garage – I’m adding content so you can follow along.
What began 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? With the daily driver being a turbo and now a 4000S quattro in the fleet, I’ve never been more diverse. No, we still don’t have a car with both turbo and quattro, but that’s why I leave room for expansion. The collection grows/changes enough around here that you know it will eventually happen. You’re just not patient enough.
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 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.
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, 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!