You’re picky about your cars, we all are. We know what we like, and we know what we want. So, what do you do if the car you have isn’t exactly what you want? Or if the car you want isn’t even manufactured/imported into this country?
Now, that’s a tiny bit misleading, but let me explain. I am a TDI fanatic. Diehard. Diesel everything. I absolutely love the turbo diesel engines that Volkswagen and Audi have been using in their cars for years. I’ve owned a lot of them (more than most) as I do have a bad habit of changing cars quite frequently. But, there’s always that one car. One car made me fall in love a few years back. In 2015, I purchased an Audi A3 TDI premium plus. That car just fit me like a glove. There was almost nothing I didn’t like about it, except the transmission. No, there was nothing wrong with it, it was just missing a pedal. Sure, the DSG transmissions (dual clutch, direct shift gearbox) in these are pretty fantastic. They don’t rob power, they are quite economical, heck they’re even faster than a traditional manual transmission, but you just can’t replace the driving experience of a manual transmission. Unfortunately, when Audi introduced a completely redesigned A3 in 2015 (the 8V chassis), they eliminated the manual transmission option. Long story short, I enjoyed the car, but sold it soon thereafter and went back to a proper manual transmission equipped TDI.
Fast forward a couple years and probably 10 TDI’s later, I still couldn’t quit thinking about that A3. How much it fit me so well. The fit and finish and driving characteristics were just unparallelled in everything else I’d had since (including a pair of mk7 Golf and Golf Sportwagen TDI’s, which are essentially the exact same chassis). So, I began searching for another 8VA3. In March of 2018, I scored a deal on another. 2015, premium plus with moonroof, navigation, and S-line package. I quickly upgraded the suspension, wheels, tires, and a few other little bits and was quickly reminded why I missed that car so much. But, I was also reminded why I sold it. My left leg was quickly becoming bored. So, what to do?
I did what any other car person without a lick of sense and extra time/money on his/her hands would do. I decided to tear the DSG transmission out and build the car that Audi wouldn’t. Over the next 2 months (I hit quite a few puzzling situations on this one!), I built the only manual transmission equipped 8V Audi A3 TDI in the country, and it’d be impossible to be any happier with this car. She puts a smile on my face every time I drive her, and even delivered an impressive 56.8 average MPG (hand calculated) over the 12 hr road trip down here (averaging 74mph).
With that said – what’s your dream? I’ve accomplished countless engine swaps over the years, and numerous transmission conversions as well. If your dream is a turbo diesel VW transporter, I can build it. You wish you had a manual transmission? I can make it happen. All wheel drive 450hp mk1 rabbit? Let’s make it happen! Sometimes, it can even be cheaper to replace a tired automatic transmission with a conventional straight drive, or replace a blown or tired engine with something more modern & reliable. I love a good challenge, and take great pride in doing what others can’t/won’t/haven’t, or even just updating/refining what they did. Let’s build it.