February 20, 2001

Southern Hospitality: APR BBQ Draws a Crowd
Article and photos by Don Pavlik

To many, Auburn Alabama may not even be a blip on the radar to many, except perhaps for college football fans. This sleepy little southern town is a mere hour and a half drive from Atlanta and easily accessible by plane or automobile from most of the southern United States. It's precisely this quiet little town that the folks at APR plan to put on the map for any red-blooded American Audiphile through their own mere presence and their perseverance to develop some of the most intriguing accessories offered for Audis.

In their mission to help make the world aware of Auburn and their own cool toys, APR chose to hold a barbecue at their facility on February 10th. Turnout for the event was impressive, especially when you consider that this was a one-day event and involved some form of travel for most enthusiasts.

Attendees were primarily drawn by the fellowship of other Audiphiles and a rare chance to tour APR's facility and learn more about the people behind the products. Owners drove or flew in from as far away as California, Michigan, Florida, Texas and of course many of the nearby Southern states.

A tasty southern BBQ got the day off to a good start and gave everybody an opportunity to get acquainted with each other. For many, months or years of communication via the internet was finally blessed with much anticipated in-person introductions.

After lunch, APR opened their doors and invited attendees in for a tour of the facility. The tour covered three primary areas, the first of which was their well-equipped shop with a vehicle dyno, lift and all of the other standard tools of the trade. It appeared as if the shop was capable of servicing 3-4 cars simultaneously.

Following our visit to the shop, we moved on to the R&D office, equipped with CAD workstations running Pro/E drafting software (pretty serious stuff!). Humming away in the corner of their R&D office was a 3D Systems' SLA (Stereo Lithography Apparatus) system, which will literally grow prototype parts out of a liquid photopolymer cured by an ultraviolet laser beam.

The ultraviolet laser traces the entire cross-section of a prototype part, moves the assembly 1/10th of a millimeter down into the liquid photopolymer then traces the next cross-section. Through this process the prototype part "grows" in a matter of hours. The SLA system allows APR to design, build and test components in a very short period of time, providing a serious competitive advantage because parts that previously had to be sent out are now prototyped onsite.

Leaving the shop, we were escorted upstairs to APR's upstairs work stations where they upgrade, program and test ECU's along with some other electronic components that are built in-house. The area is equipped with two soldering stations, ECU programmers and a test rig allowing ECU checks without installation into a vehicle.

Once through the entire facility, the folks at APR gave attendees free reign to roam about and take a closer look at things. Grown-ups soon became like kids in a candy store.

Soldering station

ECU programmers

Circuit boards

For dessert, APR chose to follow the tour of the facility with a new product announcement session. These included:

  • Stage 3 turbo upgrade with Garret ballistic series ball-bearing turbo for transverse 1.8t engines (Audi TT, VW Golf/Jetta) producing 280 hp.
  • Stage 3 brake upgrade: 4-piston calipers with specifically designed pistons to maintain proper brake balance, 13" slotted, floating rotors and braided steel lines. The brakes will clear the factory rims (14" rotors also available although larger wheel sizes would be required for clearance). S4 brake upgrade is still in development.
  • EMCS programmer. This programmer allows APR customers to download software from the APR web site and perform software upgrade at home. No need to ship the ECU back for an upgrade!
  • A replacement intake system for the S4 biturbo that will eliminate the troublesome throttle body boot on the S4.
  • New stainless steel exhaust systems with CNC machined mounts for improved fitment and flex joints to reduce exhaust stress.

EMCS home programmer

Biturbo intake system

New exhaust

APR also had a camera crew on-site from the television show Speed Zone. Nick Snyder and Ed Palisoc, both frequent AudiWorld forum participants, were interviewed and given a chance to provide detailed information about their cars. With a little luck Nick and Ed may make their TV debuts sometime soon on Speedvision.

Quiet on the set!

Ed Palisoc being interviewed

Speezone host

All in all, APR's first barbecue was a huge success and proved to be an informative and entertaining day well spent. The opportunity to spend some serious tech-talk time with APR's staff was icing on the cake. We look forward to APR turning this into an annual event.