A Winged Wonder of the Rally World is for Sale – on eBay!

It’s amazing what you can find on eBay. Anything.  Really.  For example, a 2008 Lamborghini Reventon was sold for $2.5 Million on eBay.  The 1954 Chevrolet Nomad Concept car was sold on eBay for an undisclosed amount.  However, we’re not talking about Lamborghini’s or Chevy’s.  We are talking about a factory-built 1983 Audi Quattro A2 Group B rally car.

You can buy it on eBay for JUST $385,000!  That includes a spare engine, plus a trailer full of spare parts.  Remember, this car used to race in the 1980s!

The Audi Quattro was the car that made Audi the automotive wonder of the modern world.  It put Audi on the map for building performance cars, as well as making Audi a technological leader.  The Quattro was so successful in rallying that it was banned from certain kinds of rallying.  This A2 competed in the World Rally Championships of 1983 and 1984, and won eight rallies.  This thing was seriously fast.  This car was part of the infamous Group B rally cars that has turbocharged engines pumping out horsepower that would give a Top Fuel Dragster an engine failure.  These Group B cars were fast to the point of insanity, and they were eventually banned for being too dangerous.

The Group B cars took technology usually reserved for road racing, and applied it to rallying.  Just imagine this car barreling along a muddy, rutted, tiny road in the middle of a forest at 150 mph!

Like all other Quattro variants, this car used a turbocharged five-cylinder engine pumping out somewhere around 500 horsepower and 630 lb-ft of torque.  For comparison, an R8 V10 Plus cranks out 560 horsepower and 520 lb-ft of torque from a naturally aspirated V10 double the size of the tiny five-banger.  It put its crazy power to the ground via the legendary Haldex AWD system.  The same system, albeit, with a few tweaks, is still used in AWD Audi’s today.  The Audi Quattro Group B cars were replaced with the extreme, short-wheelbase Sport Quattro at the end of the 1984 season.

Enjoy the picture of this legendary car.  It seems to be in perfect condition, and it has all of its original race livery from 1983 and 1984 still on it.  This thing is MINT!  The spare parts collection is visible in the background.  This car would make an excellent addition to a private collection.  But, it also deserves to be driven.  It would be at home at a road course like Watkins Glen or Road America.  Remember, it’s NOT even close to road-legal!

Audi Quattro (A2) Group B rally car

Out and About in Sonoma County!

The other day we were driving along, and we saw a school bus that had been pulled over by a CHP officer!  I don’t know why he was pulled over, but it must have been something serious.  Mom wouldn’t allow me to take pictures, as she felt that I should let the school bus driver suffer in silence.  Silence is a relative term when you’ve got 50 kids screaming and laughing at you.  Sounds like fun, right?  I am sure that the poor school bus driver will lose his/her job for doing something illegal.  I wish him/her well.

While I didn’t take a picture of the school bus being pulled over, I hope that this picture found on Flickr will suffice.  It is NOT a Sonoma County School bus!

Yep, that school bus got pulled over. by FormerWMDriver

How about THIS school bus taking YOUR kids to school?  It’s perfectly safe – the wall of fire is BEHIND them!  Just make sure that they don’t jump out of the emergency exit in the back…

Alive at 25…And Beyond!

Jerome Cobert is an all around a great guy.  Currently, a Berkeley police officer with a cheerful and outgoing personality, he also runs the Northern California branch of Alive at 25.  I interviewed him, and he graciously gave me all the information I could possibly need.  Thanks a lot, Jerome!  Enjoy the interview!

A number of years ago, Jerome was a Sonoma County Sheriff’s Deputy assigned to Sonoma Valley High School.  He knew that there would be enforcement, but he also wanted safety for those of us who were driving ourselves to school, and are younger drivers.   While attending a nationwide conference for cops, and he learned about Alive at 25 through the Colorado State Patrol.  Eventually, Jerome got permission to start the program in Santa Rosa, CA.  Jerome started this amazing program in 2006.

 The purpose of Alive at 25 is to try to change driving behaviors and get younger drivers to be involved in less risky driving behavior.  Ultimately, it will reduce collisions and citations that young people are in.  The class is offered at the Contra Costa Community College or the Los Medanos College.

