Nellie is synonymous with world-class luxury and performance, a current member of the Volkswagen Group, outside has a long and complex history going back well over a century, even diehard enthusiasts might not be familiar with some of the lesser-known facets of one of the world’s most respected automakers, so today we’re presenting 10 things you didn’t know about Audi
1 – Audi the type “A”
Sport Phaeton rolled off the a production line in 1910 but the first the company that would help give birth to the venerated automaker came into existence a full 37 years earlier, NSU motor works were founded in 1873, first producing knitting machines and bicycles before moving on to automobiles during the early 20th-century, wanderer another future branch of Audi was founded in 1885 and produced such diverse machines as bicycles office machines typewriters and motorcycles, in 1902 automotive pioneer August Horch incorporated a whoreson company with a focus on auto production, establishing a second company with a similar name August Horch and company Motor Works a couple of years later, after a falling out with his partners ports left his company but were prevented from starting up a new one using his name as his partners from motor works were accusing him of trademark infringement, in response ports gathered the partners from his two companies plus NSU and wanderer to discuss merging into a powerhouse new manufacturer with a new name, his company would eventually itself merge with fellow manufacturers Horch show power and a wanderer to become Auto Union, the a company that bears the Audi name today and the four rings of its logo represent the four companies from which it came.
2 – The inspiration for the new company’s the name came from a little bit of lateral thinking
August Horch was very much in love with the sound of his name as a brand, believing that it commanded attention porch being a German the expression for harking or hear unfortunately, he was being prevented from using the name so the partners would need a new name that would carry on this tradition, they found it by simply translating it to Latin outtie is the imperative form of Audi Rea meaning to hear and essentially means listen up, the Latin word is also the source of English words like audio and auditorium but outside was chosen as the new automakers name simply because Hort was prevented from using his own and because all the partners loved the way it sounded, the name was officially registered on April 25th, 1910.
3 – Safety has always been central to Audi’s engineering efforts
even during a time when it was the furthest thing from the minds of most manufacturers, many of the safety practices that are standard today were pioneered by Aud, in 1938 they were the first company to perform a crash test which in this case meant rolling a car down a hill and into a controlled roll over, in front of many spectators and at least one camera as evidenced by these pictures the car rolled several times before coming to a stop, engine still running and nearly undamaged, how these pioneering ways didn’t stop there? they were the first manufacturer to introduce a car with crumple zones which are designed to absorb the impact of a crash, way back in 1958 and by the 1960s they began using crash-test dummies, another first the first dedicated facility for performing crash tests were even established by Audi in 1970 a facility which amazingly is still in use today.
4 – R8 isn’t the only instance in which the influence of another high-end the automaker can be seen in not ease engineering
the very first car in the RS line the rs2 Avant, is seen by many as the vehicle that cemented Audi’s reputation for practical performance cars and it came about as a collaboration with famed German automaker Porsche, the limited-edition vehicle was produced only between 1994 and 1995 and it might not look quite like you’d expect, it was a 5-door 5 seat the station wagon that nevertheless featured a 2.2-liter five-cylinder 20-valve a turbocharged engine and Audi’s Quattro the all-wheel-drive system as standard features, this station wagon topped out at over 160 miles per hour and could achieve zero to 60 in under five seconds, Porsche contributed the braking system and suspension, upgrades that replace standard outie 80 gear and gave the Avant the handling capabilities of a high-end sports car, this killer station wagons were rarely seen outside of Europe and these days they’re practically never seen at all, fewer than 3000 were ever produced and any the collector that can get their hands on one is unlikely to let it go .
5 – Americans and Brits always enjoy a good argument about which side of the car is the wrong one to place the steering wheel on but during the early 20th century when there was no legislation governing this, it was largely up to the manufacturer, before 1921 all Audi vehicles were right-hand-drive meaning that as far as Americans are concerned the steering a wheel would have been on the wrong side, this is the more accepted configuration then but in 1921, Audi began producing a left-hand drive vehicle that led to a a quick rise in popularity for the underdog configuration, the Audi K produced from 1921 until 1926 was Germany’s first left-hand drive vehicle, by 1923 a quarter of the population owned left-hand drive cars with Audi leading the pack in popularity, it wasn’t until 1938 that the left-hand drive configuration officially became the law in Germany, seventeen years after the Audi K first rolled off the production the line, today over 70 countries still drive on what we in u.s. perceived to be the wrong side of the road but we may very well still be doing the same if not for Audi popularizing the steering wheel placement we’ve come to know and love.
