Auction Car of the Week: 1983 Audi Quattro
The Audi Quattro – UrQuattro, as it’s known, the “Ur” the unofficial signal for “original” – debuted in the United States in 1982 as a 1983 model. When it arrived here, there had never been anything like it for anything close to mass consumption. This 1983 Audi Quattro is for sale in Mount Kisco, New York, with a starting bid of $12,899.
If you read all the glossy car magazines in the United States circa 1979, it was a really common refrain: Europe had some really cool cars that delivered blistering performance and stunning good looks, but if we got them here, it was years later, and neutered almost to the point of irrelevance.
It had happened with the Volkswagen GTI in 1976, and when the Audi Quattro took the stage at 1979′s Frankfurt Auto Show, it looked to be more of the same.
The Quattro was a sort of parts-bin special. The body was that of the Audi 80 Coupe. Audi lifted the drivetrain from the 100. But the key was Quattro: Years before, Audi built its first all-wheel drive vehicle, the Iltis, a sort of more civilized Volkswagen Thing.
The Iltis featured a longitudinally mounted engine with a unique all-wheel drive system. According to David Traver Adolphus in Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car, Ferdinand Piëch was personally invested in green-lighting the Quattro system in a production sports coupe, to the point that he would demonstrate it himself: