The seminal Audi Sport quattro celebrates a quarter-century of all-wheel drive performance this year.
Launched In 1983, the "Shorty", as it was affectionately known, caused a sensation as the most powerful series-produced German car - it's wheelbase was truncated by 320mm compared to the standard car.
As a commemorative exercise Audi will be represented at the 20th Techno Classica in Essen, Germany (from 26 to 30 March 2008) with the motto "25 years of Audi Sport quattro".
All-wheel drive heritage
Five featured series-production vehicles will occupy the Audi stand in Hall Seven. As a special feature, Audi will be presenting the latest addition to its own historic collection: the notorious Audi Sport quattro Group B rally car.
There are only five remaining examples of this race car worldwide. For model car collectors Audi will now be offering a strictly limited edition - 333 units - 1:43-scale model car of the car, the first of which can be purchased at the Techno Classica.
The Audi Sport quattro has a very special story to tell. In order to keep ahead of the rally competition, the "Ur-quattro" was taken, the wheelbase was shortened and a twin-camshaft engine with four valves per cylinder was developed.
Group B madness
To race such a car for Group B rally competition, the international rules governing the sport stipulated at least 200 units had to be produced.
Exactly 214 units left the production plant at Ingolstadt, and were sold all around the world for just under 200,000 German marks each. For a very long time it was the most expensive car Audi had ever put on sale.
Group B rallying, unfortunately died with its most famous son, when the epically talented Finn, Henri Toivonen, was killed during the 18th stage of the Tour de Corse in 1986 driving a Lancia Delta S4.
When it was presented at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1983, the road-going 225 kW "Shorty" was the most powerful series-production German car.
The body of the Sport quattro was made of aramide- and fibreglass-reinforced plastic and carbon/kevlar composites. The racing version of the car performed well in the rally world championships in 1984 and 1985, but did not produce the technical breakthrough the Audi team had hoped for.
At the time, 22 cars were manufactured by Audi Sport, just five of which still exist today. In late 2007, Audi succeeded in acquiring one of the rare Audi Sport quattro Group B rally cars. There are still about 140 of the 214 series-production Sport quattros built.