Classic rally cars … and a future classic?
- 30th October 2012, 8:42am
From the Ford V8 to the Lancia Delta Integrale, the history of rallying includes a notable back catalogue of fantastic classic cars. The following are five of the most memorable cars to ever win a championship.
One of the first models to be associated with modern rallying, the effortlessly cool Mini Cooper remains one of the most iconic vehicles on the road.
The Mini Cooper S won the legendary Monte Carlo Rally three times in the 1960s, along with a host of other competitions throughout the decade.
Created by the British Motor Corporation in 1962, the diminutive Mini Cooper was specifically designed as a mass-produced race car, with the S model kicking up the horsepower a notch for an unforgettable ride.
2. Audi Quattro
A car that literally changed the rules of the game, the Audi Quattro was first introduced in 1980 with a turbocharged engine and four-wheel drive.
Up until this point, four-wheel drive had been prohibited in rallying. Due to the Quattro's production car status it was permitted, causing the FISA to eventually change the rules and allow a wider range of vehicles to participate in modern events.
With its heavy weight and powerful engine, the Quattro was capable of handling tough terrain, including ice and snow. Its first win as a rally car was in 1983, when Hannu Mikkola won the World Rally Championship behind the wheel of a Quattro.
3. Ford RS200
Capable of gunning it from zero to 60 in a matter of 2.6 seconds flat, the Ford RS200 was designed to be used for up to 10 hours before it had to be reconstructed again. This made it ideal for short-term racing, but less so for long-haul rallies.
Only 150 models were sold to the public, with 200 originals constructed in the Ford factory. Its limited availability and powerful engine have helped give it legendary status.
4. Mazda 3 MPS
Mazda's not a brand that immediately springs to mind when you think of classic rally cars, but this Japanese automaker has copped the rally car style in their designs.
When reading a standard Mazda 3 review, you may notice mention of "rally car design" in the description of the car's exterior, as the brand is synonymous with rally aesthetic. Mazda's jumped on the official rally bandwagon with their Mazda 3 MPS, which features a 4-cylinder turbocharged engine capable of producing 255 hp and 280 Nm of torque.
Introduced for the Targa Tasmania race, which covers 2000 km over 5 days, the Mazda 3 MPS has made a strong showing right out of the gate.
5. Lancia Stratos
One of the slickest cars to ever grace the rally stage, the Italian-made Lancia Stratos was the first car that was designed specifically from scratch with rallying in mind. It was first introduced in 1974, with distinguishing features including a short wheel base and sleek aerodynamic design.
The Stratos picked up the championship title in the World Rally Championships of 1974-1976.
Lancia strived to capitalize on the classic stature of the original Stratos by introducing the New Stratos in 2010.
Although it has a similar design to the original model, it is based on a Ferrari engine.
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