- Post is under moderationQUATTRO DRIVEN WE ROAD TEST A LEGEND
Driven: #Audi-Quattro We get out to test drive some proper automotive legends. This month we go all Gene Hunt and “fire up the Quattro” (you schlaggggs)!
DRIVEN AUTOMOTIVE LEGENDS ROAD TEST: Daniel Bevis. LORD OF THE RINGS
“ANYTHING HAPPENS TO THIS MOTOR, I’LL COME ROUND YOUR HOUSES AND STAMP ON ALL YOUR TOYS. GOT IT?”
In a modern context, of course, the original #Audi Quattro is not all that astonishing. We’re spoilt today. Every new hot hatch boasts the sort of performance figures that would have been supercar territory back in 1980. Brakes are infinitely better, suspension systems far more advanced – the game has moved on. So today, the Quattro feels quick-ish rather than actually fast, and the brakes are a bit wishy-washy. But this really isn’t the point. You see, the thing about the Quattro is that… it’s a Quattro. It’s an icon, a legend, those ’80 fade rings on the doors speaking volumes about none-too-subtle sporting intent. This is a car that Audi sold to the public with switchable diffs, a boost gauge and a 2.1-litre 10v 5-pot offering 200bhp – a demonstration of trust in the man on the street that he could handle what their rally department had been cooking up. And for those lucky punters, the reward came in the form of a chassis so good, so poised, that it offers up oodles and oodles of unrelenting grip, sublime body control with surprisingly little roll, and the sort of dependable agility that few cars can match even now.
This example may have over 170,000 miles on the clock, but it still feels as tight as a drum, whereas other performance machines of the era feel ¬ flimsy and rattly today (I’m looking at you, 205 GTI). This is testament to the fastidiousness with which Audi nailed the Quattro together. It smells exactly like a 1980s car should in there. It has appropriately boisterous seat trim and headlining, the driving position is superb – it’s a great relief to find a car that’s so revered is actually as good as everybody makes out.
Sure, it could do with being more powerful (quite a lot more powerful would be nice), and it really needs better brakes. But that’s true of a lot of cars of the early 1980s. All of them, probably. But few of them work in harmony with the driver quite like this one does. It encourages and complements your inputs, urges you to push harder. It’s never scary. It just feels right.
Even when you realise you’re going 20 or 30mph faster than you thought you were. Even when, as happened to me, you find the bright sunshine suddenly being switched off and replaced with a momentary torrential blizzard. “Hey, it’s a rally car, it’ll cope,” you think. And it does. Tremendously.
The one feature that really entertains is the turbo. And not just for the fact that delivers its thrills in a thoroughly old-school way, building the tension through treacly lag before spiking on boost and thumping you in the back. No, it’s the fact it sounds exactly like an approaching police siren. The first time you properly boot the throttle, you immediately back off assuming you’re about to be tugged by the fuzz. There are no blue lights in your mirrors, so you press on – and it happens again. Then you realise and it becomes a game. Suddenly, you’re not the mouse but the cat. You are DCI Gene Hunt, ring up the Quattro. And if I’d ever watched the show, I’d know exactly what that meant.
/ #1981 #Audi-Quattro-UK / #Audi-Quattro-Turbo /
PRICE NEW: £15,037 ( 1981 BASIC PRICE)
PRICE NOW: £18,000 PLUS (IF YOU’RE LUCKY)
POWER: 197BHP, 310LBFT
INSURANCE: GROUP 20
ORIGINAL SPEC ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 2.1-litre straight-five 10V DOHC, #Bosch-K-Jetronic Fuel Injection, #KKK-26-Turbo , All-Wheel Drive, 50/50 Torque Split, 5-Speed Manual
CHASSIS: 6X15-Inch #Ronal-Alloys with 205/60X15 TYRES, 280MM DISCS ALL ROUND, ABS , independent suspension all round
EXTERIOR: BOX ARCHES, 80S Graphics, Oodles of Retro Chic
INTERIOR: some frankly astonishing seat fabric, Blaupunkt-Toronto Sqr Radio
The model was a revelation when it appeared at Geneva in 1980. How could it not be? It took the generally agricultural process of sending drive to all four wheels and repackaged it as a means to go faster. The face of rallying would never be the same again, Audi’s racy Quattros decimating all comers and forcing every rival into an adapt-or-die position. The 350bhp A1 and A2 evolutions hit the motorsport world in 1983, the latter winning eight World Rallies over the next two years.
