The Mark Patel

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I've always loved cars. Before I could drive I raced radio-controlled cars, and before that I made them out of Lego bricks. I became a big Audi fan in the early 1980's when they introduced the Audi Quattro which dominated the world rallying circuit.

I finally got my very own Audi when I bought a brand new A4 2.8 Quattro in 1999.

Some facts about the car:

- 2.8 liter V6 with 5 valves per cylinder
- 5-speed manual transmission
- Quattro full-time four-wheel-drive
- Current mileage: 81,000 miles

Given my nature, simply driving a car is not an option. I have to tinker with it, improve it, customize it, make it unique. My favorite modification on the A4 was the conversion of a small storage compartment into a motorized iPOD dock complete with jam detection. The stereo is automatically switched to the iPOD when it's inserted, and of course it also charges the iPOD.

Click on the picture to see more about this project including the schematics.

And since I work in the mobile phone industry, some related modifications were clearly in order. I don't smoke (other than the occasional cigar), so I converted the ashtray into a phone charging dock complete with adjustable night illumination.

My A4 came with a built-in speaker and mic for a hands-free system, so I wired in a Bluetooth car kit into the factory wiring. If I get an incoming call, the stereo automatically mutes and I can talk while still being able to drive and shift. Nice.

Other changes I've made to the car include:

- Oversized A8 Front Brake Rotors with TT caliper carriers
- PBR Ultimate Ceramic Brake Pads
- Dieselgeek short shifter
- Bilstein sport shocks
- RS4 front grill

I do a lot of routine maintenance and repairs on the car, and I'm part of the enthusiast community on where I also write the occasional tech article.