RESTOMOD AUDI 80 RESTORATION MAN / #Audi-80-B2-Restomod
We have featured some rare Audis over the years but this subtle two-door 80 is one of the rarest breeds yet! Martin Barker is no stranger to these pages, neither are his weird and wonderful automotive reworkings. His latest, a RestoMod’d two-door Audi 80 from the mid-’80s, has got be our favourite yet. Words: Elliott Roberts / Photos: Nick
Williams We’ve always been drawn to cars modified in a more subtle fashion. Big, brash and garish just doesn’t do it for us. We’re far more into cars that keep delivering the more you walk around them and start to delve a little deeper inside. Martin Barker’s latest creation is the perfect example. While ‘less’ may appear to be ‘more’ on first inspection, you soon begin to realise there is far more going on behind that near stock bodywork than meets the eye – far more than a nice set of rims with a killer stance.
It’s safe to say there has been something of a run recently of old-skool barn-find cars that have been unearthed, given the once over, MoT’d, bagged with a nice set of wheels then job done. Now don’t get us wrong, there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s great to see old cars given a new lease of life. However, from a magazine article point of view, the story can begin to get a bit repetitive or boring after a while. Thankfully the project we’re here to talk about today is a little bit more involved. Okay, a whole heap more. As with most of Martin’s cars there’s far more going on behind the scenes than first meets the eyes. You only need clock the size of the spec panel to appreciate exactly what has gone into the RestMod makeover of his #1985
two-door ( #Audi-80-typ-81
), 1.6-litre, automatic Audi 80.
Imported from Germany in 2007 the poor thing can’t have known quite what hit it after Martin and its original UK-owner (non-other than Steve Denton of Stylehaus fame) got their hands on it. After quite some time under the knife, it appears the modding stick has been kind to this 30-year-old classic which has been brought up-to-date in the most complimentary way possible.
It’s certainly not been a straightforward build or a quick one for that matter but makes for one hell of a story. We give Martin a good grilling to find out exactly what it takes to create a labour of love such as this. We also ask the more important question: having created something so unique and complete, what sort of mindset does it take to sell it on once complete? Yes, he’s only gone and sold it!
Martin Barker – DRIVE-MY Q&As
DRIVE-MY: Hey Martin, hope you’re well. It’s been a while since we last featured one of your cars ( #Drive-My
3/12, in fact). What have you been up to since then?
Martin Barker: Settling down. Bought a new house and started a family! My daughter, Ada Molly, was born the following year. I’ve also spent quite a lot of time in the garage finishing the Audi ready for Wörthersee 2015.
DRIVE-MY: I think at the time we ran your rail buggy you also still owned the Mk1 Scirocco you’re probably best known for, plus the car we’re here to talk about today. Bit of a hoarder, are we?
MB: I certainly used to be! Not anymore. Fatherhood and a mortgage puts everything into perspective. My collection is now slightly diminished. Next year I plan to move into my new, smaller, workshop at home so even more of my hoard will find its way onto eBay, possibly the buggy or Golf, too.
DRIVE-MY: So you still own the buggy and Scirocco?
MB: I do still own the buggy and the Mk1 Scirocco, plus I have a track hack 1983 Golf GTI, but I’ve deliberately focused on the Audi for the last 18 months, although I did manage to squeeze in the odd day here and there to help out with the reinvention of Jay Mac’s Mk1 Golf (DRIVE-MY 03/15). As much as I love working on cars, though, these days I have other things to occupy my time.
DRIVE-MY: Is it safe to say your taste in cars tends to lean towards the ‘dare to be different’ camp?
MB: It’s not a conscious thing. I started out over 25 years ago with a Mk2 Golf like everyone else but one day I drove a Mk1 at Deutchcar and I was hooked. Back then Mk1 GTIs fetched a premium like they do today, but you could pick up a decent Mk1 Caddy for £300, so that’s what I ended up doing. I’ve had about ten of them over the years. It all unraveled when I met Mike Truluck of JabbaSport with his Mk1 Scirocco G60 in 1998.
DRIVE-MY: What is it about VWs and Audis that drew you in to start with?
MB: I’m not sure. I grew up in the world of rally cars, so by rights I should have a garage full of Mk1 Escorts and, of course, my dream car: the Manta 400. My dad always drove Mantas then switched to Nissan Sylvias, 200SXs and 300ZXs – not a front-wheel drive car in sight!
