While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door—
Only this, and nothing more.” —Edgar Allan Poe, “The Raven”
In the 10.706 seconds just spent muttering the opening stanza of the infamous Poe-ism “The Raven,” Janis Krauklis—Krauklis is Latvian for “crow,” you see—is hurtling down the 1320 at 135.66 mph in his ’90 Audi 90 Coupe Quattro. And as doing is believing, my feeble mind struggles to process Poe’s maniacism nearly as much as I’m left with flailing understanding of what I’ve experienced in Janis’ somewhat staid looking coupe.
Sexy as this coupe is, sporting its RS2 headlights and front bumper assembly and in a particularly gleaming Tornado Red, realistically, this is a 21-year-old, stock-appearing Audi with a full interior tipping in at a not insignificant 3,317 pounds, including Mr. Crow. Ripping into the 10s in a nondescript fully streetable daily driven coupe defines the Crow as the depiction of evil.
Purchased with a blown 7A motor for $350 six years ago after driving a real S2 in Europe, Krauklis promptly swapped in the S2-correct AAN K24 motor, but even more promptly became bored. The boredom led to a GT2871 putting down 315 hp and 330 lb-ft at the wheels at 25 psi, melting more than a few SPEC clutches in the process. Quickly sliding down the proverbial oh-so-slippery slope, a GT3071 begat the 2871 in the quest for more power. With two steps forward, sometimes it’s eight back, as a dyno operator in a *cough* prominent, yet unnamed *cough* tuning shop nuked the poor AAN with a 7-degree timing mishap. Whoops. Buh-bye AAN.
Facing a pricey replacement, Krauklis instead turned to the coupe’s original trusty 7A and slapped in 83mm JE 8.5:1-compression pistons on Scat rods and 034 Motorsport coated bearings. Headwork included 034 solid lifters, slight porting, Ferrera exhaust valves and a 4-inch throttle body fed through a Hanks intake manifold. All said, this yielded a meaty 350 whp on pump swill, and a hefty 436 hp and 464 lb-ft of torque at 37 psi on 101 octane, which in turn netted the coupe a 13 flat at 115 mph on pump gas and on yet another slipping SPEC. Swapping the SPEC clutch in favor of a Southbend yielded a respectable 11.5 at 120, but worse, it yielded an unrelenting addiction: the pursuit of “nines.”
Powerless to resist, Krauklis afforded the Crow yet another turbocharger—this time a GT35—and suddenly Poe’s opening stanza was achieved—10.71 seconds at 135.66 mph.
Impressive, especially considering the amount of sweat equity Krauklis invested into the build via DIY, and how modest both he and his machine appear. And speaking of sweat – the 10.7 was achieved in sweltering New Jersey heat.
A number of broken CVTech axles, a mulched B5 S4 01E six-speed, clutches, clutches, and even more clutches later provided the answer: Insert a CompTurbo 70mm snail on an 034 stainless header and a Tilton double-disc clutch coupled to an 034 aluminum flywheel, and add DSS chrome-moly axles.
Tuning maven Marc Swanson of EFI Express (who himself pilots a Tornado Red 90CQ stuffed with an insidious 4.2TT) dialed in the 034IIc management as drag season drew to a close to yield a 5000-rpm boost onset all the way to an 8500-rpm redline, with the four wheels registering 400 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque at 22 psi on 93 octane. Fill up with C16 VP racing fuel, and she’s wailing out 644 whp and 436 lb-ft at 36 psi… or roughly 805 at the crank.
With the 7A cams being the next impediment to greater output, the Cat Cams and a 4-inch downpipe dumping into a side exit being fitted this winter are expected to bestow the Crow with upward of Veyron-esque equines. And as the ARP head studs are now allowing lift, ARP is in the midst of providing Krauklis units with the strength to cope with the barbaric forces to which he subjects them. Stresses that would send mortal motors cowering back to their motherlands, Krauklis’ solid-lifter 7A has racked up 50k WOT miles sans hiccup in the lower end—and many of those 50k were daily-driven snow and rain miles. He has confessed to tearing it down once out of curiosity, only to slap it back together when he found no discernible wear.
While F&R 400lb springs are run for street, drag runs see 1000lb rear springs to fend off copious squat resulting from launching an 800hp cruise missile. The rest of the suspension is fully 034/Delrin bushings, including Heim-jointed upper strut mounts. ASA 17-inch wheels fit over Porsche 993 Big Red front brakes for street use; however, the 11-pound 8x15 Centerline Convo Pro wheels with Mickey Thompson drag radials don’t, so G60 calipers are swapped in for the strip.
