Rare pre-production Audi Quattro prototype sells for £49,500 at auction

What is believed to be one of only two right-hand drive pre-production Audi Quattro prototypes left in existence, and the UK's first, has gone under the hammer

Virtually any Audi Quattro going under the hammer will generate interest, but this pre-production prototype which has just sold for £49,500 has a unique place in history.

Just 12 of these prototype Quattros were built and this particular 1982 model that has been sold is believed to be one of only two left in existence, the other being in Scotland. The auctioneers, Silverstone Auctions, added that given the car was built in June 1982 and first registered on August 1 that year it is ‘highly likely’ to be the first factory-supplied right-hand drive UK version of the car.

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It was sold as part of Silverstone Auctions’ September sale in Warwickshire. It had been expected to fetch bids of between £50,000 to £60,000 and was sold for slightly under this range at £49,500 ($64,138).

The Audi Quattro is an immensely significant car in automobile history, particularly via its famous rally exploits in evocative Group B. The Quattro all-wheel-drive system came to redefine how rally cars were designed, and also introduced the car-buying public to all-wheel drive performance cars. Many examples of the Quattro therefore sell for vast sums even in the modern day.

The Quattro was not designed initially to go into production with the road car there only to homologate the racer - Audi was taken by surprise when huge demand for the car rose. Initially the Quattro was left-hand drive only, but despite this drawback the Quattro still became popular in the UK and so the development of a right-hand drive version was fast-tracked.

Audi began work on 12 right-hand drive prototype cars on the ‘C’ chassis that featured quad headlamps and differing suspension found on later cars. When the right-hand drive model made production it was built on the new ‘D’ variation of the chassis, making these prototype cars very unusual indeed.

The machine was also promoted in UK popular culture for a more recent generation thanks to the inimitable police chief character Gene Hunt in the flash-back BBC series Ashes to Ashes, who drove a red version of the same Quattro model and employed the catchphrase ‘Fire up the Quattro.’

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