A Wallace Wyss Book Review of “Mille Miglia 2015 -The Official Book”

December 27, 2015 in Book Review / guest contributor / Race Car / Rally / Reader Submission / Wallace Wyss



Title: Mille Miglia 2015 -The Official Book

Publisher: Giorgio Nada Editore

Size: 240 x 330 mm

Length: 288 pages

Photographs:  Hundreds of photographs in color and  black and white

Language:  Italian /English

Binding:  Hardback with dust cover

Paper: 170 gr. coated paper

USD: 98.00
CND: 119.00
Euro: 68.00


I remember going to the re-creation of the Mille Miglia sometime in the ‘80s. It was sort of like going to a party where part of the party was hopping in your vintage sports car and tearing across Italy full tilt boogie for 1,000 miles, stopping only for refueling and more partying along the way. The book says 438 vintage cars participated in the 2015 event plus 61 Ferraris and 34 Mercedes that were tribute entries of more recent vintage.

I don’t think a rally could be held with such zest in the U.S., too many laws to break but in Italy they have a police escort and it’s fairly safe, or as safe as you can be with 60-year old cars and some drivers who are older than the cars!

This book is… Continue reading →

How a Porsche was King of the Dunes

December 19, 2015 in German / guest contributor / History / Homologation / Race Car / Rally / Reader Submission / Wallace Wyss

KingsFeature Story by Wallace Wyss

Yes, it’s true, and I am sure most Porsche 911 owners would faint dead away if you proposed rocketing their car across the open desert. But the Porsche Rally variant of the 959 was made for that. It started when the FIA inaugurated the Group B rally category in 1982. Each automaker participating was to make 200 of their proposed race car.

Porsche had developed a four wheel drive car but didn’t want to make hundreds, and fortunately they read the rule books and discovered that, for desert racing, you didn’t have to make that many. It didn’t matter that only 20% of the folks who race Porsches race them off road, they were thinking of the publicity if, out on the desert sands, a Porsche rocketed by vehicles built for the sand from scratch! Continue reading →

Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion: A report from the 2015 event by Wallace Wyss

August 24, 2015 in American / Concours Show / English / French / German / guest contributor / Italian / Japanese / prototype / Race Car / Rally / Reader Submission / Wallace Wyss


Going to the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Revival is like going to a concours where, periodically a horn sounds, and pristine cars roll out of the pits and onto the track where they are thrashed to the nth degree.

This is a different crowd than the ones who “trailer queen” their car to a concours and faint dead away if a bird poops on their car. They are willing to run neck and neck against the very same cars that competed against their car when their car was new.

There’s increasing support from automakers-this year Ford helped by sponsoring the honoring of the Shelby GT350 Mustang, a car that they spawned when they feared back in’64 the Mustang had too much of the image of a “secretary’s car” so they sent some Mustangs over to Cobra creator Carroll Shelby to “map up” the cars.

But there were many more marques at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion than Shelbys… Continue reading →

An Off Road Adventure for Sale in Monterey: 1986 Ford RS200 Evolution Rally Car

August 7, 2015 in American / English / For Sale / guest contributor / Homologation / Rally / Reader Submission / Wallace Wyss

6By Wallace Wyss

One of the more scary adventures I had in my life as a car writer was volunteering to ride up to Angeles’ Crest Highway, a mountaintop road above Los Angeles, in a RS200 “Evolution” model. So not only was it a rare mid-engined rally Ford but it was a further evolution of the original model. We were blasting 100 mph uphill and, amazingly, at the same time being passed by café racers on motorcycles who thought we were going too slow!

Gooding Auction Co., at Monterey in mid-August, will be selling an almost identical RS200. I think it is a formidable sports car, and the joy of it is that you can drive it off road, which you can’t exactly do with a Ferrari. (Editor’s note: ah, but let’s not forget that Harry Metcalfe recently drove a Testarossa across the Sahara)

The RS200 was conceived by Ford Motorsport in England in the early ‘80s.

It was basically built to showcase Ford engineering, and in a way showed that differently than the previous mid-engined Ford, the GT40 which ran only on nice smooth racetracks like LeMans. .

The RS200 boasted an advanced four-wheel drive system, a turbocharged Cosworth engine, and a sophisticated suspension system that would take all the bumps and dips and rough surface of the rally routes of the world.

