Celebrating 40 years of the Audi quattro

Celebrating Audi quattro’s 40th Anniversary

Iconic Audi quattro’s 40th Anniversary celebrated at The London Classic Car Show. 

One of the most iconic models to grace both road and rally – the Audi quattro – was celebrated at The London Classic Car Show this year. To mark 40 years since its unveiling, a specially curated display of some of the finest Audi quattro examples were showcased at the event.

Launched at the 1980 Geneva Motor Show, the Audi quattro introduced a revolutionary permanent all-wheel-drive system that quickly established the brand’s reputation as an engineering tour de force. It transformed the world of rallying, winning World Rally Championship constructors’ titles in both 1982 and 1984, and helped Hannu Mikkola and Stig Blomqvist to claim the 1983 and 1984 drivers’ titles. Originally intended to be a low-volume model, the market demand was so high that it went into full-scale production for 11 years, resulting in 11,452 cars being made before production ceased in 1991.

Five prized quattro models, which are part of Audi UK’s ‘Cherished Fleet’ of historic models were on display this year:

  • A 1981 left-hand drive quattro 10V in metallic blue  represented the car’s formative years; this early UK-specification model was produced before right-hand drive model development had been carried out and was subsequently introduced from1982 onwards.


  • At the other end of the production line, one of the last quattro 20V models built was also on show – the  1991 2.2-litre, 20-valve quattro produced 220bhp and was considerably quicker than the 10V. Retained by Audi UK from new, it remains unregistered and is one of only two known right-hand drive examples that only has delivery mileage.


  • 1985 Audi S1 E2  represented the quattro in competition. This genuine Sport quattro rally car was driven by Swedish rally driver Stig Blomqvist to second place in the 1985 Rally of the 1000 Lakes in Finland, and then to victory by German driver Walter Röhrl in the Semperit Rallye later that season. The pairing finished second and third in the championship. Unfortunately, an accident at the RAC Rally for Röhrl left the car badly damaged, but it was rebuilt as a test car for the experimental PDK double clutch gearbox, a forerunner of the contemporary Audi S tronic dual-clutch transmission. Still active, the car has run at various events, including the Goodwood Festival of Speed and Shelsley Walsh Hill Climb.


  • The first car to form the fleet, a short-wheelbase 1985 Audi Sport quattro road car, which was purchased from Audi AG as a demonstrator in 1985 and is one of just over 200 manufactured. It was cosmetically restored ten years ago and has recently undergone a mechanical refresh to ensure it is fit for the anniversary celebrations this year.


  • 1990 metallic pearl white Audi quattro 20V that was originally acquired by Audi UK in the early 2000s made up the final of the fleet. It is regularly used in the media for driving and display purposes and has become one of the fleet’s most popular and hardest working cars.

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