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.
Initially fitted with a 10-valve turbo engine retrofit, this car was one of those projects that never saw closure. "It was about 70 percent there," says Andrew Bennett. "And then we started digging and found all kinds of mistakes. We decided to start with a clean sheet and use a 20-valve turbo engine. We have a lot of experience with that kind of transplant. Plus, it always leaves the owners very happy."
2B spared no expense on the engine, essentially refitting it with go-fast parts from the oil pan on up. Most of the internal bits are proprietary 2B parts. There are also RS2 pieces and 2Bennett's own carbon-fiber airbox, ducting, and a silicone hose kit. The turbo is a 2Bennett "Thrust Series" complimented by an RS2 intake and manifold. RS2 injectors and MAS units provide the fueling with a 2B exhaust system out back. 2Bennett designed and modified the cooling system to make it work with the factory-spec AC and heating system.
The cabin was updated with Recaro CS seats and generous expanses of black suede. The instruments are augmented with an auxiliary panel and feature the same "Audi red" glow as the stock instruments. Apparently it's also got a great stereo system, though I didn't really notice. Driving sideways makes you prioritize your needs.
While it's based on a 1983 Ur Quattro, the guys at 2Benn took a few Sport Quattro body panels and quickly stuck them to the Ur's body. "We were just playing around, maybe take a quick pic and that was it," Bennett says. "Then Chris, the owner, saw it and went wild. We ended up making an entire carbon-fiber body kit for it."
Any body man knows such a job takes both skill and time. To do the conversion correctly, 2Bennett needed to remove 25 years of use and essentially make the body better than when it rolled off the assembly line.
"We did everything in-house," Bennett continues. "Engine, chassis, electrical, suspension, paint. We do everything. It's really the best way to maintain our standards of quality."
Purists may take offense with this conversion, claiming "it's not a real Sport Quattro." Pffft. I've driven a few real Sport Quattros and found them extremely demanding cars, both physically and mentally. This Audi was tame enough to use as a daily driver yet has serious teeth when the road gets dirty. I bet even Audi would approve.
1983 Ur Quattro (Mars Red)
Longitudinal front engine, all-wheel drive
2.2-liter I5, 20-valve. Bosch Motronic management, 2B software, RS2 fuel injectors and air mass sensor, 2B connecting rods, 2B Thrust Series turbo with 2B oil and water line set, 2B baffled oil pan, 2B front mount sport intercooler with custom built core support, 2B carbon-fiber airbox, 2B silicone intake hose set, RS2 intake and exhaust manifold, 2B 3-inch turbo-back exhaust system, 2B 4-row aluminum radiator, 2B 500 watt cooling fan upgrade with shroud and wiring harness, 2B carbon fiber and ABS cooling duct shrouds, 2B oil cooler kit, 2B, HVAC system
Five-speed manual, aluminum flywheel and custom upgraded Spec clutch
2B Coil program ride height adjustable suspension system, 2B Camber/ caster adjustable upper strut mounts, 2B strut tower braces, 2B six-point roll cage, 2B Delrin/stainless control arm bushings, 2B high durometer transmission and diff mounts, Audi Sport front frame and bumper reinforcements
Front: 2B Stage II system (Brembo four-piston calipers, 330mm two-piece directionally ventilated and slotted rotors, DOT-approved braided stainless steel lines)Rear: 2B brake caliper carrier and larger calipers, 311mm two-piece ventilated and slotted rotors, pneumatic assist with auxiliary vacuum accumulator
*Wheels and Tires
Ronal ET-24, 9.5x17Bridgestone Potenza, 225/40
Peak Power: 375 hp @ 6900 rpm
Peak Torque: 440 lb-ft @ 3500 rpm
1991 Coupe Quattro
Longitudinal front engine, all-wheel drive
2.2-liter I5, 20-valve. 2B-modified RS2 wiring harness with 2B software, 2B Quick Rev downpipe (3-inch 304 stainless with internal ceramic coating), 2B 3-inch exhaust (304 mandrel-bent stainless), RS2 intercooler mounted to 2B Stainless cross-over pipe, 2B silicone hoses, 2B aluminum four-row radiator with OEM condenser Mounting, 2B 500-watt cooling fan upgrade kit with auxiliary wiring harness, 2B baffled oil pan
Five-speed manual, aluminum flywheel and custom Spec clutch, 2B high-durometer transmission and differential mounts
2B Adjustable coilovers with double external adjustable Koni shocks, 2B Supreme bushings, 2B Delrin/Stainless control arm bushings
Front: 2B Stage II brake system (Brembo four-piston calipers, 330mm x 32mm ventilated and slotted rotors, DOT approved braided stainless steel lines)Rear: 2B slotted rotors
*Wheels and Tires
2B five-lug conversion with 2B wheel studsBBS RX, 8.5x18Bridgestone Potenza, 255/35
Peak Power: 350 hp @ 6650 rpm
Peak Torque: 401 lb-ft @ 3200 rpm
'91 Coupe Quattro
A Coupe Quattro was the first Audi I ever drove. Actually, it was the first press car I ever drove. I remember marveling at the interior, how perfect everything was. I remember how solid it was on the road, how anchored to the ground it felt. And apparently, it had some high-tech all-wheel-drive system that was so good it was actually outlawed in racing.
