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The Petrolhead Corner

The E-Legend EL1, the Restomod that’s not a Restomod

An electrified ode to the almighty Audi Quattro

| By Robin Nooy | 6 min read |

Restomods are, however cool they might be, quite a common thing these days. And by common I don’t mean seeing them on every street corner like a VW Golf, but we could literally write a monthly Petrolhead Corner episode on a restomod. And honestly, the astonishingly simple recipe often results in extremely cool cars, if done right. Yet, the E-Legend EL1 is a little different. Or hugely different in fact, as it is simply put, not a restomod despites its restomod-like appearance. Let’s get into what this thing is, shall we?

The Audi Quattro is one of the greatest automotive legends in history. This boxy, family-saloon derived all-conquering machine has shaken up the world of racing both on- and off-road. When Audi showed up with the first four-wheel driven WRC car, few thought they would be any good. The system was deemed too heavy and complicated compared to smaller, lighter, more nimble cars with two-wheel drive only. But boy, was everybody wrong!

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Audi blitzed the opposition in off-road racing with the Quattro, Quattro S1 and S1 Evo, and did pretty much the same when they crossed the pond and participated in Trans-Am racing. The cars were so fast in fact, that four-wheel drive would eventually be outlawed, sidelining the Audis. IMSA at that time was a silhouette formula, with bodies resembling road cars draped over full-fledged racing chassis and engines. Audi campaigned the 200 and won 8 out of 13 races in 1988. Changes in the rules meant it was unable to compete anymore, but Audi developed the 90 Quattro instead. Underneath it was extremely closely related to the WRC Audi Quattro S1. In the 90 Quattro, the power was boosted to an astonishing 720bhp which was quite a bit more than the S1 would produce.

But where we previously would now dive into all the changes made to a client-supplied or company-sourced vintage example of an Audi Quattro, this is newly built from the ground up. There’s literally not a single part taken from an original 1980s Audi, and everything is developed and built specifically for the EL1. The company behind this astonishing project is E-Legend AG, a German engineering firm that had the idea to build a completely new electric supercar, but dress it up to look like something pretty much all Petrolheads will get excited about.

E-Legend AG is a company that consists of experts from the automotive industry, with experience in design and engineering. The idea is to reinterpret a rally legend, and they’ve certainly chosen a proper legend for their first build! E-Legend wants to combine cutting-edge technology with retro-futuristic looks. The base of the design is the Audi Ur-Quattro Coupe, an icon of the 1980s, with its instantly recognizable, boxy shape.

And to be fair, all the elements that made the Ur-Quattro such a weirdly yet stunning looking car are there. The short wheelbase, the stubby nose, the upright front window, it all checks out. Of course, you have the wide wheel arches of the Group B rally legend, along with the air-scoop built into the roof, the air-intake in the front of the bonnet/hood and that black detailing on the bottom edge of the C-pillar. All of this is classical Audi Quattro design, and part of the reason why it was and still is, such a beloved car.

But the E-Legend EL1 is not just about retro-futuristic looks. As I mentioned earlier, it’s also about providing a driving experience to back up the exterior’s menacing design. And E-Legend does that by fitting an advanced EV drivetrain underneath the body. The carbon fibre monocoque construction holds an 800v battery pack with three electric engines producing a monstrous 816 horsepower. This means the E-Legend EL1 is quite a bit more potent than the Group B rally legend used to be back in the day, and even more powerful than the Pike’s Peak version of the Quattro S1.

All that power is sent to all four wheels, with 19-inch five-spoke wheels up front and 20-inch ones in the rear. The suspension is adjustable all-around and the car is equipped with 360mm brake discs for much-needed stopping power. One of the biggest drawbacks to just about any EV is its range, but with 425km of capacity, it’s not too bad for the EL1. However, if you send it around the Nürburgring Nordschleife at full tilt, that drops down to just two laps of range or around 50 kms.

Zero to 100kph will be done and dusted in 2,8 seconds, and you will hit 200kph in 8,5 seconds. That sounds like quite the kick in the back, and the EL1 will keep pushing to a top speed of 300kph. To put this into perspective, this means it can pretty much bring the fight to something like a McLaren 675LT. And surely, with instant power available from the electric engines, the acceleration will be the EL1’s biggest party piece.

