Low Miles Wagon Find Story

Tue Jun 1 15:17:08 EDT 2004


>Zounds!  Where did you find a stock 200TQW with <57K miles!

>What colors?  What kind of seats?   What kind of brakes?

There's been a bit of curiosity as to how I acquired the new wagon.
It basically fell into my lap.

My wife Bonnie is due with our first child in mid-October and so we decided it was time to get her a
more modern, comfortable, reliable, and even automatic for her commute to Boston car.  I hit the
jackpot on a '97 A6 Wagon in Pearl with about 65K miles.  It was an Ebay deal from Sarasota, FL. 
Ebay is always a bit of a risk, so I was thrilled when I got off the plane to discover a near
flawless example with Bose, third seat, and not a single door ding.  The car also came with complete
maintenance records, and I paid $8400.  I took a day and a half to drive it home to NH.

Within a couple of days my curiosity had me calling the former owners.  The first was very friendly
and only had the car for six months.  They just changed their mind and opted for a BMW 540I instead.
 I then called the original owner.  Again, they were very friendly.  As some of you know, these
calls are usually met with a guarded response from former owners.  As motorheads, we feel the need
to bother these poor people at home anyway.  

The woman was quite kind and told me that her needs had just changed but that the '97 A6 was always
dealer serviced and that she was "the kind of person who always parks at the far end of the lot to
avoid door dings."  I thanked her for taking care of the car and we made some small talk.  She was
widowed a few years back but had re-married.  Her first husband was a Porsche-Audi guy and she was
planning on giving his old 911 to her daughter for college graduation (lucky daughter).

She then casually mentioned that her husband had had another wagon that she only used occasionally
and should probably sell.  "It's a 5-speed," she says, "It's a turbo," she says, "It's got 53,000
miles," she says.  I already had evidence of the way this woman cared for her cars and ten or
fifteen minutes later we struck a deal.  Two weeks later I was on Jet Blue again bound for Sarasota
on a mission to re-unite these two wagons under a new family name.  I didn't steal it, but it was
way less than 10 grand and I would have gladly paid that now that I have it.  I did bring down some
NH maple syrup and some other New England goodies for her kindness (like having the timing belt done
because "I don't want you driving it to NH and having it break halfway home" and no, I'm not

The car is bamboo with a travertine (light brown) leather interior.  My first thoughts were, "Oh,
what a shame," but it's actually damn nice looking and it's so close to perfect it's what you'd
expect if you bought one used in 1993.  The brakes are fresh UFO's and the seats are comfort.  I
even have the window sticker from Carousel Motors.  It lived in Minnesota for most of it's life but
never saw snow as it was primarily "the lake house car."  I kind of feel like I have this
responsibility to take care of this fine car.  Almost like it's not mine and that I'm just fortunate
enough to be able to take care of it while I have it.  Now that it's cleaned up and waxed it's
stunning.  I say that, not to brag, but just because it's a thrill to drive and I know how lucky I

Final thoughts?  Make those phone calls, ask those silly questions, and there's bound to be a payoff
someday.  This was my own personal and proverbial "car in the barn."

Paul Royal

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