Before Audi was one of the biggest and most-impressive growth stories in premium car sales, there were years and years in the doldrums. Decades, one might even say, if you count the unreliable rotary-engined Audi's that tarnished the marque in the 1970s in Europe.
In America, ever a cash cow for all three German luxury brands, the Consumer Reports unintended acceleration debacle combined with high prices and few models to see sales dip to just a few hundred units -- total -- by 1991.
More than lavish concept cars as a prize or reward for a job well done -- the 1991 Audi Quattro Spyder (as well as the Avus) were both mission statement and a reason to be saved.
These cars needed to prove Audi was worth bringing back to greatness by establishing a way forward.
Luckily for all of us, the Quattro Spyder and the green Quattro Coupe Concept did just that. They brought the Avus's clean and minimal design feel onto a more-saleable market segment. Still, these were mid-engined exotics -- but far closer to the Earth than the Avus W12 hypercar.
1991 Audi Quattro Spyder