It is, admittedly, quite hard to lump the importance of one car into the same category with yesterday’s M3. But if there’s a German car from the same period that deserves to be mentioned in the same breath, it’s certainly the Quattro.
True enough, the U.S. version wasn’t really as quick as you’d expect it would be considering the Deitous stature levied upon it by fans of the brand. But if you looked up “game changer” in the dictionary, an image of the Quattro should certainly appear next to it. So advanced was the thinking behind this car that today it’s still the recipe being followed by many manufacturers nearly 40 years later. And those iconic boxflares that the M3 sprouted? That’s right, they appeared here first. While in some ways the re-work of the design sullied Guigiaro’s clean silhouette, the result was monumental and again the basis for all of the important be-flared WRC fighters that came after. The M3 was only one to copy the style; the Celica Alltrac Turbo, the Escort Cosworth, The Lancia Delta Integrale, the Subaru WRX, and the Mistubishi Lancer Evolution are but a few of the turbocharged, all-wheel drive and box-flared cars that would go on to become legendary in their own right. But the one that started it all has finally gotten some recognition over the past few years. Great examples of the Quattro are few and far between, so when they come to market it’s something very special. And this particular Quattro is really exceptional:
The Quattro is finally getting some market recognition, as automotive collector trends are celebrating both landmark vehicles and rally stars of the 1980s. Of course, Audi’s halo vehicle combined and defined both of these attributes into one package capable of capturing imagination and launching a brand. But with only 664 originally imported to the United States and a fair bit less than that still here today, coming across examples for sale is very much harder than what you see in the Porsche, Mercedes-Benz or BMW market. As a result, it’s cause for celebration every time one pops up, and wallets full of internet cash emerge at the ready to click “Buy It Now”.
In this case, though, not so fast….
The Audi Quattro was not nearly as dominant in World Rally as pretty much every article you read says it was. That may sound shocking, but in the years the Quattro “dominated” the WRC, it only won the driver’s and constructor’s championship together one time – in 1984. In 1983, Hannu Mikkola won the driver’s title in a Quattro, but the constructor win went to – wait for it – a rear-drive Lancia 037. In 1982, Audi’s design won the constructor’s championship, but again it was rear-driver Walter Röhrl in an Opel Ascona that captured the driver’s title. Those shortened, screaming, flame-belching bewinged monsters you’ve seen on numerous clips? Well, the truth is they were never very successful, as the much better balanced Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 swept the end of the Group B period up. If you want real dominance in that era, though, you need to look at the Lancia Delta Integrale, which captured every title from 1987 to 1992.
But the Quattro was evocative. The sound was memorizing. And even if the recipe was perfected by other makes later, it was Audi’s design that revolutionized the sport with unfathomable speed and aggression. So compelling was the Quattro, that long after Audi had retired from Rally and was now dominating race tracks, plenty of enthusiasts were trying to recreate the magic on their own:
By 1984 the writing was on the wall, and the wild formula called Group B was mutating cars as if they had been supplied nuclear-tainted drinking water. Lancia went from the nutty but awesome and pretty 037 to the much nuttier, much less pretty but significantly faster Delta S4; a mid-engined turbocharged and supercharged all-wheel drive wonder. That matched Peugeot’s effort with the 205 Turbo 16, a mid-engined turbocharged and super-balanced all-wheel drive hatch. The competition was lighter and much better balanced than the Audi was, and all-wheel drive was no longer the trump card. The Audis had been fast but also a bit prone to understeer – something that won’t surprise anyone who has driven a 1980s Audi. Additionally, they were heavy compared to the competition even when fitted with aluminum blocks instead of the road-going cast iron. One last complaint that the drivers had was that the windshield rake meant there was a tendency to have a large amount of glare that distracted the driver and navigators. Plus, Audi was at the limit of what it could develop reliably with the 10 valve turbo motor.
