Introducing Radwood's Project Armadillo
This is my 1995 Audi S6 sedan. If you’ve been reading Redusernab for a while, you may recognize it from Project Car SOTU in the past. It’s long served as an excellent daily driver, and in fact we just crossed our sixth year together. For those six years, it’s needed little more than regular maintenance, aside from a single burned out coil pack, a busted truck lid latch, and two faulty sunroof switches. For a car that is nearing the quarter million mile mark, it’s been pretty great. Almost boring, one might say.
As a sports sedan, it’s pretty great. But great isn’t going to cut it anymore. I wanted to make life a little harder on myself than it needed to be by crafting a Safari Audi. Partly because I wanted to, and partly because, as one of the Radwood co-founders, I wanted to catch eyeballs at Radwood events all over the country.
I had been tossing this idea around for at least 18 months, telling people mostly to see what their reaction was. It wasn’t until I discussed the idea with our favorite tire sellers Tire Rack that it seemed like it might be possible after all. I convinced them to believe in my half-cocked plan, and they agreed to ship me a set of 17″ BFG All Terrain T/A K02s. Even better, they pre-mounted them to a set of O.Z. Rally Racing wheels, included centering rings, and a set of longer wheel bolts as a kit. For as hard as I made this on myself, Tire Rack made it super easy.
After a few months of fiddling with different ideas, I fell into the good graces of master fabricator @JimmyBuilt, the same guy that built the Teslonda. With his help, and a bit from a few other friends, we had a pair of 1″ Delrin front upper strut mount spacers (actually two half-inch spacers per side), and a pair of 1.25″ rear lower shock mount lift shackles. From start to finish, the process took me about three days of solid wrenching, grinding, welding, and cutting. So much cutting.
By swapping out the H&R Sport 2″ lowering springs that were on the car for a set of stock height V6 Audi A6 springs (same chassis, 1″ taller springs), I effectively gained 3″ of total lift. The lift spacers on the front and the shackles on the rear gained another inch for a total of 4″. Then putting the 28.5″ total diameter BFG tires on gained another 2.5″ of total ride height. From the beginning of this project to where it is now, the newly-christened Project Armadillo was lifted 6.5″. It’s got a massive 13.1″ of ground clearance, which is more than a brand new Jeep Wrangler Rubicon.
I immediately took the car off road on some public land in Nevada, actually within 20 minutes of getting the car back on four wheels. It drives pretty well, but still needs a bit of fine tuning. I knew within minutes, though, that I hadn’t cut away enough material, and the tire was rubbing in the right rear wheel well more than anywhere else. In the next installment, we’ll get to some more cutting. This dumb idea has been literally years in the making, and for right now I’m just glad to be driving it around.
The so-called grand plan for this car is to make it a cross-country highway hauler. We’ll be adding a trailer hitch to tow a small utility trailer full of Radwood gear to all of our future shows. We’ll continue working to improve the car’s long-haul comfort, repair a few minor things wrong with it, and make it even more off-road ready. Be sure to check out future installments on the newly-created Radwood YouTube channel, and follow the story on our Instagram.
The next Radwood is August 25th at Road Atlanta during the GridLife festival. Get your tickets ASAP at Radwood.org.
[Pro photos provided by Gil Folk Photography]