20 of the Wildest Homologation Specials Ever Built

These really are race cars with license plates.


Racing homologation rules have produced some of the craziest cars to ever be sold for driving on public roads. In some cases, it's hard to believe automakers were crazy enough to build these cars at all, but motorsport is known to inspire strange behavior. Here are some of the best, according to you.

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Pawel Litwinski/Bonhams
Peugeot 205 Turbo 16

It might look like a normal 205 from the outside, but the Turbo 16 was anything but. It had a mid-mounted engine behind the driver, and all-wheel drive to homologate Peugeot's Group B efforts of the time.

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Porsche 911 GT1

Though it sports 996-generation 911 headlights, the 911 GT1 is far from a 911. It has a flat-six engine, but it's mounted in the middle, and water-cooled. The body is made up of carbon fiber, and the transmission is a six-speed sequential. It was built so Porsche could go racing in the FIA's GT Championship.

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Like the 911 GT1, the CLK GTR was built to compete in the FIA GT Championship, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Unlike the normal CLK, it sports a mid-mounted V12 engine and a carbon fiber monocoque.

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Audi Sport Quattro S1

Produced to homologate the Quattro for Group B rally, the S1 sports a carbon-Kevlar body shell with a turbocharged five cylinder engine and, of course, all-wheel drive.

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Fiat 131 Abarth

The 131 homologation special was built in a collaboration between, Fiat, design house Bertone, and Abarth. Just 400 examples were built to get the car homologated for the World Rally Championship.

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Lancia 037 Stradale

The Stratos isn't the only rear-wheel drive rally Lancia that people love. There's also the 037. Squared off with a sharp nose and a spiked wing, the 037 Stradale occupies a spot in almost every enthusiasts' dream garage.

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<p>This is the third Ferrari 288GTO sold at Pebble Beach, a bewilderment all to itself. Enzo Ferrari authorized just 200 cars and then added 72 more to serve customers begging to drive his homologated special. Ferrari hand-picked each one, a selection process the company has maintained for all of its top models well after Il Commendatore's death in 1988. By then, the 288GTO had been out of production for two years and was already well past its $85,000 list. Some things, like the mid-mounted twin-turbo V-8 and the first composite materials on a Ferrari road car, never change.<span class="redactor-invisible-space" data-verified="redactor" data-redactor-tag="span" data-redactor-class="redactor-invisible-space"></span></p><p><span class="redactor-invisible-space" data-verified="redactor" data-redactor-tag="span" data-redactor-class="redactor-invisible-space">Due to California's draconian emissions laws, the 288GTO can't be driven within the state (only 1975 and earlier models skirt the rules). But any other of the 49 states would be happy to register this 288GTO, and not only because this one sold for $2.42 million. Gooding claims this car was serviced exclusively at an independent New York shop since it was new and that even the factory inspection marks are visible. Given the 7938 miles on this 288's odometer and its relatively low value among classic Ferraris, we hope this car has many thorough workouts in its future. —<i data-redactor-tag="i">Clifford Atiyeh</i><span class="redactor-invisible-space" data-verified="redactor" data-redactor-tag="span" data-redactor-class="redactor-invisible-space"></span><br></span></p><p><span class="redactor-invisible-space" data-verified="redactor" data-redactor-tag="span" data-redactor-class="redactor-invisible-space"><span class="redactor-invisible-space" data-verified="redactor" data-redactor-tag="span" data-redactor-class="redactor-invisible-space"><em data-redactor-tag="em"><a href="http://www.caranddriver.com/flipbook/all-the-money-the-top-25-most-expensive-cars-sold-at-the-2016-monterey-auctions" target="_blank">This article originally appeared on Car and Driver.</a></em><span class="redactor-invisible-space" data-verified="redactor" data-redactor-tag="span" data-redactor-class="redactor-invisible-space"></span><br></span></span></p>
Gooding & Company
Ferrari 288 GTO

The 288 GTO was originally designed to compete in Group B rally, but failed to race in any events before the series was banned. We never got to see the actual rally car hit the stages, but that almost doesn't matter considering how great the road car is to drive.

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1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL-1

A loophole in Chevy's custom ordering process let a handful of dealers order the baddest Camaro imagined back in 1969. It had a big block 427 V8 like many other Camaros, only its V8 was all-aluminum and designed for Can Am racers. There were plenty of fast Camaros in the late-1960s, but this was totally unhinged.

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Ian D. Merritt
2017 Ford GT

The homologation special is mostly dead today, but Ford brought it back in spirit with the new GT. From the outset, it's abundantly clear Ford had top-level racing in mind when designing the new GT: The street car's engine is adapted from a Daytona Prototype powerplant. The GT road car might not be as raw and untamed as some of the other cars on this list, but it's philosophically similar.

