2Bennett Audimotive Coupe QuattrosOK, enough with the whining. If one more person says, "Oh, ec doesn't do cool cars anymore" they're gonna get a spinning roundhouse to their baby-makers.
Feast your eyes on this bunch, a trio of older, hand-built cars capable of kicking the stuffing out of more modern counterparts. It would be accurate to call 2Bennett Audi-obsessed. After all, they only do Audis. Old ones, new ones, in-between ones, it doesn't matter. If it's got four rings on its nose it's welcome within the Davis, Calif., facility.
We've known the 2Bennett boys for almost a decade, crossed paths at various Audi track days, and kept tabs on their latest online Audi project cars. While 2Bennett Audimotive is capable of pure restoration work, their specialty is more slanted toward "restification." None of these cars would win points for historic accuracy, but that seems just fine with 2Benn clients. "Our customers drive their Audis all the time, and drive them hard," says Andrew Bennett. "We engineer our cars to make sure that's possible."
This trio coalesced over several years, built entirely within the 2B garage. It should give you a good idea what 2Bennett Audimotive can do.
'83 Ur Quattro
Next to driving a Porsche 917 down the Mulsanne Straight, one should also experience the intoxicating thrust of Audi's five-cylinder, 20-valve turbo engine. Developed jointly with Porsche, this mill was used to power the vaunted Audi RS2 Avant, a gorgeous sport wagon that broke North America's heart (it wasn't imported here). Developing a healthy 315 hp, this engine was something of a poster child of potential for European tuners. A few well-placed mods and that number quickly went north.
As I'm driving down a seldom-used farm trail, I have to wonder just how far north 2Benn has taken it. In typical old-school turbo style, there's not much torque beneath 3100 rpm. After that it feels like being hurled from the world's biggest slingshot. The power isn't 930-juice-your-spleen-scary, but more progressive, like it'll keep accelerating until it creates a wormhole. The pedals are situated for aggressive left-foot braking, a setup Hans Stuck would dig. The only reason I'm doing so well is my massive work boots cover both pedals. For 20 minutes I'm a star.
I intentionally seek the silt-covered sections and pitch it sideways. It's got more than enough power to keep all four wheels spinning with very direct steering. Although it feels somewhat vague, I manage to find each gear with the five-speed shifter. The cabin has its share of squeaks and groans but none of this makes any difference. The chassis feels like it's carved from titanium.
This car wears 2B's proprietary suspension comprised of adjustable coilovers and camber plates and super-stiff Delrin bushings. 2B did a masterful job of integrating a six-point cage within the cabin--getting in and out of this thing is a non-issue (a Lotus Elise should be so lucky). Combined with fore and aft tower braces, the car feels as rigid as Audi's latest generation of laser-welded vehicles.
Yeah, this Audi is fast, too fast even. I find myself out-driving halogen headlamps dimmer than birthday candles. I'm "feeling" my way down the road. When the tires stop making noise, it means I'm in the dirt--time to start steering. I can drive like this until the cows come home, which happens to be now. Three tons of Angus beef comes into view; I literally stand on the brakes and release a quick succession panic farts. The bovines just stare at me, refusing to budge. In fact, I think the little one gave me the finger (if cows can do such things).
Fortunately, this car has been fitted with 2B's big brake program comprised of a custom blend of Brembo calipers and directionally vented rotors. Moreover, 2B converted the system from hydraulic to pneumatic with an auxiliary vacuum booster. Whatever the case, those brakes saved me from eating hamburgers for the rest of my life.