The father of the Audi Quattro Spyder: “I wish I could have seen it on the roads” – Classics

The father of the Audi Quattro Spyder: “I wish I could have seen it on the roads” – Classics
The father of the Audi Quattro Spyder: “I wish I could have seen it on the roads” – Classics

One of the most influential designers who passed under the Audi banner was Hartmut Warkuss. The brilliant artist designed several historic cars for the brand, such as the Audi 100 Coupé S from 1970 and the first Audi A8 from 1994; he worked on the Audi 80, on the Quattro and churned out bold prototypes like the 1991 Avus and the Quattro Spyder. Co-opted by Volkswagen, he collaborated on the New Beetle, Passat and Phaeton projects, as well as contributing to the rebirth of Bugatti. All this could not have happened if the Second World War had taken him away: born in 1940 in Breslau, East Germany, he managed to survive the Nazis and the advance of the Soviet Army; while his father and sister perished. His family was deported. He found himself living near Dusseldorf, on the other side of the country. With the studio he remedied the tragedies and managed to get a job at Mercedes, in the design department; then he moved to Ford in Cologne before joining Audi. Where he contributed to the growth of greats such as Peter Schreyer and Gregory Guillaume (Kia and Hyundai), Marc Lichte (still in Audi), Thomas Ingenlath (Polestar).

Initially, the daily goal was to make the Audi brand of absolute quality, using both design and technology. An ambitious goal that motivated us. There was optimism and team spirit everywhere in the company. I was lucky to experience that time. The atmosphere of optimism was formed by Ferdinand Piëch, first as head of technical development and then as president. His requests were clear-cut, a challenge, but created excellent opportunities for our growth“, Warkuss explained to the British magazine Octane. His career had a decisive surge in 1982, when he designed the Audi 100. “It was our golden moment. The car was champion in aerodynamics, and from there the foundations were laid for a new era of Audi. The first A8 was also a milestone, as the design was significantly different from the V8: it was the decisive step towards the luxury sector“.

But there is one car that Warkuss, when he was head of design, would have gladly pushed into production. “I have always wanted to make a contribution to the company in terms of evolution, so that it could advance into the future. One of the models I had in mind and presented was theAudi Quattro Spyder from 1991. It was never produced, but I really wanted to see her on the streets. A couple more models have fallen by the wayside after the internal introductions, but you have to accept that. Sometimes you have to wait for the right moment for certain types of styles. After all, it is not enough to be enthusiastic about new forms, because you have to keep in mind the economic needs of the company you work for“, Said the designer, who retired in 2003 after contributing to other important projects for the Volkswagen group, such as the fourth generation of the Golf, the Lupo, the Bugatti Veyron 18/4 which was the basis of the later version. produced.

FP | Samuel Prosino

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