What he would really like for his birthday this year

When your man goes back to his childhood roots, he loves to remember the speed he rode his bike across the forest and fields, covered in mud. To then get home for a bath and in front of the telly to watch the real speed junkies, wishing they were them. Fast forward to a grown up and they want a family friendly, fuel efficient and roomy car. But do they?

Taking it back to the eighties, if you told your other half you’d got him one of these cars for birthday, watch his eyes light up in the the same way they did when he was a 15 year old. Obviously you can’t ever get him an ‘actual’ one but he’ll love talking about these.

Kicking off the round of classics is the ultimate piece of kit – the 1985 MG Metro 6R4. With its 6 cylinders, rear engine and 4 wheel drive, this pure competition rally car could hit 0-60mph within 3.2 seconds, with low gearing enabling maximum accelaration. Now that’s G force! In March 1985 this beauty won its first competition at the Gwynedd Rally and led the way for international rally success for Austin Rover.

With its spec built to the infamous and short lived ‘Group B’ Category, introduced in 1982 by FISA, where a lack of restrictions and regulations meant manufacturers could build cars that had never quite been seen before – quick, powerful and sophisticated. However, this soon led to a ban of Group B because cars were being modified and adapted so they were able to accelerate as fast as F1 cars. This was the ultimate for speed junkies who’s hearts were in their mouths watching rallies and their ears left ringing from the stealth acceleration  and gear changes.

With its Lucas Micos 6 point electronic fuel injection, 5 speed dog engaged manual gearbox, fully articulating drive shafts, dual circuit brakes, three door body shell with glass re-inforced plastic wheel arches and sills and Dymag cast magnesium alloys whilst securing 0-100mph in 10 seconds, this made for the greatest rallying car of all time that set hearts alight with awe.

Switching from Rover to Ford, another firm favourite is the 1986 Ford RS200. Fords first four wheel drive to enter into the Group B arena, hitting crazy speeds and one to hold the Guinness World Record for its speed for 12 years. Set by Stig Blomqvist in a RS200 Evo, hitting 0.62mph in 3.07 seconds, this Ford was recorded as the fastest accelerating car in the world. Now that is some kit and horsepower.

A 2 door coupe designed by F1 designer Tony Southgate and former F1 engineer John Wheeler, showcasing a lightweight chassis and plastic fibre-glass body from Ghia, front mounted transmission,  double wishbone suspension coupled with a complex balanced weight system and a 1.8L turbo charged version of the Cosworth BDA engine, the car was certainly competitive, super-fast and aesthically pleasing.

However, the weight of the car could not carry the power, and after some very unfortunate crashes, the RS200 E2 model was soon pulled and in turn, the abolishment of the Group B category again saw an end to this version. The Group B cars were quite simply too fast to race. Ford went on to make many other variants of the RS200 and they are still very much loved today, especially by Ken Block, for their breath taking design and power.

Next we hit the 1984 Peugeot 205 T16 Evolution 1. This all-wheel-drive boasted a horsepower of 347 and left the likes of Audi in the dust at one point. Fitted with a KKK turbo charger and 16 valve cylinder head, this hot hatchback was one to watch.

Having earned Peugeot the Drivers and Manufacturers World Rally Championship titles, this little pocket rocket was a Group B marvel with its turbo charged  iron-block  four cylinder, 5 speed transmission and 95.2 inch wheelbase. It soon became the car to beat.

The Peugeot 205 T16 would go on to win one in every two WRC, whilst winning both the Drivers and Constructors titles in 1985 and 1986. With its lightweight construction and 500 horsepower, this was a force to be reckoned with. It was elite. However, just like all the other Group B rally cars, they were too light and fast and they too met their end in this notorious category.

Group B will always be recognised as one of the most craziest episodes within the rally world, one that will be talked about forever.

(No rights to images – Images owned by Wikipedia).


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