1983 Audi Quattro

From what was arguably the least desirable Porsche product from 1985 yesterday, we move on to the most desirable Audi product from the same period. Contrary to popular belief, the Quattro did not pioneer many of the technologies it is credited with. What it did do, though, was for the first time marry turbocharging, full time all-wheel drive and a slinky coupe shape together with just enough luxury to partially justify its $40,000 price tag. For those not quick with inflation numbers, that’s just shy of $120,000 in today’s buying power – about the same as a lightly optioned 2017 RS7. What you got for that amount was surprisingly sparse; a manual sunroof, rear wash/wipe, and electric mirrors and windows – that was about it. Under the hood, the off beat inline-5 produced only 160 horsepower in U.S. trim, and toting around the best part of 3,000 lbs it was far from the performance produced by dollar-for-dollar equivalent models. You’ve often heard the expression that today’s Camry outperforms a 1980s Porsche? Well, a Kia Soul could give one of the U.S. spec Audi Quattros difficulty in a race. Coupled with a reputation for rusting and poor electrics, these expensive Audis were sold in sparse numbers and are a very rare sight today, especially with lower miles and original like this one:

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1983 Audi Quattro

If the end of the the Group B era was the RS200 I wrote up yesterday, the signature car of the rule set still has to be the Audi Quattro. There’s been a renaissance of the history of the Quattro; like the E30 M3, it wasn’t quite as successful at any given moment as fans of each tend to claim. The Quattro was far from dominant in World Rally – but it was evocative, as the close battles with Lancia, Peugeot and Ford produced the legendary sounds, sights and sensations that still send chills up the spines of anyone who sees these cars in person. The noise of the Quattro alone is legendary and the off-road soundtrack to the 1980s. I’d like to think I capture a little bit of that every time I start up my Coupe GT, but though it sounds really neat it’s nothing compared to the raucous screams of the last E1 cars. It was what made the Quattro the legend that it is. Although the WRC cars were a different breed than the road-going luxury versions, still they were simply put the fastest way to cover ground in any weather in the early 1980s. It helped that they were quite good looking, too, in their own chunky way:

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1986 Ford RS200

Now, before you start shouting at your screen that there’s a blue oval appearing here, I’m aware that Ford is an American-based company. I could go into theatrics about how we’re actually speaking a form of German to attempt to rationalize a Ford appearing on these pages, or I could point out that Henry Ford was awarded the Grand Cross of the Supreme Order of the German Eagle on his 75th birthday – the only American to ever receive this award. Of course, that and Ford’s inclusion in Mein Kampf probably aren’t highlights in the storied history of the family or the company. But it does point towards Ford’s reach across the globe, and indeed the European branch of Ford is Ford of Europe AG, headquartered in Cologne, Germany. If that still isn’t German enough for you, let’s just say that once in a while something that’s partly non-German pops up that we’d like to cover. While usually that’s a Swedish car, today it’s a Ford. But this isn’t just any Ford, okay?

The RS200 was conceived in a world for a world that, by the time it came to fruition, no longer existed. Built to maximize the Group B rules, Ford spanned Europe looking for the best talent to make the RS200 a winner. The body of the car was Italian in design but assembled in France. The chassis and engine designs were perfected by Formula 1 aces in England. It was a winning formula that unfortunately was launched at an time of unprecedented speed and power in the World Rally Championship; a combination that proved deadly. Barely into competition, the FIA changed the governing rules in the WRC and immediately the RS200 was shelved. The result was a few hundred competition ready cars that were hugely expensive with nothing to compete in.

But like the Sport Quattro, 205 Turbo-16, 037 and Delta S4, the Group B cars have all experienced a resurgence in interest in the past decade and appreciation has gone from just a group of oddball, off-beat rally fans to the greater automotive community. The result has been spectacular pricing on models like this 1985 RS200:

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1983 Audi Quattro

At the first Audi Club track event I went to, I excitedly hurried my 4000CS quattro through the hills of Northwest Connecticut to Lime Rock Park. The year was 1997, and while I had been heading to the track for many years this was my first foray to an Audi event. Back in ’97, old Audis were pretty uncommon – hard to fathom considering how scarce they are today. So going to an all-Audi event promised to be a special collection of audacious Audis, and I was certainly not disappointed. There were no less than ten Quattros in attendance, and may have even been more – I struggle a bit to remember, but a fair chunk of the instructor core had them and even a few students showed up with the legendary cars. It was a bit like those nature shows of Ridley Sea Turtles arriving on Mexican beaches once a year to lay eggs; a baffling display of the entire world’s population arriving in one spot at one time when for the rest of the year they’re spread around the world’s oceans. Quattros, especially large numbers of Quattros, are like that. Let’s put some figures into perspective – E30 M3s are rare, right? Sure, only around 5,000 made it to the U.S. with a pretty good amount still being sold on eBay today being driven as they should. 190E 16V owners enjoy pointing out that their cars are much more endangered, as just shy of 2,000 made the Atlantic crossing. Low residuals mean a lower percentage of those original 1,953 still are dog-legging around. E24 M6, E28 M5, E34 M5? Sure, all very low production cars. But the Quattro? 664 came here, and how many are left today is a good question. I’d estimate the number of Quattros remaining alive and in good condition to likely be less than 2/3rds of the original 664 – figure maybe 400 are still around and serviceable. Think about the last time you saw an E30 M3 cruising along down the road (it doesn’t count if you own one or were at a show)? You’re at least ten times less likely to happen across a Quattro. Finally, they’re starting to be appreciated for their special nature, but they’re certainly still critically endangered in the U.S.:

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Motorsports Monday: 1984 Audi Quattro WRC Tribute

In general I like to reserve the Motorsports Monday posts for actual track-flavored cars, but occasionally one comes along that is worth a look even if it’s more of a poseur than pole position. Of course calling any original Quattro a poseur isn’t particularly fair. Out of the box these cars were effectively Group A race cars with some luxury goods fit to them. But the owner of this particular Quattro took the next step in their “restoration” of this 1984 car, modifying the boxflared wonder to look like its fire-spitting WRC brethren. Does it pull it off?

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1985 Audi Quattro – REVISIT

Rounding out our unofficial “Rare Audi Monday” is a 1985 Quattro, one of a reported 73 sold here in 1985. Back in September, this seller was looking to flip and profit from their more reasonable 2013 price of around $15,000 to a seemingly outrageous $79,950 asking price. Well, no one took the bait and proving that the Quattro isn’t the E30 M3, it’s back on the market six months later with a $25,000 price drop. Though it’s more in line with top ask on later Quattros today, it is still very steep for the market and arguably out of line with the current value, which is likely around a further $20,000 less than the new ask. But, since there are only a handful left out there, this is an opportunity that doesn’t come along every day!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Audi Quattro on eBay

The below post originally appeared on our site September 29, 2015:

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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)?

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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:

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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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Fired Up Quattro: 1982 Audi Quattro

Obviously I’m the big Quattro fan here at GCFSB, and I’ve carefully tried to track nearly every example that comes to market in the U.S.. I was frankly a bit surprised to see this one pop up, as it comes from a fellow enthusiast who has really enjoyed using the car as a collectable show car over the past few years. A staple at European events like S-Fest and Carlise, this Quattro has been seen and admired by many, who now have the opportunity to own their own rally legend:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1982 Audi Quattro on Hemmings

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