From The Driving Seat

Since our last instalment my Audi TT quattro sport has passed a third annual MoT inspection in my 2019-22 ownership. In common with many during the pandemic-constricted years, the mileage has crept up rather than rocketed, now at 7418 miles within my hands of the believable 92,893 displayed total, as blinked out in red pixels.

My final edition of 2005-06 Audi TT is the 911th of 1,186 manufactured for Europe. Just 755 were delivered to RHD UK, where it was reported by the DVLA site, How Many Left? for the last quarter of 2021, that 466 currently remain DVLA-roadworthy, plus 220 SORN. So it is not that rare compared with some of the rust prone 50+ years old mass production machines, many nearly extinct in the UK.


Jeremy Walton's parked in BRDC car park, Silverstone

SILVERSTONE COMMUTER

Key features of the quattro sport model covered reduced kerb weight (1,390kg) and modestly enhanced horsepower. The 1.8litre 4-cylinder with 5-valves per cylinder technology, recorded 240hp instead of 225. Strong torque delivers satisfying acceleration between 2000 and 5000 rpm that is so useful on British roads.  This version of TT was credited with 0-62 mph in 5.7 seconds and 155 restricted mph. I usually average 31 mpg, but short runs cut that to 26-27 mpg and a longer outings with elongated speed limits permit 35-36 mpg from this 16 year-old.  

Until I looked through these pictures, I thought such low mileage meant I had not really experienced the Audi, perhaps it was just a pampered Garage Queen? Then I saw the events we had been to, particularly a couple of 200-mile days commuting to and from Silverstone, plus the rewarding memories generated attending a Downton social gathering outside Salisbury. One that gathered not just a fine selection of show cars, but some old friends and business colleagues. Emotional as well as humorous on occasion was a 30-year catch-up with Janspeed founder Jan Odor. Jan came to Britain as an immigrant and, as a Hungarian who had twice known the trauma of being a refugee, so that became a particularly topical subject with the prevailing Ukrainian situation.

Another hot topic is the price of fuel. I have paid my first 200p+ a litre for 99 Octane petrol, but that’s my pleasure choice. The scandal is workaday diesel now routinely around 200p as I write this—and yes, we do have a diesel turbo vehicle, as do so many who need their cars daily.  

I am glad to say TT’s maintenance bills have been considerably lower in this six-month span. They would have been even lower if I had not developed an affinity for scraping the frame to my garage door! I did it twice in 2021 as I reversed out and finally decided in the 2022 New Year that it—and a very minor mark on the back valence that I failed to spot on the 2019 vendor’s forecourt--were not going to disappear with any ‘miracle’ treatments or my hard labour.

Hindered by near zero temperatures upsetting the metallic silver spray paint setting and colour matching processes, I looked around for a professional to also remedy an inherited patch of bubbling to the duotone black metallic roof and one upper pillar. I Read a Facebook post for a newly arrived local branch of Paintmedic. Premises were familiar to me locally and freshly refurbished. Estimator very prompt, quick to summarise and handed me printed estimate with diagram of repair/re-paint areas.

Sadly the quote was for a total £400 and had some caveats on the blistered paintwork and colour matches. I had used another local concern—Ady’s Body Care, outside Warminster—extensively for my BMW 635, Lotus Elise and Frogeye Sprite. The proprietor had some health issues and I had fallen out of the habit of utilising fairly priced services, partially because some paint and panel problems cannot be economically solved by a professional when running a vehicle like the £1,000 BMW Z3 I owned before this Audi.

Decided to check in with Ady again, see if he had forgiven me for my disloyalty. He had and the price was right, halving the Paintmedic estimate with a very conscientious longer stay suggested (and completed) to ensure the colour matches satisfied us both, plus the offer (not taken) of an aged but sound Toyota courtesy car. The scrapes completed without fuss and the ancillary work scrubbing up well, I appreciated new standards of TT presentation, particularly the appearance and tactile feeling of the replacement Alcantara steering wheel trim I referred to in my last instalment. I just wish I had stretched to recovering Alcantara gear lever and handbrake trims now…

Other work completed in this 6-month period concentrated on the wheels and tyres, including a £62 laser-monitored tracking session that reported no issues, although I still think the ride heights are a tad high following the fitment of Bilstein OE replacement struts and associated coil springs. A brace of Pirelli PZeros have been acquired, escalating from £103 at the beginning of 2022 to £115 in June 2022 from the same suppliers. A puncture was safely repaired professionally, but one of those tyres was needed because it had scrubbed the inner tread out–shades of every performance BMW I owned.

A second PZero was because I chose to buy a spare alloy wheel. Routine you say?  Not on this end of run limited edition! Those unique 18-inch diameter wheels are now phenomenally expensive to replace, £1,500 to £2,000 a used set if you go for the proper mixed set of 8 x 18 inch front and 8.5 x 18 inch rears. Oddly they carry the same tyre sizing: 235/45ZR front and back.  My set had been decently refurbished years before purchase, but I wanted a full size spare wheel and tyre. I could not get a single original wheel, but eventually tracked down a quality replica that had been beautifully refurbished, it came from eBay at £100 from a private seller. It proved good enough to install with one those new Pirellis and I have kept an older scrubbed front on a genuine 8 x 18 wheel as a carefully wrapped spare.

The values of this limited production model were constantly boosted by media reports saying how cheap Mk1 Audi TTs are! Now values have risen, partly because of some freak auction results and dealer demand. I called my insurance brokers and had barely got the words “I’d like to increase…” before the business-like lady replied. “Oh, I expect you want to put up an insured value of your car? We’ve been doing that all the time recently, mostly because we and our clients see how secondhand car prices have shot up. What figure did you have in mind?”

I named a figure that was double that previously guaranteed, but £4000-£5000 short of the highest reported auction results of lower mileage examples.

“No problem was the swift reply, “ that’s done for you now. Anything else…”

Flabbergasted by the ease of doubling up, I made my excuses and left with an unaccustomed post insurance quotation warm glow.

Current work to do list covers a leaking rocker cover gasket replacement on order—and it would be nice to get the partially repaired windscreen chip either fully subdued, or replace the screen. We did that new screen routine with our Nissan’s screen in 2018. The guy had to do it on a cold and wet day outdoors, and the sealing strip sought freedom on the motorway last year. Ashamed to say it is still taped in one corner with Gorilla tape…and I don’t want that experience on the Audi.

I continue to enjoy this TT, but would just like to do a more ambitious road trip in it, if fuel prices ever descend into the realms of realism again!

Jeremy Walton

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