Every avid showgoer knows there are several cars and certain modifications you can always expect to see. But every once in a while, a car arrives on the scene that breaks the mold, exceeding expectations by bringing something new to the table.
This can only apply to cars that are rarely seen, such as Nick Silva’s ’95 Audi 90 quattro. And with every inch modified to suit the owner’s taste, it raised the bar when it finally made its public debut.
The story began in ’08. After scouring the forums, Nick found a car he could fall for. “I like older cars, especially from the ’80s and early ’90s,” he said. “The 90 is perfect because it has an older shape with modern touches.”
In its time, the 90 was what Audi considered its entry-level sedan. With its performance, durability and interior options, it was a great starter car but with high-end comfort. “I’ve always loved German cars,” Nick explained. “I originally wanted to keep it clean and simple, but it didn’t work out that way!” he laughed.
Nick soon found he wanted more; what initially began as a clean daily driver, snowballed into the effect most enthusiasts know well. “It turned into wanting a really nice show car I could take to events,” he said. “I wanted to be able to drive it around but also take it to the track.”
Naturally, upgrading the motor was first on his list. Rather than work with the stock Audi 2.8L V6 12v, Nick got his hands on a VW 2.8L VR6 12v. The car was then taken to close friend Diogo Azevedo at AMS Autowerks in Linden, NJ (whose BMW 318ti widebody turbo was featured in et 2/09) to begin the on-going process that would produce some impressive numbers.
How impressive? How about 516awhp and approximately 460 lb-ft before the water/meth injection was added!
To achieve these results, the VR was first bored to 2.9-liters with ceramic-coated JE pistons and a set of IE Tuscan rods.
Working with Diogo they added a Ferrea valvetrain with 1mm oversized valves plus titanium springs and retainers. To complete the head, a set of Techtonics 288˚ cams were included, finishing with a port ’n polish to ensure maximum flow.
“It’s… fast,” Nick laughed. “It’s amazing. It comes on so strong, and the cams help so much.”
At the heart of the powerhouse, is a huge Precision 62/62 ball-bearing turbo with an upgraded billet compressor wheel and anti-surge housing. It’s mounted on a ceramic-coated Kinetic Motorsports manifold but doesn’t use an air filter. As a result, it has wire mesh over the inlet to prevent small birds or children being eaten by the enormous snail.
Gases exit via a custom 3.5" exhaust, while the compressed air is fed through a Wagner front-mount intercooler with wrinkle-black powdercoated piping. It then enters a 034Motorsport intake manifold that was developed for 034’s etGP09-winning B5 Audi S4 VR6T (et 2/10).
Because of the increased airflow, the fuel system received dual Bosch 044 pumps inside an IE surge tank to support the stock internal pump. Stainless lines and fittings (which feed 1000cc injectors), a custom fuel rail and pressure regulator were also installed into a shaved bay to tidy the overall appearance of the engine swap.
The brains of the operation is the 034EFI standalone engine management, tuned by Ivey Technologies and coupled to AEM’s Tru-Boost electronic boost controller.
Data is presented to Nick by an AiM digital instrument cluster mounted in a carbon fiber panel. It’s assisted by AEM gauges for oil pressure, oil temp, air/fuel ratio and boost in the console. Additionally, the Snow Performance water/meth display was custom-mounted into the driver’s-side air vent.
After incorporating the standalone, Nick was determined to further rid the engine bay of unnecessary components for weight and aesthetic benefits. “I wanted to keep the bay nice and clean,” he said. “My goal was to build a show car I could race.”
For this reason, all A/C, ABS and emissions components were removed. During the clean-up, Nick also added a Wizard Cooling radiator, atmospheric catch can and uprated coolant hoses.
Nick didn’t make the mistake of ignoring the drivetrain. He started with an O1E six-speed transmission, mated to a South Bend six-puck clutch.
“The spare wheel well was removed and we welded a piece of steel in its place,” he informed us. “This made room for 034’s aluminum rear diff carrier, which was linked by a one-piece driveshaft to the rear wheels.
The Silver Bullet had enough power to finally satisfy Nick, but he had to harness it. So the original suspension was swapped for adjustable KW V3 coilovers. A Neuspeed rear sway bar was installed for greater control, and the bushings were replaced with stiffer 034 parts.
