One of our readers not so subtly pointed out to me that I mention a certain box-flared car from a certain manufacturer perhaps a bit too often when reviewing Audis, and perhaps he’s right. Isn’t the Quattro enough of a legend to stand on it’s own? The answer is that until quite recently, no – it wasn’t. In part that’s due to the experience of the diluted American market version and Audi’s near denial that it built any cars before the A4. 160 horsepower with the best part of 3,000 pounds to haul around isn’t even enough for most Subarus these days, so it should be no surprise that the Quattro’s performance suffered in U.S. spec. What also suffered was buyer’s pockets; at $40,000 in the early 1980s, this car was the equivalent of nearly $100,000 today. Though the driving dynamics were more than the sum of their parts, ultimately Quattro was dropped after a short run in the U.S. market with 664 sold. Despite the relative sales flop in the U.S., the Quattro had a greater impact in Europe, where its fresher and lighter face was paired with 40 more horsepower and steadily improving performance and technology coupled with its major rally successes. Indeed, the last of the RR Quattros continued on alongside the replacement S2 until the end of 1991. It was so stellar, there was a whole segment of forced induction, flared WRC candidates that copied its blueprint. Remember the Celica All-Trac Turbo? Sierra Cosworth? How about the 323GTX? Golf Rallye? Lancia Delta Integrale? Subaru Impreza 22B? All of them are legendary cars born from the Quattro. As there is more appreciation for Audi’s 80s halo car in Europe, we’ve seen a steady stream of nice examples head back to the homeland from U.S. shores. Perhaps it’s time to turn the tide?
All posts tagged Quattro
The B2 Quantum has always been an interesting car to me. As my first car was an Audi 4000CS quattro, there were aspects of its Volkswagen sibling that I really liked. First, while I wouldn’t say that the Quantum was more handsome than the 4000, it was certainly more distinctive looking. There are some downright odd angles on the Quantum, but somehow the design pulls it off. It’s also more rare to see them, or at least it felt so when I was driving around in the 4000. Then there were more practical things; for example, unlike Audi who ran the odd 4×108 pattern for slightly larger brakes, the Quantum stuck to smaller stock and retained 4×100 mm wheels. That made upgrades a bit easier and gave the Quantum a signature look with the GTi-sourced snowflake wheels. You could also get the 5-cylinder in front drive sedan configuration with the GL5; it was something Audi offered early on but had dropped, instead having only the Coupe GT be the front drive 5-cylinder. But the real trump card for the Quantum was undoubtedly the Syncro Wagon, as there was no Audi B2 wagon available in any configuration:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Volkswagen Quantum Syncro on eBay
If the Coupe Quattro John sent in earlier wasn’t really the Audi I’d choose to build or buy, the S6 he found certainly was the opposite. Last week I wrote up a clean S6 6-speed converted car. It was lovely in just about every detail, but there were a few niggles that I would have done differently. Enter today’s S6; in 2003-only Aqua Blue Pearl with the optional Alcantara seats, this stunning S6 is just about perfect in my book and just like the silver car features a 6-speed swap:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Audi S6 Avant on Craigslist
A few weeks ago, our reader John sent me a listing on Craigslist for this car. I immediately laughed. It’s not that the car was modified to look like an RS2 in the front and resprayed. On the surface, that’s pretty common and overall it looks reasonably done. It’s not that the car didn’t get a matching engine transplant; the unappreciated 20 valve normally aspirated 7A inline-5 is still there. It’s not that they didn’t do a 5-bolt conversion with larger brakes. No, what made me laugh was the color – Sprint Blue Pearl. That’s a B7-spec color, and while to non-Audi nerds it may not matter, it’s the wrong color. Nogaro Blue, technically, would also be the wrong color, since the RS2 was oft-anointed in the special shade of RS Blue. Now, technically that color seems to be the same color as the later B5-chassis shade, but nevertheless the person who repainted this car in the spirit of the RS managed to be 3 generations off in color. It’s that kind of attention to detail that always worries me about modified cars: