Member Profile – Joey Silva – Austin Area

When I was about 8 years old my mother remarried, and I gained a cool stepbrother named John who was also a car enthusiast. John would come pick me up in his modified 1978 Camaro with its loud exhaust and custom paint job just about every Saturday. We’d go for a spirited drive that would involve heavy acceleration, a little drifting on some dirt roads, and the smell of burnt rubber. I began to quickly learn that I loved all things automotive.

As I got into my teen years, I started spending weekends and summers at my uncle’s garage. Starting out as a shop helper/gopher and working my way up through oil changes and minor maintenance, I was soon spending time rebuilding carburetors and replacing valve cover and head gaskets.

Eventually I was helping with larger jobs, and doing a lot of service on my own, earning a few bucks here and there as I learned from my uncle. He tended to change cars about as often as I change shoes, so I got to take some pretty wild rides with an uncle who *loved* to go fast. Those years were my first introductions to brands like Audi, BMW, Opel, and others.

My uncle would sometimes sell his cars to my parents when he was bored with them. A modified late 1980’s Camaro with a 350ci V8 became one of my first driving experiences, and he later sold them an FC RX-7 in great condition. I got to learn what it was like to drive a car that can go around a corner, and how to drive a manual.

I didn’t own a car until I was in my early 20’s, and that was a salvage title Geo Tracker. It was miserably gutless, loud (soft top), and probably one of the ugliest cars I’ve ever seen, but it was mine, and it got me back and forth to work. My in-laws found a 1997 Buick Regal GS for sale cheap and it had less than 30k miles on it and was in perfect condition. Don’t get me wrong, this thing was a BOAT, but it had leather seats, automatic climate control, power everything, and a 3.8L supercharged V6, the same motor that Pontiac was putting in the Grand Prix GTP. For a 23/24-year-old kid this was luxury.

Sure, I’d looked at Audis, but at that age it was more about wishful thinking than it was about realistically shopping for one. My wife Rachel and I just didn’t make that kind of money, and the idea of buying anything but an old cheap used car just wasn’t realistic. When we moved to Round Rock in 2006, we found another used Regal GS (1998) and bought it, as we had been sharing a car for a couple of months.

Six years after moving into the area we finally bought Rachel a brand new Mk6 Volkswagen GTI Autobahn. This was our first introduction to owning a German car that was built in Wolfsburg, and German automotive engineering. We were amazed with the trim level, and fit and finish of the car for its price when compared to other cars we had looked at in the same range.

It wasn’t long before I started to see the Mk7 Golf R concept drawings floating around the internet and by the time the US preorder opened up in December of 2014, I was 100% sure I was going to own that car. This Volkswagen was a wolf in sheep’s clothing, as it was the same chassis and powertrain that powered the new Audi S3. A year later, Rachel traded her Mk6GTI Autobahn for a Mk7 GTI Autobahn.

Rachel and I had been getting involved in car meets, groups, and enthusiast circles. We had met some amazing people and had seen so many beautiful cars. Certain model Audis would always catch my eye. The RS3 had recently launched in North America, and it had that beautiful  5-cyclinder sound, and the heritage to boot, but it was finally time to buy a house, so I would have to wait.

The longer I waited, the more I fell in love with the 2018TT RS. I floated the idea of buying one past Rachel and she agreed that it looked and sounded beautiful, and that I should try to find one for sale.

I found one with the help of Josh Flynt, used, with 5000 miles on the clock, but I was two days too late. Someone had just wired in a deposit. Within 48 hours I found a second one, in Catalunya Red, with only 1800 miles, tech package, black optics, and it was at a solid price. I rented a car and drove to Houston, having decided that I was going to be driving back in that TT RS unless there was something horribly wrong with it.

That was a little over three weeks ago. The 2018 TT RS is my first Audi, and I can’t imagine a better introduction to the brand for me. I love everything about it, and it puts a smile on my face every time I look at it, start it, or go for a drive. My wife is just as in love with it as I am, and shares my true appreciation for everything that it is, and isn’t.