The Ride-or-Die Small Chassis
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 back in 2018. To keep me in the family, they decided to send a B2 my way instead. 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 LY3D| Brasil Brown Savoy Velour
Origin Dealer: Porsche/Audi of Avon (Route 44 Volkswagen, Inc.) Avon, CT (Defunct)
Factory Options: Trip Information Computer, Power Sunroof (Tilt & Slide)
Dealer Installed Accessories: Lloyd quattro Script Mats, Autobahn Splash Guards
Member of T44Brian Since 10/21/2018
Special Plate: INLINE5
Status: Completed Restoration, Permanent Collection
Notable Awards: eEurofest 2019 Best Audi (Original), Historic Festival 37 Concours Participant, RadWood Greenwich 2021 Best Import, Wolfsgart Alpha Class 2022 Winner (Best Classic)
Personality Profile: Balanced and sure-footed for quick (or extended) jaunts, the 4000 is otherwise a perfectly disguised German go-kart that runs out of steam a bit when pushed to its limits, but remains so lively and engaging on the road that you’ll forget the ergonomics became pain-inducing hours ago.
Odd & Unique About This Car: No rhyme or reason from the Audi Factories back then meant that Erlend arrived with Satin Black sill & door handle trim when it should have been chrome. Of the Permanent Collection, he is the most “fresh:” 90% of Erlend’s Restoration required NOS items, found through luck or (expensively) through Audi Tradition. No rock was left unturned to find reflectors, a fresh set of alloy wheels, and splash guards!
Name Origin: Nordic – foreigner, stranger. After 12 Type 44s, Erlend is our first small-chassis vehicle. While basically the same, it was an unexpected change in direction!
Erlend was purchased new from Porsche Audi of Avon by the grandfather of the original owner as a high school graduation present. Trigger warning: this is one quattro that has absolutely never seen snow. Caretaker Eric loved the car so much that it spent most of its time garaged with a fresh coat of wax. He even left the washer reservoir empty as to not spray washer fluid on the paint. 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 Eric purchased subsequent used 4000s as daily drivers so he could at least have one to enjoy and not worry about (hmm, sounds all too 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 4000 was the sole Audi left.
Unfortunately, mice had made a home in this very loved, but very dormant example. And a garage renovation for a year relegated Erlend to life under a carport with only a tarp to protect from the elements.
Where do I come into play in this story? As you all know, I scour the internet daily for cars, parts, and unique 80s Audi merch. One ordinary Fall day I stumbled upon a well-preserved Audi Sport hat on eBay, perfect for the collection 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 seller (who I later learned was a technician at the Avon Porsche/Audi dealer and serviced the car regularly) that stated his brother had a 4000 that he wanted to sell and that I should get in touch with him. Obviously, I was a bit shocked.
Having a classic Audi conveniently located in-state was enough to immediately text him. He sent over some pictures the next day and we agreed to meet that weekend.
The plan was to take a nice Sunday drive and grab coffee, and see the car with no expectations or bias. I wasn’t afraid to say no if the car wasn’t going to be something to keep and enjoy long-term.
I never condemned B2s as a possibility when T44Brian was created: 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 parked at my feet was the most beautiful Tornado Red 4000 I’d come upon with 98K miles, one-single owner, 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 period-correct 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, so it had to go. 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 saw how much potential this car had instead.
Around one-month into ownership in mid-November I had started to gather parts for what was planned to be a concours-level restoration. My intentions can sometimes be met with roadblocks, and the major hold-up is locating the ever-dwindling parts availability. Even looking at used parts was less of an option, because so many bits and pieces I needed were in no better shape than what was already on the car. So I decided to go overboard-when-possible and buy a lot of new items that would help keep a sort of “freshness” factor. Luck would have it that within this honeymoon-phase, 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. 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 in an instant, project plans were put on hold. Right after Thanksgiving 2018 was my bad car accident which left me with a lot of pain, a lack of mobility, and a 5000 wagon that was destroyed. For a few weeks I had lost a lot of encouragement. I barely even wanted to get in a car. But I knew that my spark would come back in time – and by the start of 2019 and with a replacement 5000 to clean up and work on beside the 4000, I quickly got back on my feet and set a quick deadline to get two cars in top-shape for the Spring.
Fast forward to March 2019. On the first available warm day I walked out to the garage, looked at this torn-up B2, and said no excuses. With Ottmar away for two weeks at the body shop I had the perfect stretch of time to finally make some progress. Something must have broken inside of me as I snipped the first wires to the half-remaining audio system that day, because I ended up getting about a month’s work accomplished in a few days. It was snowy and bitterly cold in the garage (this was pre-detail shop, mind you) with a mostly useless space heater, but I kept the hot coffee going and a determined mindset to get the job done.
Throughout April and May, Erlend was finalized. Aside from final detailing, mechanical issues were taken care of. A fresh timing belt service, filters, gaskets, and plenty of other small fixes were all necessary to improve Erlend’s longevity. Any part that was removed was either replaced or reconditioned. The final fixes of reinstalling the original antenna (it still works!) and accelerator pedal bushings were done at the start of June.
While I don’t like to let the cars sit for too long, I definitely try and keep Erlend under wraps more so than the others. Though lately, he’s made the rounds – to Wolfsgart, to RadWood, and now for 2023, something broke in me and we’re going to Carlisle! An extra set of reflectors will be in the glovebox for this trip, rest assured.
Notable Mods & Changes
2020-2021: Minor Fixes:
- New Slave and Master Cylinder
- New Shifter Bushing
- New Rear Muffler
- New Leather Shift Knob
2018-2019: New Vehicle Purchase and Major Restoration:
New & Old Stock Items From Audi Tradition
- 14″ Spoke Alloy Wheels
- “quattro” Trunk Badge
- Coolant Reservoir and Hoses
- Fuel Line Retainers (Set of 3)
- Floor Mat Retainers (Set of 4)
New & New Old Stock Items From Other Vendors
- Audi Sport Steering Wheel
- Audi ’84 World Champion Decal
- Audi Sport Logo Decals
- Autobahn OEM Splash Guards (Silver Audi Logo – Set of 4)
- Bumper Reflectors (Left/Right Set)
- Highland Quattro Reproduction Rain Tray
- Satin Black Metal Door Handle Inserts (Set of 4)
- Replacement Dome Light
- Hood Prop Clip and Other Various Fasteners
- Lloyd Mats with addition of salvaged Audi logo vinyl patches
- Jute Carpet Padding Cut to OEM Dimensions
Good Used Parts from Donor Vehicle or Vendors and Other Additions:
- Instrument Cluster Bezel
- Rothenburg Rev. A Radio
- Rear Parcel Shelf
- Rear Carpet
- Front Left and Right Door Cards
- Wheel Center Caps
- Nylon Mesh at Blower Box
- Driver Seat Belt
- Re-dye/Restore original quattro Script Mats
- Original Antenna Reinstalled
- Paintless Dent Repair on Trunk