DRIVE-MY: So are we correct in thinking this is an Audi 80 Coupé and they’re something of a rare breed, only available on the Continent and in lefthand drive?
MB: Enter minefield. The German paperwork called it an ‘80 coupé’, but in the same way my old German imported two-door Mk1 Jetta was called a Jetta coupé. Neither are really coupés, just two-doors. To add to the confusion there is the ‘Audi Coupé’, which is based on the Audi 80 chassis and is a true coupé. This one is a typ81 face-lift and, yes, it is rare as 99% of them are four-door. The two-door was never available in RHD for the UK. It’s made rarer still because this is the car Audi used to build the mighty SWB Quattro, so the saloons like mine are sought after by replica builders. I was actually offered £4500 for just my rolling shell by someone looking to build a replica.
DRIVE-MY: What year was yours produced and were they all automatics, too?
MB: This one was built in 1985 and I’ve not seen another two-door auto. I’m not saying they don’t exist, just that all the two-doors I’ve seen have been 1.6 manuals. It’s difficult to imagine these days but back then the two-door was considered to be poverty spec! This one even has clear glass rather than brown or green tint. When I cracked the windscreen on the way home from Wörthersee 2008 I had to get the replacement from Audi Sport in Germany as it’s the windscreen used by the Sport Quattro.
DRIVE-MY: Where and when did you discover the car and what condition was it in originally?
MB: I bought it from Steve Denton, it was originally his creation and it was mint.
DRIVE-MY: Were you looking for a new project at the time or did it just happen by accident?
MB: I was definitely not looking for another project, I just fell in love with it.
DRIVE-MY: Was it always your intention to modify the car from the start?
MB: Well Steve had already started. The premise was always that I would do an engine swap. In fact, that’s all I had ever planned to do.
DRIVE-MY: How much of the bodywork and paint remains standard or has it been fully repainted?
MB: Steve had shaved the door mouldings and repainted the sides when I bought it. I also got him to repaint the bonnet, although I can’t remember why. Then while someone was borrowing the car they filled the boot with wheels and damaged it meaning that got repainted too. Obviously the bay has had a Devilbiss waved over it. Whatever is left is original and in time warp condition.
DRIVE-MY: Was it a gradual build or did you carry out the work in one big push?
MB: Gradual. I used it for a while as is was but the drive to Wörthersee in 2008 showed up the failings of the air-ride system and being a 1.6-litre, three-speed auto, well, 2500 miles at 80mph saw its demise.
DRIVE-MY: Tell us more about the donor car/engine, how it went into the bay and why you opted for said engine in the first place?
MB: Years ago my brother had a 2.8 V6 Audi 100; I said at the time I’d love to transplant the engine into something else. When the 1.6 died I started trying to source a V6 and soon realised I’d be better off buying a complete car. I bought a very low mileage 1992 80 V6 that had been traded in to a dealership in Manchester for £600. They had misdiagnosed a blown exhaust manifold gasket as worn tappets. The car was actually mint.
DRIVE-MY: Is it safe to assume most time went into the engine bay preparation, as it’s pretty dam minimal under there?
MB: I did the bay over a Christmas holiday; there are a lot of holes in an Audi 80 bulkhead! However, most of the work is under the dashboard. Removing stuff from the bay is easy compared to finding somewhere out of sight to relocate it to.
DRIVE-MY: Please tell us the story behind the autograph on the engine cover; how did that come about?
MB: That is the signature of the legend that is Alan McNish. My friend ‘The Darkness’ spotted Alan looking at the car while it was on the Players stand at Goodwood Festival of Speed. With feline agility he pounced and immediately got him into a headlock and forced him to autograph the rocker cover. Alan was turning blue by the time he’d found a sharpie…
DRIVE-MY: What was the hardest part of the build (outside of the many hours spent on the bay)?
MB: Converting it to stand-alone management.
The factory management just couldn’t cope with my modifications, so stand-alone was the only choice. The fly in the ointment was that the TCU for the transmission was linked to the engine ECU, so it took a lot of work and development.
DRIVE-MY: Which cars, if any, inspired the build?
MB: US RestoMods; this was just my European take on the theme.
DRIVE-MY: What sort of style would you class the car as if you had to categorise the look?
MB: I’d hope that people would really consider it a RestoMod.
DRIVE-MY: Some of your previous cars have been pretty full on. Did you have to hold yourself back with this one as not to go too over-the-top?
