Rally is one of the oldest forms of motor sport. Its origins are rooted in the Paris-Rouen 1894 off-road competition and the 1911 Monte-Carlo Rally, which are usually referred to as the earliest rally competition.
This makes the rally, at least 40 years older than Formula 1, and although the latter enjoys much greater popularity, including thanks to more convenient viewing on the ring tracks, the experience of watching live rally racing leaves a special impression.
In addition, since most rally cars are based on production models, although their interconnection is very weak, it also attracts more attention from ordinary fans. Especially when they see the familiar Ford Focus , jumping over the horizon.
The ten best rally cars presented below are not always the fastest or most successful on paper, but each of the models has left an indelible mark on the rally world, continuing to evoke pleasant memories from different generations of sports fans to this day.
1. Austin mini cooper
Austin Mini, with its revolutionary powerplant and chassis, as well as due to its low weight and excellent driving characteristics, challenged eminent rivals in motor sports, being in the category of small cars.
Regularly ahead of more powerful and cumbersome cars on difficult rally tracks, the Austin Mini won the Rally Monte Carlo three times, and has since become a cult car in the history of motor sports. Being the exact opposite of current tourbons, this is probably the most successful small front-wheel drive car in history.
2. Ford Escort
The Ford Escort model has been an integral part of the world rally for decades, and the Escort RS1600 model built in the 1960s, based on the Escort Twin-Cam, launched the expansion of the 60s of the last century. Cars of this series have received improved engine, reinforced body and a special suspension to withstand extremely high loads.
A well-balanced car is still in demand for historical rally, and in order to capitalize on the success of motor racing, Ford built a road version called Escort Mexico, which received a 1.6-liter transverse engine.
3. Lancia stratos
Stratos was the last of the great cars with rear wheel drive, before the advent of the all-wheel drive era in the rally. With a stunning Bertone design and Ferrari Dino V6 engine, he managed to win three World Rally Championships (WRC) in 1974, 1975 and 1976.
Finding the original version of the Stratos rally nowadays will probably cost how to launch an entire rally team in the 70s. You also need to recall the version of the Lancia Rally 037, which in 1983 became the last model with rear wheel drive, which managed to win the World Rally Championships ‘constructors’ championship, breaking for a moment the Audi hegemony .
4. Fiat 131 Abarth
The Fiat 131 Abarth was, to some extent, an Italian copy of the Ford Escort – a car that an ordinary person could face to face on the street. However, it was redesigned enough to win three World Rally Championships in 1977, 1978 and 1980.
In truth, the rally version with 300 horsepower under the hood had little to do with a city sedan, designed to take children to school. But Fiat built 400 road versions of the 131 Abarth, equipped with a similar aggressive body kit and a 16-valve 140 horsepower engine, which was enough for a car weighing less than a ton.
5. Audi Sport Quattro S1
Imagine a fighter in the guise of a car, and you get an Audi, participating in the rally competition in 1980. Quattro S1 received a system of all-wheel drive, an improved gear box and a shortened chassis for better control of the car during skids and its better control on slippery surfaces.
Such a car in those years meant a revolution and a breakthrough, and although in its debut season at the WRC, the Audi Sport Quattro S1 failed to win the championship due to unstable results, all competitors were quick to orient and adopted the same model of their rally cars.
MG Metro 6R4 Rally career MG Metro 6R4, which appeared in the competition in 1985, was short-lived. Early successes did not result in regular victories due to constant problems with the atmospheric 3-liter V6 engine, which, depending on the specification, could produce up to 410 hp. By the time the engine finally became reliable, the class for which it was designed had ceased to exist.
The car was incredibly fast, and as soon as the designers managed to solve the problems with the engine, the small Metro became the most powerful weapon in the rally. In the end, his turbocharged V6
engine moved to a supercar Jaguar XJ220.
Peugeot 205 T16 With a massive rear anti-wing, all-wheel drive system and a mid-range 4-cylinder engine that developed 450 hp power, Peugeot 205 T16, speaking class “” World Rally Championship, was so far from the mother of the 205th version with a 1.4 liter engine, like a Saturn 5 rocket from a firecracker – so great was the gap between them.
The world rally champion of 1985 and 1986 would probably have continued to dominate the class for many more years if the group B cars were not banned in the end because of too high a danger for riders. Nevertheless, the 205 T16 remained in motor sports and continued to dominate the rally scene in the Paris-Dakar race until the end of the 80s.
7. Subaru impreza
The picture in your imagination at the mention of these two words is a family sedan in a bright blue color with gold wheels and a massive air intake in the hood, making its way through the dirt track.
With its yellow logos and distinctive body kit, Subaru Impreza is one of the most memorable rally cars on the planet. Three WRC Constructors’ Championships and many finishes on the podium ensured the Impreza a permanent place in the rally hall of fame.
8. Out of rating – Toyota Celica GT-Four
Having won three titles in the WRC Constructors’ Championship in 1993, 1994 and 1999, the Celica GT4 became the first ultra-successful Japanese rally model that dominated the competition. She had an advanced all-wheel drive system and high reliability, which allowed her to come out on top among manufacturers.
However, a little later, Toyota was caught on the machinations of the turbine, and Celica was disqualified. Also in the early 90s of the companies, the GT4 road versions were released in limited edition with a special rally suspension and body kit – these versions still remain a serious tool on the tracks. Rent a car from the above cars!