And all that was before the bonkers 444bhp Sport Quattro S1 for the no-holdsbarred Group B competition. And for those people who used the road-going variants as daily drivers? Oh, they were heroes…
BUYING ONE? LOOK OUT FOR…
• Alarm – these cars traditionally don’t stick around for long, they’re dead-easy to break into.
• Bodywork – early LHD cars suffer from rust due to less than fastidious rustproo¬fing treatments. Headlight lenses also tend to go brown after 10 years (an MoT failure).
• History – Cambelt changes are needed every 80k and a full rebuild at around 120k (10 Valve) or 260k (20 Valve).
• Interior – electronic dashes can go wrong and ¬ finding replacements isn’t easy.
Pub Ammo – Audi Quattro
The word ‘quattro’ is derived from the Italian word for ‘four’.
The Quattro is also referred to as the UR-Quattro, meaning ‘primordial’ or ‘original’ in German.
The first chassis officially shipped to the UK was 85-B-900099.
In 1981 air conditioning would have cost you an extra 512 quid!
The first UK cars were all left-hand drive. Audi claimed they couldn’t be converted
(even though many were), until 1982 when they did it themselves.
IN POPULAR CULTURE…
“Fire up the Quattro! Shut it, you slaaaaag! Apples and pears. My old man’s a dustman” And so forth! All right, I never watched Ashes to Ashes, but that ¬ first ubiquitous phrase is as much a part of the TV-inspired everyday lexicon as “D’oh!”, ‘‘Here’s one I made earlier” and “We were on a break”. You almost feel sorry for the owners of UR-Quattros, as they must hear the bloody thing every day of their lives. Almost, yes, but not quite. Because the pay-off for having gawping bystanders relentlessly ¬ ring TV catchphrases at you is that, er, you get to own a Quattro. And having actually driven the timeworn (but feisty) red example in these very pages, I can con¬firm that this must be a very good thing.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationReal life detective’s 25-year stretch in the workshop. Police, Spanners, Action - #Audi ! DCI Paul Moor bought his 1985 #Audi-Quattro when it was almost new, but it took PC to bring it back from the ashes.
A Detective Chief Inspector, with a red Audi Quattro? Where have we seen that before? Our intrepid restorer DCI Paul Moor is a million miles away from the fly-by-night Gene Hunt character in the TV series Ashes to Ashes, but the car similarities are uncanny. ‘You can imagine the ribbing I get from my colleagues as I park my shiny red Quattro in the ‘DCI’ parking spot at work,’ he laughs. Paul bought his Quattro back in 1989 when he was a young copper. Gene Hunt hadn’t yet been invented, and his Audi was barely four years old. ‘I was keen on aeroplanes until I bought a Ford Cortina,’ says Paul. ‘Then it was just, cars, cars, cars.’ Police officer or not, Paul was just like any teenager of the time, ragging around his knackered old Ford. ‘I thrashed it and blew the engine,’ Paul laughs. ‘I didn’t have any money, so I bought a manual and rebuilt it myself – I had no choice.’ This started an obsession with learning how things work, and more crucially, how to fix them when they didn’t. ‘I had a raft of Fords, but one day I saw an Audi 100 on the way to see my girlfriend,’ he says. When Paul realised he could afford it, the Audi mould was set. After the 100 followed a 200, then a GT, then a Coupe GT, then a #Audi-200-Quattro , but the car Paul really wanted was a Turbo Quattro. ‘My mates and I followed the Lombard RAC rally each year, camping in the forests. Seeing Quattros thundering through Kielder was life-changing.’
