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Aren't friends great! (buying a '98 Passat from Osman)

I would like to publicly thank Osman for helping me (actually not
even me but a good friend of mine) to get a Passat 1.8T Wagon. He
put a lot of efforts into getting us the car we wanted (Silver
w/black cloth, sunroof, Tiptronic) at a great price. He even had
to swap the very first '99 sedan on his lot for our wagon from
another dealership. We agreed on the price via e-mail beforehand
and Osman prepped all paperwork and the car itself before our
arrival so the whole process turned into a 20 min most pleasant
car buying experience. I'd venture to add: in my entire life. The
most amazing thing is that I and Osman had never met in person
prior to that day, although we've been in communication for more
than two years now. Speaking of the friendships we gain through
the Quattro List.

As many of you might know the Passat 1.8T is almost a clone of an
Audi 1.8T FWD for several thousand $ less than the Audi and
because of this it is in very high demand, especially as a Wagon.
Suffice to say that we found only two Tiptronic Wagons in Philly
(alas, my friend can't drive three-pedal cars), both in the
uninspiring colours. One was offered for $1200 over and the
salesman was too arrogant to even listen to our offer, at the
other dealership we got $500 over but with such a rude and
obnoxious treatment that we walked away.

I tried to convince my friend to get another Camry, but since it
was _after_ I treated him to a spirited ride in my Audi, he did
not even want to hear about buying a Japanese car.

BTW, it went like this:
He's been driving an old comatose Shadow, which had a very high
mileage for such a POS - 135kmi ;-). I've been trying to convince
him to sell it for whatever _while_it_still_ran and get a new
car. In fact in January I told him that the life expectancy of
that POS was no more than half a year. Naturally he did not

He called me up @ 7:00 Mon two weeks ago, saying: -"SEPTA is on
strike, trains don't run, I tried to drive to work (downtown
Philly) but my car died, about 200m across a Saturn dealership. I
am gonna walk in and lease the very first car I see on the lot
and drive it to work. What can you say about Saturns, are they
any good?"
All I told him was: -"D-o-n'-t MOVE!!! Don't do anything! Just
stay where you are, I'll be right up."
In 10 min I was there (friends don't let friends drive
non-European cars). I asked him how exactly did the car die? He
said that it first made a noise, then the smoke came from under
the hood and then it stalled. 
I asked him if he saw _anything_ unusual prior to that. He goes:
_"Aaah yeah, about a week ago a funny little red light with an
oiler icon came on but I thought it was nothing dangerous" I
don't remember laughing so hard for a long time :-)

He was looking to spend 20 grand or so on a new car so I asked if
he ever considered a European car? He: -" Ahh, BTW, I always
to ask you what's such a big deal about a car made in Europe?"
-"An entirely different car building philosophy. Get in the car,
we are going for a drive" - sez I. 
I took him trough some very twisty two-laners in rural PA. The A4
on Sport suspension with 225/50 SP8000 has a suction-cup-like
road adhesion. After I took a sharp on-ramp while on the throttle
@70 in 3rd all he said was: -"my Camry would've gone off the road
at half this speed". After which I told him that he could get 90%
of this car for about 60% of the price, only it would be called a
VW Passat instead.

BTW, it may sound like an outright blasphemy here on the Audi
list but I do like the Passat's blue instrumentation glow a lot
more than the traditional red in my Audis.

Once again, thank you very much for making the whole thing
possible, Osman. And for that stainless steel double insulated
Audi travel mug. And for the four ringed beer mugs.
Hope to see you here in Philly some day.
I know a very nice Spanish restaurant with a paella to die for.


Igor Kessel
'89 200TQ -- 18psi (TAP)
'98 A4TQ -- nothing to declare
Philadelphia, PA