CT Analytics | The ten most popular homologation cars
To use cars in racing, manufacturers must produce a number of road versions for homologation purposes. These homologation vehicles are quite rare and sought-after. As new cars, they were the trump card in every car quartet, and even today as classics, many models break records – though no longer on the track, but in terms of price. These ten homologation vehicles were called up most frequently on Classic Trader in 2020.
1st Place | BMW M1 – 29,0% of all page views
In the 1970s, BMW was more or less successful in touring car racing. But the 3.0 CSL is a little too old for the big victories. So the decision was made to build a completely new, contemporary vehicle with the winning gene. Inspiration was found in the prototype BMW Turbo (E25), which back in the days was being designed by chief designer Paul Bracq. BMW Motorsport Director Jochen Neerpasch ensured power and performance for the M1, while Giorgio Giugiaro’s Italdesign design studio gave the body a new, production-ready polish.
Only 460 examples of the BMW M1, model series E26, were built between 1978 and 1981. When new, the car cost around DM 100,000, today the journey starts at around EUR 500,000.
2nd Place | BMW 3.0 CSL – 21,0% of all page views
In second place among the most frequently accessed homologation vehicles on Classic Trader is the predecessor of the M1, the BMW 3.0 CSL, E9 series. From 1971, the E9 coupés were modified for touring car racing in collaboration with Alpina. The L in CSL unsurprisingly stands for lightweight construction. The first models also did not turn the performance screw, but saved primarily on weight.
The most famous of the various versions of the BMW 3.0 CSL is certainly the last one, which was given the nickname “Batmobile” due to its sweeping aerodynamic package.
3rd Place | Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GTA – 11,0% of all page views
The Alfa Romeo Giulia impresses with a certain degree of sportiness even in the standard version. In the racing version GTA, the Alfa becomes an uncompromising powerhouse.
Autodelta, the company responsible for motorsport at Alfa, was responsible for the official conversions. Here, too, the main focus was on weight reduction. But they also tried to get the maximum power out of the naturally aspirated engine.
4th Place | Ford Escort RS 2000 – 9,0% of all page views
In 1973, the rather staid Ford Escort of the first generation – the one with the “dog bone” front – became a sports car. The Ford Escort RS 2000 was to compete against, among others, the Alfa Romeo Giulia and the BMW 02 series.
The RS stands for racing and these roots should also be visible on the outside: With fender flares, wide trim strips, lowered bodywork and 13-inch steel sports rims, the Cologne-based company wanted to score points with drivers with a sporty bent.
In fact, the Escort was able to leave the 02 BMW standing at the start, and secure fourth place in the most popular homologation vehicles.
5th Place | Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution II – 7,0% of all page views
The 190 series Mercedes-Benz was in the Daimler portfolio between 1982 and 1993. As the newly introduced smallest class, it was given the unflattering nickname Baby Benz. However, the fact that the baby could also show his teeth was demonstrated in 1989 with the Evo I and in 1990 with the Evo II, or written out in full with the Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution II.
In each case, 502 examples were put on the road for homologation for touring car racing. According to today’s market value, however, the Evo II is clearly ahead. With 235 hp/173 kW, it is not a super sports car, but with the flared wheel arches and the big rear wing, it at least looks like a big boy.
6th Place | Lancia Stratos HF Stradale – 6,0% of all page views
The uncrowned king of all “if only I had” cars back then. When the Lancia Stratos HF Stradale was produced at Bertone for rally homologation in the early 1970s, sales of the car with the distinctive wedge shape were slow. The last examples of the Lancia Stratos were almost sold off. Today, you have to pay at least 300,000 euros to call this rally veteran your own.
The rally successes of the compact-crisp may have contributed to the fact that the Lancia only later received the fame it deserved at the sales counter. But perhaps the time was simply not yet ripe for Bertone’s Lancia.
7th Place | Audi Sport quattro – 5,0% of all page views
Already in 1984 as a new car, the Audi Sport quattro was a sought-after vehicle. Only 220 examples were built for the required FIA Group B homologation. Also due to the successes on the rally circuit by Stig Blomqvist, Hannu Mikkola and Walter Röhrl, the Sport quattro was a sought-after model, despite its list price of DM 195,000 initially, DM 203,850 from 1985. This made the Sport quattro the most expensive series-production sports car made in Germany – about twice as expensive as a Porsche 930 Turbo, which was quite exclusive at the time.
In 2019, a Sport quattro was sold via Classic Trader for EUR 425,000, a top value on the open market.
8th Place | Renault R 5 Turbo 2 – 4,0% of all page views
All cars derived from production versions for homologation not infrequently seem like the one twin that overdid it a bit in the power room. The Renault R 5 Turbo 2, however, has as much in common with the standard R 5, the “little friend”, as Danny DeVito has with Arnold Schwarzenegger in the movie Twins.
The turbocharged four-cylinder engine was installed longitudinally as a mid-engine, and the rear seat had to make way for it. Extending air intakes and outlets at the rear wheel arches gave the R 5 the nickname “cheek turbo”.
With the R 5 Turbo, Renault achieved homologation for the notorious Group B rally. The concept of an upgraded compact or small car was also a tried and tested means, but the lack of all-wheel drive, among other things, prevented greater leaps.
9th Place | Ford Capri RS 2600 – 4,0% of all page views
Opel Manta or Ford Capri is a fundamental decision. But which is the hottest Capri that Ford put on the road is pretty much undisputed. The shapes were always intended to convey sportiness, but the power under the long bonnet could not always keep up.
With the Ford Capri RS 2600, a real sports car, you could almost say muscle car, came onto the market in 1970. Maybe a bit over the top for domestic use, but there has always been loyal fans following – until today.
10th Place | Lancia Delta HF Integrale Evoluzione II – 3,0% of all page views
Surprisingly far behind, the Lancia Delta HF Evoluzione II finds itself in the top ten of the most popular cars released for homologation. Finally, the Lancia Delta is the most successful rally car with six world championship titles.
The fame of the racing cars branded by sponsor Martini also rubbed off on the civilian versions. Nevertheless, it is only good enough for tenth place in the Classic Trader search queries.
With the kind support of Westend Bank, one of Europe’s leading specialist financiers with a focus on the arts and classic and prestige cars.
For more information on Westend Bank and the competent and appropriate financing solutions, please visit: www.westendbank.de.
Photos BMW AG, Daimler AG, FCA Germany AG, Kirill Kirsanov
When I turned 40, I got a poster. On it, a fat 40 grinned in my face, in front of it a BMW M1 and above it the slogan – “Legendary since 1978”. It doesn’t look that old yet, I thought, and wondered who would have held up better – definitely the M1! When another BMW legend turned 40 last year, my cylinders suddenly started ringing. No amount of 100 octane from the trusted fuel dealer helped, but I went into my garage, stroked the squeaky orange seat of my 1983 BMW R 80 G/S and looked at it as if falling in love for the second time with my own… um… let’s not make such comparisons.
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