At $28,000, Is This Custom 6-Speed Stick 2015 Audi A3 TDI a DIY Deal?

Photo: Craigslist
Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

Modifying your car so you can do more work is a noble goal, and as exemplified by today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Audi, it can make it one of a kind. Will the price however, make it the kind that’s too expensive?

Hey remember back to last Wednesday? You might not. That was before those of us here in America downed a total of more than 46 million turkeys, and as we all know, the tryptophan in turkey can cause drowsiness and short-term memory loss. Don’t even get me started on what the gravy does to you.


Anyway, allow me to refresh your memory. Back on Wednesday we looked at a seemingly tidy 1999 Volkswagen Cabrio, that came with an equally tidy $3,000 asking.

I averred that these cars are presently undervalued and could make a good investment. Most of you responded that I was nuts, but you did like the car at that price, and it took home a solid 73 percent Nice Price win.

Have you ever been to a restaurant and really wanted the surf and turf but were told that you couldn’t get them together, you could only get surf or the turf? I know, it’s a super common problem. If faced with that artificial limitation set by an obviously clueless restauranteur what would you do? Would you just accept the situation realizing only half your desired meal? Or, would you barge into the kitchen and dump that delicious sea food right down on a plate next to a sizzling steak while shouting “This is what I want, and this is what I’m having”?


I’m guessing that the seller of today’s 2015 Audi A3 TDI falls into that latter category, and good on him for doing so. You see, when faced with the reality of Audi only offering automatics on the A3 here in the U.S., he thought, hey that’s not good enough. And then he went and replaced the factory DSG with a non-U.S. market 6-speed manual.

Describing his occupation as VW/Audi Master Technician he was seemingly well equipped to turn the car from off the rack automatic to tailor made manual. After all, if you’re going to do something like that it pays to know what you’re doing.


The 2010 A3 was Audi’s second modern diesel offering here in the U.S., the first being the Q7 oil burner which debuted in 2009. Today, Audi, like its parent Volkswagen, has given up on the diesel in America due to the sad fact that VAG is quite literally made up of a bunch of dirty liars. That makes the TDIs that are here a fixed supply and as they have a bit of a cult following, those remaining diesels should continue to attract a decent market.


This one, being a manual has a smaller but I’d say much cult-ier audience. The 6-speed stick residing. in place of its 6-speed DSG is the dream of the vast majority of car enthusiasts who proclaim fealty to the three-pedal footwell, even though reality means that 98 percent of cars sold here are automatics.


Still, if you want a stick and really like the little A3 sedan—which honestly is a very nice car to begin with—then here’s your chance to have one where the work is already done.

I should note here that the current owner—veedubtek—sent me his listing. I’m not trying to do him any favors here by featuring his car, I’m doing so because it’s damn interesting. He says that he wanted the car that Audi wouldn’t sell him, and hence spent four-months of sweaty armpits to make it so. Why didn’t Audi offer the car with a stick here? Because the market for manual A3 TDIs extended solely to veedubtek and maybe two or three more of you out there. You know who you are.


The more important question is why, after those four months of labor and who knows how much sunk into making this A3 row-yer-own is he selling it? The explanation involves a move. The seller will soon become Florida Man and with that move his commute will be walking distance and hence he sees the car moving on.


It won’t move on with much alacrity however. The A3 2.0 TDI is known for its exceptional fuel efficiency but not really for much in the way of the poop department. With the DSG, the zero to sixty time is a good 8 seconds. With the less efficient shifting manual? Well, it’s probably a half-tick or so longer. Still, it’s more fun, right?


There’s 85,000 miles on the clock, which is a shit-ton for a 3-year old car. Those are said to be highway miles and the car doesn’t look any worse for wear for them. It rides on lowered coilovers at each corner, and the wheel arches are filled with dark-hued aftermarket alloys.

The interior seems to be in decent shape and the conversion to stick looks as factory as you could ask. It supposedly drives factory too as it’s claimed to throw up no warnings, and even the shift indicator works as it should.


There is question as to whether the car could pass inspection or smog test in States where such things go down. I know that out here in California where I butter my bread, it would get booted from the emissions test with a shame on you thrown in to boot.


That shouldn’t stop everyone from considering this mad manual though. There are places where it will get by just fine. The price however, may prove a stumbling block. The asking is $28,000 and as we discussed, there’s likely a small audience for this car. Could you be a member of that audience? Could you see any member paying that $28,000 asking? What’s your take on this custom A3 diesel and the work that’s been done to it, could they together justify that price?

You decide!


Charlotte, NC Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to veedubtek for the hookup!

Help me out with NPOCP. Hit me up at and send me a fixed-price tip. Remember to include your Kinja handle.

Share This Story

About the author

Rob Emslie

Rob Emslie is a contributing writer for Jalopnik. He has too many cars, and not enough time to work on them all.