Estonians turn an old Audi 100 into a wood-fired sauna

A group of friends in Estonia have turned a 1984 Audi 100 Avant into a cosy wood-fired sauna.

If you saw this third-generation Audi 100 Avant parked on a street corner, 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-panelled sauna. Only the steering wheel and the 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 they could keep. The total cost was just €200.

Works as a car and a sauna, but isn’t road legal

Two weeks later (and in time for the party), SaunAudi was born.

The steering wheel and the gearbox weren’t just left inside for show – 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.

Even so, the lack of seatbelts and seats is the only thing that prevents the car from being legally driven on the roads, according to Willem Mäesalu, the owner of 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.

The sauna car also boasts a sound system, LED lights and an outdoor deck on the roof for cooling off between sessions in the hot room.

This is a lightly edited version of the article originally published by Adam Rang in Medium. You can follow Adam’s take on Estonian sauna culture also on InstagramFacebook or TwitterImages by Adam Rang.