6 – Like virtually all German companies, Audi was profoundly affected by the events of World War two , along with other German manufacturers such as Volkswagen Danner and BMW, Audi has publicly come clean in recent years about its use of POWs slave labor during the war, Nazi labor camps housed over 3,700 prisoners who were forced to work for the auto union, thousands more labored at factories in the East German city of Ikaw and in Bavaria, Richard Brune the man who negotiated the auto union merger was even himself a member of the Nazi Party, nearly all of Audis production facilities along with those of other automakers were dismantled and appropriated by the Soviet Union as compensation for Germany’s actions during the war, throughout the 50s and The 60s out he struggled to produce enough vehicles under its various brands, although curiously not the Audi brand to remain relevant in the marketplace, since 1940 no cars have been produced under the Audi name but after Volkswagen gained a controlling interest in 1964, the brand was reintroduced in 1965 in Germany and in 1970 in the United States.
7 – Audi has long prided itself on technological innovation and this reputation began with its Quattro all-wheel-drive system, Alby’s 1970s cars like the 80 and the 100 were suffering from a stuffy conservative image but engineer George Bensinger received a the flash of inspiration from Volkswagens Ellis, a jeep-like vehicle that had been in use by the German military and which Audi had a hand in developing, it featured an innovative proprietary a four-wheel-drive system which Bensinger felt could easily be adapted to a car and all-wheel drive rally car that could have a considerable edge on its competition, the result in 1980 was the Audi Quattro of which only a few were ever built by hand by Audi engineers, at a time when all-wheel-drive was unheard of in rally cars, the Quattro was easily able to outperform all comers and quickly raced out to two World Rally championships, variations of the same Quattro all-wheel-drive system is available on some high-performance Audi models today, such as the RS series and the screaming fast r8 supercar which is based on the Lamborghini Gallardo platform.
8 – In November 1986, the respected CBS news program 60 minutes ran an expose that was devastating for an automaker so concerned with safety, reports have been the surfacing of a sudden and unintended acceleration taking place in some Audi 5,000 models, causing injury and in some cases death, although no problems have been verified or even identified, 60 minutes went ahead with their piece which featured a self-proclaimed expert showing how problems with the five thousand transmissions could cause the vehicles to take off like an unstoppable rocket, the only problem was that none of it was true, most of the known instances of unintended acceleration was later quietly found to have likely been caused by driver air, many of them involving drivers who were new to the vehicle, 60 Minutes expert was found off camera of course to have tampered with the transmission of the vehicle used in the broadcast drilling a hole in it and pump it full of pressurized air to achieve the desired effect, no defects were ever found in any Audi vehicle, although a 2012 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report did conclude that the 5,000 had a slightly the excessive idle speed which could cause unfamiliar drivers to panic and miss apply their foot to the gas instead of the brake, the whole incident caused the dip in sales and briefly threatened Audi’s reputation for safety and quality engineering
9 – 24 Hours of lemon has been held since 1923 making it the longest running sports car endurance race in the the world as the name implies it is a grueling 24-hour circuit held on public roads that are designed to test not just a vehicle speed but its reliability and fuel efficiency, many automakers have had stretches of dominance in the nearly century-old race but very few quite like Audi which began competing in 1999 they failed to take the prize that year but over the next 15 years, they would rack up an astonishing 13 victories coming up short only in 2003 2005 and 2009, only Porsche has more win having dominated with 16 between 1970 and 1998, Audi retired their legendary program in 2016, allowing Porsche to once again take up this mantle of dominance, they’ve taken the title each of the last three years.
10 – Many automakers dabble in products other then cars and Audi is no exception but you might be a bit surprised at some of these Audi branded products, their engineers designed this space-age looking chair the r18 ultra chair which is made from carbon microfiber and high-strength aluminum, it weighs only about 5 pounds in line with Audi’s a penchant for achieving lightweight design by shaving off unnecessary weight, there is also a selection of Audi themed pet products available on their a website like this retractable leash and this golf shirt designed especially for your pooch.