Cars from the 1980s and ‘90s had it easy. If you were something ordinary and plain, a Volvo 242 for instance, you could get turbocharged, tuned, and sent off to win a championship in DTM. Boom. Legendary status. Now, what do our normal cars have at their disposal?
Every year, Jalopnik’s most Chosen members – well, just me this year – have brought you the very best of Group C and GT1 racing from the 1980s and 1990s. We even did a Group B rally theme once. But for some reason we’ve never covered arguable the most successful racing formula of all. It’s the awkwardly-titled Group A-smas, worthy of celebration.
I should say that the joy of Group A was not so much that cars got to compete for glory. It was that these were homologation specials; de-tuned versions of these cars were unleashed on the street. Every creaky old 190E you see on the street deserves a second look. After all, it could be a Cosworth.
It is with that in mind that I wonder what modern car deserves a chance on the race track with a homologation special to go along with it? Sure, cars of today can compete on the track in various series, but just because there are Hyundai i20s fighting for victory in the WRC doesn’t mean that we have corresponding all-wheel-drive i20Ns in showrooms.
For me, I would want to see something interesting made out of a kind of ordinary car that has good bones. That Volvo that won the 1985 DTM title, for instance, might have just been a basic Swedish family car, but it was rear-wheel-drive with a strong turbo engine.
It had the makings of a good performance car, even if nearly every one that you have ever seen is being driven at 62 miles per hour on the highway by a distracted professor or their progeny. With that in mind, I think I have to go for the Kia Stinger. It’s a Kia, sure, but it’s turbo and rear-drive like that Volvo. All it needs is a raw competition version to live up to its potential. The Infiniti Q60 probably fits the same bill, and I’m sure there are dozens more cars you can think of.
What car, new or old, do you wish got the Group A treatment and had a homologation special upon which it could build a legacy?