July 30, 2008

The Audi S8 Avant, The Bigfoot Of Station Wagons


So last night, after an offhand reference to an offhand reference by the AMG Hammer Wagon guy of an Audi S8 Avant prototype, I thought I'd go look it up. Which is like a recovering alcoholic just popping into the bar to say hi. I'd flailed around a few months ago looking for the A8 Avant's trail. Now we have another clue. Here's Hammer Wagon's complete mention of the "S8 Wagon", as he posted it in the MercedesShop forum in July 2002:

He was selling because his wife couldn't drive the car in bad weather. He is well connected, and somehow had gotten hold of a one-off Audi S8 Wagon prototype, one of only six made (does that make it a six-off?). The Audi is giving him nothing but trouble, body leaks and all, being a prototype, and yes, I have first rights when he tires of it.
"He" in this case is the guy Hammer Wagon bought his Hammer Wagon from at the end of 2001. "Shipped from Chicago," he says.

So it's one of six made, and the guy's driving this thing in Chicago weather ["nothing but trouble, body leaks and all"] in 2001. But Audi had just barely introduced the Avantissimo concept car, with the 4.2-liter biturbo V-8 from the R8, at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September 2001. Here's the press release at Audiworld right here, dated--whoops--September 12, 2001. Can't imagine how that got lost in the news cycle.

Unless you want the terrorists to win, we need to find this Chicagoland Avantissimo. Has anyone actually seen it at the Whole Foods or the club [in Wheaton, I'm guessing] or wherever? Or maybe just get one of the other five that are apparently floating around somewhere.

Audi Avantissimo - a New Form of Dynamism and Luxury [audiworld, image too]


As I scrape my jaw up off the floor, I gleefully stand corrected. She's a beaut, Clark. Looks like someone put an Allroad on the rack and kept turning the crank. And I love how even the back seat has the luxurious center console. Sort of defeats the purpose of a wagon in the first place, but who cares?

The ad/marekting agency I work with does a ton of stuff for Audi of America, so we're pretty well plugged into the product planning and concepting pipeline. I've never heard so much as a whisper of this thing before.

I'd sell a kidney on the black market just to make a down payment on this - body leaks and all (the vehicle, not me). Nothing but trouble shmothing but shmouble. It's a freaking S8 Avant!

Well, I'm willing to adopt this poor old leaky car and give it a good home. I'm generous that way. I'm sure Greg is busy researching what happened to the other 5 cars, as we speak.

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