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Who bought my dream car on eBay?

Posted by Bob on Tuesday 25th February 2014

Don't let him take this site back to the eighties!Some of you might know, or have gathered from reading some of my previous blog entries, that I'm rather fond of my Audis. The lovely German engineering and 'Vorsprung durch Technik', along with the looks and contours of the chassis, as well as the drive quality, just manage to do it for me. My name is Bob, and I'm an Audi-holic. I'm also a fan of the eighties, having grown up in that decade, and the nostalgia for that time continues to tug at my feelings. So, when news came to me the other week that the Audi Quattro used in BBC's Ashes to Ashes was up for sale on eBay, you can guess that my saliva glands were in full production. So, this blog post is somewhat of a labour of love, and may be unreadable to some. Fire up the Quattro!

Probably one of the most memorable vehicles used in a British television programme, the Audi used was a 1983 Quattro UR 2.1 Turbo, and was driven by the Ashes to Ashes characters Gene Hunt (played by Philip Glenister) and Alex Drake (played by Keeley Hawes). The four wheel drive coupe, originally derived from a rally car, was first used in the second series of Ashes to Ashes, an imaginative time-travelling drama covering a police officer who is shot in the modern day, and inexplicably regains consciousness in the early eighties. It is here that she meets Gene Hunt, the totally non-PC PC, and owner of the famous Quattro.

The car was the inspiration for the character's catchphrase - "Fire up the Quattro!". Not only was this picked up by Dads and Audi drivers throughout the UK, but it was also eventually used by political parties as part of their propaganda. Initially, Labour used an image of the Gene Hunt character standing alongside the Quattro, but photoshopped the head of David Cameron over the actor's bonce. They then added a title "Don't let him take Britain back to the eighties". Not to be outdone, the Conservatives soon struck back. They changed the title on the image to "Fire up the Quattro: It's time for Change. Vote for Change. Vote Conservative." Both travesties were poorly received by lovers of both the car and the TV drama series.

Apparently there were two different Audi Quattros used during filming of the series, and they were modified to look identical to each other. The sale for the Quattro closed on the evening of the 16th of February, but unfortunately mine was not the winning bid. Starting at a mere 99p on the 9th of February, the bidding quickly got underway, reaching £6,500 in the first day. During the next few days, my top bid was steadily passed, with bids going up by around £250 each time. The top bid finally came in at £15,1000, which was a tad rick for my wallet. I grudgingly offer my congratulations to the winner *grumble* *grumble*...

I'm not sure what I would have done had I won the Quattro to be honest. Being an ex-stunt vehicle, the car was actually riddled with fake bullet holes, as a scene late in the final episode of the programme called for it to be shot multiple times. The car also apparently does not have an MoT, so I would need to have done work on it to make it roadworthy. Similar Quattros were on eBay, going for around £7,500.

The seller was apparently a member of the company that supplied the vehicle to the production company, and he bought the car back some time ago. The 'bullet holes' in the car are apparently lacquered, so rust should not be an issue, but the car has not run for over a year. However, the new owner may well be tinkering away on it as we speak, so watch out for that distinctive roar coming down a street near you.

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