EX-MANSELL 1984 WR / Restoration – Nigel Mansell’s 1984 WR quattro
RESTORATION – #1984 #Audi-Ur-quattro
MAIN PHOTOS: NEIL BIRKITT #Quattro
resto / #Audi-Quattro
This superbly restored #1984
quattro is not only a testament to the professional skills of Malvern’s Andy Ridley, but it also has a famous original owner…
It might not always have been worth the effort, but there can be no doubt that, these days, restoring a car like the classic Ur quattro is a thoroughly worthwhile exercise, given that prices of prime examples have gradually risen over the years. That appreciation has been aided no doubt by stardom in retro TV series like the ‘Ashes to Ashes’ cop drama and of course the continuing enthusiasm for the heyday of rallying when the Audi quattro dominated the World Rally Championship in the mid-Eighties.
The incredible six-figure sums now being commanded by genuine ex-rally cars or the limited number of original short-wheelbase Sport quattros will only have reinforced the values of the original Ur quattro, and even the related Series 2 80 Saloon and Coupé quattro are now highly regarded as classics when once they would just have been cheap secondhand cars.
Just about anyone of a certain age, when asked about their enthusiasm for the quattro, will begin by waxing lyrical about how as a child or teenager they were inspired by seeing the quattro storm through the Welsh forests on the RAC Rally, or some such similar anecdote, and it’s that nostalgia for a long-lost age that drives many more mature classic car enthusiasts to seek out examples of the cars that they lusted after in their youth, but couldn’t afford at the time.
The problem now, of course, is that well preserved low-mileage genuine original cars are very few and far between and the dilemma, if you should find one, is that you can’t really use it without the risk of undermining the very reason you bought it in the first place. Driving a valuable original classic car on busy modern roads is just fraught with danger and the value of that low mileage won’t stay that way for long if you drive it too often or too far.
So, the alternative is to seek out a worthy candidate for a restoration project, to find a sorry, neglected example that has lain unattended for many years and whose owner has lost interest or the wherewithal to re-commission it themselves. Sadly, there are many examples just like this that have been parked up under tarpaulins in backyards and left to moulder away by owners who are labouring under the delusion that they’ll get around to restoring it one day, but never do…
That wasn’t a problem, though for Andy Ridley from Malvern when he first heard from a ‘friend of a friend’ about this 1984 Ur quattro that was languishing behind a shed in the back yard of a house in Martley, Worcestershire. It had been laid up for eight years after suffering accident damage to the driver’s side door and rear wheel arch and had slowly been fading away, its once proud Tornado red paintwork now sun bleached and jaded and with rust starting to take hold in the nooks and crannies of the surviving bodywork.
The chassis number confirms it to have been built on March 31, 1984 and the guy who owned it was only the second registered keeper, having bought it in December 1992 and registered it with an age-related plate featuring his initials; prior to that it’d only had one former keeper since it was first registered in the UK in February 1985. This is where it gets interesting, because it appears from the supporting documents that it was previously registered and / or used overseas and that the original owner was none other than a Mr. Nigel Ernest James Mansell of Port Erin on the Isle of Man, as detailed in a registration document and even an Isle of Man tax disc with his name and address on it.
Yes indeed, it was the very same Nigel Mansell who dominated Formula 1 throughout the Eighties and early Nineties, with no less than 31 Grand Prix victories to his name, and who won both the Formula 1 World Championship in 1992 and the CART Indy car World Series the following year, becoming the only person to hold both titles simultaneously.
It was much earlier in his career, though, that he became associated with this Audi quattro, and the belief is that he bought it when he left Lotus at the end of the 1984 season and was signed by Frank Williams to drive alongside Keke Rosberg as part of the Williams F1 team for the 1985 season. What better way to celebrate such a good career move than by buying one of the most prestigious fast-road cars on the market at that time, one that was perfectly practical for commuting between the home and the race track…
In fact, it was at about this same time that another young man first began pursuing his career in the automotive industry when, in 1984, Malvern Rugby Club player Andy Ridley founded Forward Motors in premises near Upton Marina. The business quickly became known for quality services and exceptional customer satisfaction and it grew from there, before moving into the current premises in Malvern.
Over the following years Andy Ridley’s experience and skill developed further and his business gained an enviable reputation for high-quality body and paintwork, from accident repairs through to full-blown restorations as well as all sorts of mechanical work from routine servicing to full engine rebuilds.
Clearly not content with working on customer cars day in and day out, Andy also took on the occasional personal project and it was not long after he’d finished a full nut and bolt rebuild on a Golf Rallye that he heard about the wrecked ’84 quattro and then spent more than four months carrying out an almost bare shell rebuild.
