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Audis in the Netherlands and mine especially.
I've been lurking on this extremely enjoyable list for a couple of weeks,
and noticed that it's mostly Americans posting. Don't know if there are any
other Dutch members, but I thought you might like to hear something about
Audis over here and mine in particular. If so, read on, if not, skip this
(longish, sorry!) posting.
I own a 1988 Audi 80 1.8 S. It's a Dutch spec model with a carb engine and
man 5 speed trans. No quattro, turbo or other fancy things- they're
extremely expensive and therefore rare over here. *No* air con, power
steering, electric windows, central locking, sunroof...
I actually bought my Audi because I liked the solidity of my old 1980 VW
Jetta 1300 -bought for equiv. $ 300, ran it for a year, did some minor work
on it, sold it on for $ 1500- but wanted something a little more
comfortable and, being a car nut, more enjoyable to look at. A friend of
mine is a mechanic at a VAG dealer, he gets me parts and service at a
discount, so that's one good reason for choosing Audi.
Over here, the prestige German cars are BMW and Merc, but I kept being
tailgated and cut up by Merc and BMW drivers, so I decided I did not want
to be part of *that* scene. Audi drivers are the nicer people over here,
and the car's quality image is as good as the BMW's and Merc's.
So, after a bit of 'phoning around there was only one car that I could
afford and liked the spec of. The 1.8 S is the most popular model over
here, they sell like hot cakes used, even with high mileage. There is a
poverty spec 1.6 carb model, but it's s.l.o.w. and the same goes for the
1.6 diesel. (no TDI in those years). I saw a 1.9E I really liked, but it
was gone before I knew it. My car is a very nice red metallic (Tizianrot,
actually) with a beige velours interior in Quattro spec (sports seats, rear
armrest and headrests) and green tinted glass. I hope to replace the
extremely nasty steel wheels/plastic wheel covers with some nice OE alloys
sometime in the near future...
Bodily my car is as standard, with the addition of a small body colour rear
spoiler (as on the quattro, again) and a towbar which doubles as an idiot
bumper. I bought an aftermarket central locking kit recently, which I
intend to fit as soon as it gets a little warmer and drier. I'm also
thinking of fitting the Audi 90 rear light cluster, which looks a little
better than the puny 80 lights, along with white front indicators instead
of the standard amber ones.
I bought the car with 94k miles on the clock, and as a condition of sale
had the clutch, hydraulic lifters and front tyres replaced. It came with a
6 month warranty from a main dealer and it cost me about $ 6500. That's a
fair price by Dutch standards, don't know about US prices (They were about
$ 23k new here in '88).
So far I had nothing major go wrong with it, in the 10 months I had it,
I've taken the mileage up to 111k and had only a failing temp sender and a
sticking vacuum box in the air filter resulting in freezing carbs.
I'm extremely impressed with the car (so far, knock on wood) and, based on
my experience, would definitely buy another. (an 80 Avant, or maybe an A4
someday...) It uses no oil between services and runs very economical.
Even after a really long drive, I get out of the car feeling fit and
relaxed. My daily commute is a 100 mile trip, mostly motorways, and I
regularly get out of my car feeling less stressed than when I got in. And
that's with all the jerks on the road these days, not mentioning the
neverending !@#$ roadworks...
As for tyre choice: VW/Audi Holland (Pon B.V.) has a share in the
Continental Tyre Co., so every Audi in Holland comes with Continental tyres
as standard. I really hate Contis, they're extremely hard and so last long,
but are horrible in the dry and lethal in the wet. I've been running a
previous car on Pirelli P6s and P2000s, and was really impressed. So the
fact that my car had two good Pirellis clinched it for me- the front tyres
had to be Pirelli too. I know for a fact that there are differences between
US and Dutch tyres, and I have the feeling that the people who had negative
experiences with Pirellis have not tried the same tyres I have. They're a
soft rubber, which makes for very good cornering grip, and they're OK in
the wet as well. I'm what you'd call a spirited driver, so I appreciate
sporting qualities. They're also very quiet (as opposed to the Contis which
make you feel like driving a half-track) and they last well- after 17k
miles of hard driving I've still got 4.5 mm left! I've also tried Michelin
MXVs on another car, and hated them. BTW: the standard size on the car is a
175/65 14. Alloy wheels need 195s. The only negative side of the Pirellis
so far is that the steering gets kind of heavy, especially at low speeds.
No Bose in-car entertainment as standard for us poor Dutch folks either,
I'm afraid. When you buy an Audi here, it's fitted with a blanking plate
only. Audi lets you pay through the nose for a Blaupunkt or a Philips with
an Audi logo on it, but IMHO they're all crap. I've fitted a JVC radio with
CD, 4 x 22 watt. In the back it's 2 way 100 watt Pioneer speakers and in
the front it's 2 way 75 watt Pioneer. They fit neatly into the factory
openings and sound great: I've never had a car stereo like it. Might trade
it in for a CD autochanger one day though: it gets kind of tedious, not to
mention dangerous, changing CDs while in the outside lane at 75 mph.
I love reading about all the quattros BTW: you don't see a lot of them over
here. The Ur-Q has long disappeared into enthusiasts' collections, and all
models since have been too expensive for the base spec-buying Dutch.
So ends my long and hopefully not too boring story, please mail me if you
want to know more, or have any comments. I will gladly e-mail GIFs of my
car to anyone interested. So if you'd like to chat about Audi in general,
about European spec details, (performance) mods or anything else Audi, just
mail me. I'd gladly look up any data in my extensive library, scan in
pictures or send you any Audi-related data. C'mon you Audi nuts, let's
PS excuse any spelling mistakes as English is not my native tongue.
Tom W. Nas, graphic design firstname.lastname@example.org
DTP Direct bv Voice +31 (55) 5 790 799
Apeldoorn, the Netherlands Fax +31 (55) 5 790 125
Q: How many surrealists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A: Two. One to hold the giraffe and the other to fill the
bathtub with brightly colored machine tools.