MB: I knew exactly what I wanted from the car from the start and pretty much achieved it so the temptation to go over-the-top was never really there. Sure, I could have spent more money on things like custom stainless headers and a carbon fibre engine cover but it was already a couple of years behind schedule and Wörthersee was calling.
DRIVE-MY: Wheels are obviously an important part of any project but as they’re one of the main visual changes outside and they tuck so well, we imagine a lot of thought went into the BBS you’re running?
MB: Hmmm, not really I’m afraid. I had the E50s in stock for my Scirocco and realised they would look good on the 80 as they look bigger than the RSs. The tricky bit was that I had to make the outer rims as nobody makes a 1x15” for an E50.
DRIVE-MY: Where did you originally source the E50s and what are the vital stats?
MB: They came out of the loft of a Porsche guy I know. They’d been up there since the ’80s. They are very early castings; a pair of them are even possibly from the first production run according to an old BBS guy I met a few years ago.
DRIVE-MY: Now, looking at some of your previous projects, you don’t strike us as the air-bag kind a guy. Was going for air an easy choice with this project or did you ever consider keeping it static?
MB: Well it was already on air when I bought it so going static wasn’t an option. If I had kept the car the air-ride would have gone and the car would probably also have gained an S6 supercharged V6 and manual ’box. I’m certainly not an air-bag guy, now more than ever.
DRIVE-MY: What’s it like to drive on the bags and with the V6 sat right up the sharp end?
MB: Temperamental transmission aside, it’s lovely to drive and goes like stink. It doesn’t like corners too much but that’s more because the rear suspension on the FWD 80s is certainly not performance orientated.
DRIVE-MY: How much of the work have you carried out yourself and who has helped with the project along the way?
MB: Other than painting the bay (Chris B), the striping on the tanks (Neil Melliard) and the quilted boot panels (Trim Deluxe), I did everything myself. I don’t play well with others.
DRIVE-MY: Now it’s all done, what’s your favourite part of the car?
MB: The bay, although I do love the way the pinstriping worked out in the boot as well. Neil Melliard is a genius.
DRIVE-MY: If you could do it all again, would you? And what would you change about the car, if anything?
MB: I will never do it again! But if I had to, I’d do it the same, just better. I learnt a lot about the V6 and its transmission during the build.
DRIVE-MY: What’s been your favourite moment of owning the car? Do any particular trips or shows stand out?
MB: Wörthersee 2015 was certainly something I won’t forget, although maybe that’s for all the wrong reasons!
DRIVE-MY: What kind of reaction do you get from the general public when they see it in the street?
MB: It’s great because it appeals to classic car people as well as VW/Audi people. It gets lots of thumbs-up when out and about.
DRIVE-MY: We were saddened to hear you had sold the car just prior our shoot. Any particular reason for letting it go?
MB: There are a few reasons: first, I needed to thin out my hoard in readiness for moving into a smaller garage. Second, I came to the conclusion that air-ride is really not my thing. And, finally, because I realised that being the custodian of a car as rare and mint as this too serious a responsibility!
DRIVE-MY: Are you working on any other projects at the moment or is there any particular car you’d like to put your own spin on next?
MB: My Mk1 Scirocco is coming back! It’s been parked in the corner of my unit since 2007. Compared to modern show car standards it will be considered rough but that’s okay with me as I intend to drive it hard. It won’t have air-ride, it won’t be slammed and it won’t have hidden wiring… and I’ll love it.
Inside is all period correct and as Audi intended with Nardi wheel, headunit and air-ride gauges the only non-factory parts present.
Getting the 80 sitting like this has not been a case of chucking a set of bags on and hoping for the best, check the massive Dub Details box to see just how much custom work has been carried out.