On the inside, we see a minimalistic yet fully-equipped interior. A vintage-looking carbon fibre steering wheel, complete with a yellow stripe at the top, continues the retro-rally theme. Interior screens on the left and right side of the dash, along with exterior cameras, replace traditional mirrors. Bucket seats will keep you behind firmly in place when blasting around country roads or a race track.

E-Legend AG will build up to 30 of these very powerful, and admittedly very cool look EV supercars. And considering all the tech that goes into each and every one of these, you are right in guessing this has an astronomical price tag. The base price of an EL1 is EUR 890,000 excluding taxes. So in essence, you’re looking at around a cool one million euros (depending on where you live of course). A huge amount of money for sure, and it might rub some people against the hair, but I am quite impressed with this one because it combines the visual styling of an icon with modern engineering.

The experience of driving one of these must be quite something. Here’s something that looks quintessentially 1980s, paired with present-day technology to boost performance to new heights. Surely, with 816 horsepower on tap, and a zero to 100kph of 2,8 seconds, it will be quite a visceral sensation. It’s just a really expensive visceral sensation. Then again, undoubtedly so is maintaining and running a vintage rally legend.

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1 response

  1. Audi Sport Quattro: the car that was so embarrassingly horrible that even though they had AWD against all-2WD competition in rally, it still took them, what, 4 years to finally win both driver’s and constructors championship?

    And then IMMEDIATELY when others came in with AWD Audi had absolutely no chance, not even with their experience gathered during those many years and others having untested brand new designs. Right out of the box they outclassed Audi’s absolute junk.

    In the World Rally Championship of 1981 Audi Sport Quattro was such a total junker that barely even worked, and was overall slow and outclassed by cars like Fiat 131…

    In 1982 Audi only beat such a ‘missile’ as the Opel Ascona very barely in the constructor’s championship but did not win the driver’s championship. What an achievement, barely beating the 2WD Opel Ascona and on the other hand losing to it in the drivers’ championship!!

    In 1983 Lancia immediately outclassed Audi’s barge right out of the box…still only using 2WD. Lancia won the constructor’s championship. It’s debatable if Röhrl would’ve also won the drivers’ championship for Lancia if they would’ve taken part in the last round (I think they also didn’t take part in the second-to-last round of Ivory Coast?).

    In 1984 Audi finally won both championships for the first and last time ever, as Lancia didn’t even participate in many rounds. At the end of the season Peugeot already entered with the first AWD competitor and of course immediately easily beat Audi’s junky pig of a barge. That really is true: from the very first entry into rallying with a 4WD car Peugeot IMMEDIATELY totally outclassed Audi with their years of experience and ‘refining’ their car.

    1985: And naturally since Audi’s Sport Quattro was absolute garbage, an unsophisticated and horribly built thing, now that it had its first AWD competitor it of course had absolutely no chance whatsoever. They also still periodically lost to 2WD cars…

    The Audi Sport Quattro in itself was total junk: front-heavy, understeering barge with an absolutely horrible chassis. The engine was not only way up against the front bumper, ahead of the front axle, but it was also a laggy dog, its only merit was lots of power but in the crudest “let’s just throw some boost into it” manner. Without AWD that crude absolutely horrible car wouldn’t have been controllable, couldn’t have ever put its caveman-level power down. And without that big power and the AWD on the gravel and snow etc. surfaces that absolute junk car couldn’t have competed at all because it was essentially otherwise total garbage. Just about every aspect of it was junk, including the AWD system’s layout. The only thing that saved them was their use of the loophole allowing them to use AWD and others not bothering with it yet, and pouring in far more power. Audi’s people probably negotiated it into the rulebook like they did with LeMans rules for their diesel stuff and only then did they have the guts to even enter the sport: VW Group and those guys leading it never had the backbone to compete without somehow first securing a rule advantage tailor-made for them. Not to mention always only entering ‘dead series’ with no highest-level competition. That’s how they always operate.

    Think about it: they had AWD against a totally 2WD field and they still couldn’t win!! 1984 was the ONLY year in their many years of competing against an all-2WD field they won both championships in.

    Audi Sport Quattro is probably the worst factory racing/rallying car in history.
    Audi Sport Quattro: the car that despite having AWD couldn’t beat a RWD Opel Ascona in rallying!

    Basically all other brands in rally have had immensely more success in rallying than Audi. Brands like Lancia, Peugeot, Citroen, Ford, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Toyota have all had MULTIPLE double (driver&constructor) championships. Without an AWD vs. 2WD advantage on their competition…


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