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1999 Subaru Impreza 22B STI

If you're a fan of the today's WRX STI, this is the car you have to thank. For the 22B, Subaru took the standard Impreza STI's 2.0-liter engine and increased displacement to 2.2 liters, with power rising to 280-hp. Big fender flares and a rear wing set the visual template for all STIs to come. Only 424 were built and apparently only two live in the U.S.

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1993 Dauer 962 Le Mans

One of the weirder footnotes in Le Mans history is the , which won the race in 1994 thanks to some creative rulebook interpretation. Dauer took a handful of Porsche 962s, which were the dominant car of the Group C era, and modified them for street use. It is one of the most extraordinary cars to be sold for the streets, but that's what allowed Porsche to enter the 962 in the GT category at Le Mans in 1994.

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FlickrMichael Spiller
1970 Plymouth Road Runner Superbird/1969 Dodge Charger Daytona

NASCAR these days produces great racing, but the cars have no relationship to what you can buy in dealerships. In the late 1960s, though, an ingenious interpretation of the rulebook gave us these, the Plymouth Road Runner Superbird and the Dodge Charger Daytona. These bewinged NASCAR racers were so good they were effectively banned in 1971, but not before a handful of highly desirable road cars were built. One of the greatest icons of the muscle car era.

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1973 Lancia Stratos

Lancia wanted to dominate rallying in the mid-1970s, so it built what could be argued as the first purpose-built rally homologation special, the Stratos. A V6 lifted from the Ferrari Dino 246 was mounted in the middle and the body was kept as small as possible. Large door pockets were designed to fit a helmet and most of the parts were lifted off lesser Fiats.

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1998 Toyota GT-One

The FIA GT1 class produced some of the best race cars of the mid-1990s and thanks to , some of the wildest street cars too. The Toyota GT-One was especially crazy because unlike the Porsche 911 GT1 and Mercedes CLK-GTR, the GT-One road car built was totally unlike anything else Toyota sold. It's a street car in the loosest sense, but a street car nevertheless.

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1984 Ford RS200

Ford took the same general idea behind the Lancia Stratos–that a small, mid-engined car makes good rally racer–and updated it for the 1980s. The result was the stunning RS200. Ford engineered a truly wild drivetrain for this car, consisting of a mid-mounted turbocharged Cosworth four-cylinder that sends power to a front-mounted gearbox. A center differential sends power to all four wheels, so the RS200's layout is essentially like a Nissan GT-R going backwards.

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BMW via BMWBlog
2001 BMW M3 GTR

One of the defining characteristics of the E46-generation M3 is its sing-song straight-six, but when BMW took that car racing, it decided to take a slightly different route with the engine. The used a V8 due to inane rules, but other teams cried foul, with the V8. BMW only built a handful, which were never sold, before pulling the M3 GTR out of competition.

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1998 Nissan R390 GT1

The same homologation requirements that gave us the GT-One, 911 GT1 and CLK-GTR gave us the totally lovely . Just two road cars were built, which featured a mid-mounted V8 making around 550 horsepower. The street and race cars were engineered by Tom Walkinshaw racing, which built the superlative Jaguar XJR-9 and XJR-15 road car, and designed by Ian Callum. Nissan kept one of the cars but allegedly, another is owned by a private collector. Consider yourself very lucky if you ever see it on the street.

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1997 Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution

Say "Mitsubishi Evolution" and immediately, images of Tommi Mäkinen throwing a Lancer Evo rally car sideways spring to mind. It's not the only Mitsubishi to wear an "Evolution" badge, though. Mitsubishi to homologate a more durable and competition focused truck for the T2 class, which featured stock production cars, in the Dakar rally. Beefed-up suspension, a 276-hp V6 and other off-road goodies helped Mitsubishi win the Dakar overall in 1998.

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FlickrAlden Jewell
1986 Buick LeSabre Grand National

Here's a truly oddball car you might not have known about. Buick a little over 100 LeSabre Grand Nationals in 1986 to homologate a more streamlined body style for NASCAR competition. Using smaller rear quarter windows gave Buick an aerodynamic advantage over its competition. Sadly, this road going front-wheel-drive coupe didn't get the turbocharged V6 from the Regal Grand National.

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1980 Renault R5 Turbo

In the late 1970s, Renault a response to the mid-engined Lancia Stratos, but instead of developing a whole new car, it just radically redesigned its (already aging) 5 hatchback. The result was the R5 turbo, which relocated the 5's engine from the front to the middle. The rear-wheel-drive R5 Turbo didn't achieve rally glory thanks to Audi and its newfangled Quattro all-wheel-drive, but it did put one of the wildest hatchbacks ever built on the road.

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