Rally – Silodrome https://silodrome.com Gasoline Culture Tue, 23 Jan 2018 04:01:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 18077751 Ex-Works 1975 Fiat Abarth 124 Rallye Group 4 Spider https://silodrome.com/fiat-abarth-124-rally/ Wed, 17 Jan 2018 07:01:48 +0000 https://silodrome.com/?p=70163 Ex-Works 1975 Fiat Abarth 124 Rallye Group 4 Spider

The Fiat Abarth 124 Rallye Spider was a comprehensively re-developed version of the famous little Italian roadster designed to race in the Group 4 division of the World Rally Championship. Abarth is an Italian tuning house known for sometimes outlandish cars, built with an almost Machiavellian eye for performance above all else. Fiat took over...

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Ex-Works 1975 Fiat Abarth 124 Rallye Group 4 Spider

The Fiat Abarth 124 Rallye Spider was a comprehensively re-developed version of the famous little Italian roadster designed to race in the Group 4 division of the World Rally Championship.

Abarth is an Italian tuning house known for sometimes outlandish cars, built with an almost Machiavellian eye for performance above all else. Fiat took over Abarth in 1971, integrating the company as the Fiat Group’s in-house racing department.

Management of all racing operations was under the experienced eye of former-Ferrari V12 engine designer Aurelio Lampredi, and one of his first tasks was developing the racing version of the 124 Sport Spider – the Fiat Abarth 124 Rallye.

The Fiat 124 Sport Spider

The Pininfarina styled 124 Sport Spider was penned by American automobile designer Tom Tjaarda, one of the most prolific car designers of the 20th century, with 80+ vehicles to his name.

Fiat intended their new roadster to be a direct competitor for the popular British MGB, a car that was selling well on both sides of the Atlantic, and that would go on to have almost 500,000 units built by the time production ceased.

Tjaarda designed the two-seat roadster on a shortened version of the platform used by the Fiat 124 sedan to reduce production and development costs. The 124 used a steel unibody design with unequal length wishbone front suspension, and a coil sprung live axle rear.

Over the course of the 1966 to 1982 production run a series of engines were used, starting with a 1.4 litre unit capable of 89 hp and progressing through 1.6, 1.8 litre units, then ending with a 2.0 litre producing 133 hp.

The 124 Sport Spider proved to to be a significant success for Fiat, over 200,000 units were sold worldwide. The Italian automaker brought the model designation back in 2016 with the Fiat 124 Spider, based on the Mazda Miata platform, with a unique Fiat-designed body and a turbocharged Fiat Multiair engine.

The Fiat Abarth 124 Rallye

When the Lampredi-led team at Abarth set about developing a homologation rally version of the 125 Sport Spider they did a lot more than jack up the suspension and slap stickers on fenders.

The prototype was stripped back to its bare shell and a number of steel panels were replaced with fiberglass to save weight. A roll bar was fitted in the passenger compartment and a new rigid hardtop was fitted to further improve rigidity and help with aerodynamics at speed.

The rear axle was removed and replaced with an independent suspension arrangement with lower wishbones, trailing arms, an upper strut, and an anti-roll bar. A limited-slip differential was used for better acceleration, particularly on loose surfaces, and wider alloy wheels were fitted front and back under new flared wheel arches.

The original seats were deleted and a new pair of competition seats were fitted, along with a revised dashboard, and an Abarth steering wheel. The centre console, rear occasional seats, and glovebox lid were also removed for weight savings, and the rear window was replaced with a Perspex unit.

The stand-out feature of the new Fiat rally car was its Abarth-tuned 1736cc twin-cam engine producing 128 bhp in road trim, with 170+ bhp available in rally trim. The power increase was largely thanks to double vertical twin-choke Weber 44 IDF carburetors and a new higher-performance Abarth exhaust with a twin mufflers.

The car successfully achieved FIA homologation in the Group 4 (special grand touring cars) racing class, and it began competing in the the World Rally Championship in 1972.

In 1972 it took wins at the Hessen Rally (1st and 2nd), and the Acropolis Rally (1st, 4th, 7th), and in 1973 it won the Polish Rally. In 1975 Maurizio Verini took five victories to win the European Rally Championship at the wheel of the final 16-valve version – forever securing the model in the annals of Abarth history.

The Ex-Works 1975 Fiat Abarth 124 Rallye Group 4 Spider

This Abarth 124 Spider is one of just seven Olio Fiat works cars, it has in-period competition history, and according to Abarth it’s the best of the surviving Group 4 cars due to its originality, condition, and the fact that it still has all of its rare Abarth works parts fitted.

These seven works cars were the only examples to be fitted with the 16-valve version of the 1.8 litre engine, known as the “Testa Streta” or “Narrow Head”. These engines are capable of almost 200 bhp thanks to their Kugelfischer fuel injection system, a power figure made all the more impressive when you remember the kerb weight is just 863 kilograms (1902.59 lbs).

