Ladies and gentlemen, my life is now complete. I can die happy. I have removed an Audi allroad from circulation. This is because I ran it over with my Land Rover Defender, along with a Kia, a couple of weeks ago. Then my fiancee and I went on a double date with my friend Brian and his wife. You know the old saying: Crush an allroad in the morning, have sushi with Brian in the evening. It’s right up there with “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”
So here’s what happened. Over a year ago now, I reviewed this two-thousand-something Kia Spectra, which belonged to my friend and occasional cameraman Filippo. At the time, I proclaimed it the best car I ever reviewed, simply because you didn’t have to care about it or worry about it. After all, it was so worthless that an online trade-in calculator valued the car at negative $39. Not $39. Negative $39. As in, you’d have to pay a dealership $39 to take it off your hands.
Well, it turned out that Filippo cared about this car so little that he replaced it with a Ford Focus a few weeks after we filmed that video, and then he abandoned the Spectra on the street in West Philadelphia for the entirety of the next year. Nobody stole this car, despite the fact that he left the key inside and the doors unlocked. When it was still there a year later, Filippo and I hatched a plan: We would run it over with my Land Rover Defender.
Only, there was a problem, namely that you can’t just run over one car; you need a second car, or else you’ll roll over or get stuck. I casually mentioned this to my friend David, who runs a high-end car dealership in the Philadelphia suburbs called Automobili Limited, and he set about finding this second car. As it turned out, a mechanic friend of his had recently acquired a first-generation Audi allroad parts car, and he wanted it gone. When David informed me of this, I burst out laughing.
This was humorous to me because I’ve spent basically my entire career making fun of the first-generation Audi allroad. It’s truly one of the worst-engineered cars in modern history, filled with “factory grenades” — items installed in the factory that will cause serious (and expensive) issues down the line. Most cars don’t have any factory grenades, but some enthusiast cars have one big issue you’ll have to watch for. The allroad had THREE: Namely, the suspension was prone to massive failure, the Tiptronic transmission would eventually fail and the 2.7-liter twin-turbocharged engine installed in the vast majority of allroads had major issues with its turbochargers that often required them to be replaced once or twice throughout the life of the car. (“The life of the car” being defined here as “before the transmission fails at 90,000 miles.”)
So the allroad is a horrible car, and the one I was set to crush was just like all the others. In other words, it hadn’t been on the road in nearly two years as a result of engine failure, and it was being used as a parts car: The owner had harvested the radio and climate controls, and he pulled out the suspension for use in another allroad, which means this one was delivered on wood blocks. This car was never going to run again. As an added bonus, this one had the dubious distinction of carrying a green interior — and not just the seats. The dashboard was green. The steering wheel was green. The headliner was green. The previous owner told me he couldn’t use any of the interior parts in other allroads because so many of them were green.
It was shaping up to be a glorious day.
But before we crushed the allroad and the Spectra, we decided to have a little fun. You can watch this “fun” in the video above, but basically, I’ll narrate what happened: I ripped the bumper off the Spectra, and then I moved on to the allroad: First, I wrapped a tow strap around the steering wheel and yanked on it, to see what happened. This ripped a chunk out of the steering wheel and destroyed the steering column. Next, I tied the tow strap to the allroad’s roof rack, which held for a surprisingly long time. Then came the big finale: I tow-strapped the alternate-side B-pillar, causing the allroad to roll over. When I wanted it back on the correct side, I simply tugged a little harder, and it rolled right back.
After this, it was time for the feats of strength: Filippo, David and I each hit the side of the allroad with a sledgehammer in order to see who could create the biggest dent. Filippo did well, David did very well, and I won, because I hit it with my Range Rover.
And then it came time for the actual crush.
As you probably know, I’ve done this before. A couple of years ago, I crushed a Chrysler PT Cruiser with my Hummer, which was probably the craziest thing I’ve done to date, unless you count driving an Aston Martin on a frozen lake, or teaching a friend to drive a manual transmission in a Dodge Viper, or taking a Hummer to a race track, or driving an armored military vehicle through a McDonald’s drive-thru, or driving a Dodge Viper in the snow, or strapping a television to the roof of a Ferrari, or driving an Aston Martin on the Bonneville Salt Flats. Definitely one of those.
So anyway, I knew what to expect: We’d have no problem getting the front wheels up on the cars, but the back wheels would be a bit of a challenge. Last time, we used bags of Quik-Crete to try and get those back wheels up, but the Hummer wouldn’t budge. Remembering that, I bought ramps for this occasion. These would work. These would be great. These would do the job. So I fired up the Defender, I drove it straight, I hit the ramps perfectly, and I got the front wheels up on the allroad and the Kia. It was going great, right up until it didn’t: Even in “low” range, the Defender’s rear wheels kept shooting the ramp backwards, which meant it couldn’t climb all the way up.
So we tried again, and then again, and it never really worked. I figured the best we’d be able to do was two wheels — a good triumph over the allroad and the Kia, but not as cool as if we got all four wheels up. Enter Joe the Tow Truck Driver.
Joe the Tow Truck Driver was, as his official name suggests, a tow-truck driver: I had hired him for the day to help tow the cars around the yard, since neither of them would move under their own power (and since the allroad, sitting on wood blocks, couldn’t even roll if pushed). Joe had some experience in the world of running over things, apparently, and his idea was to use cinder blocks. So we found some cinder blocks, we put them on the ground in place of the ramps, and … IT WORKED! The blocks gave the Defender a couple extra inches, allowing it to scamper right up on the allroad’s hood like a mountain goat. It was over, and the Defender was triumphant: It had destroyed the negative-$39 Kia and the green-interior allroad. A triumph!
Well, sort of. When I posted the picture of the Defender climbing the allroad on my social media pages, most people laughed and cheered — but the regular contingent of early-2000s Volkswagen and Audi lovers (easily the most sensitive car enthusiasts on the Internet, except possibly for Tesla owners) became enraged. HOW COULD YOU DO THIS? WHY WOULD YOU DESTROY AN ALLROAD? DON’T YOU KNOW HOW MANY USABLE PARTS ARE LEFT ON THAT CAR?
And so, to head off those inevitable questions before they flood the comments here on Oversteer and on YouTube, here’s the deal: Number one, this was a non-running allroad that nobody wanted anymore, and it was headed to a junkyard. I just gave it a little bit of infamy before its send-off. Number two, I have one parking space at my house. I don’t have the ability to park a junk allroad back there and pull off used parts as I get requests from Volkswagen-Audi people who will inevitably offer to trade me vape supplies. And number three, if you want an allroad parts car … it isn’t that hard to find one. By now, I would reckon most first-generation allroads are parts cars.
Interestingly, nobody seemed to shed a tear for the Kia, except for possibly Filippo, as this car safely transported him throughout the Northeast during his final year of college.
In the end, I backed the Defender off the allroad and the Spectra the very same way I went up — carefully, and on cinder blocks — and the deed was done: The Defender had conquered the allroad and the Spectra, it had removed these things from circulation, and it had proven its worth. And as I drove home, smiling at this feat, excited that I had just successfully crushed these cars without injury or damage to the Defender, thrilled at the hilarity of what I had accomplished, I realized the Defender’s air conditioning was no longer working. Perhaps the allroad was contagious. Find a used Land Rover Defender for sale
Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.
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