Relive the ’80s with this collection of mid-engined hatchback racers

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Silverstone Auctions

A private collection of five of the ’80s most awesome race and rally hatchbacks is up for auction.

While the kids of Hawkins, Indiana were investigating Stranger Things, Europe’s rally championships were ablaze with Group B action. Britain’s efforts were led by the Austin-Rover group and its MG Metro 6R4, while France took to the stage with the Renault 5 Turbo. This epic collection, for sale by Silverstone Auctions in November, has both.

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Beginning in Britain, we have a 1986 MG Metro 6R4 which was driven to second place in the San Remo rally of that year by Malcolm Wilson and Nigel Harris. The all-wheel-drive Metro bore little resemblance to its road-going relation. Where the most powerful MG Metro for the streets had a 1.3-liter turbo sending just 94 horsepower to the front wheels, the 6R4 packed a mid-mounted 3.0-liter V-6 with over 250 hp in Clubman spec—and anything up to and beyond 400 horses for international competition. The engine would also be used in the Jaguar XJ220. This particular car has had a mechanical rebuild but has kept its battle scars.

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Second on the list is a 1987 DAM4100 which is the first of just five 6R4 evolution vehicles developed by David Appleby and Austin-Rover works driver Tony Pond. With a six-inch longer wheelbase the car was designed to be more stable. It was wider, too and the cereal-box styling of the 6R4 was softened a little. After retiring in his first two rallies, Appleby won on his third outing on the 1987 Solent Stages.

Next up are a trio of Renault 5s which chart the development of this most high-performance edition of “Le Car.”

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The 1982 Renault 5 Turbo Group 4 was, like the Metro, nothing like its streetable namesake. Mid-engined, wide-bodied and wrestling over 200 hp from its 1.5-liter motor, this rear-drive Renault took the 1982 French Rally Championship.

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By 1984 power had increased to an incredible 355 hp thanks to a Formula 1-derived anti-lag system for the turbo. Now named the Renault Maxi 5 Turbo it won the 1985 Tour de Corse in the hands of Jean Ragnotti. This particular 5 is a former Concours winner and has featured in the Playstation franchise Gran Turismo.

Silverstone Auctions

Last on the list is one of just three cars built for the 1987 Championnat de France de Supertourisme. Unlike the others this machine was built for a circuit racing series. It was certainly built well, winning the championship in the hands of former F1 driver Érik Comas.

Now you know how these extraordinary Eighties’ racers performed in competition, keep an eye on Silverstone Auctions’ NEC Classic Live Online Auction on November 13-14 to see how they perform on the block.

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