Battle Born Quattro 2013: Las Vegas Audi Enthusiasts Unite

20131012_131720Written and photos by Jake Conlee

For over a decade now, I have been enlightened with car ownership of a certain brand. I have always loved cars, but never had I experienced 110 percent  joy while having to drive, maintain and continue to own them, before 2002. Until this point, it was all about American Muscle for me; Mustangs, Camaros, El Caminos, a Vega and an Impala. My father was a Chevrolet fan, and I grew up in and around his Auto Repair Shop, where we had race cars, rare muscle cars and old Chevrolets. My Fathers’ family even starred in a Chevrolet Impala commercial in 1976 while he was still in high school, so it was almost certain that I would end up proudly flying the “Bowtie.”

Fast forward to 2000, my girlfriend of the time had the eponymous Black Jetta, and this was where I began to truly appreciate German design and engineering. I knew much about all types of cars, but I knew from my father to avoid German vehicles like the plague. And this is someone that uses Air cooled VW Engines to power his business, so it isn’t as if he doesn’t know or have much experience, it was just his opinion and experiences. I, on the other hand, was beginning to fall in love with all automotive things German.

Then everything changed: my best friend bought an Audi. A 2001 A4 Quattro 1.8T in Brilliant Silver, it was beautiful. Once inside, the passenger compartment was covered in black leather and aluminum accents. The Instrument Panel was modern and sleek, and very easy to use the many features that come as standard: Miles to empty, average gas mileage, average speed, instantaneous mileage, etc… All of this technology didn’t come in my Mustangs, or anything else for that matter. It handles like it is riding on rails, and when in the rain, it is tough to differentiate any difference in the way of the little silver Audi’s performance. It is uncanny how various road conditions do not affect the way that you have to drive an Audi. In less than a year from this point, the Jetta would be gone, replaced by an Audi A4, and the Impala would be gone, replaced by an Audi.

Now it is 11 years later, I am on my 8th Audi, and four of them have gone over 200k miles by the time I sold them, and one that I still own has 215,551 miles and still running on the original motor and transmission. They are agile, exciting, semi economical, have great resale value, a pleasure to own, and the most important thing of all: reliable. You will always hear people protest, “German vehicles are so expensive to fix.” False. German vehicles have been sold in the United States continuously since 1950, and have been gaining sales numbers every year since then, which means that parts, technicians and repairs are comparable of any high line vehicle. A Buick and Cadillac are virtually the same price to keep on the road, and due to the materials used in assembly, sometimes the domestic counterparts are more expensive and in need of major repair more often. Audis are like any other car; treat them well, and they will bring many, many thousands of miles of driving pleasure.

20131011_183204Within German car ownership in North America, each manufacturer has it’s own groups and factions of enthusiasts. Audi owners have been bestowed (proudly) with the moniker: “Geeks” We don’t mind, and yes, we are undeniably geeky when it comes to our Audis. I even tracked an Audi from Long Beach, Ca to Providence, RI for purchase; and you know what? I went to Rhode Island just to get it and drive it back across the country alone. It was and still is just incredible. My preferred internet forum is Motorgeek, an Audi enthusiast forum that is administrated by an all Audi Retailer, 034 Motorsports out of Fremont, Ca. It was on here that I was able to delve into deep abysses of geekiness, and meant that you could also see the different factions within just this small forum. There are the A4 guys, which you don’t hear too much from. The Audi 200/UrS4/UrS6 guys flaunting big horsepower and massive turbos, the UrQuattro and Coupe Quattro guys with their different views on modification and originality, the loud mouthed V8 owners (I am one) with their years of obvious successes and failures. It is a good time, and a great opportunity to really learn everything you can learn from people that actually drive, own, enjoy and work on their own Audis. It was on here that I met some really good people. I have been sent parts from Lithuania, UK, Germany, Hungary, Canada, New York, New Jersey and Texas from this forum. I have shipped a motor to Salt Lake City, sent a hood to Kansas, and shipped a car to New Mexico.

