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#282047 14.02.2011 11:33
Registriert seit: Aug 2002
Beiträge: 13,286
Carpal \'Tunnel
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Carpal \'Tunnel
Registriert seit: Aug 2002
Beiträge: 13,286
Lithuania and back again - an Audi 200 20V Turbo Quattro Transfer

First the short pre-history to our journey: In the mid of January, Gerd from the German Audi V8 forum was looking for somebody who was willed to help him regarding an Audi 200 20V TQ sdan he has found offered in Vilnius, Lithuania. And who would be crazy enough to travel to Lithuania with him in order to test drive the Audi and take it back to Germany. As I had several experiences already due to our imports of RHD Audi V8 from the UK to Austria, I agreed to help him on pre-field negotiation, travel planning and the journey itself.

After a lot of messages exchanged between us and Aurimas, the seller of the A20Q in Lithuania, and a lot of positive responses, we decided to start the adventure with booking two one-way tickets from Vienna to Vilnius via Riga. Aurimas was organising international valid number plates for the transfer and we would pay in cash - that was the deal. A funny marginal detail: A friend of Aurimas is a friend of Florian, the guy who bought the RHD V8 from Eastbourne and who could give us some very primising background information about the car.

And just on the 10th of February 2011 the journay should start. Gerd was travelling from Nürnberg to Vienna, where we met in order to continue the travel to Lithuania via Latvia. Befitting the rank of a baltic budget airline, we had to travel in turboprop-airplanes. Before the plane took off, the stewardess asked us if we could take seats in the front of the plane rather than in the back, in order to balance to weight optimally. I neither took it personally nor did I allow it to compromise my trust in this airplane's technical condition...

The first impression of Latvia from up in the air: It's cold, gray and dark.

When getting closer, the country could hardly hide its state-directed economies' past - that it's not really that far any more to Scandinavia was well reflected by the bittely cold looking winter landscape.

Even though the tower in the background may suggest it, we were not about to land in Paris - the infamous eastern architecure of the last 50 years, as you can see in the foreground, diverted all doubts about really landing in Latvia immediately.

After a short stopover we continued to Vilnius - famous for having the oldest university of north-eastern Europe and hometown of Markus Ramius (for all the cineastes out there...). How to get to the hotel wasn't that clear until we finally arrived there. Aurimas, the seller of the Audi, recommended us to neither take a cab (as it shall horribly expensive) nor the train (as the train station is unsafe). Well, we decided to take a taxi then and indeed - it IS expensive (25.- EU for 5km...), but it took us to the hotel in no time. The driver was maybe not the very friendliest one, but at least we arrived (quite) safely in the hotel. After some hick-hacks with the hotel booking we were finally ready to set our first steps in an ex-Sovjet country - and haven't been disappointed.

You can imagine Vilnius best if you think of a small version of Prague, but without too many old town walls. If you look around for a while, you well find restaurants and pubs offering food and drinks for very fair prices (this has really changed in the last couple of years, I guess). Even the German taste can be satified - but we decided to admit to the local cusine and, again, haven't been disappointed.

We have been able to get a foretaste on the road conditions we would have to face on the next morning as well. Salt? Nope! But this made us optimistic regarding the constitution of the under-carriage of the 220V.

The next morning starts early - wake-up call at 7:30h. "The faster we get out of here, the better" was our device, as we had 800 miles in front of us in order to get back to Austria, and Gerd had to master another 300 to finally get home to Germany. A first sight out of the window let our worst nightmares (and the weather forecast) come true: Strong snowfall and winds - the perfect pre-condition for buying a car.

We fight our way through -6°C cold gusts of wind towards the meeting point and spot an Audi 200 20V TQ Avant on the opposite side of the street. Vilnius is swarmed of Typ 44s, even as taxis, so it's not that a big surprise - but still worth some photos. This somehow delighted the owner of the car who was no other than the seller of our object of desire - what a ride befitting our rank

Aurimas takes us to an old garage, his depot, where the Audi 200 20V is already waiting for us, together with an incredible amount of spare parts. At least 15 parted V8s and 200s are waiting to be disassembled and their parts for a new owner. Who is looking for good parts - it seems to be a good address to ask for!