This car was one of the three sold to private entrants, it competed in the Italian and European Championships driven by Cuniolo/Poletti. It finished 7th overall at the Quattro Regioni Rallye in 1977 with Cuniolo/Poletti at the helm, and in the years after this it passed through the hans of a number of other Italian drivers.

Importantly the car was always maintained by an Abarth Classiche professional team, and it has Abarth Classiche certification. Its due to roll across the auction block with Bonhams on the 8th of February at Les Grandes Marques du Monde au Grand Palais. If you’d like to read more or register to bid you can click here to visit the listing.

Images courtesy of Bonhams

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1974 Alpine-Renault A110 B “Team Vialle” https://silodrome.com/alpine-renault-a110/ Thu, 04 Jan 2018 10:00:57 +0000 https://silodrome.com/?p=69831 1974 Alpine-Renault A110 B “Team Vialle”

The Alpine-Renault A110 was the most successful rally car in the world in 1973, it was the year of the inaugural World Rally Championship, and the lightweight French car was an unstoppable force. 1973 would see the works Alpine-Renault rally team traveling to Monte Carlo (1st, 2nd, 3rd), Sweden (3rd), Portugal (1st and 2nd), East...

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1974 Alpine-Renault A110 B “Team Vialle”

The Alpine-Renault A110 was the most successful rally car in the world in 1973, it was the year of the inaugural World Rally Championship, and the lightweight French car was an unstoppable force.

1973 would see the works Alpine-Renault rally team traveling to Monte Carlo (1st, 2nd, 3rd), Sweden (3rd), Portugal (1st and 2nd), East Africa, Morocco (1st), Greece (1st and 3rd), Poland, Finland, Austria (2nd), Italy (1st and 3rd), the USA, and France (1st, 2nd, 3rd).

It was an extraordinary series of successes, and it’s thought that the engineers at Lancia took note as they were developing the Lancia Stratos – a machine designed from the ground-up to be the quickest rally car in the world.

The Brief History of the Alpine A110

Alpine started out as a small manufacturer of racing and sports cars that were largely reliant on Renault engines and underpinnings. The company was founded by Frenchman Jean Rédélé, he had started out with a diploma from the prestigious business school Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales de Paris, and he quickly became the youngest Renault dealer in France.

Although he had no formal engineering training he proved remarkably apt at building race cars – starting out with the humble Renault 4CV. He took class wins in the Mille Miglia and Coupe des Alpes in the 1950s and posted some positive results at at Le Mans and Sebring as well.

In 1955 he decided to build his own car, still using a Renault 4CV engine, chassis, and running gear, but now with a far lighter (and dare I say better looking) fiberglass body. Three years later in 1958 the Alpine A108 was released, now with styling by Giovanni Michelotti that would define the look of the cars going forward.

The A108, and the Alpines that followed it, had a lightweight fiberglass body with a central tubular backbone chassis that offered excellent rigidity. In 1962 the company made a series of changes and upgrades to the A108 resulting in the A110 – the car that would become the most famous Alpine of all.

The Design of the Alpine A110

The real secret to the success of the A110 was its weight, depending on which engine was fitted the car tipped the scales at approximately 540 kilograms (1,190 lbs). Some compare the Alpine A110 to the Porsche 911 due to its engine also being located in the back, resulting in a heightened potential for snap oversteer, particularly when novice drivers were behind the wheel.

Professional drivers discovered that the weight over the rear wheels resulted in excellent traction, and once they learned to manage its pendulum-like effect found they could send the car sideways around corners with excellent precision.

Due to the location of the engine, the front of the car didn’t need a radiator grill, allowing Michelotti to create his now legendary low-nose design and Kammback rear that offered excellent aerodynamics.

Alpine built the A110 from the early 1960s till the late 1970s, offering increased engine sizes as time went by. Early engines would be as small as 956cc with 95 hp, and by the mid-1970s the car was packing a 1605cc unit with 140 hp.

The rarest and most desirable engine is the Renault-Gordini Type 807-G4, just two A110s were fitted with it, and the car you see here is one of them. The Type 807-G4 was an advanced design, with double overhead cams, four valves per cylinder, an aluminum cylinder block, a dry sump, twin Weber carburetors, and almost 200 hp.

The Alpine-Renault A110 B “Team Vialle” Shown Here

After Renault took over Alpine in 1973 the name officially changed to Alpine-Renault, although many still refer to the cars as the Alpine A110 for the sake of simplicity. The car shown here was acquired as part of Team Viallen – sponsored by Vialle Autogas in the hopes of achieving favorable exposure in the increasingly popular world of rallycross racing.

This car, chassis #20377, took its first win in Holland in 1977. It was driven by Piet Kruythof in the 1977 and 1978 FIA European Rallycross Championships, and it’s the winner of the 1978 Dutch Rallycross Championship – making it the most successful A110 in the history of the FIA European Rallycross Championship.

After an accident in the early 1980s the car ended up in storage, before being rescued and subject to a comprehensive restoration that was completed in 2000 – importantly the original Renault-Gordini Type 807-G4 is still fitted.

After successfully competing at the 2017 Goodwood Festival of Speed the A110 is now due to be sold by RM Sotheby’s in Paris on the 7th of February. The estimated hammer price is between €140,000 and €180,000 – making it a great buy considering its remarkable heritage.

If you’d like to read more or register to bid you can click here to visit the listing.

Images: Tom Gidden ©2017 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

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1986 Ford RS200 Evolution Group B https://silodrome.com/ford-rs200-rally-car/ Mon, 27 Nov 2017 07:00:38 +0000 https://silodrome.com/?p=68482 1986 Ford RS200 Evolution Group B

The Ford RS200 rose from the ashes of the ill-fated Escort RS 1700T project – after a successful rally programme based around the earlier Escorts, Ford knew it needed a revolutionary new car to compete with the likes of Audi, Peugeot and Renault.

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1986 Ford RS200 Evolution Group B

Designed For Group B – The Ford RS200

The Ford RS200 rose from the ashes of the ill-fated Escort RS 1700T project. After a successful rally programme based around the earlier Escorts, Ford knew it needed a revolutionary new car to compete with the likes of Audi, Peugeot and Renault.

By the early 1980s it had become clearly evident that the only way to win was to develop an all-wheel drive platform that was as lightweight as possible, and could produce levels of horsepower usually reserved for Formula One.

The chassis of the new car was developed by former Formula One designer Tony Southgate, it was a mid-engine layout with double wishbone independent suspension on all four corners coupled with twin dampers.

In order to get the weight distribution as close to 50/50 as possible the transmission was mounted in front of the driver, requiring a complex drivetrain that sent the power forwards, before sending some of it back to the rear differential. The engine chosen for the RS200 was a 1803cc inline-4 by Cosworth, with double overhead camshafts and turbocharging.

In street trim the unit produced approximately 250 bhp but later race versions were tuned to develop over 800 hp.

In order to be eligible for FIA Group B Rally the manufacturer had to produce a minimum of 200 road-going variants of their race car, this requirement gifted the world the Porsche 959, the Ferrari F40 and a slew of other supercars, as well as the slightly smaller but no less capable Ford RS200.

Besides its giant-killing performance, the RS200 was notable for its complete design departure from its Ford Escort predecessors. The styling had been developed by Carrozzeria Ghia and it incorporated twin front and rear clam shells that opened to afford mechanics and engineers easy access to the drivetrain, suspension, and braking systems.

The body was made from fibreglass by the Reliant Motor Company in England, more famous for their slightly awkward (but also fibreglass) three wheeled Reliant Robin – famously driven by Jeremy Clarkson and very nearly launched into orbit from Scotland.

The Ford RS200 Evolution Shown Here

The Evolution variant of the RS200 was scheduled to arrive on the Group B scene in 1987 as an upgrade over the original. Due to a series of deaths, including some spectators, the FIA cancelled Group B in 1986 – leaving the RS200 Evolution with no series to call home.

Ford Europe had made a series of modifications to the car to bring it up to Evolution specification, perhaps most significant was the new engine, a development of the BDT engine called the BDT-E, with a 2137 cc displacement and up to a maximum of 815 hp in top trim. The engine had been developed by Brian Hart, a former racing driver and top flight engineer with a long history of working in Formula One.

Just 24 examples of the Evolution version of the RS200 were made, and surviving examples like this one are look on as four-wheeled gold in the motorsport community. They’re capable of rubbing shoulders with far more modern racing cars and winning – and this one is reported to be making 600 bhp, likely giving it a 0-60 mph time in the very low 3 seconds range.

Bonhams will be offering this car at The Bond Street Sale in the 2nd of December with an estimated hammer price of between £180,000 and £240,000. If you’d like to read more about it or register to bid you can click here to visit the listing.

Images courtesy of Bonhams

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1954 Jaguar XK120 Competition https://silodrome.com/jaguar-xk120-competition/ Sat, 21 Oct 2017 07:00:19 +0000 https://silodrome.com/?p=66880 1954 Jaguar XK120 Competition

The Jaguar XK120 was first shown to the public in 1948, it was just 3 years since the end of the Second World War and this new, sleek Jaguar was exactly what the British public needed. Even though the price tag was far beyond reach for most working class Brits, the fact that it was the fastest production car in the world was a source of great pride – Jaguar further capitalised on this by setting multiple world speed and endurance records with the XK120 over the course of its 1948 to 1954 production run.

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1954 Jaguar XK120 Competition

This competition-spec Jaguar XK120 was ordered new by talented British privateer racer Eric Haddon. It was to be one of the last XK120s built, and it was built under the watchful eye of “Lofty” England – the legendary manager of the Jaguar racing team in the 1950s.

The Jaguar Works department built the car for rally use, so a heavy-duty sump guard was fitted, and a bespoke exhaust was installed that exited through twin holes in the rear left fender – this was to avoid having the stock exhaust scrape, as it tended to hang low.

The suspension was also modified for competition, and a number of Jaguar C-Type performance parts were used including a close-ratio gearbox. Bonnet louvres were added to aid cooling and air flow, a quick-fill fuel cap was installed as well as an aluminum fuel tank and a radiator blind (a radiator shroud).