Now I am at the point in my life where I can take some time to enjoy my Audis and make new friends, while experiencing new adventures. There is a wonderful family of enthusiasts which seem to be the epicenter for Audis in Las Vegas, and they even have an incredible performance shop at LVMS. Hank and John Iroz, as far as I can tell, have been fans of Audis since they have been dominating rallys and uphill climbs in the mid 80’s, and it continues with their family and friends. Hank runs Iroz Motorsport, and creates some of the most beautiful custom headers, turbos and Audi performance vehicles in and around Las Vegas. And, as a tribute, every October, they arrange a meeting for all of us like-minded Audi geeks in and around Las Vegas.

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This is known as Battle Born Quattro. This year was my first year participating and undeniably the best enthusiast weekend that I have been able to take part in. Fellow Audists from all up and down the West Coast came down to play; Northern Idaho, all over Washington state, Utah, California, Oregon, even a few from British Columbia brought their Audis down for the weekend’s festivities.

We began our weekend with a meet and greet at Aliante Hotel and Casino on Friday night. The hotel had even closed off a large portion of the valet for us to park in, and they also opened the car wash facilities for us to use. Having used Motorgeek often, and not have met anyone face to face. It was a perfect opportunity to put a face and person to the online handle and car. We all post pictures of our cars, and sometime family members, but never ourselves, so it was good to finally meet.

20131012_090519On Saturday, we had arranged with Cars and Coffee Henderson, for us to have our own section, so a good portion of the parking lot was slathered in Audi. It was surprising and pleasant to see the appreciation and admiration of the show spectators looking around, seeing a sea of Audis. It was finally a chance to speak with others about how awesome Audis are. Next stop was Audi of Henderson, for a catered BBQ lunch and vehicle show off. Audi of Henderson were great hosts, and Matt J, sales, remembered me and my car from Super Bowl Sunday, when we were both leaving Lee Canyon after a day on the mountain. That is proof of their exemplary customer service. Lunch was great and there was even a favor by a helicopter pilot so we could get some aerial shots of the group. From there, our original plan was to leave the Audi of Henderson, and take Northshore Drive into the Valley of Fire State Park,  but due to the government shutdown, we were detoured onto the Interstates. The caravan pulled into the Valley of Fire and we enjoyed a nice (leisurely ;)) drive in the park and gathered all the vehicles for a group shot, just below the Rainbow Vista area of the park. After a few hours in the park, it was time to make the drive back to Aliante, where there would be a banquet for the group.

The final day, Sean at Iconify LLC, a fellow Audi enthusiast and Lancia (yes, THAT Lancia) lover hosted the entire group at Iconify near LVMS for a campfire breakfast. It was the perfect ending for a weekend of Audis, driving and geeking out. The camaraderie of Audi ownership had brought us all to Las Vegas, and again, it had little or nothing to do with the Las Vegas norm. It was definitely one of the best weekends I have had here in the valley, and I can’t wait for next years event.

If you’re in the market for a car, I recommend looking at Audi. They are relatively affordable, reliable, interchange parts through VW, and can be driven anywhere, in any weather. They will offer you the same gadgets that you would find in any Mercedes Benz, and in most cases for thousands less. Additionally, if you have any questions about Audis or automobiles in general, feel free to shoot me a message. Happy Motoring!


Jake ConleeJake Conlee is a California native that has been blessed with the gift of restlessness. With an undying fervor and passion for what he does not yet know, life is a constant adventure. Truly fearless in implementation of wandering down less trafficked roads, this has led to many ordinary days turning into a treasure hunt. Emblazoned on his arm, the self photographed sign of this incredible City of Sin. He loves this city so much, a mural of Las Vegas is currently under development on his arms. If you need to know about anything in Las Vegas, if he doesn’t know the answer, he will find out for you. He loves Las Vegas, the good, the bad, but mostly the nostalgic. He’s also a sucker for a good hunk of meat. He is, most of all, a father of two girls, 12-year-old “Vern” and 18-month-old “Chuck”


twitter: @JakeInVegas @luckyhuelv @iknowvegas

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