The beauty of rally racing is that those cars that are hurled down narrow dirt paths, over jumps and through forests are based on everyday cars. Hatchbacks have become the norm, but most any car with a short wheelbase and a well-balanced chassis that can turn on a dime has, historically, done very well for itself in competition. And now that the weather is truly taking a turn for the worse, it seems only right to go looking for cars that can handle the lower grip levels that come with the lower temperatures. Scroll on to see a few road-going rally cars that’ll get you through the winter in style.
1974 BMW 2002
What we like: The 2002 was the genesis of the early 3-Series and now a distant relative to the new 2-Series. It was the first to strike BMW’s now-characteristic balance of handling and power, which is why it made such a fantastic little rally car and is still considered an incredibly balanced car by today’s standards. This particular 2002 just happens to come with a little extra race-bred love.
From the seller: The seller acquired the car in Bogota, Colombia 10 years ago and had it fully rebuilt with a new racing engine and suspension, along with performance and safety modifications, including Turbo fender flares and lightweight panels, a welded-in roll cage, fuel cell and fire extinguisher.
Mileage: 78,000 (rebuilt)
Location: Miami, Florida
1975 Ford Escort RS 2000
What we like: When Ford tacks an “RS” badge on one of their cars, there’s no doubt it’ll be good. And it’s because of cars like this Escort RS2000 that built that formidable reputation.
From the seller: An immensely rare AVO Mk1 Ford Escort RS2000 detailed to perfection.Built at Fords Advanced Vehicle Operations factory in Aveley in April 1974 this vehicle is one of 3,759 genuine AVO RS2000’s built for the UK market, of which only a fraction now survive.
Location: Peterborough, United Kingdom
1985 Renault R5 Turbo 2
What we like: It’s a two-seater, mid-engine, RWD hatchback — what’s not to like?
From the seller: Our Turbo 2 has awesome road presence despite its diminutive size, thanks to its iconic 1980s design, beautiful pearlescent white paintwork and two-tone black and silver wheels. With its 1.4-liter engine this little pocket rocket is incredibly fun to drive, described as a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Location: Kew, United Kingdom
1971 Morris Mini-Cooper S MK III
What we like: The cliché descriptor “handles like a go kart” was born from the original Mini.
From the seller: This Morris Cooper “S” Mk III is one of only 792 manufactured for the British home market, and according to its British Motor Industry Heritage Trust letter, was finished on the 25th of January, 1971.
Location: Birmingham, United Kingdom
1985 Audi Turbo Quattro Coupe
What we like: Audi entered the World Rally Championship with a race-prepped Quattro Coupe, known as UrQuattro, and the sport hasn’t been the same since.
From the seller: Among the 600+ urQuattros imported to the United States from 1982–1985, the ’84 models and the ’85 are the rarest. The ’85s are considered by many the most desirable due to the incorporation of a considerable number updates, several of which began with the 1984 models and numerous others that were unique to the ’85.
Location: Boulder, Colorado
1989 Lancia Delta HF Integrale
What we like: The road-going version isn’t nearly as insane as its Group B counterpart, but the civilian version still oozes rally pedigree.
From the seller: “This particular example was imported from Japan and is currently registered in Connecticut and federally legal. This Lancia is unique, as this is one of only a handful of 88–91 Integrales that were painted a factory dark blue color called “Bleu Lord.”
Location: Stamford, Connecticut