Tag: Rally

By on March 22, 2017

Subaru STI bobsled

Most automotive advertising has little to nothing to do with the actual car. It’s usually about presenting an image or hawking brand identity and then loosely associating it with a vehicle — Mercedes’ current “Grow Up” campaign is a perfect, cringeworthy example. However, enthusiasts know that the best car ads feature incredible shenanigans and loads of life-or-death action.

Dave Chapelle mocked Mitsubishi for its pop-and-lock Eclipse spot, while Top Gear honored Land Rover for winching a Defender up the side of a dam. Keenly aware of this is Subaru, which, after sending Mark Higgins and a WRX STI around the Isle of Man TT course in 2014, brought both man and vehicle to the world’s oldest bobsled run in St. Moritz, Switzerland to record another automotive spectacle.

Unfortunately, Subaru is more than 50 years too late for this particular publicity stunt. Ford filmed an identical feature in the Italian Alps with the Cortina GT way back in 1964. It even named the car after the Cortina d’Ampezzo ski resort, where it later held the event. Subaru may be calling it “boxersledding” today, but it’s really just a rehash of Ford’s classic “auto-bobbing.”  (Read More…)

By on November 25, 2016

1979 Mercedes-Benz 450SLC 5.0 (C107), Image: Daimler

In 1978, Mercedes-Benz made the decision to expand its efforts in rally competition. But its choice of platform to enter into the World Rally Championship was, to say the least, unique.

At the time, the WRC was dominated by small sedans like the Fiat 131 Abarth and Ford Escort RS1800 — cars that finished first and second in the championship that year. Mercedes-Benz took a decidedly different route, as it had no small sporty sedan.

What it did have was a large, heavy and expensive personal luxury coupe in the C107 SLC. While the choice would seem unnatural, under the direction of Erich Waxenberger the premier 450SLC was prepared and developed over the next few seasons into a rally winner. (Read More…)

By on August 26, 2016

Jeep Compass Combo Car, Black River Stages, Image: © 2016 Justin Hughes

Editor’s Note: Yes, yes, I know there weren’t many reader submissions posted this week — but fear not! We are working our way through the wave of emails. Thank you all for sharing. Next up: Justin Hughes of RightFootDown.com wringing every last horsepower possible out of a rental Compass. Enjoy! —Mark

What do you do with a car that wants so badly to be an off-road vehicle, but can’t actually go off-road?

Take it to a rally.

(Read More…)

By on June 24, 2016

Maine Winter Rally

Summer officially began this week, meaning we are about as far away as humanly possible from the dark and stormy depths of winter. A perfect time, then, to watch action from the 1997 Maine Winter Forest Rally.

(Read More…)

By on January 31, 2016

The year was 1984. Rally was all the rage. Danger was mainstream. And carcinogens weren’t exclusively advertised by the rumble of tailpipes.

Also in 1984, Porsche was developing a legend, but it was behind schedule: The 959 wasn’t ready when David Richards, the orchestrator of the Porsche-Rothmans deal, wanted to go rallying. So, along with Weissach, 20 examples of the Porsche 911 SC RS were built to take the manufacturer Group B rallying. Those cars also became the foundation of Prodrive, one of rally’s most famous teams.

This is one of those cars. Drifting. In snow.

(Read More…)

By on September 18, 2015

Rear shot LSPR

Andrew Comrie-Picard, also known simply as ACP, is a rally champion and team owner, stunt driver, TV host, former Pikes Peak International Hillclimb record holder and BFGoodrich tire spokesman.

We asked him about his experience in rally, how he sets up cars and how it pertains to road cars. (Read More…)

By on September 7, 2015

Rally Crash Spain

Seven spectators are dead after a rally car plunged Saturday into a crowd of 20 people, killing at least seven and injuring at least 12 more, media outlets are reporting.

The BBC reported that six people were initially dead after the crash in the province of Galicia, which is in northwest Spain. The Daily Mail reported that a young girl who was severely injured in the crash died from her injuries Saturday night.

The La Coruna rally was immediately cancelled after the deadly crash.

(Read More…)

By on July 7, 2015

Tommi Makinen will lead Toyota's new WRC team

Rally legend Tommi Mäkinen will lead Toyota Gazoo Racing’s World Rally Championship team when it begins competition in 2017, the automaker announced today. Mäkinen was announced as team principal, which will race a Yaris-based car, for the WRC team.

Toyota boss Akio Toyoda, who will be the team’s chairman, said the 51-year-old Mäkinen was an ideal fit for the team.

