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In the world of rallying, few cars are as iconic as the Audi Quattro, commonly known as the ‘Ur-Quattro.’

Audi introduced the Quattro back in 1980 and quickly started competing with the car in various rally championships. As the regulations changed, the car morphed into the Sport Quattro from Group B that you may be most familiar with. A touch over 11,000 units of the ‘regular’, road-going Audi Ur-Quattro were produced and RM Sotheby’s will auction one off at its Arizona event on January 22.

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Audi only sold the Ur-Quattro in North America between 1983 and 1986 and over this period, just 763 examples were delivered through its official channels. This particular model was ordered by its first owner from Trainer Motors in Connecticut and delivered on 22 November 1982. It was acquired by the consignor in 2015.

The listing reveals that the car remained with its original owner until 30 October 1992 when it was acquired by someone in New Jersey with 53,000 miles on the clock. This owner was an Audi mechanic and upgraded the car to European specification, fitting Ronal alloy wheels, larger brakes, Koni shocks, stiffer springs, a performance camshaft, upgraded instruments, European headlights, and European bumpers.

Finished in a shade of Mars Red, the car has only been driven 2,000 miles (3,200 km) over the past 28 years and is being sold with its original owner’s manual, maintenance booklet, jack, spare tire, tools, and maintenance invoices.

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Bentley’s factory in Crewe is actually a fairly green place. With more than 300,000 bees, 30,000 solar panels, and gardens a-plenty, the manufacturer is trying to improve its impact. And its latest effort involves increasing the biodiversity around the plant.

Crewe is the home to endemic bird and bat populations. So Bentley is trying to help the local blue tit and pippistrelle bat populations flourish by building little homes for the creatures.

The manufacturer invited the UK’s Autocar magazine around to help put up the boxes. Although Bentley purchased the bird and bat boxes from a supplier, the British company does have in-house carpenters, so it gave them the opportunity to carve the brand’s logo into the wood before hanging them.

It should be noted here, that the boxes are necessary because of Bentley’s factory-among others. Lest we give the manufacturer too much credit, they aren’t actually helping the local wildlife, they’re just lessening the impact of their factory, to say nothing of the big, thirsty engines they produce.

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Greenwashing notwithstanding, bird boxes are put up because a number of bird species need to hide their nests in dead trees and other places. Beaks struggle to break through factory walls, so bird boxes help them find a place to make a nest.

Bat boxes act in much the same way, except instead of a little hole, there is a letter slot at the top and a bar from which the bats hang.

And although I think Bentley should hardly be celebrated for trying to hurt the local environment a little less, encouraging it and other brands to do better means recognizing the good. And Bentley’s head of site planning, Andrew Robertson, claims the effort to do better is a genuine one.

“There’s no certificate for increasing the biodiversity of a car park,” he told Autocar, “but it’s the right thing to do.”

Robertson’s next effort will be to collect rainwater to make the factory water-neutral. That’s a tough sell in the UK, where the financial benefit of collecting water is limited, but he says the ecological benefit is enough. I imagine the benefit of good press is also a consideration, but hopefully that’s a worthwhile trade.

When GMC was trying to get us hyped for the Hummer EV, they showed us crab mode. Fun features, especially in off-roaders, are all the rage, so it’s good to know that the Hummer’s were designed by someone who has built 12 off-road racers from the ground up.

Mike Colville is GM’s senior manager of complex feature integration, but, according to the Detroit Free Press, he just calls himself “the features dude.” That makes him the leader of the team that created CrabWalk, which allows the Hummer to drive diagonally; extract mode, which literally lifts the Hummer out of deep terrain; and Ultravision, which adds waterproof cameras under the truck to help you avoid big boulders and the like.

Many of the features come from Colville’s own experiences in off-road racing. In his career, he has built 12 cars by hand that compete in Ultra4 endurance races. These “cars” are better described as tube-frame buggies that can be powered by big V8s making up to 800 hp and fly across the desert at speeds of more than 100 mph.

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“It was scary, fun, exhilarating and I’m proud,” Colville told the Free Press in an interview. “There was nothing I liked better than driving in the dust. It brought that competitive spirit out in me.”

In many ways, it was his off-road racing days that got him on the Hummer project. Having just returned from China in 2019, where he developed performance features for cars, he liked to talk off-road racing to Josh Tavel. Tavel was the chief engineer on the Hummer project, so he invited Colville onto the team to make sure there were off-road features. Immediately, he started thinking about his buggies.

“In my race car, I would constantly break half shafts,” he said, so he designed an algorithm to protect the Hummer’s half-shafts. “It knows what angle the shaft is at and knows what it can take.”

Ride height control was another feature that Colville wanted. Ride height is an important factor for off-road racing. It’s all well and good to go fast, but if you’re hitting rocks you won’t finish the race. That led to the Hummer’s extract mode, which lifts the car by up to 6 inches to allow it to get over obstacles.

“Crabwalk,” meanwhile, came from his days in rock crawling. Those trucks have four wheel steering to help them turn on a dime and when he realized that the Hummer did, too, inspiration struck.

“When we were deciding to make an off-road vehicle with rear steer on it, I said, ‘Well I had a vehicle with rear steer before.’ We thought about putting a lever on the vehicle that a person could use, but that was way too complicated even for rock crawl drivers,” said Colville. “So we invented CrabWalk that can go either the same or opposite direction as the front wheels.”

Colville also designed a tire-pressure honk. When you’re off-roading, you often have to deflate tires to get better traction. Usually, that means deflating a little, checking the pressure, deflating a little more, checking again, and so on. Colville thought there must be a better way, so he designed a system that allows the driver to input a desired tire pressure in the infotainment. When they deflate the tires to that level, the Hummer honks at them to let them know.

Fortunately, coming up with all of these features was, though not easy, didn’t exactly feel like work. According to Colville, working on the Hummer hasn’t been hard “because I am entertaining myself with a project that fits right into my hobbies.”

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