Cars came and went, with Paul buying problem vehicles, fixing them and selling them on. By 1989, he’d saved enough to buy the best broken Quattro he could. ‘This car was for sale in a small Derbyshire village. It had always been garaged and had done just 40,000 miles. I bought it for £15,000 – it was only four years old.’ The owner had spent a fortune on the car trying, and failing, to find a misfire that manifested itself over 4000rpm. ‘That was the problem with the Quattro, they were so advanced no-one knew what to do with them. Not even the main dealers.’
Paul delved into the Quattro, eventually finding the problem. ‘One of the wires had come off the air mass sensor, and someone had fitted the two wires on the throttle housing switch the wrong way around,’ says Paul. ‘When you hit the throttle the car thought it was at idle, and vice-versa.’ It was underfuelling too. ‘The dealer had replaced the fuel pump at a vast cost, but I discovered a kinked fuel line was the cause – an easy fix.’ With the problems sorted, Paul’s Audi was flying again.
‘My colleagues named it The Beast, so I bought a number plate with 666 in it!’ The Audi came into its own when Paul did his advanced response driving course. ‘We were using a Rover Sterling and a BMW 5-Series. The instructor was telling us how quick these cars were and how well they handled,’ says Paul. ‘Then my mate piped up from the back of the class: “They’re not as good as Paul’s car.” I took one of the instructors out in it at lunchtime, and he agreed!’ It wasn’t all plain sailing though.
‘One day a Fiesta van beat me at the lights and I thought: “This isn’t right.” It turned out that part of the exhaust manifold had sheared and stopped the turbo from spinning.’ Paul took it to a main dealer who charged him £100 to tell him that the turbo wasn’t spinning. ‘I’d already told them that! It was at this juncture that I started doing all of the servicing and repairs myself.’ But in 1993, a problem arose that Paul just couldn’t resolve.
‘The brakes would get spongy to the point of failure. Bleeding sorted it for it a week or so, but it would come back.’ After a frustrating few months and after replacing the brake lines, seals, flexi pipes and finally the master cylinder, Paul conceded defeat, parked the Audi in the garage ‘for a couple of months,’ and bought a Volkswagen Golf GTI. Subsequent house moves saw it shunted from garage to garage until 2000. ‘The Internet was just taking off and ‘One day a Fiesta van beat me at the lights and I thought: “This isn’t right.” It turned out that part of the exhaust manifold had sheared and stopped the turbo from spinning.’ Paul took it to a main dealer who charged him £100 to tell him that the turbo wasn’t spinning. ‘I’d already told them that! It was at this juncture that I started doing all of the servicing and repairs myself.’ But in 1993, a problem arose that Paul just couldn’t resolve.
‘The brakes would get spongy to the point of failure. Bleeding sorted it for it a week or so, but it would come back.’ After a frustrating few months and after replacing the brake lines, seals, flexi pipes and finally the master cylinder, Paul conceded defeat, parked the Audi in the garage ‘for a couple of months,’ and bought a Volkswagen Golf GTI. Subsequent house moves saw it shunted from garage to garage until 2000. ‘The Internet was just taking off and there was more information readily available.’
Paul traced the problem to a corroded the brake compensator valve. It was letting air in but wasn’t rusty enough to let fluid out. Buoyed by this, Paul replaced the corroded oil lines and got the car running again, but a further house move saw the car return to the garage. Years passed until the project was reignited again.
By now the 2008 BBC TV drama Ashes to Ashes had raised the profile of the Quattro. Then Paul got wind of our Quattro project in PC. ‘I read Gervais’ Sagas with interest, as you were suffering the same running problems that I did with mine back in the day, so I wrote in to help out.’ Paul decided that it was time to get his car back on the road, so began to strip it down. ‘It started off with the engine. The manifold studs were corroded, so I removed them. Then before I knew it, I was looking at a bare block.’ Fortunately, Paul had been collecting parts over the years. At the time he was working as a Police Interceptor and would see a crash damaged Audi 200 Quattro on his way to work. He enquired after the car, and got a call from a guy named Swampy, who owned the wreck.
