The PV444 was manufactured by Volvo from 1944 and quickly developed a reputation as a reliable and rugged vehicle. Whilst this car did well in numerous rallies throughout its production it’s claim to fame was when a second-hand PV444 won the Safari Rally in 1965. This little car had seemingly completed the impossible and went on to be held in high regard by drivers and fans alike.
Italian manufacturer Lancia has produced several incredibly rally cars but none were more successful than the Stratos HF or the 037. The V6 powered Stratos began production in 1973 and went on to win the WRC in 1974 before winning it again in 1975 and 1976. Lancia conducted extensive testing on the Stratos and it obviously paid off as the car also won the 1975, 1976, and 1977 Monte Carlo rallies.
The 037 was built by Lancia specifically to comply with the new FIA regulations that began in 1980 and made its debut in 1982 at Rally Costa Smeralda in Italy. Unfortunately, the car suffered from mechanical issues and was retired from the race. The 037 later went on to win several WRC titles and hill climb events throughout the 1980s and was considered a fierce competitor for the Audi Quattro and Peugeot 205 T16.
Audi arrived at the party pretty late when they debuted their Quattro at the 1980 Geneva motor show. Changes in competition rules meant Audi could run a four wheel drive car and the Quattro spent two years winning pretty much every race it was entered into. In 1981 the Quattro won a WRC rally whilst piloted by female driver Michele Mouton who was the first female to win a WRC event. The car later went on to secure 23 WRC victories between 1981-1985.
French manufacturer Peugeot developed a version of the 205 that burst into the rally scene in 1984. This little hatchback was subject to fierce competition from the likes of Audi and Ford but managed to gain sixteen rally victories between 1984 and 1986 whilst being driven predominantly by Ari Vatanen and Timo Salonen. Citroen was another French manufacturer that created a storm in the rally world when the C4 made it’s debut in the 2007 Monte Carlo rally. Between 2007 and 2010 the C4 dominated the stages and by the end of the 2010 had 36 victories under its belt.
Fords rally history started when it produced the MK1 Escort RS. The Lotus derived twin-cam engine in the Escort helped ensure the car dominated the rally world throughout the 1960’s and 70’s. The cars greatest victory was perhaps in 1970 when it placed first in the London to Mexico World Cup Rally although the car won numerous events throughout it’s lifetime including the 1972 RAC rally where it was driven by Roger Clark.
The Ford Focus debuted in the 1999 Monte Carlo rally, almost thirty years after the introduction of the MK1 Escort. The car was almost immediately successful and won two events at Safari Rally Kenya whilst being driven by Colin McRae. Between 1999 and 2010 the Focus WRC competed in 173 WRC events, winning 44 of them.