Rally legends of the road
Homologation rules meant car manufacturers had to produce a set number of road-going versions of their rally cars for them to be allowed to compete. This was supposed to keep competing cars production-based, but in reality spawned all sorts of monsters.
What's more many makers have often celebrated their success in the sport by producing special editions too. Here are Autoblog's top five rally-inspired picks.
It might have been based on one of the most boring cars of all time, but the Metro 6R4 shared only its name with the production equivalent. Created to compete in the short-lived Group B category, only 200 'Clubman' versions and a handful of 'International' models were made for homologation purposes. The former cost £40k and produced 250bhp from a 3.0-litre V6 engine and were as mad as the stats suggest!
Without rally we'd never have heard Gene Hunt utter his famous 'Fire up the quattro' line. The model was the first to take advantage of four-wheel drive in the sport and it won a series of titles because of it. The road-going version arrived in 1980 and featured a turbo-charged 2.1-litre, five pot powerplant. It produced 197bhp and helped the car hit 60mph in 7.1 seconds.
Few people realise the original Mini Cooper was the result of homologation for rallying. Motorsport car builder John Cooper had spotted the Mini's potential for competition and persuaded BMC bosses to build 1,000 to allow racing in Group 2 rallies. The Cooper featured a 997cc engine with twin carbs, 55bhp and front disc brakes and debuted in 1961. However it was the victories in the Monte Carlo rallies of the 60s for the Cooper S that everyone remembers.
Toyota Celica GT-Four Carlos Sainz
The GT-Four was built specifically to homologate Toyota's most successful rally car ever – but there's one edition of the GT-Four that's remembered by fans above all others. The Carlos Sainz version (code name ST 185) was produced to mark that driver's victory in the WRC Driver's Championship in 1992. It had four-wheel drive, a 200bhp turbo-charged engine and looked as good as the rally winning car. It was limited to 5,000 – 3,000 of which came to Europe.
Subaru Impreza RB5
If it wasn't for success in rallying, the Subaru Impreza arguably would never have gathered the cult following it has done over the years. The maker has released a number of limited edition specials, but our favourite has to be the RB5. Built to mark the return of British driver Richard Burns to the team in car number 5 in 1999, the maker produced 444 examples. It had 237bhp, 350Nm of torque, but most importantly looked superb in its 'steel blue' paintwork.
So there you have it - those are our suggestions for the top five rally-inspired and rally-derived motoring marvels, now we want yours! Let us know which cars would be in your top five by posting your comments below.