Everyone that’s heard of Group B rally before knows about the Audi Quattro. It came storming in, flying through stages with its trick all-wheel-drive system, and totally revolutionized the sport. Everyone remembers its dominance. There’s only one problem with that little story – the rear-wheel-drive, Italian, Lancia 037.
The Audi Quattro did win the World Rally Championship in 1982 and 1984, as well as come in second place in 1983 and 1985. The 1985 title was lost to the Peugeot 205 T16, which was supposed to look like a piddly French hatchback but was really an all-wheel-drive mid-engined monster. But that 1983 title? Audi lost that one to the 037, a rear-wheel-drive anachronism in a world quickly becoming saturated with power being driven through all four wheels.
The rivalry between the two involved engineering brilliance, courage, and maybe, just maybe, a little bit of cheating, depending on how you define it.
But if you ask me what I’d take, the Audi or the Lancia, I’d beg for an 037 any day.