Peter & the Wolf
It's very odd. Even though Birmingham is at the heart of the British motor industry, there don't seem to be many modified cars on its city streets. This is despite it still boasting a large number of engineering and parts firms that could support any number of modified cars. But tuners in the Midlands shouldn't despair, there's one man who's tearing up Brum's tarmac and showing what a serious car can do...
Boasting six gears, four wheel drive and 380bhp within a stunning Audi Sport quattro body, Peter Bassett has the perfect wake-up call for his fellow city dwellers: "The car's just about perfect. It's amazingly powerful, looks fantastic and handles superbly with the four-wheel drive," enthused Pete.
The original plans of the scrapyard owner were far more modest than the short quattro he ended up with: "I sourced a rolling shell and intended to mate it with the 20v Ur unit. But a trip to Dialynx changed my plans," Pete confessed.
Arriving at the legendary quattro specialist, he was bowled over by their own short Ur-quattro (PVW, July '97). "Keith at Dialynx took me round the country lanes in it. Even though he scared the shit out of me, I knew I had to have one!" said the Scrappie.
Once his project was at the Swindon-based tuner, Dialynx set about transforming the Audi. The car was sliced in two between the B and C pillars, before 320mm of metalwork was removed to imitate the legendary Group B rally car. Huge composite flared arches were then added front and rear, before bonnet vents and grilles were grafted into the bonnet and a Dialynx Sport rear spoiler pinned to the boot.
Although the effect is visually stunning, it has more practical uses: "The handling's amazing - it's like a go-kart!" Pete grinned. Especially when the boys at Dialynx added their own fully adjustable suspension kit which uses Bilstein dampers.
Even though our man hadn't yet decided on the precise spec of his power unit, Porsche 968 four-pot callipers and massive 300mm Audi Sport brake discs were fitted to rein in whatever came the quattro's way.
"I was thinking about the 2.6 litre Dialynx conversion on a 10v Ur engine, but then I read about the RS2. I figured if it was that quick in the estate, then a car half the weight would really fly," said Pete. The Brummie breaker used his contacts to source an S2 Coupe engine, complete with loom, ECU and six-speed box. Dialynx were then commissioned to uprate the spec and push it into RS2 territory - as Pete pointed out, the RS2 is an S2 engine modified by Porsche.
The inlet manifold comes from an RS2, while Dialynx fitted its own performance cams, modified turbocharger, Pace intercooler and green injectors to match the Audi RS2's standard 315bhp. Throw in a 3" Scorpion exhaust system and it's all coming together. Well, almost.
Tuning specialist AmD was then enlisted to re-map the management up to 3bar boost pressure. A quick burst on the rolling road showed the engine actually surpassed the RS2, with 387bhp showing at the flywheel, allied to 390 lb/ft of torque.
To put this in perspective, it's on a level with the Ferrari F355 and Lotus Esprit V8, and outstrips the Porsche 911 Carrera by some 100bhp. Awesome.
With such a massive amount of grunt, the quattro needed plenty of tread on the tarmac. So 9.75x17" Fittipaldi alloys were encased in 245/40 Pirelli P Zero rubber: "Pirelli only make tyres wide enough for Ferraris or the biggest Beemers. So it took a bit of manipulation to make 'em fit the Fittipaldis," explained Pete.
Taking a lead from the Dialynx quattro, an alloy roll-cage was then installed to make the shell more rigid, while a 20v quattro steering wheel was sourced to direct the Audi's new-found power, and drilled OMP alloy pedals to accommodate Pete's heavy right boot. The full-race Corbeau bucket seats in the Dialynx model were not up our man's street though: "I found them far too low, and opted for electric Recaros," admitted Pete. Buying the stunning leather supports second-hand, he saved himself the outrageous 1500 Audi price tag per seat.
With the glorious quattro engine singing sweetly, Pete looked to match it with a quality ICE system: "A Porsche 928 passed through my hands a while back. I took out the stereo before selling it on for what I paid for it," he grinned. He was quoted 350 to fit the stereo, so our Brummie fitted it himself. Taking him half a day, the Kenwood KDC-96R CD/tuner now sits pretty in the dash, with Infinity mid-range speakers, 6x9s and tweeters broadcasting Pete's favourite tunes, courtesy of three Kenwood amps.
As I strapped myself into the Luke race harness alongside Pete, he ignited the ICE but, to be honest, it wasn't really what I was interested in. Perhaps sensing this, Pete swiftly shifted through the six-speed box around Brimingham's ring roads. Incredible. No body roll, just reams of unadulterated power coursing through four Pirelli tyres. "Since the rev limiter's been taken off, the power delivery's seamless. It rockets to 7000rpm - no trouble," Pete enthused.
You don't have to hand around the city centre to catch him wrestling with the quattro. As a member of the quattro Owner's Club and the Group B Car Club, you can spot him at track days across the country.
But a word of advice: to get the best look at his stunning quattro, stand patiently at the trackside rather than waste time trying to chase him around the circuit. Because it's going to take something pretty serious to catch Peter Bassett's 387bhp Audi Sport quattro.
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