“Tommi has abundant experience and fresh ideas for vehicle development, both of which will be valuable assets to us. With Tommi behind us, Toyota will forge ahead with our return to the WRC and also our efforts to make ever better cars,” Toyoda said in a statement.

(Read More…)

By on June 5, 2015

1990 Celica AllTrac

In the pre-Playstation days of the early ’90s, most Yanks knew nothing of the glory of an AWD turbocharged powerslide on gravel. I was lucky, as my dad installed a C-band satellite and we watched all kinds of oddball motorsport from around the globe. I especially loved watching Carlos Sainz and his Castrol-liveried Celica ripping up stages.

The homologation special has been around nearly as long as road cars have been built into racers. Nearly every OEM that went racing built street cars that aped the racers, in an effort to make certain parts kosher for the track or stage. Sadly, many of those meant for rally never made it here to the States, as there were few such enthusiasts here.

(Read More…)

By on May 14, 2015

IMG_5754

Today, the Mille Miglia begins – indeed, as you read this, it’s probably already done so. The entry list is available online, a roll-call of million-dollar coach-built rolling-artwork. And also stuff like a Borgward Isabella, which should make Jalopnik’s Jason Torchinsky giddy, as he’s covering the event thanks to Jaguar.

Bucket list stuff, surely, but far beyond the reach of us ordinary morlocks. The shimmering golden fleece of the Adriatic, the reflected glow of Brescian honor and the echoing footsteps of heroes: heady stuff indeed, but a little outside my personal pocketbook. There is, however, an alternative.

Thus, I find myself in a 1967 MGB with an auxiliary fuel pump duct-taped to its air-cleaner, firing so much fuel into the rearmost carburetor you have to keep the revs above 4000 rpm lest the fuel overwhelm the float, go spurting out the side, hiss, and evaporate alarmingly close to the exhaust manifold. The din is deafening. The brakes are Neville Chamberlain levels of ineffective. Traffic is building and we’re up to our oxsters in LED-swathed crossovers driven by inattentive morons, in a car with all the safety equipment of a penny-farthing.

In short, I’m having the time of my life. (Read More…)

By on May 3, 2015

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The ongoing automotive journalist meme that Mazda’s nearly perfect Miata is the answer to everything may not technically be true. But, this “Lifted Rally” Miata sure makes a good case in its favor.

(Read More…)

By on April 27, 2015

Mary Barra and Chevrolet Volt at NAIAS 2015

The second-generation Chevrolet Volt won’t go on sale in Australia as GM will not convert it to right-hand drive.

(Read More…)

By on July 31, 2014

toyota-gt86-cs-r3-rally-car-03

Motorsports fans, I have a question for you: when was the last competitive rear-drive rally car?

(Read More…)

By on September 4, 2013
Look closely, and you can see your humble author spewing the coolant that forced us into a head gasket swap that night

Look closely, and you can see your humble author spewing the coolant that forced us into a head gasket swap that night

 

Remember that guy who built a Subaru powered race car from a VW floor plan and a Wartburg? Sure you do. He won the car with an essay, beating a future TTAC contributor in the process. Still no? Well too bad, his name is Jim Thwaite and you should get to know him. He knows a thing or two about having fun with beaters, and he wants you to join him.

(Read More…)

By on August 12, 2013

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As America’s favorite pastime grapples with a cheating scandal involving its biggest stars, I can’t help but imagine motorsports devotees are looking on with jaded amusement. Cheating, along with exorbitant costs and tobacco sponsorships, is part and parcel of the fabric of motorsports, no matter the geographic location or formula. But few have cheated like Toyota. Who else has been accused of, or caught red-handed, at cheating in NASCAR, CART, Formula 1, and WRC? In each instance, Toyota’s machinations were always subtle and ingenious, nothing like Smokey Yunick’s 7/8th scale Chevelle or any of the famous “bending the rules” yarns. Take for example, the car you see above.

Group A cars were required to be fitted with a specific turbo restrictor that served to limit engine output. Toyota was able to engineer a special bypass valve that could not only defeat the restrictor without creating any evidence of tampering, but was designed to conceal itself when FIA technicians dismantled the turbocharger for inspection. Max Mosley himself called it “…the most sophisticated and ingenious device either I or the FIA’s technical experts have seen for a long-time.” By bypassing the restrictor, Toyota could get as much as 25 percent more airflow into the turbocharger, allowing the GT-Four to put down as much as 350 horsepower in a field where cars were limited to 300 horsepower. According to Toyota’s own specs, my friend Rob’s GT-Four puts down about 255 horsepower, but it sure feels like there might be a bypass valve in there somewhere.

(Read More…)

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