Contrary to popular belief Audi were not the first to bring all-wheel-drive to performance cars. However their ‘quattro’ system undoubtedly brought all-wheel-drive performance into the mainstream, and it changed rallying forever.
Launched in 1980 the Audi quattro brought several innovative new technologies into one glorious package, including all-wheel-drive, turbocharging, and a delightfully weird inline 5-cylinder engine. Audi entered their new car in the World Rally Championship’s Group B category, winning the championship in 1982 and 1984, plus the Pike’s Peak Hillclimb too.
By 1985 a variety of all-wheel-drive turbocharged rivals had caught – and then overtaken – the rally pioneer, beating Audi at their own game. This led Audi Sport to chop a chunk of length from the quattro’s wheelbase and up power to a very unofficial 500bhp+. The Sport quattro was born, a comedically ugly machine that was devastating effective. Best of all due to the FIA’s homologation rules a few hundred Sport quattros had to be produced for the road, meaning you could buy your very own World Rally Car for trips to Walmart.
Suggested by a reader we have both the rally and road versions of the Sport quattro in today’s post, each brilliantly built in Speed Champions scale by previous bloggee Marc ‘Edge’. There’s more to see of Marc’s rally and road Sport quattros on Flickr – click the links above to head to a gravelly forest circa-1985.