The small ones

Audi 50

Models Racing Special
New start Small Medium: B Large: C Extra large: D Concept_cars
50   A3   TT   A2


In 1974 the Audi 50 with 50hp was introduced to satisfy the market's need for smaller cars. It was a huge success immediately.
The picture on the right shows once again the VW version of the Audi. Do you see any differences apart from the logo?
The Audi 50 (and the Audi 80) were important for Germany as they saved one of the biggest employers of Germany from a crisis which results would have been unpredictable.


The picture to the left shows the VW version of the Audi. Can you spot any differences besides the logos?
As mentioned already, VW was fixed on the Beetle and rear engines. Sadly, the customers realised before VW that this was not at all contemporary. Interesting is the fact that only some years ago the VW Beetle saved Audi (or Auto Union), now Audi saved VW. The Audi 80 (US: Fox) was taken over virtually unchanged as Volkswagen Passat (Quantum). The Audi 50 was taken over as the Polo. It is interesting that this was planned all the way, as the manufacturer in the vehicle's papers is always VW for the Audi 50s!


This is an Audi 50 prepared by nothelle at the German Touringcar Championship in Zolder (Belgium) in 1975. Cited from "This race was the world premiere of a Audi 50 racecar: "He came, saw and won" "


VW could dictate the prices resulting in Polos selling better than Audi 50s. Furthermore, the VWs were cheaper because some odd modifications were made. For example, the accelerator pedal in the Polo was now constructed of a bent wire and the Polo only had 40PS. But the Audi 50 was not so revolutionary, that VW could not have come up with something like that on its own before: The Austin Mini had frontwheel drive and a transverse mounted watercooled engine long before.
After production for the Audi 50 stopped in 1978, it lived on as the VW Polo. In only 4 years, Audi sold -despite the bad economical situation in Germany and the competition by the Polo- over 180,000 units.
After 1978 the Audi 80 (US: Fox/4000) and later the A4 was the smalest Audi until the introduction of the A3.

More about the Audi 50 can be found here:

Models Racing Special
New start Small Medium: B Large: C Extra large: D Concept_cars
50   A3   TT   A2

(1) picture by me
(2) picture from VW
(3) picture from nothelle

Copyright 1998-2001 Jens
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