Last summer, I purchased my beloved R8, after dreaming of owning one since they were first available. I was fortunate enough to find a mint condition 2009 with only 14k miles. I've loved every minute I've been in the car since driving it home from Florida. Until, I became aware of what clearly seems to be a major problem with the front frame potentially cracking, and resulting in a totaled car, per many discussions here in the forum.
At first, I was told by a friend highly placed in Audi management to forget about it, his checking said that only cars that were in serious accidents, or were abused and driven into a curb at high speed, or something similar could result in this happening. Flash forward a few months later, and another friend, who had been very highly placed on the Volkswagen end of things called me, and sent me an e-mail about this issue, was very concerned, and said that people he had talked to internally at Audi strongly advised that I get it addressed. Of course, none of them would admit to anything publicly. To Audi this issue doesn't exist. Of course, given the fact that there is an actual Audi part available (though not to the general public), namely the support brackets themselves, this is absurd. Add in the fact that Audi have been welding the additional support brackets into R8 V10's since the latter half of 2010, and R8 V8's, since 2011 makes it even more of a joke.
Recently, there have been reports of R8 owners hitting unseen potholes at perfectly normal rates of speed (55-70mph) and damaging the frames and totalling their cars due to the front frame cracking. I live in Michigan, where we have seriously bad roads, and I've been afraid to even take the car out on the roads after picking it up from storage for the past winter. I did, over the winter, actually manage to acquire the almost unobtanium Audi brackets. Living here in the Detroit metro area, I thought it would be easy to find a shop to do the welding reinforcement for me. Not the case. I have been turned down by no less than twelve local shops. Two of them do substantial work on Audi's, and R8's, so I thought they would be a sure thing. Turns out they have contracts with Audio, and they can only make "Audi authorized repairs". Per the managers, they could have their contract voided for doing this work for me as it is not only unauthorized, but, per Audi, is a problem that doesn't exist. One of them actually spoke to their Audi rep at length about the issue, and eh said before they would even consider allowing the work, even at my expense, my car would have to be subjected a complex chemical testing to specifically verify that any fram cracking existed, at a cost of $6,000.00, minimum!
If you've read any of the discussions here on the forum, you know that there are shops on the East Coast, Houston, LA, and especially in England that have done this repair quickly (generally completed in three hours) for a general price of $1000.00. I have no problem doing that but cannot locate a shop anywhere near me that will take on the work. The welders arent willing to do the necessary R8 disassembly, and the other shops just don't want to touch it. Here is an e-mail I received on Friday night from someone I know, who heads up perhaps the very top collision/upgrade/restoration shop in Michigan. I had sent him pictures of the actual weld area, and a video available here in the forums.
"This job isn’t nearly as simple as the video makes it look, certainly not based on my experience, especially with R8's. These cars have a lot of requirements that must be seen to when welding. It looks like much of the interior and dashboard would have to be removed, as well as some significant mechanical components to insure nothing gets damaged. I am not comfortable just welding brackets on a car without following manufacturers guidelines, especially in a car of this complexity, and, in this case, the manufacturer will not provide any. In the end, done safely, this would be a pretty costly venture; likely in the $6,000.00-$8,000.00 range. And I would only be sure, once I did extensive research into the repair methodology to insure everything was done correctly. I regrettably will have to pass on this work"
I now find myself between a rock and a hard place. I was perfectly willing to spend the $1000.00 to know I was protecting my investment. Now, I cannot find anyone willing to even do the work, and there is also significant information being presented to indicate that it may be a much more difficult job, to do right, and cost many times what was expected. And I realize many of you R8 owners are well heeled, and could afford $6-8k for this work. I simply am not able to. Since purchasing the car less than a year ago, my investments in all new tires, maintenance, and an extended warranty have left the coffers empty. If I can't find a satisfactory, and affordable conclusion, as much as it pains me to even entertain the thought, and type these words, I may have to sell off the car of my dreams. I just don't feel that I can risk my investment by choosing to overlook this issue and drive the car as though it didn't exist. Especially not on the significant portion of potholed, cratered and otherwise compromised Michigan roads.
To anyone with experience in this matter I would greatly appreciate your thoughts.