Journal: Which Of These Classic Rally Cars Has The Best Exhaust Note?

Which Of These Classic Rally Cars Has The Best Exhaust Note?

Michael Banovsky By Michael Banovsky
October 5, 2016
15 comments

An overall lack of traction is what makes rally cars sound so great. In low-speed corners, drivers compensate for less grip by applying more throttle, and in pretty much any rally car—Porsche 911 to Lancia Stratos—the resulting noise is quickly addicting. Don’t believe us? Here are some of our favorite classic rally cars, singing at speed.

It’s perhaps a bit unfair to lead with various versions of Porsche 911 rally cars, but their raspy flat-6 engines have been a fixture of all forms of motorsport since the mid-1960s…and sound great pretty much all the time.

“It’s a car enthusiast’s collection, right,” says John Campion. “I don’t have cars because I want to impress anybody. If you don’t know what a rally car is, you’re kinda like, ‘That’s a dirty car, there are cracks on it’… But I find the passion I have for these cars goes back to the individuals who drove them” begins our film on John Campion and his Lancia Delta S4 rally car.

It’s one of the most unique-sounding vehicles ever devised, all because of its super and turbocharged engine (!)

I’m a fan of this film for one reason: it does a great job of showing people what spectating a rally is like: you stay warm and cars drive by. Pick the right event, like the Rallye Monte Carlo Historique, and the soundtrack will be a proper throwback as well.

Group B Monsters in Finland is the title of this clip, which chronicles action during the 1000 Lakes Rally from 1983 until 1986. It’s one of the best settings for hearing these machines flat-out, with long straightaways and insane high-speed yumps.

The BMW E30 M3 was, indeed, a rally car, equipped with an engine that sounds like it’d  saw through an entire forest at 8,000 rpm.

Which of these European rally cars sounds the best? In one of our older films, Hans Abrahams shares why he just has to have three different-yet-distinct variations on the same theme.

Is the Lancia Stratos the best-sounding rally car? Here’s more than 5 minutes of evidence to that point, with most of it set to low-quality period footage of the car in action.

Light, fast, small, and loud—you may fall in love with the Alpine A110 after watching this film on Jürgen Clauss and his business, alpineLAB, specialists in this rare rally car.

Have we missed something? Please leave it in the comments, but not before checking out this YouTube playlist by amjayes2 that’s entirely made from rally car engine sounds.

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15 Comments on "Which Of These Classic Rally Cars Has The Best Exhaust Note?"

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Per Eldh
Per Eldh

The Alfa GTV6 rallying in Corsica etc 1985-86. No competion! (Sound wise anyway)

De Dion
De Dion

Escorts with BDA to BDG. More of an induction noise than exhaust tone though

Tom DesRochers
Tom DesRochers

You left out the 51 Chrysler Panamericana racer that was featured on this very site a while back.

HitTheApex
HitTheApex
The sound of the Lancia 037 is very unique, while the Quattro’s inline 5 and Porsche’s flat six make sounds all their own, too. However, I have to agree with a prior comment: I’ve never enjoyed the harmonics, or to my ears, lack thereof, of the Quattro. I don’t care for the sound of an inline 5. It’s less Coltrane and more crying baby noises to me, but hey, to each his or her own, right? For me, it has to be the Stratos’s 6 cylinder symphony hands down. The harmonic from 6 and 12 cylinder engines, with the right… Read more »
HitTheApex
HitTheApex

Er… I meant to type “harmonics”.

CruiseMulholland
CruiseMulholland

truly entertaining! ‘Best sound’ clips are always enjoyable – in particular with stunt like driving performances.
For the next round Petrolicious may consider this one:

Henrik Mattsson
Henrik Mattsson

Best sound – the first Porsche at 0:11 in the Rally Monte Carlo Historique.
I Did not dare to watch 1000 lakes video past 30 seconds though.

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger

Having heard all of these first hand at one time or another , First choice has to be the Dino powered Stratos . With a close tie for second between the R-GT Porsche in the 1st video … and that godawful sound from the bowls of hell that came from the Audi Quatro Sport Evolution

Sam N
Sam N

Slanger, don’t be modest, you not only heard them all firsthand, you designed the engines and campaigned most.

Bryan Dickerson
Bryan Dickerson

Guitar,
You must have meant God-like, not godawful, right?

If you can’t at least appreciate the sound of the Audis then I’m gonna’ have to change your handle to Guitar Strummer. I can see why you love the operatic pyrotechnics of the the Lancia but don’t you love to hear a good distorted power chord through a Marshall stack sometimes?
I’m a horn player and I love me some Paul Desmond and Lester Young but the Audi reminds me of the otherworldly sound of Coltrane wailing on multi phonics.

Jakob W. Jensen
Jakob W. Jensen

A two stroke SAAB definitely has its unique sound! https://youtu.be/dXVRdSbKDT8

Edward Levin
Edward Levin

Lancia Stratos. Atomic chainsaw, unmuted by turbo

Amir Kakhsaz
Amir Kakhsaz

Indeed Bryan, indeed.

There can be only one top dog when it comes to rally car sound: The 5-cylinder Gruppe B Quattro

Bryan Dickerson
Bryan Dickerson

Without a doubt it’s got to be the Audi Quattros!

JB21
JB21

Talking about rally car sound…your forgot BDE/BDG, which I personally think sounds better than any of those on the list, even the KillerBs.

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