It is no secret that the correct way to spell Audi’s legendary four wheel drive rally car has been the subject to much interpretation and debate since the invention of the internet: is it “Quattro” or “quattro”?
Upon my own research when launching this informative website, I could not find a definitive answer myself as many other websites and articles that looked professionally written often had discrepancies too. Hence, I could only rely on some kind of logic of and deduce that the car was the “Quattro” and the four/all wheel drive system the “quattro”. I went forth and wrote all my articles under that principle.
Not long ago, one of my articles about Audi’s rally car was linked on Facebook where it caught the eye of a particular person. It turns out to be that this person took the way that the name of the car was written at heart. I received an email via this website’s contribution page that felt very spirited to say the least. Upon resolving a slight “fender-bender” with that person, I sent out to find the definitive answer in hopes to close the matter and preserve history in a correct fashion.
For full disclosure, here’s the email that I have sent to Audi Corporate Archives in Germany:
Hello, I am the creator of a website dedicated to the Group B era of rallying: https://rallygroupbshrine.org/ and as you are surely aware Audi played a huge role in the history of that era. I am contacting you today because of discrepancies in how the name of the Audi Quattro (the first car model from 1980 to 1991, sometimes referred to as "urQuattro") is spelled throughout the internet. If you would be so kind to forward this email to anyone in department that is familiar with the history of the Q/quattro and could provide me with all the correct answers. Some sources say that "Quattro" with a capital "Q" refers to the car model while "quattro" with a small "q" refers to the four wheel drive system. However, some say that the car itself is spelled "Audi quattro" with a small "q"? The problem thickens when it comes to the Audi Sport Quattro (1983 special homologation model). Some say that it should be written "Audi sport quattro" with a small "s" and a small "q". Furthermore, when it comes to the rally (evolution) model, some sources say that it shouldn't be written "Audi Sport Quattro S1" but should simply be written "Audi Quattro S1". Lastly, for the second evolution model, there is yet another discrepancy with the moniker "S1 E2" or "S1/E2"? It is important to me that the names are correctly written in my website as it is for historical preservation purposes. Best regards, --Jay Auger
Here’s the official reply from Audi:
Dear Mr. Auger, Thank you for your inquiry which was forwarded to the Audi Corporate Archives. The official spelling is always quattro with a small “q” referring to the car model (= Audi quattro, although there have been some press releases in the early 1980s containing Quattro with a capital “Q”) as well as to the four wheel drive system in general. Correspondingly, it’s also Audi Sport quattro referring to the series version and Audi Sport quattro S1 referring to the rally version. Concerning the evolution model of this car with the big spoilers (as it has been used in the 1985 Rallye Sanremo by Walter Röhrl, for example), there is no official spelling. It can be Audi Sport quattro S1 E2 as well as Audi Sport quattro S1/E2 or Audi Sport quattro S1 (E2). We hope we have been able to help you with this information. Kind regards Audi Tradition / Corporate Archives (contact data removed at the request of sender)
So here’s the quick rundown;
- The car is the “Audi quattro“
- The four/all wheel drive system is the “quattro” or “Audi’s quattro system” (if used in a sentence)
- The special Group B short wheelbase homologation / series model is the “Audi Sport quattro“
- The rally car version of the latter is the “Audi Sport quattro S1“
- There is no official spelling format for the “E2” version
I hope this makes it clearer for everyone! All of the website has since been updated to respect the spelling.
Special thanks to Erwin A. Brouwer for contacting me about this topic and to Audi Tradition / Corporate Archives for taking the time to reply to my queries.