‘I knew the 200 had a lot of compatible parts. Swampy was lovely and was fi ne with me breaking it for spares where it was,’ says Paul. ‘We kept in touch and he’d let me jet wash parts there when I was restoring my car.’ The 200 had a much better head than the one on Paul’s Quattro, so he swapped the bits over. ‘I Frankensteined my original cam into the 200 head and lapped the valves in on a bench in the garden.’
New core plugs, piston rings, bearings, Paul replaced the lot. The fuel injection system was taken down into component form and everything was painstakingly cleaned, repaired then zinc plated. ‘When I’d finished the engine looked beautiful but the car didn’t, so I got the idea to make it as good as the Audi press car used in all of the brochures that I’d collected over the years.’ This was no mean feat, as the press car, also red, had only 15 miles on the clock when the promotional photos were shot. Three years of hard work followed. Paul stripped the car, dropped the subframes, and painstakingly rebuilt every component, replacing all of the fastenings with stainless steel, powder coating and polyurethane bushing the suspension and rebuilding the cloth seats. Then Paul decided to fit a leather interior he’d pulled out of a crashed Quattro in a scrap yard years before, so had to do it all over again. ‘I read about this stuff called hydrophane oil in PC, which revived the cracked old leather a treat. I then mist sprayed it in my garden using a compressor and a special leather dye to change the colour from brown to black.’
The best thing about the leather interior was it hadn’t been messed around with – the door cards and parcel shelf hadn’t been cut. Paul decided to have the car painted in two-pack, for that super glossy look. ‘I’d known the guys in the bodyshop for years and they’re really classic friendly. They let me strip the car back to bare metal myself using a DA sander.’ As the car had been garaged and off the road for so many years, the body was remarkably rust free, requiring only a smattering of welding.
With the shell painted and returned, Paul began the task of plumbing it all back together. ‘Everything is vacuum driven, the warm up system, the diff locks; there are so many vacuum pipes! And there are loads of sensors. I had to go through it all.’ The Quattro is perhaps the last modern classic to be individually wired, rather than employing a multiplex system. Paul spent weeks with a multimeter and large colour diagrams printed out from the late Phil Paynes’ excellent Quattro website. The dashboard voice synthesiser module was a particular challenge.
On Thursday June 12, 2014 Paul’s Quattro passed its first MoT since 1997 – just two days before its shake down run to the Le Mans 24-Hour race. ‘I’ve been going to Le Mans for 25 years, and it was great to get there in the Quattro again. I painted the wheels the morning we left – they dried on the way there!’ And is the car as good as Paul remembers it being when he bought it 26 years ago? ‘Even today they’re quick cars, and the technology in them is genuinely useful – you can switch the ABS off if you’re driving in snow, for example, as ABS actually hinders braking distance and control in those conditions. It’s clever yet considered stuff, not like modern cars!’
What’s it like to drive? by Neil Campbell.
Ok, I’m nervous. This is a powerful car, owned by a DCI, and I’ve recently been busted for speeding. I remember driving the PC Quattro but Paul’s is beyond comparison. It’s brawny, it’s extremely fast and the five-cylinder howl is without compararison. Unlike our old Quattro, it all works properly. Even the entertaining yet slighty creepy, talking dash.
Paul is an advanced Police Pursuit driver, so when he offers to take me for a run in it I’m naturally excited. Oh. My. Goodness. Paul heels and toes between changes, keeping the revs up and the turbo on boost exactly the same as I hadn’t as we catapult towards the neighbouring county. I thought it was amazing when I was driving, but this is something else. Believe the hype; the Quattro is ‘out of this world’ good, especially when it’s in the hands of a professional driver.
