“That car,” smiles the Finn, “that wasn’t a car. That was a rocket.”
Just say it, Group B. It’s special. Thirty years on, the combination of one word and one letter still sends us weak at the knees.
Group B really was that good. Don’t just take my word for it, come along to the Goodwood Festival of Speed in June, collect your own evidence. The verdict won’t change.
Sure, the modern day equivalent World Rally Cars are faster (and not just by a bit, by a good couple of seconds per mile – more in the twisty stuff), but today’s WRC machinery just doesn’t have the same charisma. And nothing like the drama. Good and bad.
Four years truly define Group B, from 1983 to 1986. The class was actually in use in 1982, when it ran alongside Group 4, the preceding category that was being phased out by the sport’s governing body.
The change of rules really changed the game for the manufacturers. By the end of Group 4, car firms had to build 400 examples to satisfy homologation. These were the days of tuned production cars, only Lancia made the bold move of producing a one-off Group 4 special. Remember the Stratos?