With all the broken bits also came breaking into the 10-second bracket, with most passes witnessing a 1-2 upshift bog (see fasterthenrs2 vids on YouTube). With new bits installed and launch technique honed, Krauklis should soon attain his quest of nines as the upcoming drag season unfolds.
The Crow’s open door invites me in; I am welcomed by a swing-out side bar assisting my ingress through the 10-point rollcage. Strapping into the five-point harness, I’m firmly ensconced in the Corbeau LG1 behind the S2 steering wheel and marveling at the AIM Strata dash.
I peruse the EGT/fuel pressure/volt/coolant temp indicators, then note the integrated programmable shift lights; an accompanying S2 centerstack reveals oil pressure and temp gauges. The Crow is already warmed up and is busily idling at an eager 1350 rpm. The 7A resonates through the cockpit with more than a hint of what is about to transpire, and it does not help that the CompTurbo runs naked; its impeller whirring about, the snail dangling al fresco in the breeze and producing an underlying, yet insistently piercing jetliner whine.
Krauklis casually leans over and informs me in his mild I’m gonna keel you eastern European accent that the Crow has clicked through 60 mph at a datalogged 2.45 seconds. I can handle this, surely.
We forego launch control to accommodate my newness, and in goes the Tilton clutch. This clutch is not for the squeamish, very much an on/off affair that would make Hans ’n Franz proud. I somehow conquer and we’re off, the 01E six-gang feeling quite familiar as I dip a toe into the tempting waters of Second gear.
We’re underway, and I’m trying to decipher the space shuttle-approved AIM dash and deftly negotiate the Tilton. Feeling comfortable, I can now interpret the tach and navigate the powerband simultaneously (comfortable being a relative term), I deploy a series of blindingly quick wide-open upshifts.
Whiiiiine whiiiiir whissstle WOOSH POP—Second—Whiiiiine whiiiiir whissstle WOOSH POP—Third—as boost gradually builds, the revs swell to 5000 then violently slams up against 8500, the apocalyptic scream of the 7A invokes divine Groupe B spirits.
We’re hustling along quite violently and the Heim-jointed, Delrin-bushed suspension telecommunicates the road to my palms. The sound and acceleration provide a bombastic assault that render any preparation moot; the experience relegating me to babbling nonsensically to myself in incomprehensible stutters.
It… is fast.
I extricate myself and entreat Krauklis to honor me with some 8500-rpm fly-bys. Watching a 1,000-pound-sprung, drag slicked, 805-hp Quattro dig itself out of the hole is marvel unto itself, with the apparent thrust of being catapulted off the deck of a carrier.
Krauklis slingshots past and out of sight, and the orchestra trails off. He turns back to fetch me roadside, and we return to base with defenseless G60 smoke billowing out of the front fender wells and associated chuckling giggles of those at witness.
Drag season cometh, the Crow not-so-gently rapping, rapping, at the nine-second door.
1990 Audi 90 Turbo Coupe Quattro
2.3-liter 7A I5, dohc, 20-valve. 83mm JE 8.5:1 pistons, Scat rods, 034 Motorsport coated bearings, CompTurbo 70mm, custom stainless tubular header, Tial wastegate and BOV, Hanks intake manifold, 4-inch throttle body, ported head, 034 solid lifters, Ferrera exhaust valves, custom ARP head studs, 034IIc engine management
01E six-speed manual, DSS axles, Tilton double-disc clutch, 034 flywheel
Custom coilovers with 034/Delrin bushings, Heim upper strut mounts
OEM Porsche 911 Turbo (993) assemblies (street); G60s (drag)
Wheels and Tires
ASA alloys, 8x17 (street); Centerline Convo Pro 8x15 (drag)
Mickey Thompson drag radials (drag)
Custom 10-point cage, Corbeau LG1 seats, Corbeau five-point harnesses, S2 steering wheel, AIM Strata dash
Peak Power: 644 hp**
Peak Torque: 436 lb-ft**
Peak Power: 400 hp***
Peak Torque: 390 lb-ft***
0-60mph: 2.45 sec.
1/4 mile: 10.71 sec. @ 135.66 mph
* measured at the wheels
** 36 psi on C16
*** 22 psi on 93 oct.