Continuing his road and track approach, the brakes were upgraded to six-piston Brembo front calipers over stock-size Zimmermann drilled rotors. These would fit comfortably behind his chosen 17x9" CCW LM20 wheels that lend the car an air of classic refinement. Wrapped in 235/40 Hankook tires all round, the Audi has an undeniably sporting stance.
When it came to the exterior: “I wanted to clean it up but keep the original lines,” Nick explained. So the fenders were pulled slightly and the moldings shaved to make it more contemporary.
The stock bumpers were swapped for a smoothed Audi S2 part up front, complete with a molded lip. On the rear he chose a smoothed European Audi 90 bumper with molded additions. To complete the update, B5 Audi S4 side skirts were modified to fit. The bodywork was then painted in Porsche Arctic silver to increase the cool factor.
Final touches included Audi RS2 headlights and mirrors, S2 fogs, clear corners and rare smoked tail lights from German tuner Treser to complete the package.
All that remained was to transform the interior from luxury to sports to adopt the new persona. This was skillfully achieved with a pair of Porsche GT3 seats, which were custom trimmed with white alcantara inserts, along with matching rear seats and door cards.
With the headliner reupholstered in black alcantara, and the original wood trim painted flat-black, all that remained was the addition of a Momo steering wheel and UUC shift knob for the 034 short-shift mechanism.
Because the original radio just wasn’t cutting it, Nick installed a JVC head unit, Focal speakers and a 12" JBL sub, all powered by a five-channel Alpine amp in the back.
After years of work and devotion, Nick’s 90 reminded us you don’t have to walk the same path as everybody else. You can strike out on your own to make a statement. “It’s everything to me,” Nick said. “Show car, racecar, everything; all in one.”
With the love Nick expressed for his Audi, we anticipate this won’t be the last we see of him or this unique 90…
et Tech Spec
1995 Audi 90 Quattro
Owner: Nick Silva
Location: Elizabeth, NJ
Engine: 2.8-liter VR6 12v with JE pistons to reach 2.9L, Integrated Engineering Tuscan rods, ported and polished head with Farrea +1mm valves, titanium springs and retainers, Techtonics Tuning 288˚ cams, ceramic-coated Kinetic exhaust manifold, Precision 62/62 ball-bearing turbo with 68mm exhaust side, billet compressor wheel, DEI titanium turbo blanket, 44mm Tial external wastegate and 50mm BOV, custom 3.5" turbo-back exhaust with Magnaflow muffler, Wagner intercooler with custom powdercoated aluminum piping, OBD1 VR6 throttle body, powdercoated 034Motorsport intake manifold, dual external Bosch 044 fuel pumps, IE surge tank, custom fuel rail, stainless steel fuel lines and fittings, 1000cc injectors, adjustable fuel pressure regulator, 034EFI engine management, atmospheric catch can, Wizard Cooling radiator, custom hoses, Mocal oil cooler, shaved bay with deleted ABS, emissions and A/C components, Mk4 valve cover
Drivetrain: Audi O1E six-speed manual transmission, stage 5 South Bend six-puck clutch, 034 short shifter, custom one-piece driveshaft, 034 aluminum rear differential carrier
Brakes: Brembo six-piston front calipers, 10.9" Zimmermann drilled rotors, stock rear brakes with Zimmermann rotors, stainless lines
Suspension: KW Variant 3 coilovers, Neuspeed rear sway bar, 034 bushings
Wheels & Tires: 17x9" CCW LM20 wheels with shot-peened centers, 235/40 R17 Hankook Ventus R-S2 tires
Exterior: pulled fenders, smoothed Audi S2 front bumper with molded lip, modified B5 S4 side skirts, smoothed and molded European Audi 90 rear bumper, shaved door moldings, Audi RS2 headlights and mirrors, Audi S2 fogs and clear corners, Treser smoked tails, Porsche Arctic silver paint
Interior: Porsche GT3 front seats with alcantara centers panels, matching rear seats and door cards, black alcantara headliner, AiM digital race cluster in carbon fiber surround, AEM oil pressure, oil temperature, boost and air/fuel gauges, Snow Performance water/meth display in drivers-side vents, Momo steering wheel on quick-release hub, UUC shift knob, wood dash trim painted flat black
Audio/Visual: JVC head unit, Focal front speakers, five-channel Alpine amp, 12" JBL sub
Thanks: My dad, family and girlfriend, Diogo and Eric at AMS Autowerks, 034Motorsport, Ivey Technologies