The Audi quattro and its permanent all-wheel drive presented at the 1980 Geneva Automobile Salon triggered the all-wheel drive vehicle wave throughout the world and revolutionized international rally events beginning in 1981. To keep the rally competition at bay also in the long term, in summer 1982 Audi in Ingolstadt began developing a quattro with shortened wheelbase and a dual camshaft engine with four valves per cylinder.
For running such a vehicle in rally group B, however, international sporting law required construction of a series of at least 200 units beforehand. In September 1983 this series model made its debut as the Audi Sport quattro at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The “Little Guy”, as it was often lovingly called, abounded with high-performance technology.
With 225 kW/306 hp, it was the most powerful German production car of its day. The developmental engineers had managed to strike a balance between a pure sports car with breathtaking performance data on the one hand and a reliable road vehicle that could also easily move through rush-hour traffic on the other hand.
The body of the Sport quattro consisted of aramid and glassfibre reinforced plastic as well as carbon fibre/Kevlar compounds, and was manufactured by the Baur body company in Stuttgart owing to the small number of units. Seger & Hoffmann of Switzerland supplied the corresponding body plastic parts. The first car from the small series of 214 units was built in February 1984.
This car is one of around 20 of the 200 Sport quattros built at Audi’s workshops in Ingolstadt that came to the UK. It’s an outstandingly rapid road car – 0-60mph in 4.8 seconds and a top speed of 155mph – offering extraordinary stability, excellent cornering and amazing traction. Its five-cylinder 2134cc engine produces 306bhp, transmitted through a five-speed manual gearbox and permanent quattro four-wheel drive.
I was purchased from Audi AG in 1985 as a demonstrator for the five cars being allocated to the UK, and was registered here at the beginning of 1986. Since then it has remained a part of the Audi UK cherished fleet, and is effectively the first car that started the diverse collection which now boasts almost 50 iconic Audi models in total from all eras. B511 AHM was cosmetically restored 10 years ago, and has also recently received some mechanical work so that it can be the subject of media stories referencing the 40th anniversary of the Audi quattro in 2020.