SPOTTED: AUDI SPORT QUATTRO
Rare, expensive and fugly in a way that only a road-tamed rally car could be
There several reasons for this. The first is that, one day, I want to own one. The others are less straightforward - I derive a ghoulish fascination from seeing some of the terrible things people have done to them. The last is simple: the unicorn factor. I have only ever seen one of the ultra rare Sport Quattros for sale in the classifieds but, a few weeks back, another one surfaced.
Not enough noise was made about this car at the time, or since. As a nipper I remember reading Mel Nichols' wonderful drive story in CAR magazine ('Quattro Vadis') and seeing shots of it bullying corners into submission with that distinctive prow-rising body position.
The Sport Quattro was born of homologation necessity, in other words to try and beat Lancia and Peugeot in the Group B rally era. Its shorter wheelbase made it more agile, but the motor was still hung-out ahead of the front axle for maximum understeer and the rally version just couldn't match the quasi-silhouette racers from France and Italy.
Back to the short Quattro. It's a very special beast: Kevlar panels, 2.1-litre motor giving 306hp, 320mm swiped from the wheelbase and around 1,290kg - even with leather trappings and power windows. It's a rare thing too. Just 224 were produced, but there seems to be a little debate as to how many ended up as street cars. Some say only 20 became rally cars, but the works team had a habit of butchering road cars in the middle of forests to give Walter an un-bent chassis.
As a rally obsessive, the Sport Quattro is in my ultimate garage top 10. £149,950? For me it ticks all the boxes needed to justify the price: rare as a decent (dry) Hungarian Grand Prix, proper motorsport heritage, devilishly expensive to repair and cool. Now I just need to drive one. There's no footage of the road car being nailed to inspire but here's some stumpy-Quattro rally car goodness to savour. For the geeks out there, listen at 1:18 to the gearchanges. That was the PDK gearbox at work - the predecessor to the transmission that now dominates the fast car marketplace.
Audi Sport Quattro
Engine: 2,133cc 5-cyl turbocharged
Power (hp): 306@6,700rpm
Torque (lb ft): 258@3,700rpm
MPG: 27.4 (at 120km/h)
First registered: 1986
Recorded mileage: 54,145
Price new: DM203,850/c. £54,000
Yours for: £149,950