Meeting a legend is a strange experience. If you’re an admirer, there can be too many things that pop up in your head at once, which you then try not to express so you don’t come off as obnoxious. Or you can just blank out from sheer excitement. You may find yourself saying inane things, like “I’m your number one fan,” resulting in awkward smiles all round. Misery. If you’re not a fan, you don’t really know what to say. “I liked you in that thing you did… you know…on TV, like ten years ago.” Disaster. Either way, you can be a little tongue-tied.
The Audi Quattro is a legend. No question. Launched in March 1980, the 5-cyl. all-wheel-drive coupé broke new ground for performance cars and transformed the genre. Then Audi entered it as a rally car, where it dominated the field to such an extent that everyone went AWD in short order. It was one of those rare trailblazers that re-defined a category of cars for a generation. That’s about all I know – and all I care to know, really – about the “Ur-Quattro,” other than this one’s slightly less abrupt nose makes it a post-1985 model.
If I were Jim Klein, I could wax lyrical about this car all day and probably most of the night. Alas, I’m not, so I won’t. To my eyes, the Quattro was unfortunately born a few years too late, at a time when Giugiaro was perhaps too dominant in European design. There’s nothing positive to be said about the styling, which I realize is completely incidental in this particular car, as the really interesting bits are underneath.
I didn’t have time to photograph the interior, which is a damn shame. If the exterior is anything to go by — this car might as well have escaped straight from the Ingolstadt Museum – the interior must be a true time-warp. And much as I don’t admire the styling or the era all that much, time-warps are always fascinating.
This is another one of those CCs, like that Lancia Prisma I posted last month, that just came to me. It was about 5PM when I saw this familiar Audi shape from my balcony, parking itself almost in front of our building. I saw the driver get out, so I hurriedly put my shoes on and went downstairs to get a better look. Gotta love Tokyo’s excellent CC delivery service.
By the time I had crossed the street to get a decent three-quarter front shot, the owner was on his way back. I managed to catch the Quattro as it went off – discreetly, not in a flurry of decibels like an air-cooled Porsche or an Alfa. Audi built just over 11,000 of these well-behaved automobiles in 11 years, so I’m not holding my breath until I find another one on the street. Hopefully, if I do, I’ll know what to say.
CC Capsule: 1987 Audi Quattro, by James Pembroke Tenneson
Classic Drive: 1984 Audi Sport Quattro – I Drove My Hero, by Jim Klein
Taken in a vacuum, this car’s styling is rather awkward. But then so is a Porsche 911’s not to mention the Lancia Stratos’. But I can’t look at an ur-Quattro without seeing it in Martini colors, leaping over a hump in a dirt road with dust flying, and then the stubby wheelbase, boxy flares, and slab sides look just perfect to me.
Ooh, ooh, ooh! What a stunning example, you are correct, I could talk about this forever but would rather just look at it or better yet, caress it…never mind drive it.
It’s most likely an ’85-’87, that flat badge style was changed across the range for ’88 to a more three dimensional chrome style with a set of rings in the center of the boot lid. And then the ’91s with the 20v engine got just the rings on the boot, nothing else.
The wheels are much larger than stock, they still work but a set of white Ronal R8s would make just as big a statement. The color is rare too, and the little stripes around the lower third and at the extreme bottom are all intact as well, simply amazing, I don’t think this car gets out all that often.
While fundamentally a Giugiaro design, the transformation to Quattro style was done by Englishman Martin Smith, the box fenders and integrated bumpers were his idea as well as the lower flare and then the subtle improvements over the years.
Very, very nice.
GOD YES!! I agree. This is simply beautify inside and out and a game changer launch. Haven’t seen this color before. If it was bright red with the white wheels…omg Omg. it’s getting hot in here. But Then again audi can never do harm in my eyes so I’m very biased lol
I think this particular color is Titian Red Metallic although it looks a lot like the later Cyclamen Red. I don’t think there’s a color that this looks bad in, and there have been a wide range over the years.
I had a 1984 4000S quattro. Officious people used to make a big deal about this turbocharged coupe being a capital Q Quattro, while all other all-wheel-drive Audis were lower-case q quattros. I guess nobody had thought of this when Audi put a badge on the back of this car.
The facelift doesn’t look so bad on this car, perhaps balanced by the box flares. I thought it added too much mass the ends of cars like the 4000S and the Coupe GT. Unfortunately this car does Audi’s attempt at the ’80s digital dash folly.
I’ve loved the quattro coupe since it was new, and actually liked the styling… sorta like a mutant 1st-gen Scirocco, and that wasn’t a bad thing. That they were technically dominant was just another reason to want one, but alas, a 2Lt’s salary wasn’t about to make that happen in 1986. Still on my list for a spot in my dream garage.
Never saw one in this color, which is quite attractive.
Someone likes their Quattro. Looks better than new!
This is very attractive. Very modern in the sense of it having a rather “busy” design, just with an underlying ’80s squareness.
Superb photos, and that is such a beautiful soft rich red metallic colour, thanks Tatra, oh and I get the wobbly knees feeling when standing in front of a hero..
Very very very very very very
These are worth big money these days. I always loved the look, so much better than the regular coupe, though I have rarely seen one in the metal.
I’ve never really liked the Quattro, until I saw this one. That colour transforms it, and those wheels don’t look out of place at all. Very tasteful, and obviously well-loved, too.
Truly amazing find — it’s been so long since I’ve seen one of these, that I’d forgotten about some of the details, like the Audi rings on the lower door panel (I’m assuming these were standard; I don’t think I’d ever seen one without them).
And the color is mesmerizing. At first I’d assumed it was a repaint, but now I guess not. I’m typically not much of an enthusiast for bright colors, but this sure looks better than silver!
Well just come out and say it, why don’t you? Don’t go hiding behind mealy-mouthed fudges. If you don’t like it, you don’t. Be bold. Say so.
I’m with you. The ’80’s had some decent dry spells in the styling departments – too much cocaine, and too-tight red braces strangling the gonads, perhaps? – and this is squarely from one of those deserts (or, this is a square from one). I haven’t any doubt it was a revelation to drive, but you might accidentally get back into, I dunno, an ’82 Passat – or a fallen phone box – when you returned after lunch. (Actually, if it was the ’80’s and you could afford one of these, you didn’t return from lunch, and if you did, you certainly couldn’t remember, in the dark, where you parked, or what, but I’m digressing).
Perhaps a kinder way to express it would be to have said that the stunning engineering of this car is cause for great excitement, with looks that have a refreshingly inverse effect.
All that said, this one here is as nice as they can look. Unlike most heroes, it’s flawless up close.
That is such a very awesome find! Rather like Old Pete said, I never much cared for them back in the day. As if I ever saw one in the flesh. But this fine example in this color really changes my feelings entirely. And I do rather expect that the interior is equally immaculate.
Excuse me while I wipe the drool off my keyboard…
I’m a long time Audi fan, and this is a particularly nice Giugiaro designed cake with muscular frosting. Very tasty…