Grastenss' thoughts on this model

One of the more-peculiar rally models ever released by Tamiya, this Audi Quattro was ironically rear-wheel drive and comically proportioned. Much like the Lancia Rally, its detailed bumpers and bodyshell were largely at odds with its oversized tires, wide rear track, and short wheelbase. A Quattro Sport before the Quattro Sport, then.

Today, they are quite rare. Finding one in good condition is exceedingly difficult, and like its Ascona stablemate and the Wild Willys M38 it was derived from, good examples command high prices. All that money does not arguably even buy a good car, with wayward handling caused by a high centre of gravity, swing-axle front suspension, a large differential reducing ground clearance to about 1 cm, and friction shock absorbers being trusted to handle unstable terrain. It is why very few change hands in good condition, and also why it is not universally-loved.

But something about the above does it for a number of enthusiasts, and that is why a number of them are kept alive as shelf queens. That unusual rigid-axle rear suspension and gearbox configuration, with a universal joint joining two separate gearboxes and a pivoting motor mount, is of particular mechanical intrigue. There was a reason a chassis like it will never be designed again, but to the vintage collector it means the Quattro is one (or rather three) of a kind.

... And did I mention it is actually fun to drive? As a serious racer, a Hornet could match it, and maybe even an expertly-driven Hilux 3-speed could keep pace with it (try getting a race like that set up!). But it will still lift its front wheels in the air when gunned on asphalt, and the chaotic handling seems to bring back memories of the original Audi Quattros, especially the later editions... A Tamiya Lancia Rally feels docile by comparison, but when piloting a Quattro it is always an adventure!

That being said: the car does reasonably-well on loose gravel, and some measure of control can be exercised putting it through corners, easing off the throttle before powering it past the apex, the car drifting almost placidly with its silver-can motor and 18T pinion... Just be careful when cornering on a high-grip surface; the roll bar will remind anyone of that!

It is almost sad that so few of them are run these days, with parts being at a premium and the brittleness of the original plastics... To quote Walter Rohrl (who was incidentally talking about the Lancia 037 Stradale): ^You never see them on the road do you?^

But run in the right place, the Quattro should still shine and bring a few smiles, and perhaps it could challenge an original Tamiya Lancia Rally in a throwback to the early days of Group B racing! Now, to get such an event organized...

^Quattro^ does not describe the number of drive wheels on Tamiya^s version, but could suggest that it is ^four times the fun!^

entered: 6/14/2014 7:06:19 PM by Grastens


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