With little doubt in my mind, I really do think this is the car that sums up Group B. The Audi Quattro S1 is a strange beast. It's not a pretty car by any measure, its proportions are quite strange but all of these aesthetic gripes are forgotten once that turbocharged inline five is brought to life.
The official power figures for the S1 were around 475BHP but in reality the cars were in excess of 500BHP at 8,000RPM.
It's also worth mentioning that the only weighed a little over 1,000KGs, giving it a credible power-to-weight ratio of over 400BHP per tonne.
These cars are worth quite a few pounds, so it's no surprise that the owner has decided to padlock the engine bay.
This was the first time I've ever been able to get this close an S1 Quattro. It doesn't show in pictures but they are quite a remarkably strange car.
I don't mean strange in any sort of derogatory way, it's just I can
honestly say I've never been near a car before that held as much
presence as the S1 Quattro.
A slightly unusual inclusion on this stand was that of this Peugeot 405 T16.
Although it never actually ran in Group B, there is no denying the influence on the car from its older brother, the 205 T16. The similarities between the 405 T16 and the 405 road car exist pretty much only in name. The 405 T16 was based on a coupe body shell with a mid-mounted engine.
Like the 205 it had constant four wheel drive and an electronically controlled centre differential.
Also like the 205, the car was eventually banned from its desert racing class but was still eligible for a certain hill climb event in the US of A …
One Ari Vatanen successfully piloted this car to a Paris Dakar win in 1990.
The last car we shall take a look at is the Ford RS200, another icon of the Group B era.
The only problem with the RS200 was that Ford arrived a little bit too late to the party. A failed attempt at developing an Escort RS1700 T led Ford to develop the mid-engined RS200 as a rival to Audi, Peugeot and Lancia's cars on the Group B stages.
However the car only competed one full season before Group B was outlawed at the end of the 1986 season.
Not a bad power output for a 1980's Ford …
Ford had planned to introduce an 'Evolution' RS200 for the 1987 season with power outputs rumoured to have been in or around 815BHP. A semi-interesting and random fact, the bodywork for the RS200 was designed by Ghia but the cars were built by another manufacturer – Reliant (of the three wheeled Robin fame)
It would be unfair to talk about Group B and not pay some respect to the other legendary cars that were not on show : Peugeot 205 T16, Lancia 037 & Delta S4, Porsche 959, Opel Manta 400, and the Toyota Celica Twin-Cam to name but a few.
This post brings an end to our Autosport International Coverage for 2011. I hope you enjoyed reading it and learned as much as I did from attending and preparing these stories for you.
I'm looking forward to 2012 already …