I also remember it wasn't as quick as I thought it should be. Something this sexy deserves more power, I remember thinking. Dean Treadway, longtime president of the Audi Club of North America, thought the same thing. And he knew just the guys to make that happen.
Compared to the Mars Red car, this coupe is much more refined. Wearing a version of 2Bennett's coilover suspension, its extra weight seemed to settle the chassis. Treadway had acquired the very last set of genuine Recaro Sport Quattro seats and a suede-covered RS2 steering wheel, leaving this Audi's interior in ergonomic nirvana.
Like its athletic cousin, this Coupe was also fitted with a complete RS2 engine conversion. But this car delivers its torque sooner and is extremely well mannered. On one particular straight, I took it to 130 mph in third gear. I probably should have up-shifted but the Coupe didn't seem to care. You gotta love these 20-valve turbos. I could take corners in a full drift and still have enough power to pedal out.
Treadway's car wears a 2B Stage II big brake kit and features five-lug wheels fastened with 2Bennett studs (the stock car was 4x100). It was a good idea considering the Coupe is now making twice the horsepower.
With Euro-spec RS2 headlamps, clear turn signals, Audi B4 hood and RS2 grille, it's one of the few cars that deserves to wear such an RS2 badge. Owner Treadway tracks it every chance he gets. I can't blame him. It is one of the most enjoyable cars I've driven in recent memory, a perfect blend of power and control. Audi may be onto something with this Quattro thing.
1985 Ur Quattro V8
Longitudinal front engine, all-wheel drive
4.2-liter V8, 32 valve. 2B carbon-fiber airbox, 2B front-mount radiator and shrouded electric cooling system, dual 2.5-inch 2B downpipes with dual flanged catalysts, 3-inch cat-back exhaust, 2B software
Five speed manual, 2B aluminum flywheel with Audi RS4 clutch
2B height-adjustable coilovers, front and rear anti-roll bars
Power assist system converted to pneumatic assist (to reduce weight and improve reliability), 2B Stage I front upgrade (to retain stock wheels), 2B Stage I rears
*Wheels and Tires
OEM Audi alloys, 6.5x15Falken Ziex ZE512, 225/50
Peak Power: 350 hp @ 6000 rpm
Peak Torque: 300 lb-ft @ 3300 rpm
'85 Ur Quattro V8
If there's one constant in this business, it's people stuffing huge engines into small spaces. We've seen both ends of the spectrum, from a Buick V6 shoved into a 914 to a Northstar V8 in a GTI. We're even guilty ourselves, stuffing a 3.6-liter 911 engine beneath Project Boxster R's bonnet. It's a proven method to improved performance. Look what it did for the Sunbeam Tiger.
This V8 transplant involves an UrQ with a gigantic chunk of Audi A8 beneath its hood. Hugely refined with respectable power, a 4.2-liter ABZ engine has replaced the original five-cylinder, leaving this Coupe with more than twice the hp and torque.
2Bennett received the car as one of those "never realized" project cars. Largely disassembled and in various boxes, 2B sold the car to its next owner, who put it back together and returned in search of upgrades.
The transplant required subframe modification and custom-built engine brackets and mounts. 2Bennett also lengthened the front bumper to make room for a substantially larger front-mounted radiator system.
The coupe features 2B's carbon-fiber airbox, fully functioning air conditioning, 2B's aluminum flywheel and clutch and a complete 2B exhaust system, including the company's own stainless steel downpipes and factory-correct catalytic converters. The chassis was re-balanced with a special 2Bennett suspension including sizeable front and rear anti-roll bars and larger brakes.
Prior to its mechanical work, the entire car was stripped and painted in two-stage Standox paint and fitted with Euro-spec headlamps and smoked taillamps. The Sport-motif black cabin includes an A8 gauge cluster with updated Coupe Quattro multi-function switches.
"The owner loves Ur Quattros but grew tired of reliability issues," says Andrew Bennett. "He's got the best of both worlds now."
With more than 350 hp, this V8 Quattro has more than enough power to hold its own. Though not as quick off the line as the tubocharged cars, this one gets up to speed with frightening brevity. I know for a fact the 2Bennett ECU programming removed the 155 mph limiter.