SPORT QUATTRO REP GET SHORTY Slick #SWB
rep packs 509bhp / Stunning, 500bhp replica
This Lamborghini-coloured Sport #Quattro #replica
has been transformed from rough and ready into a 509bhp, road-legal track toy.
Celebrated automotive restoration and tuning outfit, Retropower, has long been recognised as a force for good that takes on projects that start with tired, broken and rotting vintage vehicles and end with glistening, modified and mechanically sound high-horsepower masterpieces. Needless to say, we were excited to hear that the latest fettled fourwheeler to roll out of the company’s Leicestershire workshop is wearing an Audi badge.
The car in question is a #1983
quattro that at some point in the past had been subjected to short-wheel base chassis remodelling by renowned #Audi
. The Swindonbased firm has been a supplier of aftermarket tuning components for turbocharged Audis since its inception in 1988, but Dialynx is perhaps best known for its many Sport quattro conversions.
Developed for #Group-B
rallying in the mid 1980s, the Sport quattro featured an all-alloy 2.1-litre 20-valve engine sat inside a lightweight body shell comprising carbon-Kevlar panels and a windscreen rake borrowed from the Audi 80. In order to get rid much of the bulk that the manufacturer deemed to be an obstacle when competing against the rally-ready chariots of rival car makers, the Sport’s chassis was made considerably shorter than that of the ‘regular’ wheelbase rally quattro that preceded it. This ditching of metal delivered reduced understeer, more responsive handling and quicker turning, while the large body panels allowed for the use of bigger wheels and an increased track width.
A couple of hundred road-going Sport quattros were produced for homologation purposes, but buying one today will set you back a serious amount of dosh (over £100k), not to mention the horror of the associated running costs. This is where Dialynx Performance steps in – the company has transformed many factory quattros into Sport replicas over the years, resulting in what is claimed to be a car that is virtually indistinguishable from the model that it mimics.
Furthermore, Dialynx says that its replicas offer lucky owners tameable levels of performance as opposed to the uncompromising aggression produced by genuine Group B belters.
“I’m led to believe that the Audi that made its way into our workshop was the third quattro that Dialynx had converted to Sport spec,” recalls Retropower co-founder, Callum Seviour. “Sadly, time hadn’t been kind to the car, and we discovered a huge amount of work that needed to be done in order to bring it back to its best,” he says. The striking body kit applied to the race-inspired rep was just one of many areas in need of attention. That said, a cosmetic overhaul was all that the car’s owner was prepared to commission until he could be sure that Retropower’s work was of a standard that he was happy with.
“I guess you could call it ‘testing the water’!” laughs Callum’s brother, Nat. “We stripped the car, treated it to new subframe mounting points, removed and replaced its roof, built a new supporting roof frame, double-skinned its chassis legs, restored its body panels and bonded the corrected wide-arch kit into place before covering every part in a coat of primer. We were about to follow up with a lick of sparkling grey lifted from the Lamborghini colour catalogue when the quattro’s owner signalled his approval for us to start a long list of mechanical upgrades!” he confirms.
Ordinarily, Retropower would take care of any spanner wizardry and/or fabrication work that needed to be carried out on one of its customer’s cars before tackling aesthetic updates, but the instruction that it was given with regard to the Audi forced the Seviour boys to work in an unorthodox manner. “The car’s owner was thrilled with the revitalised appearance of his ride,” continues Callum. “This gave us the green light to strip and rebuild the 2.2-litre ‘RR’ five-cylinder powerplant that sits beneath the vented bonnet up-front, although requested modifications that included a relocation of the engine’s cooling system and a boot-mounted dry sump kit forced us to cut away at metal that we’d only just prepared for paint!” he groans. Nevertheless, the 20-valve lump was carefully inspected before a period of planning that would transform it into an absolute monster. Not that the work involved in achieving such a feat was as easy as we might have made it sound...
The car’s inline-five had suffered severe mechanical failure at some point in the recent past following work that a third party had undertaken on behalf of the owner. Subsequently repaired under warranty, the revised nuts and bolts were supposed to be producing in excess of 500bhp, but the condition and performance of the engine that Retropower were asked to work with casts doubt over that figure. Indeed, a sump populated by metal particles, a cracked cylinder head, a weeping head gasket, worn bearings and a mismatched piston that was making contact with a valve face all pointed towards what can be politely labelled as a ‘bodge’, and that’s without mentioning the serious lack of grunt that the car was producing under load.