Ford says the bodywork was designed by Ghia. I believe it but wonder if it was to a British design, I don’t see much of the grace of an Italian designed car, so maybe that was when Ford owned Ghia and they built the design to whatever Ford design studio sent them.

Gooding says in their catalog that, for many years, The Guinness Book of Records listed the RS200 as the world’s fastest accelerating production automobile, achieving 0 to 60 mph in less than 3.2 seconds and a 0-100-0 time of just 12.6 seconds. I think the one I had a ride in up the mountain was faster, but let me tell you, you don’t want to go any faster, particularly on a dirt road… Continue reading →

Renault R5 Turbo II Restoration

August 7, 2015 in Build Thread / For Sale / French / Homologation / Rally


We’ll make any excuse to talk about Renault R5 Turbos, so when this restoration recently popped up on dragint.com we were more than happy to take the opportunity to share it just for that reason. As legend has it, Renault needed a rally car to go up against Lancia’s successful Stratos back in the glory days of racing so they employed Marcello Gandini at Bertone to take on the honors. He was assigned to design the box flared rear bodywork for the otherwise pedestrian 5 hatchback model since they were about to take the economy car and twist everything about it around in a full 180. You see, they would need those wide arches to house steamroller tires since the engine would be now transplanted to the middle for better handling and more direct rear wheel drive action. The first run of 400 Turbo 1’s satisfied Group 4 homologation requirements, but they continued production with the following Turbo II’s outside of the Alpine factory just for the glory of it all. And who could blame them? Stock the 1.4 liter turbo 4’s had about 160 hp in the lowest available configuration, but with the modifications this example has seen it should make quite a bit more. Racing “Maxi” examples were known to make well over double that amount, and we’d love to test drive this car, which happens to be for sale by the way, to give our own seat-of-the-pants estimate. Check its restoration out on the following page… Continue reading →

Davide Cironi Drive Experience Video: Lancia Delta Integrale vs Escort vs Celica GT-Four All Trac- ’90s Rally Legends

July 16, 2015 in American / Homologation / Italian / Japanese / Rally / Video

Davide Cironi just released his latest video, “Delta vs Escort vs Celica- ’90s Rally Legends” complete with English subtitles, and it doesn’t disappoint. Awesome cars, great driving, beautiful scenery, this one’s got it all so enjoy.

For some additional CarBuildIndex content, be sure to check out our previous restoration and build stories featuring a:
-Toyota Celica GT-Four All Trac Restoration/Build HERE
-’88 Lancia Delta Integrale Restoration/Build HERE
-’86 Lancia Delta Integrale Restoration HERE

Future Collectible: Ferrari’s Forgotten Fiberglass 308 GTB Group 4 Rally Cars

July 13, 2015 in Future Collectible / guest contributor / History / Italian / Rally / Reader Submission / Wallace Wyss

11Feature Story by Wallace Wyss

I was perusing the classifieds on the net the other day and came across a car that brought back memories, a 308GTB that has a fiberglass body.

Though it seems to me the weight of a 308GTB vs. power was not such a good ratio, before I started researching it, I assumed maybe it was a few hundred pounds lighter and the engine was souped up.

Ferrari themselves never thought of it as a rally car when they designed it. So it knocked everybody over when a rally version appeared.

Why was the car sent outside to prepare it? Ferrari was intent on F1 so the prototype Rally 308 was built at Assistenza Clienti under Gaetano Florini. One can recall a NART-prepared 308 GT4 ran the 1974 and 75 LeMans so Ferrari at least thought the engine could make it.

That first prototype chassis 22711 served as the basis for homologation in ’76, but Ferrari never fielded a factory team of “resin” 308GTBs…

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The Renault Turbo and Turbo 2: When the Devil Himself got into a Sweet Little Commuter

June 3, 2015 in French / guest contributor / Homologation / Race Car / Rally / Reader Submission / Wallace Wyss

34A Feature Story by Wallace Wyss


Sometimes a racing series can spawn a wild street car. Such was the case with the Renault Turbo. The original “hot” Renault was the Renault 5 Alpine which was a front driver with a tuned 1.4-liter four-cylinder with hemispherical heads, with a crossflow design, and 92 hp.


