quattro – “Moments” in a Success Story

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July 12, 2005

Source: Audi AG

Precisely 25 years ago, a car that was to change the world of automotive technology went on display for the first time: on 3 March 1980 the first Audi quattro stole the limelight at the Geneva Motor Show. This winning personality sporting the four-ring badge was the beginning of a success story which has remained undimmed by time. An anniversary that is of course also being celebrated by the Audi museum mobile in the Audi Forum Ingolstadt: “Moments” is the motto of the special exhibition, which will be opened on 20th July. The show will be on display until 15 January 2006, making it the longest-lasting special exhibition in what will soon be the five-year history of the Audi museum mobile.

In the beginning was a moment. One drop, causing circular ripples in the water, which tower up to form waves. This symbolism marks the start of the exhibition. In the centre of the area the visitor is met by a video show, projected from the ceiling of the museum onto the floor, which marks the start as well as many different moments in the history of quattro. The circular ripples created by the drop of water travel outwards, multiplying and breaking on the symbolic waves of the semicircular rear walls behind the major exhibits of the special exhibition, which document each of the moments in the 25-year success story of Audi four-wheel drive.

The “Iltis moment” is what sparked the success story. The moment in 1977 when engineer Jörg Bensinger, on a test trip in Finland in an Iltis, hits upon the idea of incorporating the four-wheel drive of the off-roader into a passenger car. In 1980 a team from the Audi Sport department triumphed in the Paris-Dakar Rally in just such an Iltis. This winning car will be on view, as will a whole string of famous Audi quattro models, each of which makes history in its own way. The first quattro of 1980, still called the “Ur-quattro” to this day, a Group B Rallye quattro, the legendary Audi Sport “Pikes Peak” quattro S1, in which Walter Röhrl was the first to conquer the 4,000-metre-plus mountain in Colorado in under eleven minutes. Nor should the successful circuit racing cars be forgotten. The Audi 90 quattro IMSA GTO, with which Audi instilled fear into the competition in the USA in 1989, and the Audi A4 Supertouring that took seven national championships in 1996. There is even a driving simulator built into the Audi V8 quattro DTM, enabling visitors to relate to the quattro feeling interactively on the racing circuit.

But quattro is not just a technology whose most obvious features can be illustrated in a full-scale model of a drive train. The stories on the periphery also contribute to the legend. For example the “fan moment”. Ilse Schneider was the name of the lady whose telephone number was to become the most frequently dialled number in Ingolstadt in the early eighties. This Audi employee spoke the latest interim rally positions and results onto a tape. When Audi ended its involvement in rallying in 1987, the number 89 3636 had been called over 500,000 times. Fan accessories from the eighties are also exhibited, some of which were exhibited highly unusual features. A glance at the present and into the future is provided by the Audi allroad quattro from the Willi Bogner film, “Ski to the Max”, the Audi A6 that was used for the current TV ski-jump commercial and, on top all that, a wall with peep-holes, through which it will be possible to make out the outlines of some future Audi developments. And the children are well catered for too. Remote-controlled model cars with quattro and front-wheel drive can be driven on two platforms, on various different road surfaces.

The four rings of the Audi badge symbolise the brands Audi, DKW, Horch and Wanderer, which were later combined under the umbrella of Auto Union. Auto Union and NSU, which merged in 1969, made many significant contributions towards the development of the car. AUDI AG was formed from Audi NSU Auto Union AG in 1985. Together with the two traditional companies Auto Union GmbH and NSU GmbH, Audi Tradition nurtures and presents the deep and diverse history of Audi. The Audi museum mobile at the Audi Forum Ingolstadt is open from Monday to Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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