Haddon was ted no time entering the XK120 Competition into top tier rallies, with its first entry being the challenging 1954 Tulip Rally. Of the 211 starters, just 128 completed the grueling 2,100 miles around Europe. Along with his co-driver Charles Vivian, Haddon drove RJH 400 to take second in class – a remarkable feat considering he was still so new to the car.

The same two men next took on the Coupe des Alpes (the Alpine Rally), taking a popular win in the Unlimited Class against some of the quickest professional drivers on the Continent.

In recent years the car has been carefully returned to its original Coupe des Alpes specification and is now being offered for sale by Fiskens. The car would make an excellent entry into modern events like the Mille Miglia or the Goodwood Revival, and its period competition successes would all but guarantee a warm welcome. If you’d like to read more about this car or enquire after buying it, you can click here to visit Fiskens.

The Jaguar XK120

The Jaguar XK120 was first shown to the public in 1948, it was just 3 years since the end of the Second World War and this new, sleek Jaguar was exactly what the British public needed. Even though the price was far beyond reach for most working class Brits, the fact that it was the fastest production car in the world was a source of great pride – Jaguar further capitalised on this by setting multiple world speed and endurance records with the XK120 over the course of its 1948 to 1954 production run.

When the car was initially shown to the world at the 1948 London Motor Show it had been intended as a showcase for the new Jaguar XK engine – a double overhead camshaft inline-6 that was so well-designed it would stay in production in one way or another until 1992. The name of the new sporting Jaguar was directly derived from this XK engine, and it’s ability to push the car to top speed of 120 mph – hence the XK120.

The public reaction to the new XK120 was so overwhelmingly positive that Jaguar boss and co-founder Sir William Lyons approved it for immediate production. The first 242 cars in the series were wooden-framed with aluminium panels, it wasn’t until early 1950 that the all-steel bodies began customer deliveries, these cars were 51 kilograms heavier – but they benefited from significant additional strength and rigidity.

The first production cars began deliveries in 1949, famously the very first XK120 to arrive was chassis #670003, which was delivered to an American chap named Clark Gable – possibly the most famous actor of the mid-20th century. Once the production of the XK120 drew to a close in 1954 the new XK140 was offered for sale from 1954 to 1957, which itself was followed by the XK150 from 1957 and 1961.

Many marque historians consider the XK series of cars to be the vehicles that really put Jaguar on the map as a builder of some of the world’s finest sports cars, a tradition that was carried on with the E-Type through the ’60s and early ’70s, and by the F-Type today.

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1966 Dodge Hemi Charger https://silodrome.com/1966-dodge-hemi-charger/ Thu, 05 Oct 2017 07:00:56 +0000 https://silodrome.com/?p=66486 1966 Dodge Hemi Charger

This is 1 of just 468 Dodge Hemi Chargers that were built in 1966, a year remembered by fans of the Mopar Hemi engine for David Pearson’s popular first NASCAR Grand National championship win, piloting his Cotton Owens-prepared Dodge Charger. NASCAR had banned the 426 Hemi in 1965 under the guise of it not being...

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1966 Dodge Hemi Charger

This is 1 of just 468 Dodge Hemi Chargers that were built in 1966, a year remembered by fans of the Mopar Hemi engine for David Pearson’s popular first NASCAR Grand National championship win, piloting his Cotton Owens-prepared Dodge Charger.

NASCAR had banned the 426 Hemi in 1965 under the guise of it not being readily available in the road cars of the time, though many have postulated that the ban was a result of the Hemis dominating the nation’s stock-car tracks in 1964.

The ban was lifted in 1966 as the 426 Hemi was now available in a few production vehicles as an option, including the Dodge Coronet, the Plymouth Belvedere, the Plymouth Satellite, and perhaps most importantly, the Dodge Charger.

The 1966 Dodge Hemi Charger

The Charger was initially developed to appease Dodge Dealers, who wanted something that could compete with the hugely popular Ford Mustang, which had first appeared in 1964, and rapidly become a major best seller. Dodge wanted their Charger to fit in somewhere above the Mustang but slightly below the Ford Thunderbird in terms of cost and market positioning. Essentially, it was to be an American V8 GT car.

Chief Engineer for Dodge during the ’60s, Burt Bouwkamp, talked about the reasons for creating the Charger in July 2004:

“Lynn Townsend (President of Chrysler) was at odds with the Dodge Dealers and wanted to do something to please them. So in 1965 he asked me to come to his office – for the second time. He noted that one of the Dodge Dealer Council requests was for a Barracuda type vehicle.”

“The overall dealer product recommendation theme was the same – we want what Plymouth has. The specific request for a Mustang type vehicle was not as controversial to Lynn. His direction to me was to give them a specialty car but he said ‘for God’s sake don’t make it a derivative of the Barracuda’: i.e. don’t make it a Barracuda competitor.”

“We built a Charger “idea” car which we displayed at auto shows in 1965 to stimulate market interest in the concept. It was the approved design but we told the press and auto show attendees that it was just an “idea” and that we would build it if they liked it. It was pre-ordained that they would like it.”

