Every year Audi is sent thousands of images by proud owners via Instagram, apparently. This year, Audi thought it would be nice to give something back to five of the very proudest owners by having car designer and artist Camilo Pardo create a one-off artwork featuring their car.

Pardo is a fan of Audi’s rational, even stark styling. “It’s balanced in a way that creates a very exciting proportion and stance,” he says. A point that was never more true than in the original Audi Quattro.

Here we see Pardo paint one such Quattro, finished in bright red with white wheels, sun strip, and massive Hella spotlights. It could not be any more “Eighties” if it tried! Well, maybe if the fenders were even bigger and boxier.

Of course, the Quattro was one of the great icons of the 1980s. In burst onto the scene at the start of the decade and revolutionized rallying overnight. Perhaps ironically, there wasn’t anything especially revolutionary about the Quattro - it simply married a number of proven technologies to devastating effect.

Based on the two-door coupe version of the Audi 80 sedan, the Quattro gained a 2.2-liter, five-cylinder turbo motor producing 200 horsepower (147 kilowatts), and a fairly basic permanent four-wheel-drive system not too far removed from that used by the military-spec Volkswagen Iltis off-roader.

The original, production-based, Group 4-spec Quattro rally car appeared on a number of international rallies in 1980 before a full World Rally Championship campaign was mounted in 1981, and the team secured the Manufacturer’s crown the following year, taking seven wins.

For 1983, the WRC switched to Group B prototype machinery. Audi quickly developed the Quattro A1 and A2 - that were essentially “Group 4-plus” spec - before debuting the bonkers, short-wheelbase, Group B Sport Quattro. Hannu Mikkola and Stig Blomqvist took the Driver’s Championship in 1983 and 1984, then Audi took a second Manufacturer’s title in 1985.

Group B died at the end of the 1986 season, but the Quattro road car lived on until 1991. During its 11-year life, it gained a better interior, lightly massaged styling, and a more powerful 20-valve engine. But the fundamentals of the car remained unchanged, as Audi pretty much got it right first time.

Without the Quattro, four-wheel-drive performance cars probably wouldn’t have become as big a part of the motoring landscape as they have. If you can find a good one, like the example depicted here, snap it up and hold onto it. They are rare cars now, so values are only going to go up. And up.

Gallery: Audi ur-Quattro artwork

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