How the Audi Sport Quattro S1 and the Black Volcano Changed WRC

Sport Quattro S1 Pikes Peak

In the short span of six years, Audi changed the WRC landscape with the Sport Quattro S1 and its determination to hire the best drivers.

Audi unleashed two forces in WRC during the 1980s and changed everything. One was Audi’s follow-up to the Ur-Quattro. Known as the Sport Quattro S1, it was designed for one purpose – to dominate Group B and win a World Rally Championship. The other was a driver with a natural talent for rallying. Known as the Black Volcano, she proved every bit as fast, and even faster, than many men in the sport.

The Audi Sport Quattro S1

The Audi Sport Quattro S1 was, and is, a force of nature in WRC. It’s not an evolution of the Ur-Quattro but a purpose-built supercar intended to dominate Group B rallying. Introduced for the 1984 season, the S1 was smaller with wider wheel arches to accommodate 9-inch wide wheels. It was almost a foot shorter than the original car, with a wheelbase to match. The carbon-kevlar body shell shaved over 300 pounds off the weight.

Sport Quattro S1Michele Mouton had the talent and skill to compete as a champion driver. But as a woman, she had to overcome sexism from critics who saw rallying as a man’s sport. Nicknamed “the Black Volcano” by the German press for her hair and fiery temperament, she silenced most of her critics by winning the 1981 Rallye Sanremo in Italy. In 1982, she followed that up by winning the International Rally Driver of the Year award, helping Audi win its first manufacturer’s world title and finishing second in the driver’s standings.

Michele Mouton Audi Sport Quattro RS 002, which showed promise. However, the cancellation of Group B affected Group S as well, and the program was shelved.

Mouton went on to become the first president of the FIA’s Women & Motor Sport Commission and FIA’s manager in the World Rally Championship. She was also inducted into the Rally Hall of Fame in 2012. Audi ended its involvement in WRC after 1986, shifting its focus to touring car racing and eventually Le Mans.

Even though Audi’s rally program occupied a short period in its history, it made a lasting impact on the sport. The company’s purpose-built Sport Quattro rally cars served as the template for all the cars that followed. And by hiring Michelle Mouton to its factory team, Audi opened the door for other women race drivers to follow.

Photos: Audi Heritage  

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Mark Webb is fascinated by anything automotive and particularly loves cars that are unusual or have a good story. He’s owned a variety of cars from 60’s muscle, Japanese imports, and oddities like a VW Thing and Porsche 924. After 20 years in the automotive and tech industries, he’s a walking encyclopedia of car info and is always on the lookout for his next project or a good road trip.

A Rare 1982 Audi Ur Quattro is Found in Scotland after almost 30 Years

1982 Audi Ur Quattro

After Almost 30 Years, this Alpine White Audi Ur Quattro from 1982 is Found and Rescued from a Scottish Garage

Just last month, a 1982 Audi Ur Quattro got to see the sun after being locked away in a Scottish garage since 1994. Featured on Jonny Smith’s The Late Brake Show was Jason and his late brother’s Ur Quattro, which was stored in his garage for reasons unknown, and then left untouched for 28 years. That is, until Smith came along to show the world an incredibly rare and rally bred beauty.

Having sat in a windowless garage for nearly three decades, the interior was a tad dusty, but intact, colorful and bright – just like it would have been in 1982. No sun damage or bleaching, no rodent damage, and very little water and mold damage – despite being so close to Scottish shores. The only evidence the car had even seen the light of day beforehand was a few retro packs of cigarettes and an air freshener.

After phoning a friend who had access to a trove of classic Audi knowledge, he was able to find out that the car was hand-built by a team of Audi workers in July of 1982 – before mass production took affect for the company. It also happened to be only one of 70 right hand drive models sold in the United Kingdom, making for the Alpine white Quattro with matching Fuch wheels the stuff of legends.

1982 Audi Ur Quattro

A Rich and Capable History

What makes the Ur Quattro that Smith stumbled upon so special wasn’t just the origin story, but what came of the result. For instance, the Quattro was inspired by Volkswagen’s very capable but fairly unknown Iltis – an off-roader that was used by the German military. Audi, knowing that the Iltis could quite literally go anywhere but was slower than molasses on a winter day, decided to take what made the Iltis so successful and make it prettier and faster. And thus, the Ur Quattro was born.

Once the Quattro was introduced into professional rallying, though, the world of rally was forever changed. Anyone who is into rally knows the Audi Quattro – and how much of an impact the permanent 4WD system had on competing manufacturers.

1982 Audi Ur Quattro

While Smith didn’t take the precious Audi home, he did try valiantly to try and start the famous 2.2 liter five-cylinder up. Despite fresh oil, cleaning up the distributor points, sprucing up the plugs and hooking it up to a bigger battery, the Quattro needed more attention that Smith could give it. Shortly after Smith’s visit in Scotland, the one of a kind car went up for auction and was sold for £20,250. To check out the listing and more photos of the incredible car, click here.

To view the original video, check out some retro wrappers and newspapers found in the garage and what Jason’s brother traded in to get the Audi, watch the video below.

Cars were always a central part of Kristen’s life. It all started with passing tools to her colorfully cursing sailor of a father while he was underneath Chevy Novas from the 1970s. Eventually she was promoted from Tool Monkey to Apprentice – auto mechanics were her first love. Having graduated from California State University, Monterey Bay in 2020 and married a successful mechanic, she spend most of her days reading, writing and talking about what she loves most: cars.