The lineup has changed a lot over the years: here’s the most notable vehicles that did their time with me and have left the lineup.
Zygmunt – 1984 Audi 5000S Wagon
Zygmunt joined the lineup on June 28, 2018 when I flew out to Michigan and drove him home on a two-day, 1,000-mile road trip. He replaced Wendell, the first wagon who was retired earlier in the year. In our short time together we covered quite a bit of territory, and he was also featured in our interview when the POA came to visit all the way from France. Unfortunately Zyg never reached his full potential – On November 28, 2018, while heading home from work, I was rear ended by an SUV traveling at highway speed while I was stopped at an offramp. Zyg and I were sent into the rear of another car and then into oncoming highway traffic, fully crushing the entire rear and cargo area. While he took the hit as well as he could, he would never be able to recover from the damage and was deemed a total loss. I bought back Zyg for use as a parts vehicle and is currently helping the rest of the fleet live on.
Greta – 1989 Audi 100E
Greta was purchased September 21, 2016 outside of Boston. She was an original owner vehicle up until 2014 when sold to a second owner who neglected some care and maintenance. Approaching just 81K, Greta did come back to life well enough to be part of Wolfsgart 8 Alpha Class and become one of the main show cars for 2017. Greta is the very rare “E” trim which was only sold in 1989 in limited numbers (why I originally bought her). However, of the show cars, she was the most used. Being a car that saw New England winters she had the most engine bay and underside corrosion and required several major repairs that did not make sense when we had Edelweiss, our other Alpine White 100, which was in better shape. In November 2018 I made the tough decision to combine the two vehicles and make one ultimate 100 “E” style vehicle. While well-stripped out at this point, she still lives down the street as a parts car to keep Edelweiss, Greis, and Ottmar going when they need something.
Wendell – 1989 Audi 100 Wagon
September 6, 2017 was a day of firsts. First plane ride ever (scary), first Avant (slightly scary). While Wendell was pretty much at end-of-life and had plenty of cosmetic and mechanical gripes, winter was coming and I just needed something to have fun with. After retiring Bambus at 530K you would think moving into a vehicle with 153K would be a smart move – but Wendell needed constant attention. Lots of things went wrong during ownership but I did whatever I could to keep him going. And when we did take weekend road trips or head out-of-state to go scavenge a junkyard (since we had all that space to load up on parts), that’s when Wendell really shined. Fast forward to June 2018, and with an impressive 11,000 miles added, he flat-out refused to start one day. That, coupling with a slipping transmission, told me it was over. I could have maybe spent some time tracing the issue but I was ready to move on, too. So he became a parts car, donated what he could, and then we said goodbye in October 2018. He served me well and made a lot of memories over the miles, so he is remembered very fondly around here.
Otto V.B. – 1990 Audi 100
Until his retirement, OVB (Otto von Bambus) was the longest-running member of the T44Brian family. Purchased in January 2014 with two-tires in the grave and for pennies, this mechanical wonder somehow gathered 440K (original engine, second transmission) and still managed to wake up everyday and transport me safely to my college classes and 3rd shift job. Bambus never actually broke down, except for the one time the ignition switch exploded into pieces and I couldn’t start him – thankfully, this was one car you carried all fluids and tools in the trunk, so if something went wrong you learned how to get him started in other ways. Sometimes it was hot-wire, sometimes it was a hammer. Other times you just prayed. But eventually he would roar to life (literally, due to all the exhaust leaks) and we’d get home safely. Because Edelweiss was the show car at the time and he was a daily, he never really got his time in the limelight – when I started on Instagram and created the website we already had plenty of other cars to highlight. In May 2017, now at 530K miles, Bambus was getting really tired. I’d lose all gears in traffic, everything was leaking, and the car that once started without issue was now starting up less and less. Not knowing if he would make it, I decided to bring him on one last trip to 40s in a Bag as his swan song. It was the perfect drive and the perfect day. That night, I took off his plates and parked him. He stayed as a parts car until October 2018.