The game changer. That’s what the Audi Ur-quattro was. Everyone (at least: many) knows it was the first 4wd rally-car. But do we all know it paved the way for that extremely awesome FIA (FISA back then) Group B set of regulations?
I’m not exactly sure what came first: The development of the quattro or the change of ruling for rallying to allow four wheel drive. I’ve read the FISA allowing 4WD for the quattro as it was definitely a proper production car and I’ve read that Audi came up with the quattro as a rally car when the FISA started allowing 4 wheel drive rally cars. Fact is it became the car to beat.
Not that quick actually, it took a while. Three years after it’s introduction a driver using a quattro won the WRC championship, Hannu Mikkola from Finland. The year before that Audi Sport already won the manufacturer’s championship but none other then 4wd-guru Walter Röhrl became world champion in a... RWD Opel Ascona.
It had become clear four wheel drive was simply necessary on gravel, mud and snow by then. But no other carmaker competing in the WRC actually had a 4wd car in their line-up. So there was a strong lobby for a new set of regulations allowing small series of cars to be able to compete: Group B.
Then all hell broke loose with flimsy fibre-glass bodies (that resembled roughly the shape of the standard car) tacked onto lightweight space-frame chassis, four-wheel drive, and power outputs reportedly as high as 600 hp and a mid-engined lay-out. Leading to the death of Henri Toivonen in his epic Lancia S4 and marking the end of the Group B era within four years.
It is kinda strange the Ur-Quattro has such an image of a successful rallycar though. Yes: it was the first 4wd rally car. But it “only” won Audi 2 WRC championships, one of which was in the Group B era. Lancia’s Delta HF Integrale did that 6 times in a row just after the end of Group B.
It’s not the first time an Audi Ur-quattro is featured on LaLD. Former quattro-owner TFritch showed us his red 1/43 Minichamps before. This one is a 1/43 as well. And some sort of Minichamps. It’s a model you can obtain at your local Audi dealership but it’s built by Minichamps. And I have some remarks, let’s focus a bit.
That rear side-window has that famous quattro label alright, it clearly isn’t covering the whole cut-out piece of the cast though, just look at that gap of the lower part. The rear-wheels don’t allow proper rolling and it looks as if that rear-axle is a bit stuck upwards. Can’t imagine that being right so PAGING TFRITCH: do the rear wheels of your’s actually roll?
I can’t complain too much though as it was a gift from my brother who works at an Audi dealership. And as an admirer of German engineering I had to have at least one quattro in my 1/43 collection.
Minichamps does have it’s details alright. Those Ronal wheels, the Audi-logo on the side: all things the 1/1's of that time came with. Now I just need to find me a Group B Audi quattro Sport with it’s shorter wheel base in 1/43. And maybe one with the more modern front from the facelift in 1985.
Das war es wieder für heute. Will take a while before I’ll do another Audi as I don’t have many. Probably just my love for Porsche and BMW in general that keeps me from getting more. And Audis all do look alike anyway, especially nowadays ;-) Nevertheless: Wouldn’t mind to see more Teutonic stuff today so gear up! Tschüss!