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Gallery: Prodrive’s secret stash

  1. You’d think that the inner sanctum of one of the world’s largest motorsport facilities would contain serious, manly men. The sort that smell of engine assembly lubricant and Brut 33 and have no smile lines. Barrel-chested velocity boffins that spend their down time whittling down the coffee machine’s zero-to-Espresso sprint. And definitely not getting a bit excited about their past masters.

    Surprisingly, you’d be wrong. Postured in the company’s top-secret lair, just off the M40 near Banbury, Oxfordshire, we notice one of Prodrive’s employees peeking into the heritage centre. He makes a beeline for the 1986 Metro 6R4, lowers himself inside and starts making very accurate V6 noises. A colleague follows suit, sitting in the neighbouring 1984 Porsche 911 SCRS Group B rally car.

    At around midday, more staff trickle in, commenting with boyish enthusiasm on the BTCC-winning Ford Mondeo’s manpart-jangling ride height and Richard Burns’ safari-winning Impreza’s roll cage. These guys are dyed-in-the-wool petrosexuals. And, as a lunchtime pursuit, the assembled collection of historic race, rally and road cars are roughly twice as popular as oxygen.

    Perhaps we shouldn’t have been too surprised. After all, this little assortment of Prodrive-tinkered legends represents nearly three decades of competition success. And, in terms of evocative metal, it’s a meeting point for an impressive amount of it.

    Click on to see why the staff are so excited…

  2. This 1984 Porsche 911 SC Rs was the first rally car designed and built by Prodrive. It competed in the European and Middle East Rally Championships between 1984 and 1987. It won on its first ever outing at the Qatar rally under driver Al Hajri and co-driver John Spiller’s careful stewardship.

    In total, it picked up 15 rally wins.

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     If you ever wanted a Metro, this was the only acceptable one - the MG 6R4 (6 for six cylinder, R for rear engine, 4 for four-wheel drive) Group B rally car. It produced more than 400bhp, which got it from 0-60mph in around three seconds and on to 100mph in eight.

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     In 1986, the car ran as part of an independent team. It won three rallies in Ireland, driven by Billy Coleman and Jimmy McRae and retired after the RAC Rally in 1986, the last time Group B rally cars competed in the World Rally Championships.

  5. This was driven by the late, great Richard Burns in the 2000 Safari Rally in Kenya. The Safari was the third rally of 2000 and the first win of the season for the Subaru World Rally Team.

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     It’s 1990 and this is Prodrive’s first transformation of a Subaru from farmer’s favourite to rally legend. The white, green, blue and pink livery was used for two years before it changed to the iconic 555 colours in ‘93.

  7. It won its first ever round of the World Rally Championship during its last event in New Zealand, 1993, driven by Colin McRae.

  8. Well isn’t this lovely? It’s the Group A Impreza that was driven to victory by Colin McRae in the 1996 Rallye Catalunya. It was Prodrive’s 82nd international rally win and its 11th with Subaru.

  9. Prodrive ran the BMW rally team from 1987 to 1990, winning 27 international rallies in the French and Belgium championships and taking the firm’s total tally of rally wins up to 46.

    The rear-drive M3 was a specialist tarmac car. It also ran them in them in the BTCC, taking three consecutive titles in 1988, 1989 and 1990.

  10. Providing Ford Dads with much pub banter at the turn of the century, the Mondeo gave the blue oval a clean sweep of titles in the BTCC that year.

  11. What’s all this then? It’s the 2206 Prodrive P2 and the company’s very own two-seat sports car, built in just nine months. There’s a four-wheel drive system from Subaru and an Impreza STi engine lurking at the front.

  12. How’s this for a slice of deep-fried awesome? This 2003 Ferrari 550 Maranello started life as a very used road car, sourced from an independent car dealer in London. Prodrive then ripped off everything apart from the chassis, engine block and heads. Door handles and rear lights and built up what would be its first venture into sports car racing - a purpose-built GTS car.

    It went on to win two events in the FIA GT championship in its first season. Not bad, eh?

  13. Honda Accord BTCC, also tinkered by Prodrive.

  14. Remember the GT1 class-winning Aston from Le Mans 2007? This is it.

  15. This is the rock that ended Petter Solberg’s 2005 rally in Japan.

  16. And there’s that M3 again. Pop, bang, lovely.

  17. The road-legal Subaru P1 surveys its brother and cousin.

  18. Safari rallying needs a touch more ground clearance than doing skids in carparks.

  19. Which would you take home?

  20. The best episode of Supermarket Sweep… in the world.

  21. Crouching Mondeo, hidden Legacy.

  22. Got ride height?

  23. Legacy-leaving Legacy contains a dangerous density of AWESOME.

  24. BTCC cars - good at going fast, bad at watching drive-in movies.

  25. Laundry services also offered.

  26. If WRC, BTCC, GT1 and endurance racing weren’t enough, Prodrive also dipped its toes in Formula One.

  27. We’d do terrible, terrible things for a drive in this.

  28. Fiendishly tempting lineup…

  29. Carbon dash: disappointingly absent from the Impreza options list.

  30. Home of the brave…

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