As the photos show, the bodyshell was completely gutted and stripped and the damaged and rusty metal was cut out and replaced. That rear quarter panel and wing was the most difficult to deal with, due to the combination of the physical damage and the ravages of rust, but Andy cut away all the bad metal and constructed his own panels by careful reference to the nearside of the car and swaged the new panels into place, often working late into the night to achieve a perfect finish to his own satisfaction without resorting to excessive filling and sanding, as so many do.
Both front wings were beyond repair and had to be replaced, which shouldn’t have been a problem since this was about the time that Audi had commissioned a fresh batch of new steel wings to be made. But those original presses were clearly badly worn out and the genuine Audi front wings were horribly out of shape. What should have been a simple bolt-on job turned into a nightmare and it took about 20 hours of fettling and reshaping to get them to fit and line up properly.
With the bodywork completely stripped and made good, it was into the paint booth for a fresh coat – several, in fact – of Tornado red before the long and painstaking process of reconditioning and replacing all the mechanical parts and refitting all the trim and interior.
The original WR series engine was completely rebuilt, from the reground crankshaft upwards, with almost everything to standard specification, although a new Dialynx exhaust manifold and Milltek Sport stainless-steel exhaust system were chosen over the original components, and the inlet manifold was welded after it had cracked. The radiator was re-cored and the intercooler repaired, and it was fitted with a new clutch and flywheel.
As you can see from the photographs of the engine bay, a great deal of time and effort also went into refinishing and painting all the components, with the end result that the car is not far off of a concours standard of presentation.
All the suspension and running gear was completely overhauled and rebuilt with all new bearings, bushings and balljoints and if there was the slightest doubt about the serviceability of any component Andy fitted a brand-new genuine part rather than risk skimping on anything. In fact, in total he reckons to have spent around £15,000 on new parts alone, mostly from local VW-Audi parts supplier Deutscheparts, but also from Audi spares specialist quattro corner and the local Gloucester branch of TPS.
The interior was also re-trimmed in the original fabric and the digital dash was sent away to be recommissioned, and it now works perfectly in every respect, a rare thing these days, although it’s a mixed blessing – every time we started it up to move it around the workshop for our photoshoot came the commanding reminder that, with only a couple of gallons left in the tank, it needed to be refuelled!
The final touch was to have the alloy wheels refurbished and fitted with new tyres, Dunlop SP Sport in the proper size. As you can see, these are the later 8 x 15-inch Ronal R8 rims rather than the 6 x 15s that the ’84 model would originally have worn but, along with the later 20V steering wheel that Andy has fitted out of personal preference, it’s a minor deviation from standard specification and perfectly in keeping with the nature of the car. Most significantly, it’s a couple of years now since Andy finished the restoration and the car is still looking perfect in every way – not a hint of imperfection in the paint or trim and a true testament to the quality of the original restoration work. Even more creditable when you consider that virtually every part of the job, apart from very specialist services like regrinding the crank, setting up the fuel injection and repairing the digital dash, has been carried out in-house at Forward Motors, invariably by Andy himself labouring late into the night, after a full day’s work.
As is so often the case, Andy is now looking forward (no pun intended) to the challenge of his next restoration project and reluctantly agreed that the quattro might be for sale, at the right price and to the right person. Given the amount of work that has gone into it and the quality of the finished product you’d need to be talking at around the £30,000 mark, but it would be worth every penny, even without the extra pedigree of its illustrious original owner…
‘It’s a couple of years now since Andy finished the restoration and it still looks perfect in every way...’
Forward Motors Ltd.
Providin g top quality car repairs to Worcester, Malvern, Bromyard, Ledbury, Upton upon Severn, Tewkesbury and beyond for over 30 years, Forward Motors was founded in 1984 by Malvern Rugby Club player Andy Ridley. Originally established in premises near Upton Marina, the business quickly became known for quality services and exceptional customer satisfaction and is now located in a purpose built garage and workshop in Malvern.
Services include accident repair and bodywork, resprays and refinishing; any job from complete rebuilds to dent removal, wheel repairs or scratch and chip repairs, and Forward Motors can provide anything from a quick, convenient service for slight damage, to day-to-day repairs as well as restoring classic cars, if you have an older car that needs bringing back to its former glory.
is main dealer approved by #Audi
, Lexus, Toyota, SEAT, Volkswagen and Skoda, and is rated highly by its customers, with a first-class reputation for customer care and workmanship.
Contact Forward Motors Ltd 2 Spring Lane North,
Malvern Link, Worcs, WR14 1BU / Tel: 01684 563 367
E-mail: enquiries @ forwardmotorsltd.co.uk / Web: www.forwardmotorsltd.co.uk