How can the class/course help me with my driving skills , you ask?  Excellent question. The class helps young drivers to identify and hone their driving skills by having participants examine why they partake in risky driving behaviors and the civil, criminal and emotional repercussions of their actions. The course content includes a review of current traffic laws, problems with driving under the influence of both alcohol and drugs, teaches defensive driving techniques, and has the participants make a commitment to change. This is all accomplished through the use of a wonderfully creative curriculum that includes consumable workbooks, group discussions, videos and case study.

Jerome loves the Alive at 25  

program, and knows it to be crucial in keeping new drivers safe.  Jerome finds the most enjoyable part of teaching the Alive at 25 program is the rewards; seeing students come to the realization on their own that they should reduce their risky driving behaviors and take the task of driving very seriously.   Group discussions are a great way to get to know the students, and he loves the positive feed back that he always get from the students. He has even been approached a number of times in the community from former students who told him how much impact the course had in changing their attitudes to driving.

 Class size varies, with Jerome teaching small private classes of 12 students and helped as many as 31 court ordered students through on time (those are the procrastinators).  Typically  student enrollment hovers at 25 students. A larger class makes for lively group discussions!

Alive at 25 is designed for students ages 15 to 25. I think that it has the most impact when a student has had some driving experience.

A few details in Jerome’s words:  “All of our instructors are current or retired law enforcement officers who bring a lot of credibility with them to the classroom. They have all both enforced traffic laws and reported to serious traffic collisions. These instructors have all attended an intense training course to earn their National Safety Council Certification to teach this course.  I love teaching the Alive at 25 Course and I know that all of my instructors do as well. It is truly a very rewarding experience to know that you may be helping to save the life of a young person. As I said many times, traffic collisions are the number one cause of death for young people between the ages of 15 and 25. I can’t tell you how great it makes me feel when at the end of the class, students share with me their commitments to changing a driving behavior.

As far as the future, we are hoping to reach more communities with both Alive at 25 and our 8 hour course called Attitudinal Dynamics of Driving. But let’s save that topic for our next interview. Thank you Candler for the opportunity to be interviewed by you and be included in your very impressive blog. Keep up the good work young man.”

No, Jerome, thank you!  It was an honor to interview you about your amazing course, and I hope to conduct another interview soon about Attitudinal Dynamics of Driving.  I learned a lot about Alive at 25, and I am looking forward to seeing Jerome and my faithful readers at least one of the Alive at 25 courses!  Remember, check out Jerome’s beautiful website that will give you all the information you need (not like I didn’t cover everything!) to register, and other things.  Thanks again, Jerome!

Wanna Drive the Fastest Convertible…In the World?

While Bugatti may hold an unofficial record for the fastest production car ever (Bugatti recently announced that they took off the speed governor on the car used for Guinness Book of World Records testing.  They also used race-spec tires.  Both of those disqualified the car.)  The fastest production car in the world is the SSC Ultimate Aero TT, which went 255.83 mph in 2007.  However, Bugatti didn’t let that unofficial record hit them in the gut. They took the Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse up to its top speed of 254 mph.  That’s official, according to the Guinness Book of World Records folks.  It should be, because they checked every single square millimeter of that car.  The extremely lucky driver?  None other than Anthony Liu, a Chinese Formula 1 driver.  Even better, the car did this astonishing feat with its top down!!!!  Where was this record set?  The Volkswagen Group’s famous Ehra-Lessien testing grounds in Germany, where a stunning photo of the record-breaking car was taken.  The car can hit a top speed of 254 mph with the top up, according to a senior Bugatti engineer.  With the top down, it is “highly recommended to not follow Mr. Liu’s attempts, and keep the car at 233 mph.”  Whatever.  Mr. Liu obviously wanted to tell THIS engineer that he races cars WITHOUT a top ALL THE TIME, and he can drive it just as well!  The only two colors available right now for the Grand Sport Vitesse are a vivid black-and-orange color scheme that should tell the cops that they can’t even come close to catching this ace of spades!