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quattro book group b rally car

‘Quattro: The Rally and Race Story 1980-2004’ is a brilliant, beautiful read.

‘Quattro: The Rally and Race Story 1980-2004’ outlines the technical prowess and initial risk Audi took to bring us a defining piece of automotive technology: high-performance four-wheel-drive.

By Collin Morgan

Sun, Apr 11, 2021 04:27 AM PST

Quattro: The Rally and Race Story 1980-2004
Author: Jeremy Walton
Product form: Hardback
ISBN: 978-1-910505-43-4
Number of pages: 304
Number of illustrations: 334, mostly color
Dimensions: 11” x 9.25”
Publication date: September 2020
Publisher: Evro Publishing
Price: £50 GBP
Photos courtesy of the publisher.

'Quattro: The Race and Rally Story 1980-2004'

The maniacal Audi Quattro Group B rally car is one of the most iconic, brutal, and successful motorsport vehicles to ever exist. How could that be? How could a singular car seem to dominate the rest of the competition?

‘Quattro: The Rally and Race Story 1980-2004’ definitively answers this question. The book takes you on a journey, exploring the genius German minds at Audi and their risky innovation that paid off in the trophy case. But the Quattro system goes far beyond rallying – Touring Car racing, IMSA, and more were all shocked by the success of those pesky four-wheel-drive Audis.

Chassis and drivetrain of the Quattro

I couldn’t pass this book review up when it was offered to me. I grew up adoring rally racing, admiring the cars and their pilots from the Stratos days to present. And of course, the golden days of rally (also the most dangerous) were in the mid 1980’s with the unrestricted Group B monsters.

Daily, I pictured these cars soaring over gravel with a takeoff velocity Elon Musk would be proud of. However, one of these cars always seemed to fly the best, with a stability and strength above all others: the Quattro.

The original Quattro was powered by this turbo five-cylinder engine.

‘Quattro: The Rally and Race Story 1980-2004’ starts off with some history on the Auto Union, and works its way up to the late 1970s, when work on the Quattro system really gained traction – literally.

In 1980, an Audi 80 Coupé debuted at the Geneva Auto Show featuring Quattro technology. This debut still ranks among the most successful and hyped events in Auto Show history. The Quattro system blew everyone away.

The Quattro, driven by Walter Röhrl, found great success ascending Pikes Peak.

From there, you learn about the critical central differential, without which the Quattro would be impossible. At the heart of this mystical transmission system is the hollow shaft, which splits power between the front and rear wheels. It was genius.

The timeline of the Quattro progresses through rally, Group B dominance, Pikes Peak, Trans-Am racing, IMSA, saloon car racing, and touring car racing through 2004. The success of the Quattro amazes me – it wasn’t just success in one niche, it was motorsport-wide success. From the dust-clogged rallies of Italy to the scorching road races in the southern US, the Quattro won no matter where it went.

The 200 quattro shown here is modified for the 1988 Trans-Am racing series, and was the largest race or rally car Audi ever fielded. 

Author Jeremy Walton pens this book with years of expertise. His knowledge and hidden tidbits span cover to cover, and his pace is comprehensive and fluid. The photographs are crisp and colorful, and even the black and white pictures offer a window into time.

‘Quattro: The Rally and Race Story 1980-2004’ is available for £50 GBP from Ervo Publishing HERE. Prices on other websites for the book range from $50-$80.

The IMSA 90 quattro pictured above was iconic for both its performance and looks.

‘Quattro: The Rally and Race Story 1980-2004’ is a must-read for anyone interested in anything motorsports, no matter what niche you prefer. It is a fantastic representation of how a single innovation can revolutionize a brand’s reputation. The words are excellent, the photographs are outstanding, and your automotive passion will thank you for the blast of knowledge this book provides. I highly recommend it.

About The Author

Collin Morgan's profile picture

Collin Morgan

Collin Morgan is a Grand Rapids, Michigan based writer and enjoys the unique and unusual aspects of the automotive industry. He has experienced the worldwide car culture firsthand and has visited the automotive shrines of Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Pagani in Central Italy, tackled the Autobahn, and toured Wales with a rally club. Back in the States, he frequents car events in Detroit and Chicago and is convinced Michigan is the most underrated state for picturesque drives. He owns a 1999 Miata and has happily allowed many good hair days to be ruined by the open road turbulence.

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