The adage that "surprise comes when you least expect it" would best describe a recent trip out to Seattle. Being a Southern Californian, I looked forward to a rare opportunity to see continuous rain. As it turned out, to my disappointment the was sun shining in Seattle and flash flooding in L.A. To make matters worse, the car show we were covering turned out to be marginal, with more cars of interest in the parking lot than inside.
That parking lot is where I found Kaz Kowalchick's unique 1990 Audi Coupe. What caught my eye was not only the clean European look of the car, but also the red Porsche brake calipers. Strangely enough, at the front and rear of the car were matching Audi RS badges underscored the Porsche name. I placed a business card on the windshield with the hope of hearing from the owner before our departure.
Kowalchick called the next day and we were rolling. The coupe sounded as unassuming as it looked, the exhaust tone tempered with the light pulses. It was not until he opened the hood that I realized what I was looking at. Again the bold red engraving, "Powered by Porsche" stared back at me from the intake.
Kowalchick, utilizing formidable connections with Germany, built his Audi to be the equivalent of an already rare Audi RS2. To put this in perspective, here is a crashcourse on Audi S2 and RS2 history. In the late '80s, Audi introduced the Audi 90 quattro sedan and coupe, the latter of which embodied the modern form of the legendary Quattro. Both were available with a five-cylinder, 20V, 2.3L normally aspirated engine, generating 163 bhp. Sadly, North America never saw the Avant Quattro nor the 2.2L, 20V, turbocharged, 230-bhp S2 available in all three body styles with a six-speed gearbox. In the early '90s, six-speed transmissions were exceptionally rare. Only 306 sedans, 1,812 Avants, and roughly 3,000 coupes were manufactured.
This is where it gets interesting. Being German, Audi decided that the S2 was not enough, and thus embarked on a joint effort with Porsche to develop a grocery-hauling equivalent of the Carrera. Porsche took the project reigns and gave birth to the screaming RS2, a 315-bhp, intercooled, all-wheel-drive beast available only as an Avant. Yes, that's right, a station wagon. Alterations included a larger turbo, injectors, cams, exhaust and recalibrated Motronic EMS.
Enter Kowalchick, a man obsessed. Starting with a 1990 Audi Coupe, he stripped the car to the chassis and updated it with every possible part from the S2 and the RS2. Within 3 months, the coupe was transformed into an RS2 clone entirely with O.E. parts. The imported RS2 engine was rebuilt and fitted with a brand new factory turbocharger, fuel lines and exhaust system. The six-speed transmission was sourced from the RS2, a hugely overbuilt and bullet-proof unit with a taller first gear. Kowalchick's attention for O.E. detail even extended to the wiring harness-stuff you can't even see. Because the Avant's rear driveline and suspension differed from the coupe, many of those components were sourced directly from an S2 coupe. Kowalchick used modified 320mm Porsche rotors and four-piston Porsche calipers similar to those used on the RS2. Running gear is comprised of 17-in. Audi A3 alloys shod with Bridgestone Potenza S-03 rubber. The cabin was fitted with S-spec bits, including the carpeting, door panels, dash components and carbon-fiber trim. The front and rear seats are factory, leather-clad Recaro units. Athletic outerwear includes an RS2 grille and lighting system while the bumpers were sourced from an S2.
That Kowalchick is obsessed is obvious. But that's what it takes to create a factory-correct monster.
1990 Audi Coupe Quattro
EngineTypeRS2 ADU 2.2-liter inline-five, 20-valve, turbocharged and intercooled
Power Output315.0 bhp @ 6500 rpm302.4 lb-ft @ 3000 rpm
External ModificationsRS2 exhaust, fuel-pressure regulator
Engine Management ModificationsRS2 ECU, MAF sensor, injector, S2 Harness
DrivetrainDrivetrain ModificationsS2 CGR six-speed manual
SuspensionS2 shocks, springs, and sway bars
BrakesPorsche 320mm four-piston front, S2 rear
ExteriorWheels17-in. Audi A3 five-spoke
TiresBridgestone Potenza S-03, 225/45-17
BodyS2 front bumper, RS2 grille and badge, RS2 headlights
InteriorS2 carbon-fiber trim, gauges, carpeting, door panels