Flipping an Audi – Yes, YOU TOO can drive a UNICORN SPACESHIP! (Part Two)

In finding a buyer for the tidy little A4 Quattro sedan, I decided to get risky. Where there is room for some error, fear, and risk to the bank account, there lies massive reward if you pull it off! In true enthusiast fashion, we found a 2002 Audi S8 that had been sitting for some time by a buyer who had bought it to “restore” but honestly had no clue what he was doing. On top of that, his wife had about had it with him and his automobile fascination. Let this be a twofold lesson.

One: don’t marry a woman who can’t respect your hobbies or boyhood dreams of niche automobile ownership.

Two: have the means, whether the knowledge or the deep pockets, to afford such dreams or hobbies. This guy had neither.

You’ll see some of the other articles I have written about this particular vehicle, but the down and dirty is that it had no electrical issues (thankfully), but every common wear part on this car needed work. The oil cooler was leaking antifreeze, the front suspension needed replacement of all the arms, the timing belt was in need of replacement, and the interior had that classic car smell (not quite the dank mildew smell that an uncared for garage find carries, but close). With the initial drive home in the rain resulting in the overtaxed rain drains dumping water all over my head, I knew immediately to get it in and start the process of a full inspection.

The parts were fairly cheap due to the car’s age, so the additional money from the A4 sale was directly used in reconditioning funds needed. NO ADDITIONAL FUNDS NEEDED! Between brake pads and rotors, a set of used front calipers for reconditioning, timing belt kit, timing chain tensioners, valve cover gaskets, oil cooler pipe with gaskets, oil change with a filter, fluids, and those pesky front control arms, it was just time needed to get everything together. After two weeks of having the car in the “service position”, it was time to take it out.

I will tell you one thing, that car did not disappoint. They truly do not make cars like that anymore. Everything was sorted properly and the transmission was working perfectly (the Achilles heel of the D2 platform), so the joys of hearing the naturally aspirated V8 pushing 360 HP in a 4,000 car that was just shy of 17′ long was nothing short of amazing. The road feels and the 4.44 gearing would have you up to triple-digit speeds in a hurry while cruising down the back roads. Audi delivered everything and more in the “Ronin” promoted package. Unfortunately, all good things aren’t always meant to last as a careless driver doing over 60 MPH in the center lane decided to give the classic Audi a nose job.

Fortunately, the story had a happy ending as our feelers were all ready out for the next acquisition in the project flip. Between an auto body guy taking the car to put it back on the road and the insurance payout, we were able to afford a W12 model A8 with less than 90,000 on the odometer. Getting ahold of this particular car involved some serious persistence as the owner had it “listed” for sale but didn’t exactly want to part with the car. As a matter of fact, it was for sale for over a year when we saw it up for sale. Between two to three weeks of persistence, some light haggling, and some good car conversation, the owner parted with what was once his treasured find…now ours. Can anyone blame him as it was equivalent to today’s selling price of $170,000 and loaded with every option you could get on those cars (minus the rear seat refrigerator…not kidding).


Crazy to think that Europe had this particular motor in the same chassis as the D2 S8 that was just wrecked, but the USA just doesn’t get these types of joy that the rest of the world enjoys. Maybe due to things like the 60 Minutes special that almost ruined Audi for a lack of American’s proper pedal manipulation during the late 80’s or the “Dieselgate” of most recent have been reasons the Germans have withheld the most exclusive models for themselves.


After calling Audi of America and having them run the VIN on the car, it turned out to be something special…even more so than previously thought. Whereat first the car just appears to be silver in color, there is a light blue tint behind the paint. It also seemed to me that there was extra clearcoat in place. That’s because in fact there was. This car was part of the Audi Exclusive program and was a “one-off” model. They had removed this particular car from the assembly line for a special batch of paint that would only be used on this one car. Between the years of 2005 and 2010, there were less than 600 of the W12 trim vehicles imported to the USA and even less in the next body style due to the crash of 2008 taking its toll on the sale of such a luxury item. However, this one, in particular, is a very special unicorn that was had for the sum total of $280.

The lesson here is that you can have just about anything you want with a little bit of time, some hard work, and a determined dream.

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