When it was released in 1966 the Charger had 4 engine options – all of which were V8s. The base model came with the 318 cubic inch (5.2 liter) 2-barrel, next was the 361 (5.9 liter) 2-barrel, then there was the 383 (6.3 liter) 4-barrel, and then the most desirable – the 426 Street Hemi (7 liter).

The name “Hemi” derives from the hemispherical combustion chambers used in the Chrysler engine. The Hemi design offers low levels of heat loss in the head, and allows for two large valves to be fitted – perfect for a large capacity push-rod V8.

Chysler claimed that the 426 Street Hemi produced 425 hp, however period dyno testing showed that it actually produced over 433 hp in stock trim on pump gasoline. Torque figures were similarly impressive, with 472 lb.ft on tap. It’s a wonder anyone was able to keep tread on their skinny bias ply tires for more than 100 miles.

The surviving 1966 426 Hemi Chargers are lauded in the enthusiast community, thanks in part to the bragging rights owners get from the NASCAR Grand National championship win.

The 1966 Dodge Hemi Charger Shown Here

The ’66 Hemi Charger you see here still has all of its original sheet metal – a rare claim to fame given the propensity owners had for getting the cars sideways, oftentimes into telephone poles. It’s fitted with the desirable 4-speed manual transmission, and has heavy duty brakes, the Hemi suspension package, the Track Pak, a 3.54:1 rear end ratio, the 8.75-inch rear axle, and the Sure Grip differential.

Inside there are premium bucket seats, a Transaudio AM radio, and the iconic dashboard with four equal sized silver rimmed gauges. The car comes with both a Chrysler Registry Report, and a Certicard to verify authenticity, and it comes with copies of previous titles and bills of sale.

If you’d like to read more about it or register to bid you can click here to visit the listing on Mecum Auctions.

Images courtesy of Mecum Auctions

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1969 Opel Rallye Kadett https://silodrome.com/opel-rallye-kadett/ Mon, 11 Sep 2017 10:00:34 +0000 http://silodrome.com/?p=65673 1969 Opel Rallye Kadett

Outside of Europe the Opel Kadett 1900 Rallye is a little known car, in fact it’s not all that well known in Europe either come to think of it. That said, motorsport fans will remember the Kadett as the car that launched the rally career of the great Ari Vatanen, who piloted it to his...

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1969 Opel Rallye Kadett

Outside of Europe the Opel Kadett 1900 Rallye is a little known car, in fact it’s not all that well known in Europe either come to think of it. That said, motorsport fans will remember the Kadett as the car that launched the rally career of the great Ari Vatanen, who piloted it to his first win in the Tott-Porrassalmi Rally in 1971.

The first Opel Kadett made an appearance in 1937 and it was produced in I, A, B, C, D, and E variants until 1993. Each generation was characterized by its entry level price point, relatively simple engineering, and unpretentious styling.

The Opel Kadett B

Although no one would ever accuse the B-series Kadett of being a quick car, there were some iterations that were popular for motorsport use. The quickest of them all was the 1.9 liter variant first offered to the public in 1967, this inline-4 was capable of a heady 89 hp and could propel the lightweight Opel to impressive speeds, well impressive for a relatively inexpensive car in 1967 at least.

The 1.9 liter engine (actually 1897cc) was a little unusual as it has a CIH or “cam in head” arrangement. This isn’t quite the same as an overhead cam, and it’s different to a more traditional overhead valve design too. Essentially, the cam lays in the head next to the valves and is driven by a roller chain. A combination of rocker arms and short tappets are used for valve actuation – making the CIH system slightly better than an OHV system but not quite as good as an OHC.

The CIH quickly became an evolutionary dead end, and engine designers pursued more efficient OHC and DOHC designs, so cam in head engines are now a bit of a curiosity and many have never heard of them.

Opel sold the Kadett in coupe, 4-door sedan, and wagon variants with engines from 1.0, to 1.1, 1.2, 1.5, 1.7, and 1.9 liters. They were used by everyone from families and tradesmen, to Ari Vatanen and everyone in-between.

Opel built hundreds of thousands of examples of the Opel Kadett B over the course of its 8 year production run. By now the overwhelming majority of them have rusted away or found their way to the crusher, but there’s a committed and diligent community keeping survivor cars alive – and rarer examples like the Rallye Kadett 1900 are now being restored for discerning enthusiasts.

The Opel Rallye Kadett Shown Here

This particular car is a comprehensively rebuilt Kadett B 1900 with a worked 150 hp 1900 engine and a kerb weight of 750 kilograms – making it rather a spritely performer.

The reason this car looks new is because it essentially is, it was taken back to a bare shell during its restoration in Sweden and rebuild from scratch. It’s now fitted with a worked 1900 Kadett engine and, a stripped interior, racing bucket seats with harnesses, fire extinguishers, a roll cage, a rally computer, hood latches, spot lights, and a slew of other racing mods.

