Audi RS2 Avant
1956 VW Beetle (still own), 1972 VW Beetle (my first car that I've now owned for 23 years), 1972 VW Camper, 2 x VW 412s (weird thing - Google it!), 1976 Mk1 Ford Transit, MK2 VW Jetta GTI, E39 BMW 5 Series
In 1995 I was 22-year-old sitting on a wall outside a local shop in my hometown of Portstewart, Northern Ireland when this brand new blue Audi estate pulled up. The colour immediately struck me, and then I noticed the Porsche wheels, brakes and mirrors. I just thought "wow, that's cool", and immediately knew this car was something different and special. A few years later when I was in the fortunate position to get one, I started my search. I eventually found this well cared for example in Nogaro Blue with full history on PistonHeads.
What I wish I'd known:
With the history and service record, it was a great car to start with. I had it inspected by my local Audi specialist Fontain before I bought it. This picked up a few minor things that I was able to negotiate the price on. If you do want one, get the very best one you can find with service history from dealers and specialists, plus receipts etc.
For me, the RS2set the benchmark for a fantastic all round practical performance car that isn't actually a compromise. Reasonably economical around town, the four-wheel drive gives you real confidence with the added advantage of loads of space. Put the foot down, get it above 3,300rpm and WHHHOOOOSSSHHH, there's the turbo - warp speed Mr Sulu! I also like the fact that its one of only 180 RHD cars made, so has that exclusive feel and still turns heads. It's now 17 years old, but it certainly doesn't look it, plus my car has the full black leather interior, which helps - for me the blue Alcantara interiors look a little more dated.
Things I hate:
No cruise control is a bit of an arse, but there's not much else I'd fault. Well, apart from fuel economy at speed. Can be expensive if you get carried away, but then what isn't?
Insurance isn't too bad - helps with a Cat 1 alarm/immobiliser. Service costs are reasonably OK. Main dealers won't have a clue on something this age, so stick with recognised Audi specialists like QST or MRC, alternatively someone you trust (like my friend Pete at Funkenblitz in Portsmouth). I soon discovered some parts that are unique to the car, so are only available from Audi and therefore very expensive - especially original brake discs. Plus, due to the limited production run (less than 3,000 were made), other parts are either very hard to find or NLA. Thankfully, after recently speaking to the very helpful head parts chap at Audi UK, I've heard that they are looking to reproduce some parts as there is still a strong demand from both RS2 owners and S2 owners looking to upgrade to RS2 spec. Some of the specialist forums, especially the S2forum and RS246, have been very helpful finding parts and getting invaluable advice from fellow owners. Quattro Corneris another good source for bits.
To be honest, I love just driving it to the shops! The most memorable journeys I've done are home to Northern Ireland and back trailering my 12.6sec quarter mile 'Cal-Look' VW Beetle to be my sister's wedding car, then in late August this year I drove my new wife Emma 2,000 miles through France for our honeymoon. We went via Reims (including a trip to the old F1 circuit), Lyon, the Alps, Monaco, Antibes, Orleans, Versailles and Paris. The Alps roads were crazy (actually got a bit fed up with hairpins after a while), and it was a real highlight to drive around the Monaco circuit then over the amazing Milau Bridge on the way back. I certainly don't recommend driving through Paris though - not fun!
Just before the honeymoon trip, I completed a major refresh of the car. This included new shocks all round, repainted front and rear bumpers, wheels refurbished, four new Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric tyres and the 'big red' 993 Turbo brakes fully refurbished. Also took the opportunity to fit a few subtle extras like an optional rear spoiler and Porsche 993 front fog lights/air ducts. Next up a new exhaust, but other than that I'm really happy with it and plan on keeping it for some time.