1982 Audi Quattro

The same dealer who brought us the cool 2002tii Touring and M3 convertible has another European-specification treat that they’re taunting us with. This time it’s an original Audi Quattro, bucking the trend of these cars heading back to Europe. An early 1982 example, it’s painted Alpine White like the factory rally cars were and features the early WR 2.1 liter inline-5 turbochanged motor and 6″ Ronals. Unlike U.S. spec cars, European models got the full-fat 200 horsepower, bringing performance more in line with equal priced contemporaries from Porsche. There are some other neat things to see – for example, it’s a non-sunroof example – fairly rare among a group of cars that’s already quite dear, and of course sports the better looking European bumpers with integrated headlight washers and foglights. With only 85,000 miles on the clock and in mostly original condition, does this one check the right box(flare)?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1982 Audi Quattro on eBay

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1983 Audi Quattro

Considering what it takes to be called a supercar these days, it’s somewhat amazing that in the early 1980s the Audi Quattro sparked such a revolution. After all, the boxflared wonder arrived in the U.S. costing about the same as a Porsche 911 but sporting only 160 horsepower. Factor in the relatively heavy for then (though admittedly light by today’s standards) 3,000 lb curb weight, and the Quattro was anything but high performance by the standards we consider today. But a revolution in performance it was, as it allowed you to push the car hard in any condition with confidence. Recently I watched the old Motorweek clip on the Quattro; performance was about what you’d expect from the numbers presented above and is probably on par with a base Honda Civic these days. But still the reviewers raved about the performance of the luxury coupe, and though few sold on these shores they’ve always enjoyed a cult following which today is growing into a greater appreciation:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 Audi Quattro on eBay

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Motorsport Monday: ex-Mikkola 1982 Audi Quattro Group 4/B Rally

Motorsports seems to undergo a giant leap every decade or so, where rules changes or massive shifts in technological innovation immediately render the existing designs antiquated. I was thinking of this while watching Le Mans a few nights ago; only a decade after the swoopy 917s ruled the tracks of Europe, the ground effects era of the 956/962 would be ushered in. Fast forward another 10 years and they’d be effectively completely gone because of rule changes as prototypes moved towards open cockpit designs once again. Innovation was not limited to prototypes, though; everything from touring cars to Formula 1 goes through similar cycles of design and innovation, and for fans of each series there are favorite periods. For many in Formula 1, there are the evocative memories of the wingless Cosworth-DFV powered V8 missiles sliding around Spa’s course – or perhaps the flame-spitting Turbo Era and the birth of the Senna legend. For Touring Car fans, it comes down to preference, but I love watching those early to mid-1990s BTCC races, personally. And in World Rally, for many it’s the era that defined the spectacle of the WRC; the roaring Quattro and it’s complete revision of the rules of how to go off-road racing. Big budgets, legendary designers and drivers, an unconventional layout and one absolutely roaring 5-cylinder soundtrack was a recipe worthy of the notoriety the Quattro has gained:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1982 Audi Quattro Rally on Classic Driver

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1967 Mercedes-Benz 230

Even when you consider their historical involvement in motorsports, there are some Mercedes-Benz vehicles which, on the surface, seem ill-suited to racing. Such is the case with this rally prepared 1967 230 for sale in California. The Mercedes tradition in my family began with a 1962 190C, so I have a soft spot for these W110s. The late 1960s would spell the end for the Heckflosse, or Fintail, but today, they are one of the most accessible Mercedes-Benz classics to be had.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1967 Mercedes-Benz 230 at Mohr Imports, Inc.

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Motorsports Monday: Audi Quattro Rally Car

While I’m sure we’ve all had moments of regret, I’ll share one of mine. It involves a crazy story of how close I got to a owning Quattro. Several years ago, my then brother-in-law was really into Toyota pickup trucks from the 1980s, and seemingly was buying every single one on Craigslist. He called me,quite excited, one day saying that he needed a hand picking one up not far from where I lived. As a bonus, he told me, the guy owned an “old Audi race car” that I’d like seeing. This somehow turned into me driving to my parents home to get the car trailer, then back to the guy’s home to pick up this Toyota. The wheels were locked and I had to use the tow straps as come-alongs to tow the wreck of a pickup onto the trailer. Once done, sweaty and annoyed I turned my attention to the boxy silhouette that lay behind where the truck had been. The red and brown stripes were unmistakable in their journey over the flared arches and up over the angular C-pillar; it was an Audi Quattro. And, it was in a horrible state; sitting in weeds, the composite hood was warped and full of holes; no engine lay under where it haphazardly lay. Closer inspection revealed that the flares were larger than normal, too – but it was a bit of a wreck. Proudly the owner told me how he was going to restore this car to it’s former glory as an SCCA ProRally car; I nodded in the knowing way that it was unlikely under his ownership to turn another wheel judging by the pickup I had just dragged onto my trailer. I left, shaking my head a bit that it was a car wasted.

