Treser's Legendary History of Tuning Audi Cars
Walter Treser made a huge contribution to Audi's Quattro program before leaving to start his own company. He is acknowledged for building some of the most powerful Audis.
Before becoming a Pirelli development driver, Walter Treser had spent much of his time racing Alpina BMWs and DKWs. It was not until 1976 that he joined Audi and became part of the leadership team for the automaker's Quattro program. When the Ur-Quattro started winning, Treser realized that the platform's potential couldn't be harnessed fully at Ingolstadt. He left to start his own company as Roland Gumpert took over from him at Audi Sport.
Walter Treser Automobilbau
Walter Treser founded Walter Treser Automobilbau in 1985. For the first two years, the company dealt with concept cars. It was not until 1987 that Walter produced his first vehicle under the brand name, Treser. The company is mostly known for making the most expensive Audi ever built. It was a turbocharged Quattro that featured a tuned suspension and a full leather interior. Its output stood at 250 horsepower. Treser built a similar Audi 100 and went further with the Quattro Roadster.
The Hunter offered the same ruggedness and capability that Hannu Mikkola and Michele Mouton experienced at the World Rally Championships. Treser knew that there were people who wanted an off-roader that could handle a dune-heavy terrain. He aimed to achieve just that with the Hunter.
To be a reputable luxury car brand, Treser knew that he needed to offer buyers more than just luxurious roadsters and capable Quattros. He decided to add more wheelbase to Audi. The result was a stretched Treser Largo that came with all-wheel drive and a 5-cylinder that could churn 250 horsepower. The debut of the Treser Largo came at the expense of the Liner, a luxury wagon that was too pricey for an Avant.
Despite the setback, Walter Treser was still willing to forge ahead. He decided to build a rear-wheel drive, rear-engine hardtop roadster that was powered by a Golf GTI engine mounted transversely. This proved to be Treser's defying project. The idea was to produce an affordable sports car. He partnered with Hydro Aluminum, a company he tasked with designing an aluminum honeycomb floor-pan for the car.
The result was the T1, a sports car whose development costs had soared through the roof due to the aluminum floor. Treser debuted the car at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1987. It was then enrolled for racing during the DTM season. Tom Kristensen was the test driver behind the wheel. The race was exciting, but not enough to save Walter Treser Automobilbau from bankruptcy. The company became insolvent in 1988.
The Treser brand name made a comeback in the early '90s. This time, they tuned Volkswagen Corrados, Polos, and Golfs. Treser decided to come back to motorsport as well. He was part of the team that developed the 4WD DTM Calibras built by Opel.
One of the last remnants of Treser's creations lies at the Johann Puch Museum in Austria. It's a Treser Cabrio built between 1992 and 1993. It was based on the 2nd generation Volkswagen Polo. The production of this mighty sports car only saw 290 examples.
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