The 10 most iconic rally cars of all time

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Rally cars are a special breed. Leaping through the air, tearing through the water, and covering rough terrain faster than anything else on four wheels, they’re impressive. From the legends of Group B to today’s modern day heroes, there have been some truly iconic examples.

Here are our 10 most iconic rally cars of all time.

Audi Sport Quattro S1 E2

When the Audi Quattro introduced all-wheel drive to the world of rallying, it radically changed the sport forever. Even today, AWD is the dominant formula and, at the time, the Quattro set the example. Arguably the S1 E2 was the last Audi Quattro.

Making the most of the menacing aerodynamic bodywork, the lightened-up rally fighter made use of more than 500bhp from its inline five-cylinder engine. This was Audi’s last Group B rally car.

peugeot 205 t16

Another Group B legend, the 205 T16 was more of a caricature of the normal 205. It featured all-wheel drive, heavily modified bodywork, and the engine was mid-mounted. He won 16 WRC events and proved to be a real force in the Group B world.

To comply with Group B rules, 200 road-legal T16s had to be built.

Subaru Impreza WRC 2001

Images of a blue Subaru with gold wheels became fond memories for rally fans around the world, and in 2001 Richard Burns became champion driving his Impreza WRC. Known for its googly eyes, the all-wheel drive machine got a complete overhaul for this season.

Volkswagen Polo R WRC

They came, they conquered, they left. Volkswagen’s stage in rallying resulted in total dominance thanks to the Polo WRC. The four-wheel drive hatchback quickly upset the order and delivered multiple championships in a row.

Volkswagen’s misdeeds with diesel ultimately lead to this project being pulled.

Citroen C4 WRC

Possibly the most successful rally car of all time, the French hatch was cleaned at the hands of Sebastian Loeb. Winning 36 events and four drivers’ titles in a row, his momentum was only stopped by a rule change.

mitsubishi lancer evo

Mitsubishi always fought Subaru, but would have to wait until 1998 to take the title. It was rallying ace Tommi Mäkinen who defeated the blue cars, which only served to intensify the rivalry between these two Japanese manufacturers.

Mäkinen was honored with a special edition road car bearing his name.

Peugeot 206 WRC

Another iconic decoration, this time worn by the Peugeot 206 WRC. Total’s silver and red colors shone to victory multiple times, with 206 WRC taking 24 career wins from him. If you grew up watching rallying in the early 2000s, this car was a staple.

mazda rx-7

Was the Mazda RX-7 a Group B rally car? Well yes and no. Banned from Group B, this incredible car never really realized its potential. It came third in the 1985 Acropolis Rally, but the only rotating WRC car didn’t get the time it deserved to develop.

Lancia Stratos HF

Designed specifically for rallying, the Lancia Stratos is a true automotive legend. Its Bertone design was as striking as its performance, and it wasn’t long before rivals followed suit and created homologation specials.

The Stratos won the WRC three years in a row, from 1974 to 1976.

Lancia 037

Some would say the 037 was made obsolete in the wake of the mighty Audi Quattro, but this car remains the last rear-wheel drive machine to win a championship. The 037 replaced the Lancia Stratos and won the constructors’ title in 1983 with the help of Walter Röhrl.

While AWD proved to be the only means of future success, 037s continued to be used in various competitions for many years.

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