We met up as the sun was accelerating its descent to the horizon, determined to catch a certain dreamy image nearby: Nate’s meticulously detailed Audi in the foreground, the iron structure of the Tobin bridge in the background. A perfect concept of the old city, times gone by, and a reminder that while styles change, certain images remain a timeless image of the period that they came from. Nate’s Audi 5000 is a perfect example of this, sitting perfectly still in time. It is period correct.
Nate is a young guy, just barely having reached his twenty first year on this blue-green sphere soaring through space. By all sound logic, he’d not be my first pick to find as the keeper of a perfect relic to the style of the late 80’s and early 90’s. When Members Only jackets had not yet become ironic-cool, and when Zach and AC Slater were repeating the same family friendly misadventures in Bayside, and elsewhere many of us developed the same awkward crush on a wild haired girl named Topanga. But, no, Nate has discovered and embodied this style to an almost cosplay level of perfection. In some circles he’d be off restoring a black-on-black Monte Carlo SS with immaculate red lettering and pinstriping, but he’s got shitloads more class than to be fucking about with a dressed up old man’s car. His project of choice is wrapped up in Autobahn dreams, and the post-workday exploits of the junior executive circles of the past. Think sportcoats, flashy sunglasses, and the era that the martini glass design needs to be fired from a cannon back into. But enough about the past, this car exists in the here and now.
The first thing I notice beyond the depth and shine of the satin metallic black paint, is how purposeful and confident it appears on a set of BBS VZ wheels, sized at 16×8” all around, showing a flash of added style with gold on red center caps. The body is adorned with original chrome lower trim, an option which has become more and more rare as the years have passed, adding a bit of style which demonstrates the era of flash and excess that the car represents, without becoming distasteful with age in the way that some trends do. Factory details extend to the heated QUATTRO lettering on the rear window, one of my personal favorite details from many Audis of this era. Even from the rear, you’re given a flash of the polished 3” Stromung exhaust peeking out from beneath the body, which is also quite a treat to hear, as the turbo five pot rumbles past in the night.
Inside is all plush highway cruiser comfort, which is rare nowadays in a car that handles so well. The ride is plush, but flat in the corners, and refined thanks to Nate’s dedication to chasing down any rattle or squeak, and resolving it using original Audi materials. You see, he’s developed an ear for maintaining the serene quiet inside of a vehicle thanks to his career as a Tesla technician, where such noises aren’t going to be drowned out by the roar of internal combustion while soaring down the highway. All of this allows passengers to further appreciate the collection of tapes which are on rotation, and played through an custom speaker installation.
As we rush around town from one location to the next before we lose the sunlight and transition to lit night shots of the car, Nate reports a funny idle. We all hear it, it’s just that no one wants to be the first to point out the obvious developing issue on the highly polished car that’s being featured for the night. Fortunately I happen to live nearby, so we pull into my garage and pull out an assortment of tools. After a couple of hours spent chasing a vacuum, combined with meeting a less than thrilled neighbor at quarter of ten, we decide to call it quits on the repair effort and find a quiet spot to pull out a boombox, and toss in some admittedly not so period correct jams from Daft Punk’s 2001 classic Discovery. Days later, we learn that the turbo split on the compressor side. I’m sure this will just serve as motivation to find another period-perfect modification to add to the Intended Acceleration stage 2 chiptuned setup under the hood.
With “Something About Us” echoing off the brick buildings, Nate slips naturally into a well suited character. Nate exists in the here and now, but he’s most certainly a person of another era, and I’m more than glad to see him carry the torch of the years of my childhood on into the future. Now someone get this man a tabletop Ms. Pac-Man and a canned beer to complete the package.
Midnight Special are Brian Buckley and Sadie Fortin
It’s getting nice out. Let’s go for a drive.