Silverstone Auctions’ Race Retro Classic & Competition Car Sale 2020 starts on the 21st of February in Kenilworth, UK, and there will be several sensational rally cars in attendance. Out of a pristine Ford RS200, Solberg’s 2007 Subaru Impreza WRC, a well-sorted Lotus Cortina driven by Colin McRae, and an ex-Schnitzer BMW E30 M3, I suppose it’s my role to tell you which one is the best buy. Yet deep down, with such unbelievably cool options to choose from, we all know there’s no correct answer. Nonetheless, I’ve done what I can.
1986 BMW M3 (FIA-Spec)
At number four is this fantastic FIA-spec 1986 BMW E30 M3 rally car. Personally, I wouldn’t rally an E30 M3, because cheaper, properly equipped versions of the E30 are perfectly adequate alternatives for such a tough job. To me, the E30 M3 is more of a DTM car, a track legend I just wouldn't ever want to see in a ditch. However, the duo of Bernard Béguin and Jean-Jacques did win the French turn of the 1987 WRC season driving an M3, so it’s no wonder that this ‘86 M3 headed to auction also found its second life in European historic rallying. However, back in the day, it started out as a factory motorsport chassis ran by Team Schnitzer, which means it still has a full Matter cage and its unique identity number ‘M3-120607’. Turn the key, and you’ve got 290 horsepower from the 2.3-liter four-cylinder at 8800 rpm that’s ready to be unleashed at any stage.
1986 Ford RS200
The rally car among these four you’re least likely to race? That would be this highly original, ultra-low mileage 1986 Ford RS200. Ford Europe’s Group B machine was styled by Ghia and built at Reliant. However, the British team was years too late to the party, and once WRC moved on after 1986, Ford’s race car had to be recycled into a rallycross machine instead. Again, Ford Motorsport was supposed to build 200 road-legal versions, but it seems that while six were classified as “prototypes,” only 194 left the factory, 46 of which got dismantled for parts and just 90 of which got sold to the public.
This particular example is chassis #184 of 196, sold from the factory to dealer principal Ronald Hodgson, who kept it in his showroom unused and unregistered until 1993. Since getting plates, this Diamond White rocket covered just 1195 miles. Would you care to push it beyond 2000 with a casual grocery run?
1966 Lotus Cortina
Staying on British soil, if you’re looking for a vintage rally car that could also do a touring car race at Goodwood, look no further than this 1966 Lotus Cortina. Last raced in 2004, this very special two-door Ford was built by David Sutton Motorsport in 1990 to FIA Appendix K regulations, out of a left-hand drive car sourced from California. Once completed, Roger Clark and Tony Mason used this in the 1991 Autoglass RAC Rally, and again in 1992 in the Charringtons RAC Rally. That year, upcoming World Champion Colin McRae also got to try the Lotus Twin Cam for two magazine features. Well maintained, V5c and rally-ready, and as cool as ever, this Cortina is a catch.
2007 Subaru Impreza WRC S12B
Historically significant and at least as thrilling as the others is Petter Solberg’s ex-works 2007 Subaru Impreza WRC. It’s sadly the last race car driven by Colin McRae in public, at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Used for six rounds of the 2007 WRC season and taking 2nd in Rally Portugal and 3rd in Greece with Solberg, this S12B continued racing well into 2010 with current WRC driver Mads Ostberg behind its wheel. Now, with an engine rebuilt by ex-Prodrive employee Graham Sweet, and a fresh gearbox and turbo job done by the specialists at WRC Spares, this highly-advanced Subaru’s Impreza known as S12B #014 is ready for whatever its next owner is willing to throw at it. Mud, sand, snow, ice, rough tarmac, or a relaxing weekend drive through the twisties. Your call.
Also, if anyone attending the auction as a bidder cares to know, Silverstone’s sale on February 21st coincides with my birthday. In case you’re feeling generous.