Anyone who's ever stood in the cold on the side of a dark mountain road waiting for those headlights to come flashing by can understand the desire to own this car.
This 1984 Audi Sport Quattro is not only the works car of world champion Hannu Mikkola and Arne Hertz, but is probably the fastest street legal way two people can be transported from A to B, whether on tarmac or gravel.
The Sport Quattro is an evolution of the Audi Quattro, which took over world-class rallying. The Sport, with the marque's celebrated
permanent four-wheel-drive transmission, was one of just 200 homologation special versions of the volume-produced Quattro coupe, and only one of approximately 20 assigned by the factory for competition work.
These supercars were only available in left-hand drive and were equipped with an all-new, 20-valve alloy block. They can be easily identified by their shortness (the wheelbase being 29-cm shorter than the standard Quattro coupe), some seriously bulging wheel arches, rear wing vents and single, square headlamps.
Chassis number 108 was initially prepared by the Audi competition department. Producing a mightily impressive 530 hp, the turbocharged, 2,144-cc, five-cylinder power unit has been modified from the original 2,122-cc capacity motor by Leimans of Lichtenstein. The engine was last rebuilt in 1999, we are told, and since then it has only done some 300 miles at track days and demonstrations. The last service was carried out 60 miles ago.
The current condition of panels and paintwork is said to be excellent, the electrics all work, and the engine and transmission are both reportedly in excellent order. The approximately 10,000 km displayed is believed to be the genuine total. In terms of the levels of ride, handling, braking, traction, and acceleration that can be enjoyed, this ex-works rally car is most unlikely to be bettered. Being one of only 20 or so short-wheelbase Quattro Sport competition cars, this ultimate Group B is not only extremely rare, but with the benefit of rally-winning Mikkola provenance, it is also unique.
|1984 Audi Quattro Sport
|200 (approx. 20 competition)
|Original List Price:
|Tune Up Cost:
|Chassis Number Location:
|left-front window plaque, also on firewall in engine compartment
|Engine Number Location:
|center of block, spark plug side
|Audi Club North America, 111 North Main Street, Oconomowoc, WI 53066
|Ford Escort RS200, Lancia Delta S4, Peugeot 205 T16
This 1984 Quattro Sport sold for $170,004 at the H&H auction in Buxton, U.K., held on December 9-10, 2003.
There are some people for whom adrenaline is the ultimate
addiction. This is generally true for all participants in motorsport, but for those few that require levels consistent with stark terror, there is rallying.
While going way too fast on winding public roads in awful conditions has always been an exciting occupation, in the early 1980s Audi upped the ante big time. As the Healeys, Minis and Porsche 911s of the ’60s gave way to the Lancia Stratos and Renault Alpines of the ’70s, tires, horsepower and handling all improved, but two-wheel drive put an effective limit on horsepower. More than 250 would simply be wasted, as you couldn’t get it to the ground in gravel or snow.
Audi changed all that when they introduced the Quattro, the first four-wheel-drive rally car that actually handled. At the 1980 Algarve rally in Portugal, Audi served notice when a Quattro was used as a course car (first car through, to clear the roads). Had it been a competitor, it would have won by 30 minutes.
In 1982 the FIA changed the rules to accommodate the new reality of four-wheel-drive, Audi’s competition started to follow suit, and the era of the turbocharged, huge-horsepower “Killer B” cars was at hand. This lasted through 1986, when a series of very nasty incidents caused the FIA to banish the Category B cars as too dangerous.
The Quattro evolved substantially through this period. From 1981-1983 the rally cars were racing versions of the production chassis, but for 1984 and 1985 Audi built the Sport Quattro, a shortened-chassis car with a 20-valve, in-line five-cylinder engine and a very large KKK turbocharger. In 1986 Audi produced the Quattro S1, nicknamed “Batmobile” for its radical wings, cooling vents, and aero skirts. Quattro Sports and S1s won the Pikes Peak hillclimb in 1985, 1986 and 1987, among dozens of international competitions.
As part of writing this profile, I had the pleasure of a long conversation with John Buffum, the winningest American rally driver ever, and a successful factory-backed Quattro pilot in the 1980s. He said that the great joy of driving a Quattro was all the horsepower (of course-Buffum was driving a TR-7 before he caught on with Audi). But the cars used a locked coupling between the front and rear differentials, which made them understeer badly, leading to a serious problem on hard-surfaced courses where the two-wheel- drive cars were more nimble. On gravel and snow the advantage went the other way, particularly in American-style “secret” rallies, where you didn’t know the course ahead of time.
Proper technique for diving into an unknown corner involves
braking with your left foot while keeping your right foot on the gas to keep the turbo spooled up, letting the understeer scrub speed until you can see the exit. Then let off the brakes and you’re off like a rocket. (Note: professional driver, closed course, snowy road, no guardrails, big trees. Do not try this at home!)
Somebody chose to pay a serious chunk of change to own the Quattro Sport pictured here, and you have to wonder where the value is. In terms of official competitive events there’s really nothing you can do with it. The vintage rally circuit is exclusively for earlier cars, and for this sort of money there are a lot more exciting cars you can buy to take to track days. I suppose the new owner can have some fun living out rally driver fantasies and terrifying passengers on some deserted back road, but that’s about it.
Even so, anyone who’s ever stood in the cold on the side of a dark mountain road waiting for those headlights to come flashing by can
understand the desire, and guilty pleasures never come cheap. An
associate likened it to buying a date with a porn star. You probably wouldn’t want to tell too many people about it, but between the anticipation and the experience. Wow, what a ride!-Thor Thorson
(Historical and descriptive information courtesy of the auction company.)