The Sport Quattro was created to allow Audi to compete against the Lancia 037 and Peugeot 205 T16 in the World Rally Championship's Group B.
Introduced by the FIA in 1982, Group B let makers take huge advantage of available technology because it required that just 200 cars be produced to homologate a vehicle, and had no restrictions on turbocharging. As a result, 1980's Group B cars were some of the most powerful in the history of rallying - and some of the furthest-removed from their production equivalents.
1985 Audi sport quattro S1
While successful, the original Quattro had proven to be a little heavy for rallying although the four-wheel-drive had made for excellent roadholding. So for 1984, the Sport Quattro debuted, with a wheelbase some 32 centimetres shorter than the standard car's to improve handling. The car also had a six-speed gearbox, a 2133cc engine that made some 444bhp, a less-raked windscreen from the Audi 80 to eliminate the distracting reflections drivers had complained about in the standard Quattro and to make it even lighter, the body was made of carbon-kevlar. At the end of 1984, the car was upgraded, becoming the Sport Quattro S1, powered by a slightly smaller 2110cc 5-cylinder engine. Smaller though this was in capacity, it was more powerful, producing some 500bhp. Externally, the car gained a new rear wing and front spoiler. Walter Röhrl won the 1985 San Remo Rally in an S1.
A roadgoing Sport quattro in black
A final version, the S1 Evolution, was created, but by 1986, the WRC had pulled the plug on Group B and the Evolution's reign as one of the most powerful vehicles in the class - producing some 590bhp - was short-lived. Still, the car enjoyed further success when its combination of power, handling and roadholding - thanks to the Quattro four-wheel-drive - won it the Pikes Peak Hill Climb three times over, in 1985 with Michèle Mouton at the wheel, in 1986 for Bobby Unser Sr. and in 1987 with Walter Röhrl driving.
In accordance with Group B rules, Audi homologated the Sport Quattro by producing 224 of the cars, with the roadgoing version sold for four times the cost of a standard Quattro coupe. Auto Art's 1/18 model of a roadgoing Sport Quattro in red really captures the car's drama in amazing detail!