What is the greatest Rally Car ever?
Updated: Jan 17
When someone asks this question, usually it involves violence and a lot of shouting, with beer glasses and sour cream dips all over the place. It is a very typical pub argument. And quite a debate it is. But... why is it so debatable?
Partly because, there's so many reasonable candidates. From every single decade. The Audi Quattro. The Peugeot 205. The Ford Escort. The Lancia Stratos. The list goes on. There are a lot of games nowadays that allow us to look at, and try out some of these iconic machines. The best of the bunch is probably DiRT Rally, although, WRC and Sebastien Loeb Rally are worthy candidates.
Rallying is probably one of the most dangerous and exciting motorsports ever, falling only behind the Isle of Man TT for danger, and the BTCC for excitement. There's not much wrong with it. Especially in the early days of Group B and Group A. Some iconic road cars came out of rallying too. The Subaru Impreza, The Mitsubishi Evo, even the original Mini Cooper S.
But which of them is the most iconic? The best. Well, if you let the figures do the talking, then the most successful rally car is the Lancia Delta Intergrale with 44 rally victories, 6 constructor titles, and 4 driver titles. That's some serious numbers. Especially considering it competed over just 6 years, making it an average performance of about 7-8 wins a year.
However being the best, doesn't necessarily mean being the BEST, if that makes sense. If you were to really think about it, the greatest rally car a=of all time will most likely come from the group B era. So let's take a look at a couple of the potential candidates.
Due to the success of the Lancia Stratos in the 1970's, a lot of companies in the Group B era opted for a Mid Engined layout. This meant, that in many cases, a completely new car had to be designed. Two of the most interesting ones are probably the Ford RS200, and the MG Metro 6R4. The Ford was unlike anything they had built before. It had the appearance of a Supercar, as well as the performance, but it also had insane off-road capabilities and only a 2.1 litre Engine. Obviously it was Turbocharged, and as a result it produced a pretty ridiculous 588 hp. That's a ratio of 275 hp per litre. Just for comparison, a Mitsubishi Evo FQ 440, one of the most powerful 2 litre engines in the world, has around 220 hp per litre. And that was 3 decades later.
Then there's the Metro. Yes, you heard that right. MG decided that the best rally car for Group B was a sodding Metro. But what a car it was. It had a 3 litre V6 smack bang in the middle of the car. No Turbo trickery here, just pure V6 grunt. 410 hp too, which is a healthy amount for a car that weighs less than my dog. A couple of interesting things about the 6R4 are that the name stands for 6 cylinder, Rally, 4 wheel drive. Also, the engine in this beast of a car, was used as a basis for the Jaguar XJ220. That's a tagline and a half. Build the fastest car in the world. "Yes, let's take our engine from a Metro." Sure thing. It worked though, didn't it.
But honestly, none of them take the cake. According to Goodwood, the favourite rally car of all time, is the Audi Quattro. And I have to say, I totally agree. Just look at it. It looks great, and with 23 rally wins under it's belt, it's not exactly bad at the sport. You can hear it's 5 cylinder engine from a mile away, and what a glorious noise it is. The Audi Quattro IS the definition of Iconic. THE best rally car. The fan favourite. Our hero