RETRO – UR quattro #1984
/ #1987 #Audi-Quattro
F , G, H… / #Audi-Quattro-F
Darron Edwards continues his account of the development of the Ur quattro, with a look at the F, G and H series models between 1984 and 1987…
Cosmetically, the Ur quattro had remained virtually unchanged since its introduction in 1980, but all that changed in 1984 when both the interior and exterior of the car received some subtle upgrades that made all the difference. Bringing the quattro right up to date, most of these changes remained until the final incarnation of the car seven years later.
The three chassis types that spanned 1984 to 1987 were the last to use the tried and tested 200 PS ‘WR’ engine and so this was the most settled period of Ur #Quattro
production, when the car remained virtually unchanged, inside and out.
chassis was introduced in August 1984 and the cosmetic changes were obvious straight away, with the front and rear end of the car receiving a more modern look. At the front, the one-piece Cibie headlights were retained but they now had sloping glass lenses, coupled with a re-designed sloping front grille and headlight trims. This gave the front end a much more streamlined look and it did indeed improve the aerodynamic co-efficient of the car.
At the rear, a revolutionary design was used, with the tail lights now ‘smoked’ black. A very clever manufacturing process was used, where the lights appeared black from a distance but closer inspection shows that a coloured shroud covered the bulb so that, when it illuminated, the lens would appear to change colour briefly.
The prismatic strip that runs horizontally across the lower part of the boot lid also received the smoked black treatment, while the top of the boot lid which up until now had been painted satin black, regardless of body colour, was now painted the same colour as the rest of the car.
The rear skirt that surrounds the bumper was also re-designed and it now had an integrated mudguard to prevent dirt spraying up the side of the car from the wider 8-inch wheels.
Another revolutionary design on this model was the use of flexible additive in the paint that was applied to the rear rubber spoiler. This meant that it could be colourcoded and, together with all the other new features, it gave the rear end of the car a radical and more modern new look. This new look was eventually copied by most motor manufacturers on a wide variety of cars and even the Ford Capri would get its own version of smoked rear lights and prismatic rear panels were offered as aftermarket accessories for many models.
Up until now, the rear badging had been achieved by the use of dot matrix decals, finished in either silver or black (dependent on body colour) manufactured by 3M. These were replaced by new three-dimensional plastic badges, with a chrome or black finish. The size and shape of the font used was the same, but the position of both the ‘Audi’ and the ‘quattro’ badge was raised slightly compared to the original decals.
A new range of body colours was introduced in 1984, with Mars red now replaced by a deeper and more striking red called Tornado red. It suited the new cosmetic changes very well and became the definitive colour of this period of Ur quattro production.
The decals in the rear side windows were also re-designed. They were originally silver dot matrix, but from the FA chassis and up until the JA they were now a dark brown colour and of a hollow / outline design. This was done to match the rear de-mister that bore the ‘quattro’ legend – when the rear screen element was heated, the famous name would melt the ice and slowly appear in the rear window. A very cool touch!
Inside the car, a new look was also applied. Brown was now replaced by black, and plenty of it! The new dashboard that made its debut on the previous model was now finished in black vinyl to match the new carpet and other interior trim. It had a new centre console panel that now featured an oil temperature gauge and voltmeter and also a neat two-stage, rotary diff lock switch that illuminated two green LE Ds set in a graphic of the quattro drivetrain.
A smart grey tartan cloth with a fine red and blue pinstripe was introduced for the front and rear seats and this new cloth was also applied to the front door panels and rear quarter trim. It was coded ZN and called ‘Graphite Eton Flannel’. This is my personal favourite interior trim and was fairly hard-wearing, apart from the upright bolster on the driver’s seat. I regularly repair these with a new black cloth panel.
The digital dash that was fitted from 1984 was now green. On some cars you could alter the way that the rev pointer appeared. It was possible to switch between a dual finger pointer or a ‘snail trail’ type pointer. This could be done by selecting ‘fuel range’ on the MFD and then holding down the re-set button on the computer switch. The revcounter, clock and gauges could also be turned off by pushing in the dash dimmer switch, although this is a feature that I’ve seldom used. This new system replaced the turquoise coloured digi-dash unit from the previous car. The handbrake warning light was also removed from the driver’s side under panel and now fitted in the binnacle.
The wiper stalk on the steering column now only moves up for wiper selection (early quattros had the intermittent position down one click). First position is now for intermittent wipers and then the next two clicks for slow and fast wipe. This newly designed stalk also contained the switch to operate the voice check system.
Most G and H chassis cars were fitted with the standard tilt sunroof. This could be tilted by 25 degrees or, by pulling two clips, completely removed and stored on two special runners in the boot. It’s worth noting that most FA chassis cars that I’ve seen don’t have a sunroof.
With the introduction of the HA chassis came a couple more safety improvements. The front brake callipers were redesigned and the front brake discs enlarged. The callipers were now twin piston – a big improvement on the previous single-pot units. The discs were thicker and larger to complement the new callipers.
The second safety improvement was the introduction of twin side light and brake light bulbs in the rear light clusters. This was done without the need for new rear light units. A simple modification to the bulb holders was enough to greatly improve the visibility of the brake lights, especially as the rear lenses were now black.
As far as spare parts are concerned, these three chassis are probably the easiest of all quattros to source parts for as they were the most numerous of all Ur quattros. I own two #Audi-Quattro-GA
chassis cars and I love driving them – I feel completely at home in their comfortable interior and I enjoy the green digital dash. This was obviously not the case for everybody, though, as Audi would change all this in the next incarnation of the Ur quattro...
Above: New green digital dash. Above right: Twin brake light bulbs in the rear cluster for the #Audi-Quattro-HA
chassis improved their visibility greatly. Below: GA chassis.
Left: FA chassis models featured a revised interior, with ‘Graphite Eton Flannel’ cloth on the seats and door panels, a black vinyl dashboard to match the black carpets and other interior trim and a new centre console panel... Above: The new console panel included an oil temperature gauge, voltmeter and a neat rotary control for the diff lock featuring green LEDs in the graphic of the quattro drivetrain.
‘Tornado red became the definitive colour of this period of Ur quattro production...’
Left: New rear-end from 1984 featured ‘smoked’ rear lenses and prismatic strip. Also note new three-dimensional badging. Above: The top of the boot lid was painted body colour, instead of the satin black of previous models, along with the rear rubber spoiler whose paint featured a flexible additive.
‘The FA chassis was introduced in August #1984
and the cosmetic changes were obvious straight away...’