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Old-school rally legends under the hammer

17 March, 2015

Over three decades on from its release, the Audi Quattro is a cult icon for some, and is fondly remembered by many. Why? The Ur-Quattro (‘original’ Quattro) helped four-wheel drive gain traction (sorry) in the mainstream motoring market, and enjoyed considerable success in international motorsport.

Though it shared much of its bodywork and componentry with the Audi 80 coupe, it departed tradition with a four-wheel-drive system and independent-rear-suspension system. The engines offered throughout the Quattro’s life were all turbocharged, in-line five-cylinders, though the original was a single overhead cam (SOHC) in-line five with intercooled turbo, producing 200hp.

The car was a hit with both customers and racers, and won Audi the Manufacturers’ Championship in 1982 and 1984, and the Drivers’ Championship in 1983 and 1984. Audi’s 1983 World Drivers’ Championship was taken out by Hannu Mikkola, in a Group B Quattro, which he had also used in the 1982 Monte Carlo Rally, where he placed second, and the Swedish Rally, where he finished 16th.

This very car has been restored and is now up for auction at Bonhams’ inaugural Members Meeting Sale on March 21, along with a 1985 Audi Quattro Sport SWB Coupe — understood to be one of the six original cars delivered to the UK. Both cars have estimated values of over £220,000, befitting their status of rallying royalty.

Becoming fond of Fords part two – happy times with Escorts

In part one of this Ford-flavoured trip down memory lane I recalled a sad and instructive episode when I learned my shortcomings as a car tuner, something that tainted my appreciation of Mk2 Ford Escort vans in particular. Prior to that I had a couple of other Ford entanglements of slightly more redeeming merit. There were two Mk1 Escorts I had got my hands on: a 1972 1300 XL belonging to my father and a later, end-of-line, English-assembled 1974 1100, which my partner and I bought from Panmure Motors Ford in Auckland in 1980. Both those cars were the high water mark of my relationship with the Ford Motor Co. I liked the Mk1 Escorts. They were nice, nippy, small cars, particularly the 1300, which handled really well, and had a very precise gearbox for the time.
Images of Jim Richards in the Carney Racing Williment-built Twin Cam Escort and Paul Fahey in the Alan Mann–built Escort FVA often loomed in my imagination when I was driving these Mk1 Escorts — not that I was under any illusion of comparable driving skills, but they had to be having just as much fun as I was steering the basic versions of these projectiles.

Fear and loathing the blue oval – part one

The slogan went something like ‘There’s a Ford in your future’. ‘Bugger off!’ were always the words that sprung to my mind. Ford and I have never really got on in the manner of many of my friends, so I’d say my relationship to the brand was distant. The accelerating blur of passing time has helpfully blanketed memories of a few Ford encounters which I probably wanted to forget but I have to admit, now I look at them, they are re-appearing through the mists of time. What comes to mind more readily, to quote some uncharitable wit, is that the letters Ford could stand for ‘fix or repair daily’. Still, I have to ’fess up, there were several Fords in my past.