But after all we are here to buy a car - an Audi 200 20V TQ with reportedly 80k miles on the odometer, without any dents, scratches, just a small rust spot on one of the famous places and - particularly - without any technical defects and painted in Cheyenne pearl effect. When that's not worth a travel, what else? And indeed, stand back in amazement - the seller from far up in the north wasn't exaggerating. What was waiting there for us was maybe the most well-kept Audi 220VTQ I ever faced. I don't wanna bore you with details, but just imagine a brand new Audi 200 and how it may have looked like when it left the factory 20 years ago - you should have a picture of the car now.

An extensive test drive on icy roads, a detailed body and interior check and we have a deal - with the exception of a pretty rusty exhaust system we found nothing to complain about. Hence, the price negotiation was short and together with a small discount we god it fueled up as well. It's somehow courteous, in my humble opinion, to get a full tank when travelling that far for buying a car for a quite a lot money. But that was no problem at all. After the negotiations Aurimas told us what he had change last-minute in order to guarantee a save journey back to Germany: The central hydraulic pump, the rear brakes, a rear damper, good winter tires - well, I was curious if all that will help...

A last thing wasn't arranged already when we arrived: The car registration papers didn't fit the number plates. But Aurimas promised to handle that with the insurance company and we were invited to join. And so we also got known to the Lithuanian way of how public authorities work. Still, 30 minutes later we had a valid registration in our hands. If this will stand a throrough check by the police? But it became later and later, so deal - contract signing - fuel fill up and - takeoff!

The first miles on Vilnius' roads were rather difficult: The complete road network is about to be developed and the three year old map data of my navigation system were hopelessly outdated. I counted on my instincts and drove southwards - and indeed, after a while also the navigation system agreed with the route taken. Well done.

Less calming was the humming noise from the front wheels - that wasn't really part of the promises made. But well, as long as the wheel bearings stand the travel back home, they may well be louder as expected.

I would have to lie if I claim that I liked the landscape, especially in winter times it was simply flat, lonely and a deserted. It may be different in the summer, but for a mountaineer like me it's maybe not the right place to spend a longer time.

Until we reached the border to Poland everything went fine, and then it happend: a random borderline control stopped us and wanted to see the car papers. I hoped that wouldn't happen as the borders are generally open throughout the Schengen area, but as always you cause attraction with a car like this. The police officer checks everything in detail, our pulse raises - but he says goodbye with a straight "Gute Fahrt!" to the German nerds, who are so crazy to buy a car so far up in the north... you maybe can imagine how reliefed we were afterwards. So the papers kept their promises.

We continue our travel across Poland towards Warsaw. Shortly after the borderline we got used to some Polish specialities - and I don't talk about food and bewerages:

First, they are absolutely mad car drivers who I would put in jail one after another. And that's meant literally: A 30 miles limit cause of pedestrians crossing on a four lane highway. What do I do? I brake. What do the Polish drivers? They keep on driving with 80 miles (where 60 is the common limit...). What are we? A traffic blocker. Well, so quickly do situations change.

Second, they have totally desolated roads. We will see later on, that the European Union aids are indeed spent on roadworks. But HOW they perform that offers unequaled opportunities.

And third, the truck drivers are completely crazy and maybe just survive 'cause the opposing traffic has the integrity to brake.

But enough complaintments. The dent we got in the car on our one and only brake at a McD car park on an unlucky position and which became the number one on the car's chassis became well balanced by the really warm and frinedly people. A detail maybe the Lithuanians can learn a little about.

It is somehow particular, the large country in the east - grey, cold, but still somehow crowdy. Everywhere you have an intensive smell of domestic fuel in your nose which somehow remembered me on my childhood - coal is apparently still in vogue over there.

We follow bravely the navigation system which takes us closer and closer to Warsaw. Here and there even the sun can fight the thick clouds and send some warm rays down to us.

After arriving Warsaw, we take the advices of several people to not drive in Poland at night to heart. Not so much 'cause of safety concerns regarding ourselves, but regarding the car. Road holes are omnipresent and such an aluminium rim is quickly broken. And indeed, with the upcoming twilight it becomes more and more impossible to get along. Hence, enough driving for that day.

Warsaw somehow reminds me to Bratislava - mansion of the period of promoterism nestle up with concrete blocks from the communistic times to become replaced by a romantic, medieval historic city center. In some of the side roads you also find good food for little money and we hit again for a traditional meal. For the same money like in Lithania we eat our fill, which kept us from enjoying our feudal breakfast the next day.

