Sports cars may look fantastic but the truth is that they aren’t always well adapted to everyday driving. Try manoeuvring into a tight parking spot with a Ferrari Testarossa and you will understand immediately what we mean. Rally cars, on the other hand, which were built to cope with the worst possible terrains, are often full of good surprises once taken into the real world. With decent trunk and legroom, and four doors, they are both powerful and practical. The best about them? They are affordable compared to sports cars while giving adrenalin junkies their fix.
Here are a few to be considered.
Audi Sport Quattro
The Audi Quattro was the first incarnation of this model which, as grandiose as it may sound, changed the world of rallies and performance cars. Before it was launched in 1980, four-wheel-drive vehicles were the preserve of Jeeps and Land Rovers struggling through muddy tracks and river fords in the countryside, but, with its turbo 5-cylinder engine, the Quattro offered 200hp for the road model, giving it unbeatable grunt and grip.
In 1984, rallying was deregulated, and Audi introduced a more powerful version of the car, the Sport Quattro. Shorter, lighter thanks to carbon-Kevlar panels and with more muscle, it was easier to manoeuvre and lacked nothing in terms of power with its huge turbocharger increasing its power to 302hp.
When the Porsche 959 reached 310km/h in 1986, it was in a class of its own technically, by far the fastest hypercar ever built. It may surprise you to hear that it was actually only a by-product of a rally car, the 962, as the homologation process demanded an equivalent road car to be completed.
Porsche’s dedication to quality meant that they weren’t going to compromise on the road model, giving us one of the most desirable cars of all times.
Peugeot 205 Turbo 16
The Peugeot 205 T16 isn’t just a pretty face, it packs a punch too. Turbocharged with a 1.8L engine and 200hp for the road model, it was conceived at a time when no electronics were built in to keep it in check, leaving it in its raw, wild form. If you wanted to feel like a rally driver when going grocery shopping, this was definitely the car to buy.
Evo VI Tommi Mäkinen Edition
Does this car look familiar? It will if you have ever played Sega Rally 2 as it was featured in the game.
Legendary Finnish race driver Tommi Mäkinen won his fourth consecutive World Rally Championship in 1999 at the helm of an Evo VI, and a road-going car was commissioned as a celebration of this record. Fitted with a titanium turbo for faster response, lower suspension, a front strut brace and quicker steering, the car could hit 90km/h in 4.5 seconds.
Nowadays, we expect rally cars and city cars to be fairly similar visually, the difference residing in the power under their bonnet, but it wasn’t always the case. The Lancia Stratos, for example, was a rarity when it was launched in that the rally version looked so stylish that it would have been more at home by the steps of a swanky casino in the French Riviera than on the muddy tracks of a rally.
However, under its sophisticated looks hid a Ferrari V6 engine which propelled the road version to 90km/h in 6 seconds and which, in its rally version, dominated the World Rally Championship in the mid-1970s.
Ford Escort RS Cosworth
If you are looking for understated elegance, this is not the car for you!
With its outrageous rear wing, you won’t go unnoticed in a Ford escort RS Cosworth. Independent suspension and a turbocharged engine made it a favourite in rallies, but it is to be enjoyed equally on countryside lanes. Ford’s commitment to manoeuvrability at the time can definitely be felt when driving this beauty, which will negotiate sharp bends and other challenging roads like they’re child’s play.
You can find one for around NZ$30,000.
Lancia Delta HF Integrale
This little boxy car may not have looked like much with its plasticky finish, but it clearly was a success considering that it was produced during 14 years between 1979 and 1993 and reinvented regularly. Despite its unprepossessing appearance, it was a powerful tiger with a distinguished career as a rally car as it won the World Rally Championship six times.
Integrales were renowned for being surefooted and their modern incarnations may have sacrificed a bit on that front to favour grip and precision, but they are still very exciting cars to take for a spin.
MG Metro 6R4
Some people might have thought that the Austin Metro looked like it was for grannies, but the 6R4 was a legend in the rally world of the 1980s. Fitted with a V6 engine turbocharged for competition, it meant business with its aerodynamics wings, scoops and spoilers.
The 6R4 was remarkable for its responsive throttle and, even in its road version, delivered a very honourable 250hp. Some magazines even recorded a 0-90km/h in 3.5 seconds and it was said that the G force created was definitely noticeable.
Finding that special car that you have been dreaming about can take you far and wide. And once you have secured it, the last thing you want is having a nightmare bringing it home, lost in the maze of mandatory requirements from the country of export and Australia. This is why it is so important to hire an experienced shipping company like McCullough to do it for you. Whichever country you are taking your new vehicle out of, we know what to do so that you don’t have to worry about anything. If you would like to know more, contact us on +64 9 303 0075, by email or request a quote online for a no-obligation chat.
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