One of the biggest drawbacks of an event like the Autosport Show International is that it tries to illustrate a dynamic sport in an passive manner.
Cars parked are cars parked, it is not what they were designed for.
Perhaps the best/worst example of this would be rally cars. In our mind we associate them with being anything but static; sideways, jumping, even on the roof, yes….but not static. So observing other photographers trying to capture the essence of these wild machines was illuminating as they tried ever more bizarre angles of attack. So I figured that I should march in a different direction………..straight, no chaser.
Above is a fine example of the Lancia 037 from 1982 to 1984. It took the 1983 World Rally Constructors' Championship and was the last two wheel drive car to achieve such success.
The Lancia was overtaken by the rush to get four wheel drive, turbocharged/supercharged Group B monsters out into the forests. Austin Rover commissioned Williams Grand Prix to take their sedate Sunday crawler, the Metro and create a winner with it. Here is a Metro 6R4. Was it a success? Well up to a point Lord Copper………………
At the other of the scale and indeed the other end of the hall was a stand dedicated to historic rallying. This a thriving scene and one of the weapons of choice is the Mark ll Ford Escort, still sideways after all these years.
From one British Hero to another. Colin McRae was a superstar to the UK rally fans, actually to most rally fans all over the world. He was at the height of his powers driving the Subaru Impreza 555 in 1996, winning three times.
OK I did try a tilt myself………….this beautiful Lancia Fulvia Rallye would provoke a saint.
Fast forward to 2008 and the Ford Focus RS WRC
Another of the old school, rear wheel drive, hang the tail out gang is the Opel Ascona 400.
And the final variation of the car that killed off the rear wheel drive specials. The Audi Sport Quattro S1 still has a stunning prescence.
After the Group B Dream, that turned into a nightmare, sanity returned in the form of Group A. Lancia assumed control the Rally Universe. The Lancia Delta Integrale 16V won six times in 1990, enough to give the Italians yet another manufacturers' title.
More memories, more what might have beens, the Subaru Impreza WRC of Richard Burns…………..is it nearly five years since his passing?
And what collection of rally cars from the past thirty years of the the World Rally Championship would be complete without a Peugeot? Here is the 205 T16 which was perhaps the most successful car of the Group B era.
Then there is arguably the most iconic rally car of them all, the Lancia Stratos HF, an outrageous mix of Italian flair, style and power,
This the car that took Sandro Munari to victory in the 1977 Monte Carlo rally.
The chance to look back over 30 years of the World Rally Championship was provided by the Red Headed Step Child of the Haymarket Group, Motorsport News. We should be grateful to them for this rare treat.