Volkswagen LT 45 LWB “HB Audi Rally Assistance” – Ixo

LT 45
1985 Volkswagen LT 45 LWB “HB Audi Rally Assistance” 
Ixo - RAC420X.22 (diecast)

Published 01/19/24

When Volkswagen released the VW Type 2 (aka Kombi, Transporter, Bulli or Bus) in 1950, it was a success. For post-WWII Europe it was perfect – cheap, simple and reliable. However, practical as it was, the Type 2 had some limitations. The engine in the rear limited somewhat the cargo distribution. Moreover, by the 1970s the light commercial vehicle market demanded something bigger. So, in 1975 VW released the LT, which meant Lasten-Transporter (simply “cargo transporter” in German). The new LT had a conventional design, with the engine in the front with rear wheel drive. Initially, it came in three gross vehicle weights – 2.8, 3.1 and 3.5 tons. VW called them LT 28, 31 and 35, respectively, and could have a short (SWB) or long wheelbase (LWB). Furthermore, VW also offered three bodywork options: panel van, a compact, a platform vehicle and a chassis cab combination.

LT 45
VW also offered a 4×4 version of the LT 45 and 55, though they had single wheels on the rear.

Initially, there were two engine options, a 2.0 gasoline inline-4 and from 1976 onward, also a 2.7 diesel engine. The gasoline engine developed 55 Kw (74 hp) while the diesel produced 48 Kw (64 hp). To keep up with the market, in 1983 VW introduced a facelift, changing mostly the interior. The engines were also new, an inline-6 turbo-diesel (75 kW / 101 hp) or inline-6 gasoline (66 kW / 89 hp) engines. In 1985, with the necessity of a bigger vehicle, VW increased the gross vehicle weight of the LT. These bigger vehicles were the LT 45 (4.5 tons) and LT 55 (5.6 tons).

With the banning of Group B in 1986, Audi and HB dissolved their rally team.

In 1980, Audi joined the World Rally Championship with the Audi Quattro. The Quattro was the first all-wheel drive car to compete in the WRC. It was a revolution, and 1981 was the last year a rear wheel-drive car won the championship. Audi dominated the 1982 season, with the Quattro winning seven races and granting Audi the title. With the introduction of the Group B regulations in 1983, Audi developed the Quattro into the A1 and then A2. For the next season Audi formed a partnership with Haus Bergmann, a German brand of cigarettes. Starting in 1984, HB sponsored Audi’s stellar rally team (Michèle Mouton, Hannu Mikkola, Stig Blomqvist and Walter Röhrl). To offer mechanical assistance to their cars, Audi acquired two LT 45 LWB, which became the team’s mobile repair shop. The LT 45 followed the Quattros all over Europe, in all WRC races.

What, can I say? My Quattro S1 E2 needed a support vehicle.

The Quattro, from 1981 to 1985, won 23 races in the WRC. In 1984 the car won both the manufacturers and the drivers titles, with Stig Blomqvist claiming the latter. And a big chunk of these wins was during the HB years. Soon after I got my Martini T2b, I discovered that Ixo also offers the HB Audi LT 45. I wasn’t planning on getting it, so I saved it on my eBay watchlist. However, a few days later evilBay sent me an offer which I had to accept 😇. And here it is. In 143rd it looks really nice, and once again I’m impressed that it comes with tobacco markings. Come to think of it, my Quattro also came with the HB badges…🤔 Nonetheless, from the pictures I found online it looks spot-on, so chapeau to Ixo for doing a splendid job.

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