Group B was where the men were separated from the boys in rallying. The quite lax regulations that the FIA had in place for this category of cars, lead to many developers creating monster machines that defied physics, were amazingly complex, and sacrificed almost everything in the name of speed. I recall a story about how Toyota even developed a secret intake system to fool the field marshalls during vehicle inspections. The intake would only open while at full throttle gaining them over 100+ hp on the course, but in the inspection pits while not running it would shut, thus remaining hidden during. Group B lead to some of the most thrilling rally racing the world has ever seen, and is still referred to as “the Golden Age of Rally”. Even to this day, no rally car has matched the speeds of some of these machines from 20 years ago. The vehicles used to race in this class were notoriously difficult to drive and lead to a series of accidents, some of which were fatal for drivers and spectators alike. Ultimately Group B was only around for all of 4 years, 1982-1986, as these machines were deemed so powerful that they were too dangerous to be raced.
During that time however, manufacturers truly created some wonderful machines that even today inspire admiration and awe. The Lancia 037, at least in my humble opinion, is the most beautiful of all the Group B cars, if not necessarily the one I would pick if I had an unlimited budget. That would probably go to the Ford RS200, another of the Group B Badasses. But the Lancia 037 has such a classic design, that even today I would call it beautiful. I think it belongs in the Pantheon right next to the Lamborghini Miura as one of the most awesome cars of all time.
Here is another of Petrolicious’ stunning videos. Definitely worth the watch.