From The Driving Seat header car on road


Just painlessly passed our first MoT together – and looking forward to more miles than in virus-blighted 2020

The collectible Audi TT quattro sport receives some TLC and passed our first MoT without advisories, but with some longer term concerns…

To recap, our quattro sport run-out edition of 2005-06 was one of just 800 famously delivered to RHD UK. Key features include reduced kerb weight (still plump, beyond 1,400kg) and enhanced horsepower. The 1.8 litre 4-cylinder with 5-valve per cylinder technology reported 238hp and was credited with 0-62 mph in 5.7 seconds and 155 mph.

Such limited edition TTs offer a stronger identity via Recaro Pole Position race-seats, rather than the option of Comfort (production) seating. There were other detail weight and cosmetic modifications allowing a unique specification and explained in the first part of our fromthedrivingseat ownership experience.

Back in 2005, a TT quattro Sport cost £29,360—more than £45,000 today. I bought this TT sport for an official £7,490 delivered August 2019. Significant depreciation for a comparatively collectible model, but I took some equally relevant risks and I have just finished paying for them 10 months later.

I was aware of running against all media advice in buying with very little in the way of service records, or even the Owner’s and Service Record books. I expected nothing from the secondhand site vendor, but in the event I got some partial recompense for initial maintenance, a new 18-inch Pirelli to match the other three corners.  Significantly, there was a slight trade-in profit on the BMW Z3 I had bought for £1000 a year earlier, so my cash outlay was £6,240. That was attractive for an 85,000 mile TT quattro sport a year ago.

Obtaining paperwork, such as new owner and service books, was slowly and eBay affordably achieved; but I did not uncover some TT details for weeks. That meant the push-to-release Bosch Concert radio under a TT fancy cover, the hatch for a CD player beside the absent rear seat, release buttons for fuel tank flap and rear hatch, plus the cigarette lighter power point: all skulked under cover.

Scruffy cockpit furniture, absent air con and soggy brakes were my job list priorities. I started with DIY, an approach which delivered that unexpected trade-in bonus for the BMW Z3. As for two decades, I relied on Gliptone leather treatments on Recaro seat surrounds and head rests. I was pleased with the results, although nothing prevents raised race seat sides from permanent scuffs when the owners wear jeans.

Next, reviving furry life into the soft Alcantara finishes for steering wheel, seat cushions, gear knob and hand brake surrounds. All but the steering wheel rim responded well to the Autobrite/Direct specialist cleaning fluid. After multiple applications, I achieved driver-side wheel surfaces to acceptable standards, but the underside for one spoke remained slightly sticky in hot weather. Unpleasant and I did look at properly refurbished Alcantara steering wheels for the TT enviously, but felt I should now look at non-Cosmetics, not over £250 on a smarter steering wheel.

Factually I would spend £1,800 plus over the next half year of ownership, only desisting when CORVID-19 lockdowns became oppressive. We started with the air conditioning during Britain’s warmer August. It was promptly assessed locally by a father and son company I had not visited, but who had excellent website reviews from long-term customers. In all the bigger bill items that followed, I had no cause to regret that decision and still take the TT to P&L Motors in my hometown.

Naturally the air conditioning system did not merely require topping up—the sellers had already tried that—and a new compressor was required. Yes, the most expensive item on the aircon trail. However, P&L impressed by fortuitously acquiring a new Hella unit and supplying and fitting it for the £342 written estimate price of the refurbished unit that the estimate predicted.

Next was a more obvious fault when reversing. The brakes were binding on. Our post mortem suspected that the pads had been misaligned in a clumsy refit of a replica rear calliper: new pads were fitted to replace grooved and blued items. At the start of 2020, a front calliper also had to be replaced, along with both front discs. That work was carried out efficiently at a branch of Checkpoint as the TT was resident, following what appeared to be a slow puncture, actually a leaking air valve.

Next practicality was to try and fix a minor ‘star’ in front screen. My insurance company wanted substantial excess for any windscreen replacement and I was a bit worried that this bright scar right on my sight line could lead to an MoT failure. On a minus 5º Centigrade winter day a branch of Halfords tackled the £30 job. The operator was conscientious using the trademarked Esprit repair system area heat and injection: the result was not perfect, but it got through a subsequent MoT with no advisories…

Sadly I needed P&L for an emergency in March 2020, when the Motor Warning light flicked on—and stayed on during a downpour. I had to abort my planned trip to visit a business partner and limped the Audi back 20 miles to P&L using 2000 rpm or less in the biblical storm conditions. The TT made it OK and the bill was less than £100 for a defunct water temperature sensor.

Pleased with P&L service; but now wary about the work listed as completed when I took delivery of the TT (August 2019), I went for a full service at £239.15, which threw out anticipated inspection advisories for a cam belt change, Haldex oil and filter, plus an unexpected need to renew brake fluid.

I braced the bank account for more damage and booked into a March 2020 date with that inevitable vital maintenance destiny. After nine hours labour, the cam belt and water pump had been renewed, along with the Haldex differential oil and filter, including an hour booked to brake fluid flush and replacement.

A couple of unexpected items emerged which take us through the first Coronavirus lockdowns and are in hand now.  A small split in the air intake breather plumbing surfaced: I have bought a new one, but it has yet to be fitted. P&L also commented on a ‘drone’ from the gearbox, which occasionally seeps oil between the front transfer and gearbox. As it has yet to sully the garage floor with oil as per the rude manners of my previous Frogeye Sprite or Lotus Elise, and my wallet is reading Empty, no action taken.

Similarly, I now monitor the gearbox soundtrack keenly, partially because my lack of paperwork currently means I have no code to revive the rather fine Bosch Concert radio. Now I follow the advice of the cheery Old Skool Ford competition mechanics: “So long as you can hear it whining, OK – you want to worry when there’s no noise mate!”

Jeremy Walton

For Part 3 of JW’s Audi story click HERE

To return to Part 1 of JW’s Audi story click HERE