Driving on to Happiness…
More driving miles, fewer repair bills=More private owner happy places!
In the sixth instalment of this series, Jeremy Walton updates us with news of his quattro sport’s repairs, updates and miles munched.
Back in September 1995, two significant sporty automotive newcomers were unveiled in the vast halls of Germany’s Frankfurt international motor show. Both proved exceptionally durable designs. For the home crowd, there was Audi’s TT coupe concept, which made a largely unmolested production life that still exists. For the British [albeit in a then Italian managed Bugatti parent company] there was the unexpected premier of the Lotus Elise. Today the Audi lives on in a third major generation and the demise of the Elise was announced only last year. As it happens I have owned both in recent years, both in limited production Sport editions.
Today I have only the Audi in first generation, sport quattro format, which was used to run out the original TT design in 2005-06. Britain took the majority of that limited production: 755 of 1,186 manufactured were delivered to RHD UK, under 500 currently remain DVLA-roadworthy. So my version of Audi TT is not that rare compared with my 135 Sport Elise [83 factory assembled], or some of the rust prone 50+ years old mass production machines from Ford, Fiat and BMC-Rover, so many now nearly extinct in the UK.
Since our last instalment, published 1st July 2022, my Audi TT quattro sport has over 9000 unstressed but fun miles in my hands of the believable 94,493 total. These central red pixels, which only suffer the traditional Audi TT display hiccups when the radio is asked to report a station at the top of the display. However, the external temperature readouts are suspect, although it has endured some accurate fashionable climate change swings from summertime’s +42 C down -7 C post Christmas.
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, was boosted 240hp instead of 225 from the previously most powerful 4-cylinder TT.
Strong torque delivers rewarding acceleration between 2000 and 5000 rpm, very useful on British roads for safer overtaking. This version of TT was officially credited with 0-62 mph in 5.7 seconds and 155 restricted mph. I usually average 31-32 mpg, but short runs cut that to 26-27 mpg. Longer outings, such as the 500-mile round trip to my brother’s Snowdonia National Park home, delivered over 33.5 mpg at a 46 mph overall average.
I am glad to say TT’s maintenance bills have been considerably lower in this July 2022-February 2023 span. Aside from the costs associated with changing over and repairing that front wheel [the tyre was unscathed], the only significant bill has been to replace the rocker cover gasket. This had been seeping oil unobserved down the rear of the transverse motor and took a long time to order and deliver. Together with three stainless steel clamps, the original equipment gasket demanded £53 but fitting it occupied a couple of hours, this the total bill with VAT included was a more demanding £ 153.05.
Replacing the rocker cover gasket was the only significant repair in the past half year. Majority of the bill for fiddly labour, rather than parts. Pictures, below: Peter Jenkins
The running costs would have been even lower if I had not managed a front wing scuff out and about in Wales, just like my earlier encounters with the frame to my up-and-over garage door. Sadly this time a precious alloy wheel got scraped as well and that demanded an affordable £70 repair at a new and exceptionally helpful local resource [Platinum Wheel Repairs/Valet Ltd]. It could have been worse as that oncoming bus that I had to avoid in a narrow Welshpool junction did miss bruising the other side of the now static Audi. Also, I had bought a cheaper replica £100 wheel [see part 5] that happened to be serving that afflicted corner of the TT. If I had not bought that replica wheel, I would have needed £500 for an original example!
One annual cost aspect of my TT ownership that is really unwelcome and recurring is the rate of road tax. At more than £620 annually, this charge is made more painful in that if I had bought an earlier 2005 example it would effectively be halved. Since the Elise, or my tax-free 1958 Sprite and even some of my BMWs [especially a 120d] were on fractions or no–charge, this rankles. I hate paying more tax than necessary and those factors, plus the steadily increasing TT quattro sport values at auction, are the only real reasons I would ever have to sell it.
Meanwhile, I shall get over my meanness and enjoy owning this TT, especially now that I have now completed a more ambitious road trip in it. That outing was for family duty but delivered a pleasurable journey. Sure, the Lotus was in a different handling class, but the Audi is practically faster over a wider range and totally useable in every weather condition from pre-Christmas snow to blistering summer. —Jeremy Walton