TECHNICAL DATA FILE DUB DETAILS
ENGINE: 2.8 #V6
) from 1992 #Audi-80-typ8C
, Megasquirt V3 fully mapable ECU, #MSExtra
software, MS2/Extra pre-3.4 Alpha 9 mounted to air box behind glovebox (similar to stock V6 location). Engine cover fabricated from two 1992 Audi V6 covers. BMW E30 M3 engine mounts (spacers on driver’s side to get engine level in bay). Modified stock Audi V6 fuel rail to use Ducati fuel pressure regulator mount fitted with the Audi V6 fuel pressure regulator (to clear engine cover). Bosch 044 copy fuel pump by Syntec, nylon 8mm fuel lines, stock fuel tank except larger fuel outlet added to suit fuel injection pump. Bottom hose made from donor V6 hose (thermostat end) and Mk2 Golf 1.8 carb bottom hose (radiator end). Heater line made from Mk2 Golf heater hoses/aluminium tube. Heater valve relocated inside car. Heater matrix reversed and Samco 180-degree hoses fitted to give room for relocated heater valve. Modified stock Audi V6 idle valve with electrical connector removed and replaced with an in-line connector (to clear engine cover). Megashift TCU connected via Canbus to ECU. Software version 5102. Fully mapable. Gear indicator on dash (custom). Airbox made from Mk3 Golf GTI 16v. K&N type filter mounted behind glovebox in location where factory air-con went. Screenwash bottle not fitted, electrical and hose connection in passenger footwell. Fluid bottles for power steering and brakes hidden under raincover in scuttle. Core from typ81 1985 Audi 80 1.6, end cans from 1978 Audi 80 1.6, cooling fans and cowl from V6 doner, wired so that both come on together. Front loom extended passing along inner wing behind wheel arch liner. Engine and transmission loom is stock except it runs along the top of the transmission, excess wiring removed. Custom 63mm stainless steel exhaust with single Edelbrock muffler. Baffles added by HRP to reduce noise. Downpipes fabricated from stock V6 downpipes, TIG welded. Bung added for wideband lambda for tuning. Shaved engine bay with battery relocated to boot. Audi Ur Quattro gearbox, shortened typ8C drive shafts from V6 donor, stock V6 donor Audi V6 CV joints. Stock typ81 subframe with mounts added for V6 engine and auto ’box. Clearanced for large inner driveshaft joints. Mounts replaced by CNC’d aluminium mounts from Ur Quattro. Steering damper removed and column extended to suit. Audi 097 four-speed auto from 1992 Audi 80 typ8C. Rebuilt prior to Wörthersee 2015 with new friction material and TCC valve replaced. Mk3 Golf power steering pump with custom mount to fit V6. V6 pulley redrilled to suit. Panhard rod reprofiled to clear exhaust and adjustable turnbuckle added to allow wheels to be centred in arches. Narrowed typ8C with lower ball joints replaced by rose joints to be adjustable.
CHASSIS: BBS E50 7x15”, original 1970s Porsche 911 fitment, custom-made 1” outers, hidden ‘go kart’ valves on inner barrels (6” genuine #BBS
Motorsport inner barrels). No dust seals fitted to rose joints. Porsche 944 spare wheel with Nankang 175/55 R15 tyre. Custom #GAZ
front struts. Lowered and rotated steering arm to correct geometry for low running height. Universal Air Aero Sports springs. Air Lift universal Chapman struts and springs (rear). Air Ride Technologies Ride Pro FBSS solenoids. Pressure sensors fitted via custom adaptors. Mounted on boot floor Dakota Digital DHC2002 (ride height and pressure sensors) plus key fob remotes. Height sensors mounted to inner wings at front (behind wheel arch liners), rears mounted to false boot floor behind air tank. Unit mounted under driver’s seat. False floor for air install, tanks in Rolls Royce Chocolate with gold flake. Stripes by Neil Melliard. Two Viar 380C compressors. Stock typ8C hubs from V6 doner, 4x108 hubs redrilled to 4x100 to suit H&R Porsche adaptors. Lowered ball joints to improve roll centre Front brakes: 288mm with Girling 57 calipers. Calipers from 1992 Audi 100 V6, same caliper still in use by Audi today. Front discs are 2000 VW Sharan TDI discs 288x25, redrilled to 4x100 and the inner mounting face skimmed 3mm to match factory V6 mounting dimensions. Stock typ81 flexi hoses. Rear brakes: stock drums, 4x100, drilled for Porsche pattern studs. 4x100 tapped holes still there, but Porsche studs would need to removed first. Custom-made pedalbox hidden under dash. AP Racing CP2623 master cylinders with bias bar. 14mm front cylinder, 17mm rear.
OUTSIDE: Side rubbing strip and mirrors deleted. Audi 90 front and rear lights. Indicators relocated into headlights. Rear lights tinted red including reversing light. Clear glass all-round.
INSIDE: #1992 #Audi-80-V6
donor instruments modified to fit stock 1985 cluster. Stock interior except Nardi wood rim steering wheel and air-ride controls in console. VDO console gauge mount and loom sourced from German GTE. Gauges from donor V6.
SHOUT: My beautiful girls Georgina and Ada, Joe at Trim Deluxe, Roger at Pro Design Scooters, Jaymac, Pat and not forgetting The Darkness.