It now comes with a Swedish PTN and will be delivered with an FFVE certificate. If you’d like to read more about the car or enquire after buying it you you click here to visit its listing on Eleven Cars.

Images courtesy of Kevin von Campenhout

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1980 Renault 5 Turbo https://silodrome.com/renault-5-turbo/ Sat, 02 Sep 2017 07:00:12 +0000 http://silodrome.com/?p=65714 1980 Renault 5 Turbo

The French have their own unique approach to building cars. If you don’t know what I mean just take a look at the Citroën 2CV, the Renault Twizy, anything built by Voisin, the Helicon, or the Citroen DS. Whereas the Brits, Germans, and Italians all generally chose similar paths for their four-wheeled horseless carriages the...

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1980 Renault 5 Turbo

The French have their own unique approach to building cars. If you don’t know what I mean just take a look at the Citroën 2CV, the Renault Twizy, anything built by Voisin, the Helicon, or the Citroen DS.

Whereas the Brits, Germans, and Italians all generally chose similar paths for their four-wheeled horseless carriages the French seemed to design all of their cars after a long lunch, with a fist full of Châteauneuf-du-Pape and a crumpled pack of Gauloises.

Like many things created by the French, their cars are often frustratingly brilliant.

A Brief History of the Renault 5 Turbo

The Renault 5 Turbo was built as the successor to the hugely successful Alpine Renault which had dominated European rally competition until the Lancia Stratos came along and moved the game forward.

The initial design for the Renault 5 Turbo was completed by four engineers who developed a prototype in the small facility at Renault’s Alpine facility in Dieppe. It was initially called Project 822, and it was based on the standard production version of the Renault 5 – a front engined, front wheel drive compact car.

Initially the team were planning to use a spaceframe chassis and mount the body panels to it, but this was going to prove far too difficult and expensive. A compromise was reached, and a smaller sub-frame was built and installed in the rear, to hold the engine and transmission in a mid-mounted location just behind the driver and co-driver.

The R5 Turbo was powered by a specially prepared version of the venerable Cléon-Fonte engine, an inline-4 with a capacity of 1397cc coupled to a single turbocharger. Once it had been dialed in the turbo Cléon-Fonte was capable of 158 hp and 163 lbf.ft of torque in street trim, or 345 hp in R5 Maxi Turbo rally trim.

The team at Alpine were well-versed in building high-performance cars with engines in the back, and once the Renault 5 Turbo was completed it proved to be highly competitive – winning the Monte Carlo Rally on its first race outing in the World Rally Championship.

Unfortunately for the Renault, the early ’80s were when the new Group B all-wheel drive cars landed on the scene – all of which proved quicker than the rear-wheel drive Renault on the dirt. 3,576 units were built over the model’s production run and today they’re considered a major highlight from Renault’s back catalogue.

The 1980 Renault 5 Turbo Shown Here

1980 was the first year of production for the R5 Turbo and it landed with much fanfare from the global motoring media. It was by far the most outlandish hot hatch the world had ever seen, wiping the floor with the best that had been built by the traditional hot hatch market leaders.

This car is one of the earliest produced, chassis number D0000020. All 400 had been homologated by the 1st of September 1980, and the unusual new Renaults were making popular appearances on Europe’s rally stages. The car is now wearing “Tour de Corse” livery, and RM Sotheby’s say that it’s chassis number indicates that it could be the Renault 5 Turbo that was driven by Works driver Bruno Saby for the 1981 Monte Carlo Rally.

If you’d like to read more about the car or register to bid you can click here to visit the listing.

Photo Credits: Jack Passey ©2017 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

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1985 Mazda RX-7 Evo Group B Works Racer https://silodrome.com/1985-mazda-rx-7-evo-group-b-works/ Wed, 09 Aug 2017 07:01:38 +0000 http://silodrome.com/?p=64847 1985 Mazda RX-7 Evo Group B Works Racer

Original, unused Group B rally cars come up for pubic auction exceedingly rarely. In fact I can’t think of even one in recent memory. So you’ll appreciate the amount of interest this 1985 Mazda RX-7 Evo Group B Works car is likely to attract when it rolls onto the auction block in London this September. The Mazda...

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1985 Mazda RX-7 Evo Group B Works Racer

Original, unused Group B rally cars come up for pubic auction exceedingly rarely. In fact I can’t think of even one in recent memory. So you’ll appreciate the amount of interest this 1985 Mazda RX-7 Evo Group B Works car is likely to attract when it rolls onto the auction block in London this September.

The Mazda RX-7 is already one of the most loved rotary engined production cars of all time, and the Evo Group B Works version distills the best and most ludicrous elements of the original car into a vehicle that could have only been built in the short lived era of Group B – a time when safety, subtlety, and sobriety were all discarded in favor of balls-to-the-wall preposterousness.

A Brief History of the Mazda RX-7 Evo Group B Works Car

Mazda’s decision to field a series of modified RX-7s in Group B competition resulted in the first Wankel rotary vehicles to compete in the short lived class.

