Just thinking of these cars puts a smile on your face with the desire to find an open road or take them to the track. What these cars are called is special or homologations but what they really are is a group of race cars that are allowed to put license plates on them. When you have a car that can take off and lead the way on any race track to offer an amazing drive and impressive features in cars that are built to be a lot of fun to drive, admire and enjoy.
1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL-1 – In 1969 there was a small loophole in the ordering process for the Camaro which allowed the 427 big blog to be ordered. That was fine as there were plenty of 427 V8 powered Camaros on the streets, but this particular one was the all-aluminum version that was built for the Can Am racers, giving us a car that was more than just a little fast when you ordered this particular engine inside one of our all-time favorite cars ever.
2017 Ford GT – You wouldn’t think there would be a homologation special for a car that hasn’t even hit the street yet, but there is. This really is a car that is meant to be on a race track but with the right items it’s able to be a street car for you to show off to your buddies. Adapted from the Daytona prototype the GT is one we will love and admire for its absolute raw sports car attitude that shows us it will be fast and fun to drive.
1999 Subaru Impreza 22B STI – This car is the start of the WRX STI run. Using an engine that was a little larger at 2.2-liters and 280 horsepower this car offered a sporty look with the fender flares, hood scoop and rear wing that might have felt out of place on any other car, but certainly tantalized your imagination with this car. There were only 424 of these built to create an instant classic and collectible car, which was one you could have a lot of fun driving.
1993 Dauer 962 Le Mans – Thank you Dauer. If it weren’t for someone at Dauer finding the loopholes in the rules that allowed this car, which was really a Porsche 962, to be modified to be street legal it would have never been able to be entered in the GT category. As a street legal car that could be sold to the public it qualified in this category and won the race at Le Mans in 1994 as one of the most race worthy cars that could ever be made as a street legal beast.
1970 Plymouth Road Runner Superbird/1969 Dodge Charger Daytona – This pair had taken over NASCAR at the time as an ingenious interpretation of the rules at the time. Today you couldn’t buy a NASCAR racer for the road, but the early 1970s was a different story and a few of these cars actually made it to the public for sale as these beauties have been two of the most sought after cars of the muscle car era ever built. Unfortunately NASCAR banned them from races in 1971, but they had already captured our imagination.
1973 Lancia Stratos – This was a car built to be a rally special to help Lancia continue its dominance in rally car racing. This car featured a V6 engine from a Ferrari Dino 246 that was mid-mounted with a tiny body around it. The doors featured a pocket for the helmet but many parts for this car came from Fiat to create a car that was made to be on the rally course and leave everything else far behind with little thought to their fates.
1998 Toyota GT-One – This really was one of the loosest interpretations of the rules for the road. Toyota took a race car and added a few items to it for the streets, but made this car that was at home on the track. On the streets the GT-One couldn’t let loose like it would on a track, but it certainly was something to behold as a driver came down the street in a car that appeared to be lost on its way to the nearest track where it should have been competing. Because it was created into a street car this car was able to enter the GT series and won several races.
1984 Ford RS200 – This little car was the answer from Ford for the Lancia Stratos that was winning all the rally races. The engineering of this car was amazing as it had a mid-mounted engine that was a four-cylinder turbocharged model that sent power to the front wheels. Using a center differential to push power to all four wheels this car became an AWD racing machine that was worth of the rally races or for you to take out for a spin on the weekend.
2001 BMW M3 GTR – We know the E46 generation of the M3 to carry a wonderful straight six-cylinder engine, but turning this car into a race car meant BMW wanted to put a V8 under the hood to gain an edge over the competition, which they did. This created the M3 GTR and because of the rules they were allowed to do this, but other race teams felt this was cheating and forced BMW to actually build a few of these for the road, which they never sold, but this was one amazing racing car for the class it played in.
1998 Nissan R390 GT1 – Using the same rules that helped create the GT-One from Toyota, the 911 Gt1 from Porsche and the CLK-GTR from Mercedes-Benz, Nissan created this insane race car and two street cars that were built to allow this car to be in the GT class. Nissan has one of the two and the other belongs to a private collector, but this car was another homologation that was a racecar that simply and barely conformed to the rules of being a street legal car.
1997 Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution – Not every homologation has to look like it is a track racing car, there were track racing trucks as well. This one was built to be more durable and ready to compete in the T2 class. Using a suspension that had been beefed up and a V6 engine that offered 276 horsepower this SUV was made for the racing series. This was the off road beast that allowed Mitsubishi to win the Dakar rally in 1998.
1986 Buick LeSabre Grand National – There was only one purpose for this car; to build a body style that would be worthy of NASCAR competition. This meant using a small rear quarter window setup to offer more aerodynamics than the other models on the track. There were only a few more than 100 of these made and even though it’s a car that was exciting to see on the track it did not have the power of the Regal Grand National.
1980 Renault R5 Turbo – This car moved the engine to the middle in a response to the Lancia Stratos. This was the car that would be the new rally car from Renault and was ready to be the next great rally car to win, but Audi had different ideas. At the same time this car was being built Audi was ready to put its new Quattro on the course using the AWD setup that easily blew away any RWD model at the rally races.