by: Tara and Nishant Pillai
Editor’s Note: Welcome to a new monthly Audi Club North America series called Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes (Nogaro) Blue. Nishant Pillai is a 10-year Audi Club North America (Audi Club Florida) member. He and his wife, Tara, are buying a 25th Anniversary Nogaro Edition RS 6 Avant. This is his long and winding road to making his brown eyes Nogaro Blue. You can find Chapter One HERE and Chapter Two HERE.
Seeing the RS 4 Avant in the garage in the morning brought a huge smile to my face. I immediately started making a list of the things I wanted to do to take it to the next level and make it ours. I started working with Tampa Autosports to bring the car as close to OEM spec as I could. We put together a list of things, many of which were hard to come by or needed to be sourced including an OEM RS 4 transmission, Euro spec interior wingback seats, etc.
Mysterious packages began arriving at the house and Tara started calling the RS 4 “the other woman” because the RS started getting a lot of attention and expensive gifts. Tara calls me a “car” lunatic (in the nicest way possible – so she says) for spending Friday evenings cleaning the car and then waking up at the crack of dawn on Saturday mornings for Cars & Coffee.
The Avant’s journey started with it spending a few weeks at Tampa Autosports, where the team went through the electrical wiring of the car with a fine-tooth comb and addressed some of the issues common to a complex build such as this. In the meantime, we ordered and then installed high flow catalytic converters so that Tara would not tell me that we “stink” of fumes every time we used the car. By dialing back the KW V3 set up and installing a completely new AC compressor, condenser, and vents, we tried to make it more family friendly but I knew there was a long road ahead of us.
Whenever we took her for a spin, a lot of people would flag us down to get a better look at the car. A close friend of mine suggested I open an Instagram account to share our ownership experience, so the Instagram handle @rs4wgn was born. Tara thinks it’s hilarious when people recognize the car and either ask us how we were able to get the car in the US or try to offer us money to buy it outright.
The Avant became our go-to ride for weekend drives with the kids, where we play “3-2-1”. When the kids say those magic words, I have to downshift and accelerate so they can hear the sweet sound of the RS 4’s naturally aspirated V8. The kids were so excited about the Avant that I had an artist create a drawing of the Avant for our older son’s room and our younger son helped me pick the license plate.
Next on the list was the audio system. We collaborated with Tampa Autosports to upgrade the sound system and since I’m OCD, I bought and installed an OEM luggage cover and Audi Sport rubber mats. Chris Topher (IG: @noggy_allrad) sourced OEM taillights from Latvia to replace the LEDs, which I was not a fan of, and Tara sourced some RS 4 puddle lights and laser engraved door hinge covers which added a nice touch to the car. I also worked with Matt at OCarbon (IG: @ocarbon) out of Phoenix AZ, to get a set of carbon fiber trim matching the OEM RS 4 2-ply weave and again, since I’m OCD, I had the set PPF’d as soon as it arrived and then had it installed.
While this was going on, I was able to source a really low mileage OEM RS 4 transmission from a guy in the UK who had crashed his Avant and randomly asked him if he knew of anyone who had the Euro spec interior available. As luck would have it, he said he had the entire interior but it was sitting in a freight container. A week later, I had two large shipments delivered with the transmission and the entire interior. Since the car was running an S4 transmission and limited slip differential, I reached out to JHM and they sent me RS 4 limited slip differential and a stage 3 clutch to put into the car.
For the last few years, we had enjoyed going to the Amelia Island Concours (www.ameliaconcours.org) and earlier this year, we decided to the enter the RS 4 Avant in their Cars and Coffee event. As it turns out we had the only Audi in the show and because of the large presence of Porsche, Alfa Romeo, Mercedes, and Chevrolet clubs there, the Avant was relegated to the spillover section of the show field. As the morning went on, we got a chance to meet a lot of cool people including the judges, YouTube celebrities SamCrac (IG: @samcracc), Alex Palmeri (IG: @legitstreetcars) and Discovery Channel celebrity, Paul Teutul Jr. from Paul Jr. Designs (IG: @paulteutuljr). I walked them through the build and then they asked me to come to the Awards tent at 11:45 am. I was super excited about being nominated, but didn’t expect we had a chance against the sweet Porsches, rare Alfa Romeos, BMWs, AMG Mercedes and iconic American cars in the show. To our surprise, the Avant won Chairman’s Choice Award beating out over 450 other cars.