Under Group B “Evolution” rules Mazda needed to build 20 cars for homologation, the project was headed by Achim Warmbold under the banner of Mazda Rally Team Europe in Belgium. The project kicked off in 1984, original RX-7 unibodies were stripped and fitted with Mazda Factory Race specification 13B twin rotor engines, mounted 4 inches closer to the firewall for improved front/rear weight distribution.

The MRT-modified 13B with peripheral ports was capable of 300bhp in race trim, with a modified Weber 51 IDA carburetor breathing through a cold air intake. Oil lines run back to a cooler mounted inside the rear wing, and the fuel lines run from the rear mounted alloy tank through the cabin between the seats – providing the driver with additional encouragement to not crash.

Weight reduction was achieved through the use of a fiberglass hood, front cowl, and flared fenders, the original pop-up headlights were removed in favor of a bank of six spotlights that sit above the radiator and brakes cooling intakes. Suspension height was increased over stock and magnesium Enkei wheels were fitted shod with Michelin TRX rubber, two spare wheels could be carried while racing – and this car comes with a single spare strapped into the trunk.

Race ready, the car tipped the scales at 990 kgs (2178 lbs) and sent 300 bhp back to the rear wheels at 8200 rpm, with 196 lbf.ft of torque at 7500 rpm. It was a mighty machine however its lack of all-wheel drive hamstrung its racing efforts – though it did manage a respectable 3rd place in the 1985 Acropolis Rally.

Mazda Rally Team Europe had planned to create 20 examples of the Mazda RX-7 Evo Group B Works car, however Group B was cancelled in 1987 – by which time they had built 7, crashed 1, and had parts for 11 others.

The Mazda RX-7 Evo Group B Works Car Shown Here

This car is chassis MRTE 019 – it was built to Group B Evolution specification but never actually raced. It has remained in Europe ever since, spending time in both Switzerland and Sweden, and it recently underwent a six-month investigative ‘light-touch’ restoration to ensure it’s in exact Works specification.

Chassis MRTE 019 was previously displayed at Mazda UK’s head office and it was recently featured in Top Gear magazine, it’s now being offered for auction by RM Sotheby’s in London on the 9th of September. There’s no listed estimate as of yet, and it wouldn’t be an easy car to value based on its uniqueness, but the current trend line towards rare and unusual JDM vehicles is likely to contribute to enthusiastic bidding. If you’d like to read more about the car or register to bid you can click here to visit the listing.

Photo Credits: Rowan Horncastle ©2017 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Additional information via Top Gear

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Original Ford Escort MKI Works Racer https://silodrome.com/ford-escort-mk1/ Sat, 18 Mar 2017 07:01:52 +0000 http://silodrome.com/?p=59274 Original Ford Escort MKI Works Racer

Few of the original Ford Escort MKI works racing cars have survived – which isn’t all that surprising when you take a look back at their extensive and oftentimes rough competition history. Most of the cars that made it to the modern day now sit in museums or private collections, so when one pops up for...

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Original Ford Escort MKI Works Racer

Few of the original Ford Escort MKI works racing cars have survived – which isn’t all that surprising when you take a look back at their extensive and oftentimes rough competition history. Most of the cars that made it to the modern day now sit in museums or private collections, so when one pops up for sale they generate a huge amount of interest.

The History of the Ford Escort MKI

Ford Escort MKI is remembered today as one of the most successful rally cars of all time, from a period before all-wheel-drive, turbocharging, and independent rear suspension became commonplace and changed the sport forever. Ford Europe introduced the car in 1967/68 with production initially beginning in England, before being joined by a factory in Germany which was focussed on building cars for the Continent.

The popularity of the Escort saw tooling sent to set up factories in Australia, Israel, and New Zealand – and over the course of the model’s production run over 2,000,000 would be built, a production record that Ford has never surpassed on a model outside the USA.

One of the secrets to the success of the MKI Escort was its simplicity, it rides on MacPherson strut front suspension with a live axle on leaf springs in the rear. Engines ranged from 940cc up to 2 litres, with the most common being the 1.1 and 1.3 litre units, and the body was a pressed-steel unibody with the famous American “coke bottle” side profile and the now iconic dogbone front grill.

Perhaps the single most significant benefit of this simplicity was the fact that it kept the Ford Escort affordable, and buyers could choose from the sporty 2-door, the more practical 4-door, or the 3-door station wagon.

Despite the relatively small size of the engines used in most Escorts, the racing (and boy racing) communities wasted no time wringing every available pony from the engines – and given the low kerb weight of just ~800 kilograms (depending on version), the Escort was ideal for both asphalt and rally racing.

The Ford Escort Twin Cam

One of the most desirable Escorts is the Twin Cam, it used the same basic engine block as the 1.5 litre engine (non-Crossflow), but it was fitted with the much higher performance Lotus-made 8-valve, twin camshaft head. These engines were given a slightly larger bore to bring the capacity up to 1557cc – essentially it was the engine developed for the Lotus Elan, that would later be further modified for use in Formula 2 racing.