The response was the Sport. To drop weight, Audi chopped the best part of 13 inches out of the middle of the Quattro, making it a two seater unless your passengers had no legs. They took the doors from the short-lived 4000/80 5+5 2-door and the windshield from the 4000/80, too – it was much more upright than the normal Coupe. The flares grew as well, another few inches in girth allowing now 9″ wide Ronal R8 wheels with larger tires. The body was made from carbon fiber and kevlar to help cut weight and was produced by noted special vehicle producer Baur in Stuttgart. And under the vented hood lay what would become the party piece; the 2.1 turbo motor now sporting 20 valves.…
If the GTi from earlier was expensive for an economy car in 1984, the Audi Quattro was near ridiculous in its pricing; at over $35,000 in 1982, it was more expensive than most Porsche models at the time, including the 911. But the Quattro was the R8 of its day, redefining Audi’s place in the market and introducing exotic performance to a more mainstream crowd. It wasn’t revolutionary in any one particular way; turbocharging and 4 driven wheels has previously hit the market in other applications. But the Quattro combined World Rally Championship performance in an everyday package that could comfortably carry 4 adults with luggage in style. They’ve been legendary since new, but not always appreciated as such – though Audi’s recent acceptance and acknowledgement that it did indeed build cars before the A4 has helped the rising market value of these models. Arguably the most valuable in general are the last model year; updates to the weak point computer and fuse box, coupled with the perfect stance 8″ Ronals and updated interior, along with slightly revised headlights and trunklid meant these were special cars amongst an already rare bunch. Less than 100 made it to these shores, so coming across them today is something of a treat:
Last October, I wrote up a few different Quattros, and this Gobi Beige model was one of them. Sacrificing some originality in favor or reliability and drivability, it appears well modified and ready for its next driver. The price for this gold goodness is high for 10V non-original Quattros at $21,500, which explains the lack of sale, but the car is well modified and you could easily spend $5,000-$6,000 on a lesser example trying to get it sorted. As the market continues to head up on these rally legends, this car starts to make more and more sense!
The below post originally appeared on our site October 23, 2013:
Group B. Perhaps one of the most storied series in motor racing, not only for how it advanced the art of racing, but for the sheer madness of the competition itself. These races put drivers and spectators alike on the edge of disaster, which was demonstrated by some of the most deadly accidents ever seen in motorsport. With the death of Finnish driver Henri Toivonen and his co-driver Sergio Cresto in the Tour de Corse, FIA banned the class and with it the curtain closed on one of the most outrageous racing series in history.
This chapter in motor racing has passed us by, but Group B has had lasting effects on both race and street vehicles, as evidenced by this car, the Audi Sport quattro. By shortening the wheelbase by about a foot between the B and C pillar, the weight distribution over the standard Ur-Quattro was improved. A body of carbon-kevlar kept the weight down and explosive power was on tap via the 2.1 liter turbocharged five cylinder engine, replete with a 20 valve head. Sixty miles per hour arrived in 4.5 seconds, which made this homologation special virtually untouchable in its time. This Sport quattro is on offer in Stuttgart, Germany.
Model: Sport quattro
Engine: 2.1 liter turbocharged inline-5
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 58,000 km (~ 36,039 mi)
Price: €250,000 (~ $326,650 USD)
The Audi Sport quattro was produced in a quantity of 220 units, for a further 4 copies of items were produced. The production was made up as follows:
4 pieces assembled in separate parts, which were not completed
(Specification of Audi Motorsport)
134 pieces in tornado
48 pieces in Alpine White
21 pieces in Kopenhagenblau
15 Units in Malachite
2 pieces in black
89 of the vehicles in the color tornado came in the free sale.
One of my all time favorites, the original Audi Quattro, was one of the most technologically advanced cars of its time. One of UR Quattro’s the most significant contributions, was the addition of permenant all wheel drive, ultimately making “Quattro” a household term. The first sports car with permanent all-wheel drive, the rally quattros rewrote the book to both road going cars, and more notably motorsports. Because of the URQ, all World Rally Championship cars are four-wheel drive, and so the Audi Quattro legend was born.
This beautiful Gobi Beige UR Quattro for sale outside Chicago is a well kept example of Rally car history.
