Amazing Line-Up Of Rare Group B Rally Cars Heads To Gooding And Company’s Pebble Beach Auctions This August
Even several decades after the stroke of the governing body’s pen ensured they would compete no more, there is something about Group B rally cars. This was the world rally championship era from 1982 to 1986, wherein minimal restrictions and homologation requirements meant monstrous machines with almost unlimited power, wrestled with by highly skilled and brave drivers. It remains today a time revered as rallying’s golden age. And, amazingly, a host of incredibly rare and exceptional Group B cars are heading to auction this August at Gooding and Company’s Pebble Beach sale.
Gooding and Company is presenting four Group B cars that have come from a distinguished private collection, which will go under the hammer at the sale taking place as part of the Concours d’Elegance in California on August 16 and 17. The collection of the four machines is the result of the consignor, a discerning and meticulous collector of European sports cars, spending years searching the globe for the lowest mileage, most original, and best-preserved examples that exist.
The line-up heading to auction is led by a 1985 Lancia Delta S4 Stradale, which is one of the finest and most original examples that exists of the famous Group B homologation special; the Delta S4 claimed five WRC rally victories in 1985 and ’86. This one at the auction is finished in an extremely rare original color combination—reckoned to be one of only four in that combination—and has under 2500km on the clock from new. It is estimated to go for $600,000 to $700,000.
It will be joined at the sale by a 1984 Peugeot 205 T16, which is an exceptionally well-preserved example of Group B’s most dominant model; the 205 claiming drivers’ and manufacturers’ world championship doubles in 1985 and ’86. This one heading to the sale has done less than 12,000km from new, and spent 25 years in a private racing museum in Northern Italy. It is anticipated to bring in $200,000 to $250,000.
The 1986 MG Metro 6R4 going to the auction is another testament to preservation and sparing use. It has done just over 2000 miles from new, and was formerly part of a renowned collection of rally cars in Europe. The Group B 6R4 was developed by Williams Grand Prix Engineering with the legendary Patrick Head at the forefront, and was very much a “what might have been” in Group B success. On its international debut, in the 1985 RAC Rally (as Rally GB was then known) it took a close third-place finish. It struggled subsequently to replicate the result due to various teething troubles, then Group B ended before it had time to sort these out. This one is anticipated to fetch $175,000 to $225,000
Finally, there will be at the sale the 1986 Citroen BX 4TC, an almost entirely original car and believed by the consignor to be one of fewer than 35 remaining examples as well as likely the finest original example in existence. It is estimated at $80,000 to $110,000.
Images courtesy of Gooding and Company. Photos by Ronen Topelberg