words and photos: 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.
Straight out of grad school, I got my first real job in the San Francisco Bay Area and of course my first priority was to get a car. I knew I wanted something cool and fast. Using my dial-up internet service…I whittled down my choices to a Subaru WRX STI, a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo, and the VW MKIV R32. I was a big fan of Colin McRae and his WRC wins, so I went to the Subaru dealership and found the exact spec I wanted; a World Rally Blue Mica with the “shopping cart” wing. They refused to let me sit in it, let alone test drive it, plus they were asking a dealer markup, which was a real put off. The next weekend, I rented a car and drove to the Mitsubishi dealer and to my chagrin, they did not have any Lancer Evos nor could they even order one, so I called VW Oakland and asked if they had any R32s. The gentleman on the line said, “Of course we have a few and a Deep Blue Pearl was just delivered today”.
Half an hour later I was at the VW dealership and laid eyes on this amazing piece of German engineering. The dealer was very cool; he let this young guy take it out for a test drive all alone, which if I were him, I would not have done! What a sweet ride, loved how she drove, and the overall fit and finish of the car was amazing. Unfortunately, I had two conditions: I wanted a full leather interior and a single digit mileage car and this one didn’t fit the bill. The dealer located one at the port in San Diego and asked me to put down a deposit, which I promptly did. After four long days, she arrived. I was so excited to take delivery of my first VAG car that I bought on my own and so started my obsession.
Man that car was a beauty; the throaty exhaust, the Haldex diff, Konig seats, and just overall a thrilling ride. She was perfect for city driving in San Francisco, great mountain carver, and in some cases, had enough space for a Costco run, of course with the rear seat folded down (though I actually had to do it in two trips). As with all car nuts, we get the car itch and I wanted something more and wanted to reward myself for working so hard and traveling almost 300 days in a year, so what better way to do that than to order a gated Gen 1 silver R8 with carbon fiber side blades. I waited months for the car and during that time, I met my girlfriend and now wife, Tara.
We decided to buy a home in northern Virginia and Tara’s mom also moved in with us. One weekend when we were washing the cars, Tara asked me where we would put mom’s walker in an R8 and I quickly realized that a two door coupe would not be a good fit for us, so called my dealer and informed him I would not be purchasing the R8 and that we would hang onto our R32 for a little longer, plus we could load up the walker in the R (just barely). The following year we got married in India and of course wanted a cool car for the ceremony. We rode in my dad’s friend’s restored 1960 Chevy Impala and felt like Bollywood stars riding around in Mumbai.
We had the R32 for 8 years and drove her 25,000 glorious miles, but it was getting too small for us. With plans of starting a family we started looking for an Avant and decided to list the R32 locally on Craigslist, just to test the waters. To my surprise, I got multiple offers within a few hours and it went into a bidding war. By the end of the day, the buyer drove to our home with a cashier’s check and the R32 was gone. I was in shock and did not ever imagine that she would sell so fast. I did not have time to process it and the next day, had some major seller’s remorse (and still do today). Editor’s note: I feel your pain.
My saving grace was when I found a B8 A4 Avant S-line with 10,000 miles, B&O, alcantara seats, and RS 4 wheels in Los Angeles. The car turned out to be an Audi Corporate Executive lease return and they had checked every option in the order guide. Did some due diligence on Audizine, called a few folks to ask their opinion, and negotiated the terms of the deal with the Audi dealer. Talked to Tara and decided to make a weekend out of it. This is when Tara started to become aware of my car obsession so that weekend, we flew out to LA to check it out. First thing we did when we got to LA was to eat a burger at In-an-Out and then went to test drive the A4. We loved it and had it shipped back to Northern Virginia (in a covered carrier, of course).
With our growing family, we loved how practical our Avant was. I remember racing to the hospital in it when Tara went into labor and the many nights driving around the neighborhood with our bouncing baby boy, Tyler, to lull him to sleep. We even had a picnic and watched a movie in the trunk of the Avant one summer night when the power went out. By the time Tyler was two, he was a budding car nut with his Cars-themed birthday.
A few years later, we moved down to south Florida and our second son Dylan was born. We needed something bigger (and sportier). We put the A4 Avant for sale on Audizine and within a few days, someone bought her, sight unseen. We decided to order a C7.5 S6 in Sepang blue. She arrived a few months later and I felt like Christmas had come early when I was unwrapping her at the dealership. One of our weekend activities included me washing the cars and my boys washing their toy cars. We loved the S6, it was a great mix of comfort, luxury and sportiness, but we always aspired for an RS…
Even though we had several cars from the VAG family, we have always loved the B7 RS 4, with its naturally aspirated V8, manual transmission, quattro GMBh heritage and always wanted an RS 4 Avant due to its practicality and how cool they were. While we were looking to purchase a manual S4 Avant, Tara came across an online auction of an RS 4 Avant clone on Bring- A-Trailer. We couldn’t believe the amount of work the seller had put in and how close the build came to an original RS 4 Avant. We reached out to the seller and said we would be interested in the car. We flew up to Connecticut to go test drive it and get a feel for the work performed, firsthand. We loved what we saw and decided that we were going to bid on it. Our strategy was to wait for the last two minutes to bid on it.
Unfortunately, the auction close coincided with an important work meeting, so Tara planned to bid on the Avant. While she was bidding on it, our credit card registered with Bring- A-Trailer crapped out for some reason and she was unable to put in a bid which made her feel terrible, but as luck would have it, the car did not meet its reserve price. The next day, I reached out to the seller and the rest is history. I drove her down from Connecticut to Florida. It was such a fun ride, windows open, listening to the sweet sound of the naturally aspirated V8 and just getting to know our new car. After just sleeping for a few hours in Richmond, I got home late that evening and seeing the Avant in our garage brought a huge smile to my face.