Model: Ur Quattro
Engine: 2.2 liter inline five
Transmission: 5-speed manual
For Sale 1983 UR Quattrro
Third owner from new,
Rust free West Coast car.
Complete history from new.
97,000 miles since new but no miles on rebuild.
Fresh Gobi Beige/Mocha interior
20v 3b with fresh bearings.
4:11 Frankenstein rear diff.
034 stand alone ECU just updated.
Bumper shocks compressed for shortened/euro bumper look
Sport q cf hood.
Built to spec fmic.
Hank Iroz intake manifold.
Rs2 exhaust, injectors, etc.
034 ss exhaust.
New dashboard with taxi pod & period correct radio.
All new bearings & upgraded bushings,
3 sets of wheels 6″,8″ & Fuchs.
The list is endless plus spare parts
I can send complete detailed rebuild pictures.
Please no tire kickers.
You’ll have to see this to believe it.
$19,000.00 or best offer.
Added more pics of finished car today.
You may notice a few things;
I deleted power mirrors.
The radio is 1984 not 1983
Zeitronix wideband display instead of diff lock
The carpet is clean but not new.
I have the stock steering wheel if you don’t like the Nardi look.
In a meeting with a sports psychologist yesterday, he brought up the concept of “re-framing,” and how important it is to be resilient and positive. This can be challenging with cars, especially older European ones. When the list of things fixed starts taking up pages, it can test ones loyalty to their car. But then fixing it, helping it get healthy and last a little longer, can be extremely rewarding. So sure, 193k miles on a rare rally car may seem like a lot, and the “this this and this fixed, needs a little of this and that and the some more this” can be intimidating, but we can re-frame this situation: This is a really clean Ur-Quattro, progenitor of the box-fender, all-wheel drive and turbo madness, and it’s still running pretty strong. Each thing you inevitably fix on it is more of a donation to the Awesome Old German Car Foundation than the money pit.
The description is a bit dense, but if you feel like seeing the creeping signs of age in the attention needed, check out the link.
Despite my best efforts, I’m an optimist. I truly think owning and slowly improving this car would be more rewarding than frustrating. The exterior is truly gorgeous here; it’s begging for some attention in the interior and maybe a 20V swap down the line. Bid up to a reserve not-met at $4,550 at time of writing, if it stays below $7,000 I’m going to put this on the “good deal” list.
Similar to the E30 M3 Evan recently posted, today we’ve got an UrQ that has massive potential but is hampered by some warning flags that leave me skeptical. Let’s begin through an optimistic lens: A 63k mile Quattro blew its head gasket thanks to a stuck thermostat in the mid-1990s, and was left to wallow in its injured state for over a decade (garage find!). The current seller, a Porsche/Audi shop, picked it up and swapped in a 115k-mile 20v turbo from an Audi 200 and G60 brakes. The extended rest in a garage left the interior pretty darn clean, but the exterior, maybe good from 20 feet away, needs plenty of work. This is where the skepticism starts.
1983 Audi Ur Quattro for sale on Audifans
My biggest problem with the ad is the amount of hyberbole (“done swaps 100 times more complicated,” “we’ll pull it out in another 10 years when it’s worth $50,000) and subjective comparison (“nicer seats than on my 70k miles 944 turbo”). Just reading it makes me feel like I’m being swindled. The poor UrQ was apparently given a tire-iron exterior treatment by the previous owner’s ex-wife, so it needs a bit of dent work and a paint job. All these issues might make one think they could get a great project Ur-Quattro for a good deal, but the seller sees things differently. He’s asking $17k, based partially on his extrapolation that it will be worth $50k in 10 years (…I don’t think so) and that 2Bennett Audimotive estimates $14,900 for a similar swap. Flags go up here for me as well as to the seller’s logic, because whereas this Audi has a stock 200 20v that once made either 162hp or 220hp, the 2Bennett conversion comes rocking 285hp. Judging by the vagueness throughout the ad, I’d say there’s a good chance it’s the 162hp 20v.…