Audi finds respect
in miniature
text and images by
Doug Breithaupt

Audi 100SL - Siku

Audi 100 Coupe - Schuco/REI

Audi 5000 Turbo - CF

Audi 200 5T - Siku

Audi Cabriolet - Siku

Audi 90 - Majorette

Audi A4 - Siku

Audi A6 - Siku
With a second Le Mans victory in as many years, perhaps Audi is ready to step out of the shadow of both Volkswagen and Porsche. The recent racing success combined with popular showroom models could prove to be Audi's opportunity to find the respect of peers and public alike.

The origins of the Audi name are little known today. August Horch was the father of two motorcar companies. Horch was formed in 1899 but after 10 years, the founder left and formed a rival car company. Unable to use his name, he chose the Latin word for 'listen', or 'horch' as it is in German and Audi was born. The history of Audi is closely tied to three other marques. Horch, Wanderer and DKW. With Audi, in 1932, they formed Auto Union and were represented by the 'vier ringe' or four rings that are Audi's symbol to this day.

In the 1960's, Audi came under the corporate umbrella of Volkswagen and since 1965, Audi has produced many models. While a decent assortment of Audi miniatures have been done in 1:64 scale, both Porsche and VW have been far more popular with diecast manufacturers. The following is a review of the Audi miniatures in my collection.

As might be expected, Siku of Germany has produced the most Audi models. While the Audi 80 and 90 of the late 1960's were not done, the successful Audi 100SL sedan was done by Siku, #V308. The colors of metallic green with a yellow interior are a bit much but the casting is excellent. Schuco did the sporting Audi 100 Coupe and the casting was also offered by REI of Brazil. As with most Schuco models, the lines are perfect.

The next Audi is by CF of Hong Kong, #301, and features rubber wheels and a pull-back motor. It represents the infamous Audi 5000 Turbo, a car that was said to jump into gear, thought the truth of these claims is disputed. The CF miniatures are of fine quality and detail with opening doors and accurate wheels. Siku also did the bigger Audi 200 5T, #1041, offered in 1:55 scale.

The most famous Audi has been the Quattro models. Many diecast companies have offered the Quattro, all in the 2-door sporting version. Matchbox included an excellent Quattro in their line in 1983. It came in stock and rally colors. Maisto copied this casting for their rally version. Majorette did the Quattro as #221, in rally colors with opening doors. Guisval also offered the Quattro with opening doors. Yat Ming, Imperial, Welly and W.T. have also done the Quattro.

Majorette did the Audi 90 sedan as #259 and Siku recently offered the Audi Cabriolet, #0841, the A4 1.8, #1086 and for 2001, the A6 sedan. All four models are nicely done and provide a variety of Audi's most recent models.

In 1992, the Audi Avus Quattro show car was a hit at the auto shows. Hot Wheels produced this model as did Matchbox. The Matchbox castings are much better and the original chromed-body version is a match for the show car. Matchbox went on to offer the Avus Quattro in other colors, including at least three metallic chrome versions in green, red and gold (right of title).

Most recently, the new Audi TT Coupe and Convertible are the darlings of small-scale diecast. One of the first to be found was a rubber-tired version by Kinsmart. Complete with pull-back motor, plastic head and tail lights and correct wheels, this is well worth the $1.99 price. Matchbox has done both the Coupe and Convertible. Maisto has also done a a sharp convertible. Majorette is offering the Coupe as #237 in 1:53 scale. Welly offers the Coupe as #2045 with a detailed grill. Siku has just released the convertible #1033, with the top up. The body is chromed and provides a very dramatic look (left of title).

With two Le Mans wins in 2000 and 2001, Audi's prototype open race car is almost certain to be offered soon in small-scale. The third place Bentley Speed 8 from 2001 was powered by Audi and is likely to be done as well. It's clear that the public and toy car producers are finally listening to Audi.

Audi Quattro - Matchbox

Audi Quattro - Maisto

Audi Quattro - Guisval

Audi Quattro - Majorette

Audi Quattro - Welly

Audi Quattro - Yat Ming

Audi Quattro - W.T. (Wheeler Toys)

Audi Quattro - Imperial #8112

Audi TT Coupe - Kinsmart

Audi TT Coupe - Matchbox

Audi TT Coupe - Welly

Audi TT Coupe - Majorette

Audi TT Roadster - Matchbox

Audi TT Roadster - Maisto

Audi Avus Quattro - Hot Wheels