One car this engine never got to call home – save for a rumoured one and only test – was the little-known Audi RS 002 Group S. Touted to succeed the tumultuous Group B class in 1987, Group S was to take rallying in a safer, more accessible but equally exciting direction. Revised rules included relaxed manufacturer homologation. That meant more exotic machinery could take to the stages with a more tenuous connection with what was rolling off the production line than ever before.
Enter, RS 002: a peculiar looking thing that seems to cross Ford RS200 with wafts of Group 5 brutishness and aero addenda. Take the “Audi Tradition” livery and the four rings off it and you’d be hard pressed to tell this car was a close relation of the handsome chisel-jawed Quattro. Of course, this isn’t really a close relation of that car when you consider the circumstance of its conception. With Group S regulations edging ever closer, a crack team of Audi Sport engineers began the clandestine development of a car that would hit the ground running and be ahead of the game in terms of playing to regulations.
You can thank the garden-shed-within-an-empire approach to development for the quirky looks, as well as the fact that this car is far from what the finished article would have looked like, had the project moved forward. This plastic-bodied tubular frame machine met its end as of the famous horrific accident during the 1986 Portugal Rally that numbered the days of Group B. The un-fielded Group S formula followed in its wake.