RACE CARS ON THE ROAD

Auto Car (UK) - - COMPARISON -

PLY­MOUTH ROAD RUNNER SUPERBIRD (1970) In the 1960s, Nas­car stock cars were still sup­posed to be, well, stock. So when the rise of aero-crit­i­cal su­per-speed­ways led man­u­fac­tur­ers to fit cars with out­landish noses and wings, they had to pro­duce road-go­ing ver­sions. Ply­mouth made 1920 Su­per­birds in 1970. FORD SIERRA RS COS­WORTH (1986) Con­ceived to re­turn Ford to the front in tour­ing cars, the Sierra RS Cos­worth dom­i­nated world­wide. Ford chose the Sierra for its reardrive lay­out and stuck in a 16-valve tur­bocharged Cos­worth engine. Lim­ited colour and equip­ment op­tions kept prices down, due to con­cerns that deal­ers would strug­gle to sell the 5000 road cars. DAUER 962 (1993) The Porsche 956 and 962 dom­i­nated at Le Mans in the mid-1980s. When new rules were in­tro­duced in 1994 to aid GT cars, Porsche and fash­ion mag­nate Jochen Dauer spot­ted a loop­hole. Dauer con­verted a 962 race car into a road-le­gal GT and then built a rac­ing ver­sion of it. It won, and was banned for 1995. Dauer con­tin­ued to build road car ver­sions. ALFA ROMEO 155 SIL­VER­STONE EDI­TION (1994) The £13,990 spe­cial looked iden­ti­cal to a reg­u­lar 155, but in the boot were at­tach­able parts that could be turned into a wing and split­ter (in­struc­tions weren’t in­cluded). That rules loop­hole al­lowed Alfa to fit the de­vices to its 1994 BTCC chal­lenger and romp to a con­tro­ver­sial ti­tle. PORSCHE 911 GT1 STRASSENVERSION (1996) The in­cred­i­bly lim­it­e­drun model – the ‘street ver­sion’ name made clear its rea­son for be­ing – had a 584bhp 3.2-litre engine, al­low­ing that unit to be used in the race ver­sion that won Le Mans in 1998. Just 25 were built and it be­gan a trend of cars that sub­verted the mid-1990s GT rules… TOY­OTA TS020 GT-ONE (1998) …of which this was the most out­landish. Two road-go­ing ver­sions were built, with the 592bhp V8 from the race car fit­ted with a cat­alytic con­verter. GT rules re­quired cars to have stor­age space big enough to fit a suit­case in. Amaz­ingly, Toy­ota con­vinced of­fi­cials that the fuel tank counted as stor­age space...

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