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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.

Motorsport Flashback – Kiwi rallying in the 1970s

Rallying arrived in New Zealand in 1973 like a tsunami. It had been only a few years since the sport was introduced here and shortly afterwards Heatway came on board as the sponsor to take rallying to a new level. The 1973 Heatway would be the longest and biggest yet, running in both islands with 120 drivers over eight days and covering some 5400 kilometres. The winner was 31-year-old Hannu Mikkola — a genuine Flying Finn who had been rallying since 1963 before putting any thoughts of a career on hold until he completed an economics degree. The likeable Finn became an instant hero to many attracted to this new motor sport thing. I was one of them.

Think of it as a four-door Cooper

New Zealand Mini Owners Club coordinator Josh Kelly of Dunedin loves his Minis. It’s a family affair. Julie and Mike, Josh’s mum and dad, are just as keen, and they can usually all be found taking part in the club’s annual ‘Goodbye, Pork Pie’ charity run from the North of the country to the South.
But lately Josh’s young head has been turned by some other revolutionary BMC cars. He has picked up a couple of Austin and Morris 1100 and 1300s, which he started to restore — that was until an opportunity arose to buy a rare example stored in a shed.