Destination Unknown – For Now
If you can’t find inspiration, it will find you. The Audi Gods weren’t happy when I toyed with the notion of breaking the T44-monotony and moving into something non-Audi for a change. To keep me in the family, they decided to send a B2 my way. So what does a hat and a note have to do with how Erlend and I came to meet? Cue the backstory.
1985 Audi 4000S quattro (Production 4/85)
2.2L I5 (JT) | 5-Speed Manual (016)
Tornado Red | Brasil Brown Savoy Velour
Dealer: Porsche/Audi of Avon (Route 44 Volkswagen, Inc.) Avon, CT (Defunct)
Factory Options: Trip Information Computer, Power Sunroof (Tilt & Slide)
Member of T44Brian Since 10/21/2018
Special Plate: INLINE5
Status: Project Car for 2019
Name Origin: Nordic – foreigner, stranger. After 12 Type 44s, Erlend is our first small-chassis vehicle.
Erlend was purchased new from Porsche Audi of Avon by the grandfather of the original owner as a high school graduation present. This is one quattro that has absolutely never seen snow: he loved the car so much that it spent most of its time garaged with a fresh coat of wax. If you think I’m the only crazy Audi guy, I’m here to tell you that there’s more out there. He even left the washer reservoir empty as to not spray potentially damaging washer fluid on the paint. Remember: nice-day car only. If the weather was bad (i.e., light rain) he drove a Blazer, specifically purchased so that the Audi could stay home. Over the years he purchased subsequent used 4000s as daily drivers so he could at least have one to enjoy and not worry about (sounds familiar). However, we all know priorities change as life goes on, so practicality reigned supreme: a truck replaced the collection of used and abused 4000s, and again, his original garaged 4000 was the sole Audi left.
Unfortunately mice had recently made a home in the very-dormant Erlend. And a garage renovation for a year had left him covered with a tarp underneath an attached carport.
Where do I come into play in this story? As you all know, I scour the internet daily for cars, parts, and 80s Audi merch and memorabilia. One fall day I stumbled upon a well-preserved Audi Sport hat on eBay, perfect to enjoy and for photoshoots. The seller was only a few towns over from me, and instead of bid and wait – my impatient-self asked if he would be willing to do a Buy It Now. He happily agreed and the hat arrived a day later.
In the box with the hat was a handwritten note from the owner’s brother (who I later learned was a technician at the Avon dealer and serviced the car regularly):
Having a classic Audi conveniently located two-towns over, let alone in my state of residence, was enough to immediately text him. He sent over some pictures the next day and we agreed to meet that weekend.
My wife and I had plans after to take a Sunday drive and get coffee, so I figured I’d bring her along. Usually my wife’s enthusiasm level with new purchases is low, but she actually liked the 4000 and encouraged me to finally step away from the Type-44 prison I had built for myself.
I never condemned B2s as a possibility: it just never seemed to work out. My extreme pickiness always ruled out most 4000s and Coupe GTs, usually due to condition and mileage. But sitting at my feet was the most beautiful Tornado Red 4000 I’d come upon with 98K miles and the original window sticker. I didn’t even haggle. I asked how much and shook his hand. Not only did this prevent the car from being put on Bring A Trailer, but it also kept the car close enough so that anytime the owner wanted to stop by he’s minutes away.
Now, not all was pretty. The mice issue was something that needed to be tackled still (it had been deodorized once but it was still lingering) and there was a very 80s stereo system that needed to be taken out. The soundboard in the back was a custom piece that the owner made in shop class. It looked really good, but I’m a purist: usually I’d pass on a car with something like that, but I had been there, done that with audio equipment on cars – so I brushed it off and looked at the big picture.
It’s mid-November and I had started to gather parts big time. My intention for Erlend was to get him as concours as possible – so I decided to go overboard and buy a lot of new parts. Luck would have it that within two weeks of ownership, I had stumbled upon a lifetime supply of bumper reflectors and center wheel caps, brand new mudflaps, and even the perfect twin parts car. I also put in a huge Audi Tradition order and received new wheels, hoses, reservoirs, and other trim bits to make Erlend perfect. Before the colder weather I removed the seats and rear carpet and started to deep-clean everything. The plan was over the winter months to slowly remove the stereo equipment and put the interior back together.
And then, the car accident happened. My beloved 5000 wagon was destroyed, I was in severe pain and unable to move around, and Project B2 was immediately at a standstill. For a few weeks I had lost encouragement. I barely even wanted to get in a car. But I knew that things would obviously get better – and that’s when I made a promise to myself that Erlend will get completed in 2019, no excuses.
Now with spring just around the corner, work on Erlend will be full-throttle. There’s quite a bit to do, and even though our new daily Ottmar is a project himself and I purchased another 4000 to restore, Erlend is top priority. By May it’s going to get B2-heavy around here!