Celebrating Craftsmanship With This Proper B7 Audi RS4
Being born the son of a true craftsman, one who worked on the iconic house you see behind this 2008 Avus Silver Audi B7 RS4, Mac Tatosian of Proper Detailing and Garage in Sierra Madre, California learned that details are key to fine design.
Robert Tatosian, Mac’s father, was a self-taught artisan and opened Arroyo Design in 1987. The business was known for its American Craftsman Style fixtures and lighting and was a push back against factory made and sterilized designs of the 1970s. Tatosian’s handmade works were amazing pieces of art that connected with houses built in that era as he was influenced by architects like Frank Lloyd Wright. People who worked with delicate details by hand and created a unique piece, even if the same piece was used over and over, each one had its own charm and character; stuff that takes time, and why that era will never come again in the "instant-gratification" world we live in.
If you’re a fan of the “Back to the Future” trilogy, you might recognize this as “Doc” Brown’s house from the first film. However, it is known as the Gamble House after David Gamble of the Procter and Gamble Company.
It was designed as Gamble’s winter home—he and wife, Mary, hired Greene and Greene to design it in 1908. Greene and Greene were a Pasadena, California architectural firm started by brothers Charles and Henry Greene in 1894. Their designs would go on to become the staples of the American Arts and Crafts Movement of the late 1880s and into the 1930s. Every part of it takes nature and natural elements into account of its architecture.
This was why Mac's father, Robert Tatosian, was chosen to restore the lighting fixtures of the home in the 1980s. Like much of his work, Robert Tatosian incorporated wood, stained glass and brass into all the lighting fixtures to match the style of the Gamble House. Beyond just this, he also worked with many Frank Lloyd Wright homes, the Blacker House, and many other historical and landmark homes.
While Mac didn’t follow into his father’s footsteps of lighting craftsmanship, he did follow into his dad's obsession of the vehicular notion. Robert owned a fully built Cobra 427 replica, which started Mac’s obsession of cars. It should be no surprise that the Audi he owns is one with a V8 under hood. However, what makes this RS4 special is that of the 2,100 produced for the US, this is one of 310 in Avus Silver. A color named for the AVUS – or Automobil-Verkehrs-und Übungsstraße which roughly translates to Automobile Traffic and Training Road – in Berlin, Germany that was opened as a controlled-access highway in 1921.
The AVUS was also used as a racing circuit until 1998 when it became a part of Bundesautobahn 115, but the race control tower still stands at the north end of the road and used as a public restaurant and motel. The grandstand also remains as a historic monument.
Further setting the RS4 apart from standard S4s is that beautiful factory widebody with a custom touch done to the headlight housings. The chrome plating and the amber turn signals were both removed from the headlights.
Despite not being the original owner, as Mac purchased this RS4 in 2018, it is a very clean interior. It had little details that needed work but if you had seen it before, you probably wouldn’t notice what changed. For Mac, though, his family history and his own work as a vehicle detailer meant that he saw the problems like someone with sore thumbs. The OEM Recaro Seats look nearly as good as they did out of the factory.
Since you have to touch the steering wheel and shift knob every time you drive a car, Mac decided to add a personal touch inside the car, but adding a weighted suede wrapped shift knob from Black Forest Industries, with a matching shift boot to add a bit of personalization to the clean factory RS4 interior.
While being a 4.2-liter, aluminum V8 was an influence for the purchase, there was more to it than just that one part. He wanted that with an all-wheel-drive and manual transmission. The only thing that could hit all those marks for an Audi enthusiast was the RS4. Also, with the manual transmission, Mac can make it sing up to 8000-RPM. It’s a unique song for many V8s without an Italian heritage. He keeps it in top shape thanks to regular oil changes with LIQUI MOLY 5W-40 Synthetic Oil.
To get that proper exhaust note, Mac modified his exhaust system with a set of Hooker Header cutouts to make it far more vocal than stock.
To get it looking good over those 19x9.5 +20 Avant Garde M590 wheels, a set of H&R Coilovers are adjusted to sit the car just right. Enveloped around those AG Wheels are a set of Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 tires. Just under the fronts are a set of Brembo Eight Piston Fixed Calipers – similar calipers as the 2008 Lamborghini Gallardo – with a pair of 14.4-inch drilled and vented rotors. The rears feature Audi single piston calipers with 12.8-inch drilled and floating rotors.
Right now he's focused on growing his detailing business, but Mac does have plans to take this RS4 up several notches in the future. He wants to procure a set of European-only Recaro wingback seats, repaint the calipers and rear diffuser, add a new steering wheel with matching e-brake, and improve handling with a set of sway bars.
However, it's hard to top such a great car from Audi. The RS4 was their super-sedan, especially when you consider the BNS V8 was borrowed from the mid-engine R8. It won’t stop Mac from exploring what can be done but will certainly come down to those fine minutiae rather than the bombastic ones.
Mac says it best himself, “The fact that it’s an all-wheel-drive, manual, Euro sedan with an 8000-RPM redline, naturally aspirated V8 is what sets it apart. It’s not very often, or at all, that you would come across a similar vehicle, at least here in the United States.”
Story by Justin Banner
Photos by Antonio Alvendia
If you enjoyed Mac's Audi RS4, you can find additional Audi-related content at audi.fcpeuro.com, as well as more build features like this one, here. If there's anything specific you would like to see, or if you have any questions/comments, leave them in the comments section below.
Written By: Antonio Alvendia
FCP Euro Content Producer and Sharpshooter Antonio Alvendia is an aficionado of cameras, rare wheels and die cast cars. He got the bug for European car culture by taking photo trips to automotive museums and racetracks in the UK, Germany, France, Belgium, and Italy... and began buying E39 BMW wagons shortly thereafter. Now he is making plans to achieve a bucket list goal of shooting the Nurburgring 24H race. ••• Instagram : @antoniosureshot