These Estonians turned an old Audi into a cozy wood-fired sauna
It cost them €200 and still works as a car too.
If you saw this 1984 Audi parked on a street corner then you might think there is nothing particularly remarkable about it — at first glance.
Look a little closer though and you’ll see a chimney sticking out of the bonnet.
Peer inside the windows and you’ll see that the chimney is connected to a sauna stove in the front passenger seat and that the entire interior has been converted into a wood-paneled sauna. Only the steering wheel and gearbox remain.
This sauna was created by a group of friends in Estonia who were once planning a sauna evening at a location that was still under construction. They first looked at options for renting a mobile sauna, but calculated that it would be cheaper to simply buy an old car and all the parts needed to convert it into a sauna that they could keep. The total cost was just €200.
Two weeks later (and in time for the party), SaunAudi was born.
The steering wheel and gearbox weren’t just left inside for show though. Incredibly, it is still a working car as well as a sauna.
The wooden panels beneath the steering wheel can be removed to reveal the pedals too and then it can be driven around — although not on public roads.
“Seatbelts and seats” are the only things that prevent the car from being legally driven on the roads, according to Willem Mäesalu who owns the car.
When looking for a sauna to rent, some people now turn to them first so it has already been towed to a number of events across Estonia.
They’ve also added a sound system, LED lights, and an outdoor deck on the roof for cooling off between sessions in the leiliruum (hot room),
We discovered SaunAudi this weekend in Rakvere for the city’s first Eesti Saunafestival (Estonian Sauna Festival), which included weird and wonderful saunas from all over Estonia. We’ll have another article and video shortly about other saunas at the festival.
But SaunAudi is now one of our favourite saunas.
We hopped inside with Inno Pagil, one of the Estonians behind the project, and he gave us a tour. Here’s our video:
EDIT: We’ve received a lot of media enquiries over the past few days since publishing this article. It was first covered by Estonian World then picked up by BBC News! One small correction though: Some media outlets said it was formerly a funeral car. Actually, the Audi is described in the video as one of the models that were sometimes used as funeral cars, although this particular one has never been one.
A sauna festival in the Estonian town of Rakvere over the weekend had some unusual steam room conversions on display…www.bbc.com
Since you’re here…
We love exploring weird and wonderful saunas all over Estonia — and we also have our own smoke sauna in Tallinn, Rangi saun.
If you enjoyed this article then you can check out our Estonian Saunas blog here and also follow Estonian Saunas on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. We also have a Facebook group for fans of Estonian saunas.