‘It passed its MoT just two days before a run to Le Mans’
Paul isn’t afraid to get out and use his Quattro.
Well we wouldn’t mess with him, would you?
The Eighties were all about the Turbo.
Car phone, tape, police radio: Eighties.
Interior. The steering wheel is from a later Quattro – Paul prefers its sporty nature, though he has retained the original. Likewise the seats – the original cloth interior is stored in his loft.
PAUL’S RESTO TIP
‘Before you begin, invest in an oxy-acetalene kit. Heat is the only way to unseize solid fixings and you’ll never regret it. Drilling out snapped high tensile steel bolt is a chore…’
‘I wanted to make it as good as the Audi press car used in the brochures’
Paul’s Quattro is perfect, but it doesn’t stop him driving it: two days after completion he was at Le Mans.
Paul helped out with the PC project Quattro back in 2010-11.
PAUL’S RESTO TIP
‘I had technical diagrams for my car. It was helpful as I knew the exact spec of each bolt I’d need, so I ordered them all in advance, saving money and time.’
Paul tells us what to look out for ‘Quattros get thrashed and like to rust, but they go in the same places – check sills in particular. It’s more essential that a project is complete, as many trim parts are almost impossible to find.’
‘My colleagues named it The Beast, so I bought a number plate with 666 in it!’
The #1985 #Audi-Quattro-Turbo / #Audi-Quattro-WR
GEARBOX 5-speed manual
TOP SPEED 137mph
FUEL ECONOMY: 27mpg
WEIGHT 2838lb (1290kg)
PRICE NEW £22,616 (June 1985)
AGREED VALUE: £20,000
Paul’s classic CV
Owned 1984-1972 Ford Escort ‘Mexico’ One of the many fast Fords I owned as a youth. It had a 1600cc crossflow and was a bit of a dog really. I only had it for six months, but I sold it at a profit and bought a Sierra Ghia 2-litre instead.
Owned 1987-1988 1985 Audi 2.2 GT Coupe I was trading cars and got through them quickly, making a profit on each and saving up to buy my Quattro. This was a cracking car though; as was the 200 Quattro that I replaced it with.
Owned 2001-2002 1990 Mercedes-Benz 560SEL V126. This was outrageous and had electric everything. I used to pull up outside nightclubs in it, and everyone thought my police mates and me were gangsters. We always got the best table!
Here’s how Paul did it
1 September 2011 Engine work The restoration quickly escalated when Paul got stuck into the engine. He completely rebuilt it, using a head from an Audi 200. Soon the rest of the car looked shabby by comparison, so he continued…
2 Nov 2012 Differential It quickly became a full restoration. Every nut and bolt has been taken off and replaced with stainless steel equivalents.
3 August 2013 Leather care Using advice from PC, Paul fed the leather interior he’d rescued from a scrapyard many years before. The front seats were from a left-hand drive car, and the frames required reworking and welding.
4 August 2013 Preptastic The body prep was Paul’s work as he knew the paint shop owners. Fortunately, it had been off the road and in a garage for so long that the bodyshell had only suffered a small amount of rust.
5 September 2013 Rebuild time The painted shell – but the end was far from in sight. There were still many hundreds of hours of wiring and electrical systems for Paul to rebuild and test - the voice synthesizer was a task. Well, it was something for Paul to look forward to.
6 May 2014 Seat rebuild Paul had to completely rebuild the front seats. He carefully removed the leather covers and refitted them when he’d finished.
Paul Moor is a Detective Chief Inspector in the Essex police. When he blew up his Cortina’s engine as a youngster, he bought a manual and rebuilt it himself – leading to a lifetime’s worth of spannering. He was a runner up in the Duckhams’ Mechanic of the Year 1991. Before becoming a DCI he ran the Essex Police Interceptor Squad, and was a regular on the Channel 5 TV programme, Police Interceptors.
Rust repairs and dints were visible – the mechanical problems weren’t.
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