Fast forward a few years and I got a call from my brother-in-law; he had heard from the seller of the pickup who wanted to get in touch with me about the Quattro. I told my relation that I wasn’t really in a place to pay for another car – especially one which looked like that car did. But a call to the owner revealed he was in a spot of bother and needed to get rid of the car. If I simply turned up and dragged it out, it would be mine. Hurriedly, I jumped in my truck and was off to pick up the trailer. About 3 miles from my parent’s home, a loud “BOOM” greeted me when leaving a stoplight. The truck still moved but the transmission was obviously not right. I got underneath to find a large hole in the transfer case; so began my complete hatred of General Motors. I called the owner, disappointed, telling him I couldn’t make it. He, too, was disappointed, but put a call in to another potential party who turned up to pick up the car. I was about 20 miles from classic Audi Quattro ownership, and it slipped through my fingers. True, it was probably a mixed blessing – the car needed a full restoration and would have been a bit of a money pit, and it wasn’t an original factory works car but one that had been converted – but running across a listing like today’s similarly converted car makes me wonder what it would have been like:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: Audi Quattro Rally Car on Race Cars Direct

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1983 Audi Quattro

It’s a sigh of relief to see a market correction in classic Audi’s favor. For such a long time, Audis were simply unappreciated; but innovative designs, great looks and solid build quality mean that those who hung on for the depreciation ride are now smiling a bit more. There’s simply more appreciation for the classic Audis now then perhaps ever; even perhaps more than when they were new. That’s because back then, no one knew what they were, really – but today, the legend of Quattro has spread and thanks to the proliferation of internet video, we still get to hear the raucous barking and watch the belching flames from the turbocharged inline-5. This past weekend, I took my Coupe GT out for a ride. I grabbed my cousin and we went to look at a new car for him; a 2009 Subaru WRX. Much like a modern interpretation of the original Audis, it’s apropos that we arrived in an Audi to take a look at it. What was perhaps more striking, though, was the reaction of the Subaru crowd. We showed up to a Subaru speed shop where the WRX was to be view, and instantly once within earshot, all of the crew at the garage came out to see the approaching Audi. It was a genuine show of respect, smiles, and thumbs up from a crew you wouldn’t automatically assume would know their history. Even more shocking, though, was the resounding appreciation they showed for the old car – more than often is seen at Audi-specific events. That’s the legend and the importance of the Quattro:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 Audi Quattro on eBay

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Motorsports Monday: 1997 Audi A4 1.8T quattro

This past weekend, thanks in no small part to the atrocious weather pattern that seems to be sitting over my head in New England, I missed an opportunity to head to Warner Lake in New York and do some ice driving. While my participation in these events has generally involved instructing students and having a lot of sideways fun, the Audi events I attend are usually run in conjunction with a ice racing organization. If you think Audi quattros are top dog, then you need to see the heavily modified sprint cars on studs running around the ice. They put anything you could drive on the road to shame. But presuming you actually did want to drive there, older Audis are still pretty attractive options to have an ice racing car. First off, they’re good on the ice – especially the older generation cars with less electronic interference. Secondly, they’re generally pretty cheap and mostly reliable. Along with older Subarus, they seem to make up the brunt of cars that head to the ice. Of course, finding a decent older Audi quattro these days isn’t always easy. One possible solution is to look towards the glut of cheap A4s that litter these shores.

I was recently having a discussion about this with my cousin. We both owned 4000 quattros as our first cars, and both are nostalgic about having one, but coming by a decent one can be difficult and the reality is that they’re pretty slow out of the box. The A4, in comparison, isn’t much quicker out of the gates thanks to a heavier chassis; but unlike the B2 they’re plentiful, parts are easy to come by, and select one with the 1.8T motor and you can turn the wick up quite a bit. Plus, near us there’s an A4 for sale every day of the week for less than $2,000 – most of them in pretty reasonable shape, amazingly. But instead of building an ice race car yourself, maybe it’s easier to just buy one that someone else has already built:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1997 Audi A4 1.8T quattro on eBay

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Motorsports Monday: 1985 Audi Quattro Rally Car

Few motorsport images are quite as evocative as the legendary period of Group B; flying machines spitting stones and belching flames as they skirted trees and rocks at breakneck speeds with crowds only inches away. The ever more powerful cars hurtled their drivers in increasingly lighter and more delicate evolutions of cars towards immovable objects – an act which is some cultures would probably be akin to ritualistic suicide. By 1985 the writing was on the wall; it was a deadly sport that needed to be reigned in. But perhaps more than any other period, this is the time that rally fans and motorsports fans in general identify as one of the most memorable and important periods in racing history. Obviously, the big winner of the period from a reputation standpoint was Audi. The car that helped to define and end the period of wild turbocharged excess, the Quattro has obviously been the spawn of many replicas, such as this one for sale today in England:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Audi Quattro “Group B” Rally Car on eBay

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Double Take: Modded or Stock 1983 Audi Quattros

For some time, the Quattro remained an undercover legend amongst enthusiasts. Saddled with an unfair reputation from media hype and enthusiasts’ misconceptions, the Quattro was remarkably affordable until very recently – especially so when you consider the ascension of other ’80s icons. But Audi’s acknowledgement that they built cars prior to the A4, coupled with some star power from the British show Ashes to Ashes and universal acknowledgement of the car’s impressive stature in the halls of automotive history mean that it’s still a star on the rise – especially in Europe, where the car is seriously coveted. Americans are just catching on in the grand scheme of things – and their delay means that many of these turbocharged all-wheel drive wonders have gone the way of the Dodo. It’s not as if there were many to choose from initially, with only around 11,500 of them produced and a majority of those remained in Europe. The U.S. only saw a few years of importation; a reported total of 664 made it here – and though they’ve maintained a devoted fan following since they were pulled from these shores in 1986, it’s nevertheless been difficult to find good examples of these cars today. They’ve become regarded as quite cool; the mystique of the turbocharged, box-flared World Rally Championship car for the road – the original Quattro is unsurpassed in the realm of cool Audis. Today, we’ll look at a mild and modded example and see which is the one to grab:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 Audi Quattro on Craigslist

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1985 Audi Quattro

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:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Audi Quattro on eBay

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