The F2 Twin Cam was called the FVA engine, in full race trim it could produce upwards of 200 hp, and it was only a matter of time before someone had the idea of dropping one into an Escort. When mated to the magnesium-cased 2000E ‘Bullet’ gearbox, the package made the MKI Escort almost unbeatable. The Twin Cam Escort’s first win was in the Circuit of Ireland Rally in 1968, other Twin Cams would win the World Rally Championship for Makes twice, in 1968 and 1969, and the British Touring Car Championship in 1968.

These Championship wins were accompanied by a slew of popular race victories around the world, including the gruelling 1970 London to Mexico World Cup Rally, which resulted in Ford releasing the now legendary Ford Escort Mexico in late 1970 with the 1598cc Crossflow engine.

The Alan Mann Ford Escort MKI Shown Here

The most famous Twin Cam Escorts were raced by the Alan Mann Racing Team on behalf of Ford. Each of these factory works cars was fitted with the Formula 2 FVA engine, and unfortunately the engines were returned to Ford after racing ceased. The car you see here is one of the original six that were supplied to Alan Mann in 1968 to race in the British and European Touring Car Championships.

During its competitive life, this car was known (and still is) by its registration number “X00 347F”. It was largely used as the spare car – meaning it was spared from many of the rigours of competition, though it was raced a number of times in the British Championship by Jackie Oliver. Records show that Jackie was driving this car at Brands Hatch when he beat the Escort being driven by Frank Gardner – Gardner would go on to win the Championship that year.

As the original engines were all taken back by Ford, this car is now fitted with a new Geoff Richardson-built 240 bhp FVA, making it quicker than it would have been originally. A meticulous rebuild to its original 1968 Group 5 specification was completed in 2014, and Alan Mann’s son Henry took to the wheel in 2014 at the Goodwood Festival of Speed – winning the pre-1982 Touring Car Class.

Somewhat fittingly, the far is now due to be auctioned by Bonhams on the 19th of March at the Goodwood Members’ Meeting. It has an estimated hammer-price of £200,000 to £250,000, and if you’d like to read more about it or register to bid you can click here to visit the listing.

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Ferrari 308 GTB Group 4 Racer https://silodrome.com/ferrari-308-gtb/ Thu, 02 Feb 2017 07:01:21 +0000 http://silodrome.com/?p=57855 Ferrari 308 GTB Group 4 Racer

The Ferrari 308 GTB was first introduced in 1975, based on a slightly shortened platform borrowed from the 308 GT4. The latter car was an angular 2+2 designed by Marcello Gandini at Bertone – the same chap who penned the Lancia Stratos and Lamborghini Urraco. The fact that Enzo Ferrari chose Bertone to style the...

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Ferrari 308 GTB Group 4 Racer

The Ferrari 308 GTB was first introduced in 1975, based on a slightly shortened platform borrowed from the 308 GT4. The latter car was an angular 2+2 designed by Marcello Gandini at Bertone – the same chap who penned the Lancia Stratos and Lamborghini Urraco.

The fact that Enzo Ferrari chose Bertone to style the GT4 rather than his usual friends at Pininfarina caused a few tempers to boil over – so Enzo hired a Pininfarina team headed by Leonardo Fioravanti to design the new 308 GTB, and this helped resolve tensions.

Pininfarina started with a blank slate, the only design restriction was the tubular steel frame chassis from the 308 GT4, which they reduced from 100.4 inches to 92 inches. The new 308 GTB used the same 2927cc DOHC (per bank) 90° V8, the same all-synchromesh 5-speed transmission, and the same clutch-type limited slip differential.

This new car would only be the second Ferrari production model with a mid-mounted V8, an engine configuration that would go on to be a popular engine type for the marque. It was mounted transversely to save space fore and aft, with an aluminium alloy block and heads to keep weight down. The European-version produces 255hp, and the export model makes 240hp due to more stringent US emissions restrictions.

The car you see here is an entirely rebuilt Ferrari 308 GTB that’s been engineered to original Michelotto Group 4 spec. Just 14 of these cars were made originally, and it’s not known how many survived their years on track. As this 308 GTB is one of relatively few original dry sump models it’s eligible for FIA Group 4 competitions – where it would be an exceptionally difficult car to beat.

In 2015/2016 the car was stripped and rebuilt by JMR Motorsport; the chassis was reinforced, the doors, bonnet, and engine cover replaced with fibreglass units, the bumpers were lightened, new AP Racing brakes were fitted was well as a hydraulic handbrake. There’s also a brake balance bar, hand-built Group 4 dampers, a quick-release steering wheel, significantly more besides.

It now tips the scales at 1085 kilograms – 200kgs lighter than it was stock. The engine has been rebuilt to competition-spec with new forged pistons, special steel cylinder liners, new valves, springs, and guides, and a balanced crankshaft. It turns out 297bhp, which necessitated the fitting of a new hydraulic ceramic clutch.

Since completion the engine has approximately 20 hours running time, and it’s completed at at the Costa Brava Rally, the Rally 2000 Virages (where it took 2nd position), and the Alp la Masella hill climb (which it won outright). If you’d like to read more about it or register to bid, you can click here to visit Bonhams.

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