What do you do if you can’t afford half a million quid for your dream car? You build one yourself of course and this fabulous replication of the Audi Quattro S1 Evo 2 ‘Group B’ rally car is one of the best yet….
Feature from Performance Audi. Words: Glenn Rowswell & Silverstone Auctions. Photos: Silverstone Auctions/Alan Kenny
The original Audi Sport Quattro S1 E2 was introduced at the end of 1985 as a development of the Sport Quattro S1. It packed a 2.1-litre turbocharged inline 5-cylinder engine that boasted a mind bending output figure of 473bhp. A big figure now, let alone four decades ago. The turbocharger cleverly utilised a recirculating air system to ensure it kept spinning at high rpm, so, whilst the throttle was closed as the driver slowed down for corners or shifting gear the engine could resume full power immediately after hitting full throttle. This reduced turbo lag considerably, increased acceleration and gave a massive advantage over its competitors. It also had rear-mounted water and oil coolers to improve weight distribution, a six-speed twin-clutch gearbox and a full ‘Umluft’ anti-lag system.
But there was more to the Audi Quattro S1 E2 than just improved power, as there was the addition of a very advanced and aggressive aerodynamic kit that featured very distinctive wide arches and front and rear spoilers. It was lighter than its predecessor too. The extreme aerodynamics were said to give downforce at very low speeds and were in full effect by 60mph. Though when asked about improving aerodynamics, Audi Sport simply said they were not that interested. Nope, all they wanted was maximum grip, so they could make the car so powerful it would accelerate like a rocket regardless of aerodynamics.
The S1 E2 made its debut at the 1985 Rally Argentina, with Stig Blomqvist driving and the car enjoyed much success on the rally circuit, with Walter Röhrl, Christian Geistdörfer and later Michéle Mouton. The S1 E2 would become the final Group B car produced by Audi, with the works team withdrawing from the Championship following the 1986 rally in Portugal.
In the world of rallying, those years represent the golden era. Group B took the World Rally Championship and turned it on its head. In a matter of just a few short years, factory-backed cars doubled their power output and were packed full of cutting-edge technology and exotic components. Many people likened them to Formula 1 cars for the gravel, and that wasn’t far from the truth. But they were too fast and ultimately too dangerous, which is why we will, unfortunately, never see anything like Group B in the WRC ever again.
However, there will always be enthusiasts (or some may say mad people), like us who would love to own a mid-eighties Group B car. But with such small numbers of competition cars built during the heyday, owning a proper works-spec machine is a privilege that only a few rather well-off people can enjoy. Most surviving cars are in collectors’ hands and subsequently don’t come up for sale very often and when they do there’s the small matter of price. Think of a price, double it and chances are you’re still not even close. So what do you do if you crave a slice of Group B Audi lunacy, but can’t lay your hands on the real thing? You build your own version of course!
And, the very car you’re currently dribbling over here is one man’s tribute to the iconic Audi Quattro S1 Evo 2 ‘Group B’ rally car. Blending the front end of an Audi 80 Saloon and a Coupe back end, in exactly the same way as the originals. Its builder, Jamie Small, one of the foremost experts in the development of SWB Quattros in the UK, set about building a usable re-creation of a Quattro S1 Evo 2 for time attack, hill climbs and sprints. With an outstanding reputation for his knowledge of all things Audi of the period, he set about creating this masterpiece.
Jamie carefully researched the original’s external presentation with the aim to replicate the look of the famous HB Audi Team cars from 1985. Not an easy feat, as although the HB Cigarettes decals and stickers were still available, every other sponsor and team logo had to be painted by hand, to match the colours, size and finish. A laborious and expensive process that’s for sure, but you only have to see it in the metal to see it was so worth it.
The power unit is a fully forged, 2.2-litre, 5-cylinder Porsche Development RS2 ADU engine fitted with JE pistons, Jamo Rods, Race-King shells, ARP Crank and Head bolts, Race Cams, ported and flowed CNC head and an Auto-Verdi dry-sump set up. Then there’s an S1 Borg Warner Turbo with a large intercooler, modified intake manifold, twin Bosch 044 pumps, a custom Swedish Header and all lines are Aeroquipped. Engine management is taken care of by Maxx Sport and, even running at low boost, will produce 500bhp. The engine was tuned and set-up with the potential to handle up to 1,000bhp safely. Could you imagine piloting that?!
Gearbox wise there’s a 01E 6-speed manual with a sequential shifter and a quick-release 90mm single piece prop shaft. The car is also fitted with sold-mounted subframes with solid top-mounts, KW Coilovers, Group B tubular T45 rose-jointed lower arms with poly bushes, poly-bushed roll-bars front and rear, S2 5×112 Hub Carriers, RS2 drive shafts. Finished off nicely with big brakes and Compomotive 9×16-inch S1 wheels wrapped in Hankook FIA slicks.
But it’s not just externally on point, the accuracy in replicating the Quattro S1 Evo 2 continues inside with the correct S1 dashboard with period VDO gauges, an internal electric steering pump supporting the quick rack, and hydraulic pedals with brake bias.
And, this replica has the skills to pay the bills on the motorsport stage. FIA approved fitments within the car include the 8-point roll cage, ATL Fuel Cell, Sparco seats and harnesses, harness anchor plates, 4mm glass, Lifeline 4.5 extinguisher system (four under dash and four in the engine compartment) and an FIA approved hand-held extinguisher. The six big Bosch spotlights at the front, the H4 main beams and the smoked rear light lenses are all original. And the best bit? It even has an MOT (on road tyres) so, if required, can be driven to events. Just imagine seeing this flying past you on the motorway or pulling into the services for some petrol and a pack of Haribo.
We’ve seen some great replicas and homages to the Audi Quattro S1 Evo 2 in our time at Performance Audi, but this is one of the best UK built replications of the Group B legend we’ve ever seen. It’s a fire-breathing monster that spits and bangs and makes the ground tremble beneath your feet just like they used to. Quite simply a fabulous recreation of Audi Sport’s legendary Audi Quattro S1 Evo 2 ‘Group B’ rally car.
Tech Spec: Audi Quattro S1 Evo 2 Replica
Fully forged 2.2-litre 5-cylinder Porsche Development RS2 ADU engine, JE pistons, Jamo Rods, Race-King shells, ARP Crank and Head bolts, Race Cams, ported and flowed CNC head, solid engine cover, Auto-Verdi dry-sump set up, S1 Borg Warner Turbo with large intercooler, modified intake manifold, twin Bosch 044 pumps, custom Swedish Header and Aeroquipped lines, Maxx Sport engine management, 01E 6-speed manual with a sequential shifter, quick-release 90mm single piece prop shaft
500bhp at low boost, 1000bhp capable at high boost
KW Coilovers, Group B tubular T45 rose-jointed lower arms with poly bushes, poly-bushed roll-bars front and rear, S2 5×112 Hub Carriers, RS2 drive shafts, big brakes, Compomotive 9×16-inch S1 wheels, Hankook FIA slicks
Sold-mounted subframes with solid top-mounts, S1 dashboard with period VDO gauges, internal electric steering pump supporting the quick rack, hydraulic pedals with brake bias, FIA approved 8-point roll cage, ATL Fuel Cell, Sparco seats and harnesses, harness anchor plates, 4mm glass, Lifeline 4.5 extinguisher system (four under dash and four in the engine compartment) and an FIA approved hand-held extinguisher.
SWB Quattro S1 Evo 2 Group B widebody, Correct ‘HB Audi Team’ period livery decals and stickers, hand-painted sponsor and team logo graphics, Bosch spotlights, H4 main beams, smoked rear light