Last fall, we also participated in FixxFest, a local European Car Show (www.fixxfest.com) held at the Bradenton Motorsport Park. We were floored by how much attention our grocery getter got compared to some of the cool rides there. It was a great experience meeting other European car enthusiasts and to top it all off, the Avant ended up winning Best in the Audi Category. The Avant has given us a great opportunity to participate in events like the Alpine VAG Fair in Helen, the Festival of Speed in St. Petersburg (where the Avant won best German Automobile), and meet other Audi enthusiasts over an afternoon picnic hosted by Audi Sport of Tampa (IG: @audisportoftampa). Thanks to our relationship with Audi, we also celebrated Oktoberfest in Tampa with other Audi fans. It was not only an excuse to eat some delicious German food and drink some adult beverages, but a great opportunity to meet other folks from the local Audi clubs. We also took the Avant on Toys for Tots runs, where the kids had a ball filling up the trunk with toys for needy kids and then dropping them off at a local charity.
In November 2019, we drove up to the Audi Club Nationals event hosted by the Potomac-Chesapeake chapter near Washington D.C. At the Nationals, we had the opportunity to spend some time with Daniel Weissland (Audi of America President), Tom Kristensen (Mr. Le Mans), George Achorn, Bill Cho, and the team from Audi of America and Audi Club North America. We had a ball that weekend starting with a “spirited” drive in the Maryland countryside. While at dinner, Daniel, Tara, and I started talking about our passion for Avants, that Audi of America should bring more Avants to the US, and that we are looking forward to Tara’s RS 6 Avant. While we were exchanging notes on which was our favorite Avant, I happened to mention to Daniel and Tom that I had an RS 4 Avant conversion and it was parked out in the parking lot. A few minutes later, we all walked out and they could not believe what they were seeing.
We had been hearing rumors of the RS 6 Avant coming to the US and with the Feb 2019 article in Fortitude, we were hoping Audi of America would finally bring the uber wagon to the US. The rumor mill was in full force on Audizine and we were super excited to see the official announcement of the RS 6 Avant online in Nov 2019, along with the “Avant Story” video. What an amazing video. We watched it over a 100 times, downloaded all the high resolution pictures and for a long time they were my computer screen wallpaper. I started scouring the internet for more details and bought all the T-shirts from the video (even ones for the kids).
We decided to get an RS 6 Avant for Tara. I reached out to our Audi Brand Specialist, George Kategaris, at Audi Atlanta to see if he had any additional information on the car and discussed how we could get on the wait list. Audi Atlanta is an exceptional dealership, so when George asked us to wait for a few days while he reached out to the right people at Audi of America, we knew he would be his tenacious self and get us information on the RS 6 Avant, which he did.
As we continued discussing the plan for the RS 6 Avant with George at Audi Atlanta, we read the RS 6 Avant press release in March 2020 and saw that the 25th Anniversary Nogaro Edition was coming to the US. That morning, we reached out to George to see how we could get one. We set out a goal for George and the leadership team at Audi Atlanta and within days, he was able to confirm that the 25th Anniversary Nogaro Edition was coming to the US and should they get one, it would be offered to us. A few weeks later, George called me and said that they were able to secure a Nogaro Edition!
Working with Audi Atlanta has always been great and that is why I enjoy playing Audi brand ambassador/ matchmaker for my friends and always refer folks (from all over the US) to the superior service at Audi Atlanta. Case in point, my best friend who lives in Dallas recently picked up an e-tron from Audi Atlanta because of how knowledgeable George is and how easy he is to work with. Additionally, several friends of mine are working with George to custom build Audi exclusive RS 6 Avants.
We are beyond excited to get more details on the 25th Anniversary Nogaro Edition RS 6 Avant and look forward to having two rare RS Avants in our garage. We also look forward to sharing our experience and have set up another Instagram account @2rswgns and will be posting updates there. Stay tuned!