Now or Never: The V8 Has Arrived
A lot changes in a decade. When I began working with these vehicles, the rad-era reboot was still several years off. You could easily scoop up a decent 80s/90s Audi for a couple thousand dollars. And usually at the bottom of the barrel were V8 Quattros. While nicer examples existed then, well-traveled and well-worn was the norm for the market. And even the “nice-guys” could barely break a $4000 ask. With the focus on easier-to-maintain 5-cylinders, even I couldn’t justify a V8 in the collection unless it was something worthwhile.
I don’t like to repeat history too much with the fleet, so when it was brought to my attention that a one-owner, sub-60K example had shown up for the right price, I figured this is probably one of the last opportunities to secure a time-capsule V8. Aside from more Avants, a V8 is the last of the must-own bucket-list cars of the ‘84-‘91 Audi era for me. There are so many subtleties to these over the 100/200 that get me all riled up, and now we have the pleasure to deal with yet another beautiful headache.
1990 Audi V8 Quattro (Production 8/89) 3.6L V8 (PT) | 4-Speed Auto (097)
Crystal Silver Metallic LY7T | Graphite Leather Sport Seats
MSRP: $48,835 Dealer: Motorcars P-A, Bedford, OH (now Audi Bedford)
Factory Options: Sport Seats (No Charge)
Dealer Installed Accessories: None
Member of T44Brian since 9/25/2021
Special Plate: STEPOFF
Status: Restoration In Progress, Permanent Collection
Odd & Unique About This Car: US-bound V8s came completely loaded from the factory, therefore the only options available to consider would be sport vs. comfort seats and what color combination you wanted. First year 1990 models began to arrive at dealers in the summer of ’89 and are the only year to use the 6-slot Aero wheels before Audi upgraded to a BBS setup in 1991.
Name Origin: German – a pet name for Ludwig, Lutz means “famous battle.”
Lutz was bought new at Motorcars P-A in Bedford, OH, to the tune of $44,000 in cash (yes, the V8 was already deemed a slow-seller as soon as the Fall of ’89). The original owner had mostly stopped driving by 2009, with the odometer reading around 54K miles. Fast forward to the present, and with the owner’s health unfortunately failing completely, Lutz was listed for sale in September 2021 with a little over 56K miles.
Watching the asking price slowly drop over the course of a week, I became slightly enamored with the thought of another road trip to pickup a V8 of my own. With some encouragement from a fellow Audi enthusiast, I decided to call the number on the listing and make arrangements.
I spoke with a gentleman who was assisting in the sale of the car, and of course I had to read him the T44Brian Riot act: “Hi I’m in Connecticut and collect these cars and am not a scammer etc.” After explaining the current state of the car to me, he said that I’m one of many who are serious about the car. I explained that I was willing to get on a plane *today* and come get it.
He paused for a moment, and I began to get nervous.
“You know what, of all the people who have strung me along and looked and made promises to come get it, I think we can make this work.”
I inquired why I had won over his trust that I would follow through with this very sudden plan, and would somehow promise to be in Ohio by nightfall.
“You’re the only person this entire week who actually followed instructions to call me. Everyone else has bothered me with messages and texts and I’m sick of it.”
So here I am, 11am on a Saturday in late September, scrambling to get a plane ticket to Cleveland. I found a flight, took a shower, packed some plates, some clothes, and paperwork in a backpack and asked for a ride to the airport.
Naturally, the only flight available is to Atlanta, then a quick shot up to Cleveland arriving at 9pm. I called the seller with this information, and he said “I’ll be there pick you up!”
And that’s exactly what he did. He drove me to the car, which was only 5 minutes away from the airport, and the second we pulled up, I knew I hadn’t made a mistake. Lutz was sparkling in the driveway under a set of flood lights on the seller’s garage.
Knowing I would have anywhere from a 8-10 hour drive home, I quickly signed the paperwork and headed out. I stopped at a gas station nearby to fill up the tank, and just inspect the car a little further.
For me, the most joyous aspects of flying out to buy cars sight unseen are that you realize post-purchase you’re driving a 30 year old car home, on date code 2000 Pirellis, and an original timing belt that could snap at any moment. But after gaining this intel, you realize you don’t have a choice either way – the car has to get home somehow and with a few coffee and rest breaks along the way, you’re just going to have to trust that it will be OK.
And he was OK for the entire trip, thank God. I didn’t get too playful with the throttle or make any sudden moves, feeling the tires were horrendously out of balance and I was also ready to doze off at any moment. With the pandemic, the number of rest areas with services past 8pm, or open at all, were cut in half compared to when I did this exact route with my 5000S Avant back in the Summer of 2018.
Once we arrived home the next day, my work began to track down maintenance parts and the bits and pieces that were broken or otherwise missing. There wasn’t much that needed to be tended to. With some help from Audi Tradition, and a junkyard V8 that I had discovered on accident while searching local yards, we were able to get everything we needed to get a good handle on things. The one part that held us up for a little bit? The tensioner pad for the timing belt job, which is a minute but major part that must be replaced for peace of mind.
Wanting to get Lutz on the road for Christmas 2021, the front end was ripped off and the belt was done, along with anything else I could while I was in there.
So now, as we sit, we’re just going slowly find more things to do until show season 2022 until I’m happy enough for him to go out. Shouldn’t be much of a problem!
Notable Mods & Changes
2021-2011: New Vehicle Purchase
- Full Timing Belt Service
- New Floor Mats
- Refurbished Bose System
- New Front License Plate Bracket
- Genuine Audi Telephone Reinstalled
- Repairs to Bumper Indicator Lenses
- Full Paint Correction and Ceramic Coating
- Refinished Wheels and New Tires
- Replacement Glovebox Light
- Refreshed Undercoating
- New Rear Arch Stone Guards