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Jun 15, 2021 07:34

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Desirable Diversion

CARL S. CUNANAN
February 4, 2021        |

An Audi Sport Quattro S1 and other legendary Group B rally cars up for auction by Artcurial.

The Audi Sport Quattro, The greatest monster of them all.

And Artcurial is actually making them available.

That was what rally driver Bruno Saby said. He became French rally champion in a Renault 5 turbo, and was a pilot during the famous and infamous era of the Group B Rally Car.

A very special collection of these Group B rally cars will be offered by the passionate people at the Paris-based Artcurial on Friday February 5, 2021. Part of their Parisienne 2021 series, the rally cars will include a 1998 Audi Sport Quattro S1, a 1985 Peugeot 205 T16 Evo 2, a 1985 Lancia 037 and a 1986 Delta S4, a 1985 Renault 5 Maxi Turbo, a 1985 MG 6R4 and a 1986 Ford RS200 usine.

Audi Sport
The Audi Sport Quattro S1 is only part of a collection that is only part of a stunning auction catalog. This first Artcurial Motorcars event of the year, Parisienne 2021, includes an amazing headliner.
Audi Sport
Audi Sport

Our favorite here is the Audi Sport Quattro. The car became the stuff of legend, and helped lead to the banning of the hugely powerful Group B rally class.

The story of how these cars came to exist is hugely interesting. Ferdinand Karl Piëch was a member of the Porsche family, and was among other things an engineer and a race enthusiast. He was crucial in bringing out the cars of Porsche that helped cement their dominance in racing, including the 908, the 917 and the Can-Am. He moved to sister company Audi intending to bring the same standards of quality and dominance. And he wanted that known by all.

Audi Sport
The Matra MS 670 racecar that won the 24 hours of Le Mans driven by Henri Pescarolo and Graham Hill. It is estimated to go between 4 to 7.5 million US dollars. / Photo: LOUZON
Audi Sport
There is an awesome 1957 Porsche 550A Spyder (chassis number 550A-0118) that has been expertly restored and is considered eligible for the most important automotive events. Estimation is between 3.8 and 4.4 million US dollars. / Photo: LOUZON
Audi Sport
This superbly preserved 1985 Renault 5 Maxi Turbo, driven by Carlos Sainz, is an example of the most powerful 2WD Group B cars
Audi Sport
A 1985 MG Metro 6R4, this is the winning car from the 1986 French Rally Championship, in which Didier Auriol won his first title as French Rally Champion
Audi Sport
This 1965 Aston Martin Short Chassis Volante is the only example of this car delivered jn Autumn Gold, and one of only 12 left hand drive units / Photo: Kevin Van Campenhout
Audi Sport
A 1954 Bentley Continental R par H. J. Mulliner is one of only 23 examples in left hand drive, with a floor-mounted manual gearbox. Considered to be the most exclusive post-war Bentley model by many / Photo: Dirk de Jager

They chose rally as the motorsport venue in which to accomplish this. They built upon the strengths of their five-cylinder engine, which was conceived by Piëch to be lighter than traditional six cylinders but still be powerful, tunable and able to compete. The other key component was to take that power and put it out to all four wheels. While there were lear uses for all wheel drive in certain racing environments, the technology was never considered that usable for most surfaces and conditions. But Audi was thinking rather far ahead, in terms of traction and balance and also in terms of how much power they actually planned to start putting down.

Audi Sport
Ferdinand Piëch (Archive photo Audi Tradition)

Explained Piëch, “With the Quattro, we needed first to demonstrate that four-wheel drive was an advance, not just on snow, black ice or slippery surfaces, but also on normal, well-paved roads in countries with a modern road network.”

Audi Sport

This particular car is an ex “1988 Race Of Champions” car, used in the event that was organized by rally legend Michèle Mouton who also raced Audi Sport Quattros during her career. It was during the course of organizing this event that the car caught the eye of collector Olivier Quesnel, who bought this final version of the legend directly from Audi AG. It has been displayed at the Manoir de l’Automobile since 1989.

The world of course went on to agree with Audi, whether racing or for regular use. The spirit that brought dominance also brought a power race so intense it was ultimately banned. The technology though went mainstream and lives on in modern Audi Sport cars. As, clearly, does the passion.

Audi Sport