Στην ερχόμενη δημοπρασία του, στις 21 Μαρτίου, ο οίκος Bonhams θα βγάλει στο σφυρί ένα αυθεντικό Audi Quattro A1 rally-car.
Το συγκεκριμένο, κατασκευάστηκε το πρώτο τρίμηνο του 1982 και ο αριθμός chassis του είναι 900012. Στα χέρια του Hannu Mikkola, τερμάτισε το Rally Monte Carlo του 1982 στην δεύτερη θέση –πίσω μόνο από τον Walter Rohrl και την Opel Ascona του– πριν αναλάβει καθήκοντα δοκιμών για την σεζόν του 1983. Στη συνέχεια, μετατράπηκε από την ίδια την Audi σε Group B-spec και πωλήθηκε σε έναν Φιλανδό εισαγωγέα.
Κάτω από το καπό, βρίσκεται ένας πεντακύλινδρος, υπερτροφοδοτούμενος κινητήρας με χωρητικότητα 2.1 λίτρων που αποδίδει 200 άλογα στην road-legal έκδοση του και “σημαντικά περισσότερα” στην αγωνιστική. Φυσικά, όντας ένα τόσο σημαντικό μοντέλο, η εκτίμηση του Bonhams για την τιμή πώλησης, ξεκινά από τα €335.000 και φτάνει τα €395.000.
One of the most influential designs of recent decades, the Audi Quattro brought four-wheel drive into the motoring mainstream. Introduced in 1980, the Quattro was based on the outwardly similar Coupé’s bodyshell but used a different floor pan to accommodate its four-wheel-drive transmission and independent rear suspension. The engine was a development of the five-cylinder, 2.1-litre, single-overhead-camshaft unit first seen in the 200 saloon. Equipped with a KKK turbocharger, it produced 200bhp in road trim with considerably more being available in competition tune. Phenomenally fast and sure-footed on the road, the Quattro excelled in international rallying, winning the Manufacturers’ Championship for Audi in 1982 and 1984 and the Drivers’ Championship in ’83 and ’84, but its enduring legacy would be the demonstration of four-wheel drive’s advantages for passenger cars. Since then Audi has gone on to apply its quattro 4WD system to many other models but only the original (or ‘Ur’) version is spelled with a capital ‘Q’.
Audi’s win in 1983, when Hannu Mikkola took his first World Drivers’ Championship, had been achieved despite a rule change that placed the Quattro at a notional disadvantage compared to the lighter two-wheel drive Lancia Rally 037. Manufactured during the first quarter of 1982, this well-restored Group B Quattro is one of the works cars that helped him achieve that well-deserved success after so many years in rallying. Mikkola used ‘900012’ (at that time in Group 4 specification) in the 1982 Monte Carlo Rally, finishing 2nd behind the Opel Ascona of Walter Rohrl, and in that year’s Swedish Rally in which he finished 16th. It was then retained for training duties well into the 1983 season before being converted by Audi to Group B specification and sold. Its purchaser was the Finnish VW/Audi importer and for the next few years the Quattro would be driven by the famous ex-SAAB rally driver, Antero Laine.
Laine’s first outing with ‘900012’ was the 1983 Lombard RAC Rally, from which the car retired. He went on to win the Finnish Rally Championship in 1984 and ’85, and the Arctic Rally three times in ’84, ’85 and ’86. In 1987 the Quattro was sold to Erkki Heikkurinen, who used it to win that year’s Mantta 200 Rally, and then in 1988 passed to Sakari Vierimaa. The car was driven throughout that season and into 1989 by Markku Valtonen. Sold to Raimo Skog in 1989, it was restored by him and used to compete in rally sprints and ice races in Finland. In 1991 the car was purchased by Anders Carlsson, the well-known Audi collector in Sweden, and placed on museum display.
In February 1995 the Quattro was offered for sale at Brooks’ Olympia auction (Lot 276) together with a number of other cars from the museum, where it was purchased by the current vendor. At that time it was stated that the engine had had a recent top-end overhaul but would benefit from some further attention to the bottom-end before being used in anger again.
On taking delivery of the Audi, the vendor despatched it to the prominent marque and rallying specialists Konrad Schmidt Motorsport GmbH in Cadolzberg, Germany for a thorough inspection and all works necessary to return it to top condition. Since then the Quattro has been maintained in excellent condition as part of the vendor’s private collection of important motor cars. It is currently registered in Greece on Historic plates. According to the bodyshell number punched into the bulkhead, this is a genuine works car with factory chassis, and has the body plate in the correct position. Communications on file from Audi AG confirm that this is a genuine works car, and the Quattro also comes with a full list of its race results in Finland for the period 1983 to 1991.
An evocative survivor from one of international rallying’s most evocative periods, this car has the added distinction of having been driven by one of the greatest drivers in the history of the sport.