The early 1980’s is often thought of as the “golden era” of rally racing. The principle governing body for motorsports, the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), introduced a new category called Group B in 1982 to replace the rear-wheel drive Group 2 and the sportscar class Group 4 categories. Group B permitted all-wheel drive drivelines and near limitless horsepower output. With relatively low production numbers needed to satisfy homologation requirements, this class prompted the development of some of the fastest and most powerful rally cars in the history of the motorsport.
One of the manufacturers that responded to the opportunity to compete in Group B was Audi, who campaigned the first all-wheel drive vehicle in rally racing. In a field dominated by rear-wheel drivelines, Audi engineers effectively pioneered and implemented an all-wheel driveline into the Audi Quattro 80 A1 (urQuattro, or “original” Quattro). With rally drivers such as Michèle Mouton, Hannu Mikkola and Stig Blomqvist behind the wheel, the Quattro dominated. Audi won the constructors’ title in 1982, and second place in 1983, validating the effectiveness of all-wheel drive.
Despite its innovations, the Quattro was not without its weaknesses. Excessive length and weight became apparent when compared to its peers in the class, Ford, Lancia and Peugeot. Audi furthered its development of the Quattro, leading to the eventual introduction of an even higher performing Audi contender, the Sport Quattro S1, in 1984. In the hands of Blomqvist, Mikkola, Walter Röhrl and Mouton, the Sport Quattro S1 raised the bar once again. Audi was at the top of the constructors’ podium once again in 1984. In addition to Group B competition, the Sport Quattro S1 proved formidable on the mountain. With Mouton behind the wheel, it won the 1985 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb and set a hill climb record.
The Quattro on offer today was bought in Glasgow by the current vendor. He then undertook a bare metal respray. Mechanically the car is fitted with an S2 20 valve unit, the car was re-assembled by Quattro Concepts of Watlington and it has covered a mere 3,000 miles since the work. Said to drive superbly this iconic example of the Quattro warrants a closer inspection.