[Es2] So Long, and thanks for all the fish...
Hull at cardinalpartners.com
Fri Jun 17 10:22:43 EDT 2005
Would someone pass this on to the quattro, 20v, and 200 lists?
Wednesday a hauler showed up at the house to take the eS2 to it's new owner in Canada.
It was about ten years ago that I discovered the existence of the Audi S2, and concluded it was the perfect next car: stylish yet discreet, fast, great technology, and quattro. The only problem was they didn't sell them in the U.S. I explored the prospect of importing one, which as many folks have discovered over the years, isn't practicable. I had been an internet user since Paleolithic times, and quickly discovered the quattro list. From conversations with folks there, and the newly formed 20v list, I was introduced to the prospect of building an S2 using a US CQ with a 3B engine. Guys like Mark Nelson, Ramana Lageman (who would later build the eS2 website, then go on to a rally driver career), Eric Renneison (sp?) Jeff Goggins, and a half dozen others planted the seed of what was possible. Ned Ritchie had actually done a conversion, and introduced me to it's current owner, Dean Treadway, who graciously gave me a drive. I was hooked.
Thanks to the power of the internet, I networked my way to a very nice guy in South Africa who happened to be head of VW/Audi logistics for the whole country. He liked Americans, thought my idea was great, and mailed me copies of the S2 and RS2 parts microfiche (this was before the days of ETKA, boys and girls). Using my kid's compound microscope, I painstakingly tracked down a parts list of components required to convert the Coupe. Further networking brought me to a guy named Harald who worked for Schmidt Motorsports, the racing contractor hired by Audi to design the S2 in the first place. Harald shipped me all the parts I needed. Thanks to guys on the q list like Steve Eiche and Bruce Bell, I did a full refresh of the 3B I bought (also a lead from Ned), and also discovered George Baxter in nearby Bristol PA. George wound up doing the actual conversion, courtesy of his ace mechanic Corey, now running an Audi service department in FL.
The car was everything I'd hoped for, fast, reliable, with room for my three young kids in back. I loved being able to embarrass M3s on the way to home depot, then fold down the rear seat and carry home 300lbs of bagged gravel. Most importantly, the car got me involved with the quattro club, where I met guys like Paul Royal, Chris Miller, Greg Amy and lot's of others whose names I'm embarrassed not to be able to summon as quickly as I type. I started doing track events, which turned out to be the entrée I'd always sought into the racing world. I made a lot of great friends, and became an annual attendee of track events at Thunderhill and Mid Ohio.
Other highlights included the '98 or '99 quattro quarterly article, which I think inspired a lot of imitators particularly on the west coast, as well as one almost perfect clone built by George and Corey for Tom V in MN. Lowlights included crashing at Pocono in 2001?? Although the subsequent rebuild allowed us to make the car even better in almost every respect. Along the way I organized a dozen or so karting boondoggles, where quattro guys would meet at kart tracks at various cities around the US.
Anyhow, I sure enjoyed that car. It was stunningly expensive to build into the spec I envisioned, (I stopped counting at $60K) but at the end of the day worth every penny not just in terms of the hardware but of the life experiences it opened up. However life marches on. My three kids haven't fit in the back seat for a long time now. My wife finally confessed she didn't like driving such a stiff suspension on the street. I started driving the car less and less, while needing more space for things like racecars, trailers, tow vehicles etc. So I don't have any regrets about selling it. I did get a little choked up when I was sorting through some misc parts and found the S2 badge from the Pocono crash. I got transported back to the thrill of opening all the boxes that came from Schmidt, and seeing the S2 badge for the first time. It was possibly the first S2 badge in America, certainly the first I'd ever seen.
I'll let the new owner introduce himself if he wants to, but he seems like a good guy who will really appreciate it; and that was important to me. I'll keep the eS2 website up as long as rennlist will host it. I know it's been as much a source of frustration to users as it has been help, and I never did acquire the skills to update it properly. So thanks again Ramana whereever you are these days.
I'll stay subscribed to the eS2 list, but again wanted to thank everyone for their contribution to a great chapter in my own motor life, and for all the friendships and good times.
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