The Group B era of rallying was introduced in 1982 and marked one of the most legendary racing periods to ever grace the automotive world. Unlike the Group N and Group A, the Group B was exclusively reserved for modified sports cars, and other than that, had almost no restrictions at all. This offered manufacturers the opportunity to go wild and creative with their creations and technologies. Thanks to its new Quattro system introduced in 1980 on the Ur-Quattro, Audi had mastered an asset which had already proven itself efficient. The Group B rules required for manufacturers to build at least 200 road-going examples of the cars they entered for the races. After Lancia got away with the title in 1983, a team of engineers under the direction of Ferdinand Piech went back to the drawing board, coming up with a future icon and legend, the S1 Sport Quattro. As per regulations, Audi had to build 200 road-going versions to homologate the Sport Quattro.
The similarities with the Ur-Quattro were undeniable at a first glance, but the Sport Quattro was a completely different animal. In fact, the wheelbase was shortened by 32 centimeters, the windscreen was more upright for better visibility, and the body went on a weight-loss program, making use of exotic lightweight materials, such as carbon-fibre reinforced Kevlar, fiberglass, and aluminium, saving a whopping 180kg compared to the „base“ Quattro. The extra wide fender flares were a clear giveaway that the Sport Quattro wasn’t your average Audi.
The engine and drivetrain were of course highly modified: the all-aluminium alloy inline five cylinder engine coupled to a KKK K-27 turbocharger produced the, for the time, incredible power output of 306 BHP, although as you’ll read below in the description, our example here delivers quite a bit more power from factory! Thanks to all the technology implemented in the Sport Quattro, Audi collected win after win and in 1984, at the hands of Stig Blomqvist, Audi won the World Manufacturers’ and Drivers’ Championships. Although 200 road cars were officially required to homologate the car, it is believed that only 161 homologation cars ever left the factory in Ingolstadt, making it an absolute unicorn.
Our Sport Quattro
From the 161 cars built, our car, chassis 905083, might just be the most special of the lot. It was acquired in 1998 by none other than His Highness The Prince Aga Khan, who registered it in France. The car was selected by Audi from the previous German owner for the project undertaken for His Highness the Aga Khan. The Audi stayed in his ownership until recently in 2022. Other than its special royal ownership history, the life of this very Sport Quattro was quite special. In 1998, the car was bought by Audi for the Aga Khan to carry out a rare and unheard of special treatment, where the car was restored from ground up, the performance was enhanced, and the body and interior were customized as per the wishes of His Highness. For this extreme factory special order customization, the car had to be bought back by Audi for homologation, as the French papers oft he car at the time meant the new modifications wouldn’t be approved. Thus, according to a communication with Audi with Rolf Klug and Christoph Wagner (Audi AG and Quattro GmbH), the car was bought back from Prince Rahim, and registered on the Quattro GmbH in Ingolstadt under the license plates IN-I1404. Audi had checked with the authorities in Munich if a normal registration/homologation would be possible before promising the modifications to His Highness, as confirmed by a writing from Audi.
Before agreeing on the modifications, two alternatives were offered to His Highness: the first alternative was a full nut and bolt restoration of the car, to the customer’s tastes and wishes, air conditioning specially developed for His Highness the Aga Khan, a custom set of 16“ wheels, but without any engine upgrades, and a second alternative where the engine, in addition to the afore-mentioned modifications, would be tuned to 345 BHP instead of 305 BHP. For this additional power, the engine had to be made of castiron instead of aluminium. The first alternative would have cost 301,020 Deutschmarks, hadn’t His Highness opted for the second, more expensive option, totalling at 347,420 DM according to Audi’s estimations (which at the end, turned out to be optimistic). In fact, the total modification costs for the Sport Quattro went as high as 434,421 Deutschmarks including 16% VAT.
The modifications and restoration took around five years to complete. In the process, an Ur-Quattro was sourced by Audi as a donor car at the total cost of 120,000 DM. With the works finished in late 2003, the car was bought back by His Highness from Audi and re-registered in France with the modifications. The car had received several upgrades additionally tot he engine, such as improved brakes and brake calipers, which needed larger wheels as the standard Sport Quattro wheels wouldnt be able to accomodate them. The exhaust was modified and its placement improved. All of the works, mail-exchange, invoices, etc. are fully documented and give this already exclusive homologation special a whole other flair. Today, chassis 905083 is presented in the same color combination of blue over a creme leather interior, the same colors it left the Quattro GmbH in. Similar to the special vehicles built by Porsche for Ferdinand Piech, this build is a true rarity among biig German automobile constructors and something that isn’t trivial without power and influence.
A unique piece of automotive history, not only for its brilliant racing pedigree, but especially for its unique ownership history and the involvment of Audi AG and Quattro GmbH in customizing the car to the owner’s wishes, this very Sport Quattro presents in an exceptional condition with a full documentation incl. invoices of the works carried out, as well as the French and German (Quattro GmbH) registration documents. This represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire an road-going Audi Sport Quattro with a thrilling history.