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Renault 5 Turbo, Audi quattro, Peugeot 205 T16, Lancia Delta S4 | Articles


[Editor’s Note: We originally appeared in the August 2017 issue of Grassroots Motorsports.]

Pinch us. Tell us that this is only a dream: Our convoy consists not only of the Audi Sport quattro but a Renault 5 Turbo, a Peugeot 205 T16 and a Lancia Delta S4 Stradale as well. Dream or not, we are definitely taking a trip through time with four …

Dinosaurs in a Ghost Town

These four cars originated out of Group B homologation regulations. If a manufacturer wanted to compete in the top rung of the World Rally Championship between 1982 and 1986, then they had to follow the Group B regulations. To tie the race cars to the street versions, FISA ruled that at least 200 production examples had to be made.

During the Group B era power climbed quickly, going from 300 horsepower to above 500-too much for the time. People died, and in 1986 FISA called time on Group B. With it, street-legal Stradales such as these were buried, heading into collections or museums.

But today, the dinosaurs are coming out to get some air. They’re getting collector attention, too, with Gooding & Company recently getting $440,000 for a Lancia Delta S4 Stradale. (If there’s any consolation, it didn’t quite meet estimate.)

The town where we have gathered the formidable four is a ghost town, waiting to be sacrificed for the expansion of one of Europe’s biggest ports. People have moved, and abandoned houses are waiting for the bulldozers to come.

It seems fitting then, that here is where these beasts have come out of hiding. They idle impatiently, desperate to rip the road to pieces. Kicking up gravel is in their DNA.

Renault Project 822

Let’s get to the Renault 5 Turbo first. In its civilian form in the U.S. it was known as Le Car-a simple front-drive econobox. But in Europe, some engineers saw more. They figured that the brand’s first small steps with turbocharged engines in Formula 1 could have some significance in rally as well.

After the glory days of the Alpine A110, Lancia had outsmarted Renault in 1974 with their Ferrari-engined Stratos. Payback was coming from France, and the seeds were planted in 1976 with a secret project given the…

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