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This Homemade Safari Audi R8 on Bring a Trailer Looks Like a Real Risky Buy

Just temper your expectations, because the listing kicks up red flags as well as dust.
A modified Audi R8 mid-air
Bring A Trailer

It’s hard to say if off-roadable supercars like the Lamborghini Huracan Sterrato and Porsche 911 Dakar are a new genre of performance cars or just moneyed Subaru WRXes. We can all agree, though, that they kick ass, and that we wanna see more cars like them. Only, we might wanna leave making them to the OEMs, because we may have the first case of a questionable copycat: this safari-style 2014 Audi R8 for sale on Bring A Trailer.

This late first-gen example of Audi‘s supercar isn’t the V10 version, but the 4.2-liter V8 car, with the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. Its 430 horsepower, 317 lb-ft of torque, and all-wheel drive are a good start for a mixed-surface maestro, like this R8 has become with its wealth of off-road modifications.

Its builder started by lifting its body two inches, fitting adjustable Bilstein coilovers, and downsizing the wheels to 18-inchers with bead locks. They wear all-terrain tires with more sidewall and a wider diameter than the stock rubber, adding another 0.7 inches of ground clearance. As stock clearance comes in at 4.0 in according to Autofiles.com, they all add up to 6.7 inches—less than a Nissan Kicks, but equal to the Sterrato, and more than the 911 Dakar. Should those run out anyway, it has aluminum skid plates to protect its vitals.

To round out the look, the builder tossed on an aluminum roof rack, plus LED floodlights for the front bumper. The rear bumper is deleted entirely in the listing photos. That’s a popular mod for twin-turbo Lamborghinis as well as R8s, but the seller said it’s missing here because the force of off-roading previously knocked it off. They’re willing to reinstall it, though, if you like.

Still, even if this R8 costs a fraction what the $200,000-plus Porsche and Lambo do, you should temper your expectations. There are details in the ad that give me pause, and make me wonder what kind of condition this car’s in.

For starters, while it has a clean Utah title, the Carfax shows a frontal driver-side crash in 2016 that disabled the car, so there’s a chance of structural damage. Those odds are increased by A) the jumps this car is depicted being taken on and B) the problems with first-gen Audi R8 frames. Early R8s are known for developing front subframe cracks, up through 2010 according to an engineer’s blog. Later cars aren’t supposed to have the problem, but between the crash, its evident flogging, and well-worn skid plates shown in photos, there’s no telling what shape its bones are in—strengthened frame or no.

That goes without mentioning what state the differentials are in, as they weren’t designed with dunes in mind. But if the dunes are all you plan for, and you expect to keep your wheels on the ground, you might be alright bidding on this rambunctious R8 regardless. It’s already past $20,000 with several days left on its auction though, and keep in mind that while it may be cheaper to buy than a Sterrato, it won’t be much cheaper to fix.

I gotta say, though: With a bit of boost, this’d make one hell of a sand rail.

Got a tip or question for the author? You can reach them here: james@thedrive.com