The Audi quattro A1 was homologated in group B on January 1st, 1983 with Nr. B-229. This type was the replacement of the Audi quattro group 4 car and was used by Audi Sport for the World Rally Championship from January until May 1987. A total of 11 cars were assembled by Audi Sport and got the Matter numbers R 35 up to R 44 (plus R 41 E). This vehicle carries the Matter number R 44 and is therefore the last built A1. It was delivered in April 1983 to Audi USA to be used by works driver John Buffum. It was maintained by Buffum’s company Libra Racing in S. Burlington, VT and driven with the Vermont license plate E344.
First event and first overall victory was for Nor’’Wester Int. Rally from 9th to 10th April, 1983. Until June 1983 two more overall victories and one runner-up were achieved before a new challenge was imminent: Pikes Peak Hill Climb on July 10th, 1983. Result: Overall victory in rally class. Shortly after the car was upgraded to A2 as almost all A1’s.
After 4 more overall victories in USA and Canada by John Buffum won Hannu Mikkola with co-driver Fabrizia Pons the Press on Regardless Rally 1983. John Buffum achieved with co-driver Neil Wilson 6th overall in the WRC event RAC-Rallye 1983 in UK. At the end of the year John Buffum was crowned for the 7th time American rally champion and winner of the North American Rally Cup composed of events in USA and Canada.
1984 was a successful year for John Buffum and R 44 with 7 more overall wins, 2 runner-ups and only one dnf in USA and Canada. Once again he was SCCA PRO Rally Champion and SCCA/CASC North American Rally Champion.
1985 the car was used until August and helped John Buffum with 2 more overall victories, 1 runner-up and one 4th place to win again both championships. In September he got a new car from Audi USA. In June 1988 Bruno Kreibich scored 3rd place in the Susquehannock Trail PRO Rally. With 17 overall wins, 4 runner-ups, one 3rd place, one 4th place and one 6th place combined with 3 US Championships plus victory at Pikes Peak and only one breakdown the R44 is for sure one of the most successful rally cars from Audi.
In December 1991 Audi USA sold this car to Richard Ward. He sold R 44 in April 1995 to John Smith, who gave the car on June 29th, 1997 to six-time Canadian Rally Champion Frank Sprongl for the Mt. Washington Hill Climb. After 4th-fastest time in run 1 the car retired with engine failure before run 2. Then the car was stored for 17 years before the current owner was able to acquire it.
Engine: Turbo charged 5-cylinder with 10 valves
Displacement: 2,144 cm³ (x turbo factor of 1.4 = 3,002 cm³)
Power: 250 kW (340 HP) at 6,000 rpm
Fuel system: mechanic Pierburg-Bosch injection
Max torque : 414 Nm at 3,600 rpm
Power Transfer: Permanent all-wheel drive
Transmission: Fully synchronized 5 -speed manual gearbox
LSD: mechanic center diff and part diff rear
Kerb weight: 1,100 kg