On our way back through the nightly major city of Poland we also came across of the one and other rarity from different times; several buildings and memorials remember times long ago. It started to rain and to snow, so it became peak time to get back in our beds.

The next morning drawed a completely different picture of this city - a first sight out of the window promised a wonderful day and let us hope for an untroubled journey.

The first miles kept the promises the morning made - well, partly at least. We again learned quickly that we have to be careful on the roads as well at daylight. When do they finally start to maintain their roads?

I shouldn't have asked... shortly after Warsaw due south the Polish people show us that big is better not only at speeding. One road work comes after the other, two lanes become one after every two miles and in between traffic lights help causing one traffic jam after another. After three hours and less than 60 miles I cursed the day - and with it all those suicide drivers I have to face in both driving directions... but, we were guests in this country, hence we keep being polite and let the host perform wicked gesticulations.

Sincerely the eastern appearance of the streets may not lack the famous Trabant cars. How they can stand the road conditions keeps an unsolved riddle to me.

We headed on southwards and after the highway joined a real motorway, we were able to head on uninterrupted. 400 miles to go - that should be achievable.

On our journey back home we faced one or the other bizarre situations, for example traffic signs prohibiting horse carriages to enter the highway (but still to cross it, you remember the undamped 80 miles?) and prohibiting bikers to enter the motorway. And when people don't give anything on speed limits, why should they secure their cargo?

And indeed: In the late afternoon we reached the Check borderline. I really have to say what I was somehow reliefed that we finally made it as I wasn't really keen on having a breakdown in the middle of nowhere with a broken fuel pump. And this one was really alarming noisy. When the auxillary fan comes up in the middle of a traffic jam and stresses the alternator with another 10 Ampere or so and at the same time the fuel pump starts choking, your pulse starts behaving inverted proportional to your onboard voltage. But, knocking on wood, it made a good job (and will, most probably, do so the next 100k miles, as all of those pumps do, regardless of their noise...).

Shortly after the border the navigation system calls for attention by telling us that the motorway we are on doesn't exist. Just the right time to hit the countryside roads again and smell some country air. Who knows, in the end the motorway was a toll road...

After some more miles of ups and downs through the Bohemian landscape we were back on the motorway which tool us closer and closer to my mother country.

And so we were even able to enjoy a great sunset while we more and more relaxed.

Around 6pm it was done - we had reached Austria. On the border, while exemplarily buying an Austrian toll mark ("Vignette") the appalled Check ticket seller explained us that all the road down from Warsaw was indeed a toll road and that we were absolutely lucky that we didn't have to pay another 600.- Euros for not having a valid toll mark... okay, I'll never complete training

At home we make a final fuel refill - and for the unbelieving people amongst you I have to tell again how economially you can drive a 220HP car: 8.5l/100km all the way down (more or less 30mpg).

The next day we inspected the car once again and found the reason for the noisy front wheel bearins - spike tires! Yep, you've read correctly. Aurimas from Vilnius was meaning it so very well with us that he has put spike winter tires on front and rear axels. Simply great of him, but we didn't know of the common 60 miles limit and the prohibition of this kind of tires in Middle Europe...

And finally you shall see what Gerd has dragged back home along all the way down... better pictures may come when the whole jalopy is cleand of all the salt pickle we collected on the long journey.

The car kept what the seller promised. No leakages, no pecularities of any kind, no jerking, no rumbling - simply nothing to complain about. That's how it has to be! Really unbelievable for such a bitch like the 220V.

And finally we've found out that the radiator was already new - a reproduction from Denmark. Probably the radiators are still cheap to get there - the original ones are out of stock, as it seems (just one part out of thousands we don't get any more for these cars...).

In the end I wish Gerd a lot of joy with the car and hope that he keeps all kinds of tuning off this really great vehicle. Thanks for the great journey, always again

Registriert seit: Sep 2010
Beiträge: 283
Registriert seit: Sep 2010
Beiträge: 283
Absolutely cracking write up, there.
Now that Austria is becoming crowded with foreign cars, maybe I shall come over and relieve you all of a good 6sp 4.2?

85 WR quattro
90 V8 Silver, 91 V8 Black, 93 V8 Lago
93 100e quattro V6. Titan, i think

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