A site called “Ate up with Motor” (Scary name, no?) in an article by Aaron Severson credits Marc Deschamps of the Italian styling house Stilo Bertone as suggesting a wild mid-engine version of the Renault 5, which would oddly be competitive with the Bertone-styled Lancia Stratos, very successful on the rally scene in the mid-seventies.

Severson says: “Renault production vice president Jean Terramorsi loved the idea and approved it immediately. Terramorsi died later that year, but Henry Lherm, his successor, ordered that the project should continue.

Since the company’s Renault Sport division was occupied with Grand Prix racing, only four engineers could be spared for the mid-engine program, which was dubbed Project 822 (pictured below). The styling for the project, by Bertone’s Marcello Gandini, was completed by July 1977 and the first prototype, built in Alpine’s works in Dieppe, was on the road by March 1978.”


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A Quick Look at the 1984 Porsche 911 SC/RS Group B Homologation Special

May 8, 2015 in German / Homologation / Race Car / Rally / Rare / Video

35Porsche built only 20 of these 911 SC/RS specials in 1984 for homologation into Group B racing to take on the Lancia 037 before the series was ultimately canceled. Using all the tricks of their trade, they borrowed brakes from the 917, suspension from the RSR and 935, and utilized a Turbo wide body shell with aluminum hood, door panels and rear lid. Thinner glass, kevlar bumper covers and 935 seats all helped knock 1,000 lbs off their curb weight when compared to an SC street car, bringing it down to a featherweight-ly-ish 2,160 lbs. Other special equipment to compliment the rear wheel drive, naturally aspirated 280 hp 3 liter terrors included headers, a beefed up clutch, shorter gears, Bosch mechanical fuel injection (instead of the CIS of the SC), dry sump and an LSD. We couldn’t think of a better 911 to clone for a canyon carving/track day toy to stand out from all the more common (insert basically anything and everything except an SC/RS here) replicas and mashed up parts bin wonders that most people seem to favor, and wonder why we haven’t seen more done up just like one of these rare beasts. Magnus Walker and Singer who? Really?!? Sorry, we’d be building one just like this instead, rally lights mounted on the hood and all. Enjoy the rest of the photos and befitting grainy in-period short video on the following page…

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A Brock Yates Account of the Final Cannonball Run Race in 1979, from Car and Driver

April 30, 2015 in Featured / Rally / Shared Feature Story


The following shared colorful story about the final Cannonball Run in 1979 was originally posted in the November 2002 issue of Car and Driver magazine, written by Fred M.H. Gregory. It tells of Brock Yate’s account of the not-quite-so-legal cross country race officially called the Cannonball Baker Sea-to-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash, which inspired the 1981 Burt Reynolds, Dom DeLuise and Farrah Fawcet comedy aptly titled “Cannonball Run”. Sounds like a good time, especially if behind the wheel of the ’79 Pontiac “Fire Am” built by Herb Adams

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The Restoration of an Ex Works 1973 Alpine Renault A110 1800

April 29, 2015 in French / Race Car / Rally / Restoration / Restoration Shop

This 1973 Alpine Renault 1800 rally car was the subject of a restoration by the marque experts at AlpineLAB in Germany, a process that began in 2008. In its original glory days it was campaigned in the 1973 FIA World Rally Championship series, competing in such iconic races as the Monte Carlo Rally, the East African Safari, Acropolis, the Austrian Alpine Rally and the RAC Rally in England. In more recent years before its rescue, though, it has led a much less glorious life. It was left exposed to the elements and to rot in the backyard of a junkyard, a depressing fate for an ex-works rally car that was initially built as 1 of 17 factory race cars to compete in 13 rallies that year, a car that was ultimately responsible for helping Alpine Renault clinch their very first WRC Constructors title in 1973…

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/CHRIS HARRIS ON CARS VIDEO- “Group B Worship: Ford RS200 and Audi Sport Quattro”

April 16, 2015 in American / English / German / Homologation / Race Car / Rally / Video

How have we missed this /CHRIS HARRIS ON CARS video from 3 years ago already, titled “Group B Worship: Ford RS200 and Audi Sport Quattro”? We’d love to get our mitts on either one of these limited production homologation specials for a spirited sprint through the canyons, or even better yet on a wide open track. Until then….

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