Audi 50: this was its first small model, which inspired the Polo

Audi is a premium manufacturer that has always been very focused on high-end models. Since its inception, sedans have stood out and now they have focused on SUVs to satisfy customer demand. And that they now have small vehicles like the Audi A1 is due to a striking circumstance in the 70s that is worth telling. When it was totally unthinkable, the brand with the four rings launched the Audi 50a model that created a precedent and laid the foundations for other models such as the Volkswagen Polo.

In 1973 the oil crisis and that greatly affected car sales. Also to the mobility of users, who were looking for vehicles with reduced consumption to be able to make their daily trips. So in 1974, after development in record time, Audi brought the model to market. smallest evermade. It is true that they had access models like the Audi 80 and 100, but they had never before ventured into making an affordable utility vehicle with a totally different base.

They released a front-wheel drive platform with a small transverse engine on which a three-door body that barely reached the heights was mounted. 3,510mm length. The project came from Audi NSU, with Ludwig Kraus as chief engineer and a design that came from Marcello Gandini during his time working at Bertone. Afterwards, the designer of the four rings, Claus Luthe, put the finishing touches on the small utility vehicle so that it looked more in line with what the brand was looking for.

The result was a small but practical car, with a spacious interior for its dimensions and a generous trunk. Another of its keys was lightness, since I barely weighed 685 kg thanks to its simplicity and small engines. In its range appeared a 1.1 liter gasoline block water-cooled that delivered 50 HP in the LS version and up to 60 HP in the GL. It was more than enough to get around on a day-to-day basis, although they later introduced a 1.3-liter engine in the GLS.

The key to the Audi 50 was its low consumption and also the good value for money. It was launched in 1974 with a starting price of 8,195 marks and quickly achieved good sales numbers. Although development had been at the Audi/NSU facilities in Neckarsulm and Ingolstadt, this model would be manufactured by Volkswagen at its Wolfsburg plant. In fact, this synergy gave rise to one of the most important vehicles of all time: the Volkswagen Polo.

Taking advantage of the technical base of the Audi 50 and that production, Volkswagen would launch the Polo in 1975 and the story of a model that is still on sale today would begin. It followed the successful recipe and was the one they kept when production of the little one with the four rings ended in 1978. It took him just four years to sell a total of 180,828 units and establish the bases of the utilitarians. At Audi they would not have a small model again until 1999 with the Audi A2 and later they had another time without anything until the arrival of the Audi A1 in 2010.

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