Most supercar replicas are tragic things; as shoddily built as they are pretentious. That isn't the cause with this Audi, which despite being the spitting image of an R8 V10 is really an A4 underneath. Transforming it took several years and truckloads of damaged R8 parts, resulting in a car that in many ways is even more impressive than the real deal.
Its builder, who wished to remain anonymous, told me he has been making wacky stuff for decades: He shared pictures of a fastback Porsche 914/6, and of a Toyota Previa with a BMW X5's face (truly cursed, photos in the comments). When he learned of his daughter's fondness for the Audi R8, he decided to fit one's front end on an A4. When he got to the mockup stage, though, he realized the finished product had the potential to be convincing. He started thinking bigger, and as soon as he learned how cheap damaged R8 bodywork could be, things snowballed from there.
He quickly collected an assortment of R8 body parts, minimizing the amount of fiberglass fabrication he'd have to do. Some parts were impossible to get cheap, like headlights, so he bought damaged housings and replaced their lenses with 3M-coated Lexan. Grilles were replicated using children's clay molds, and an Audi TT steering wheel was dressed up as an R8's with fake buttons and an S8-based R8 badge.
All these, a 3D-printed shifter gate, and more were added to a $700 B5 A4, which he had a friend modify with a tubular roof to mimic the R8's roofline. Outside the stock A4's brakes, he bolted enlarged RS rotors, which served as spacers for knockoff R8 wheels.
The entire process took five years to complete, but the finished product reflects the time and care invested. It's a spitting image of a real R8, and it's said to fool owners of the real deal. That is until they open the engine lid, which lifts the mock V10 to reveal a hamster wheel in the cavity beneath the engine.
"Watching the jaws drop over and over never gets old," the builder told me. "[The] funny thing is nobody has ever figured out the license plate until after they realize it's fake."
Obviously, this car's purpose is still to get people's reactions, but not the kind most supercar clones seek. It's one thing to want to impress; it's another matter entirely to seek to surprise and amuse. That's not to say this car doesn't impress, though, because it certainly does, in some ways more so than a real R8. Built not bought, says its creator, and given how much rarer the skills to build a car like this are than the money to just buy one, I'm inclined to agree.
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