“We reground the engine’s billet crankshaft, machined all piston pockets so that they matched one another, and we sourced a new head before enlarging and smoothing its ports,” Callum tells us. As many original parts were retained as possible, with CNC polishing and restoration being employed to ensure the continued use of expensive equipment that was considered to be perfectly serviceable, while fuelling upgrades included twin Bosch high-flow pumps and 1000cc #ASNU-injectors
A Wagner Tuning inlet manifold and a chunky #Garrett
GT40 turbocharger were called upon to work alongside a side-exit stainless steel exhaust system in the airflow department. Routing of the custom pipework demanded significant modifying of the Audi’s floor. Further metalwork involved the creation of a custom rear bulkhead and channelling for water pipes that travel the length of the car and back now that its cooling and lubrication systems sit in its boot space.
A roll cage was already present, but door bars and diagonals were literally left hanging. “We were shocked to see that such an important safety device was so poorly fitted inside the car!” gasps Callum. “To counter this worrying discovery, we fabricated a comprehensive multi-point cage that travels through the dashboard, triangulates and attaches itself to key structural components throughout the chassis,” he explains.
Talking of which, suspension and braking upgrades were already evident in the form of modified struts (to allow for coilovers) and braces, Koni damper inserts and Tarox six-pot stoppers, yet the Retropower touch bettered these key features thanks to the appointment of SuperPro polybushes and a Wilwood pedal box. The latter inhabits a cabin that also boasts Recaro Pole Position buckets, a flocked dash, Stack gauges and an SPA KitDash that occupies space once reserved for standard quattro clocks.
Even though the completed car is used as a track toy, it remains road legal. This surprising fact meant that its owner wanted a show-quality finish to what is essentially a motorsport body kit. To that end, masses of effort went into filling and block-sanding what would otherwise be “ripply” panels before the Lambo paint was finally splashed across the flawless build.
Azev A wheels coated in a similar shade were already in place when the Audi arrived at the Retropower workshop, unlike this awesome VAG machine’s current power output. “I’m delighted to be able to say that the car is now producing over 500bhp following the huge amount of time and effort that my team has spent on the project,” beams Callum. He’s being typically modest; despite a dyno printout displaying an impressive 509bhp and 410lb per foot of torque (delivered by a custom map on a MoTeC M48 ECU), this fantastic four-wheel drive pocket rocket has the potential to knock on the door of 600bhp if its owner ever fancies investing in a transmission upgrade.
In the meantime, running a powerful engine well below its top end abilities should result in a safe, reliable delivery of ponies both on and off the track. Retropower, we salute you!
Engine: 2.2-litre I5 20-valve DOHC ‘RR’, steel crankshaft, forged connecting rods and pistons, enlarged and smoothed cylinder head ports, combustion chambers reshaped and cc matched, standard camshafts, standard valvetrain, custom dry sump system, dry sump located in boot, radiator and twin slimline fans relocated to boot space, electric water pump and controller, #ASH
silicone hoses and tubes, twin #Bosch-044
fuel pumps, #ASNU
1000cc fuel injectors, alloy fuel cell, MoTeC M48 ECU with single-channel capacitor discharge ignition, #Wagner-Tuning
inlet manifold, #Garrett-GT40
turbocharger, custom side-exit exhaust system, #Varley
race battery, custom wiring loom.
Performance: 509bhp @ 7050rpm, 410lb/ft torque @ 5800rpm
Transmission: Standard quattro five-speed manual gearbox, quick shifter
Suspension: Standard struts modified with coilover conversion for adjustable ride height, Koni damper inserts, SuperPro polybushes throughout
Brakes: Tarox six-piston front calipers, Audi RS4 rear calipers, Sport quattro discs, Ferodo DS3000 pads, Wilwood pendulum bias pedal box
Wheels: 8x16in #Azev
A five-spokes, Toyo Proxes R888 225/45x16 tyres
shortened quattro shell, replica Sport quattro enlarged body kit, modified floor for exhaust and coolant pipes, full respray in Lamborghini Grigio Estoque
Interior: Fully stripped, #Recaro-Pole-Position
bucket seats, custom multi-point roll cage, fuel and oil lines throughout cabin, electro-hydraulic power steering pump positioned behind driver seat, battery positioned behind passenger seat, flocked dashboard, SPA KitDash, electric water pump ECU mounted on dashboard, aluminium false front floor panels, all new wiring, steering column stalk deletion, custom switch panel, Stack gauges, start button and kill switches
Thanks: Callum and the team at Retropower www.retropower.co.uk
Top: Moody front end shot.
Above: Flocked interior and lots of custom switches Below: Looks fantastic side-on.
Above: That iconic front end Right: the 5-cylinder powerhouse Below: It’s all in the details.
Above: Bumper cut out for air flow.
Below: Slimlime rads moved to the boot.
“We sourced a new head before enlarging and smoothing its ports”