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Saturday 30th September

Top Gear’s Top 9: homologation specials

It’s thanks to racing and its strict rule book that these boundary-pushing marvels exist

  1. Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale

    The 33 Stradale actually started off as a prototype race car, which was reverse-engineered so it could compete in production car racing. Thanks to an all-aluminium, 2.0 flat-plane V8, there was 230bhp on tap. It was potent both on and off the track.

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  2. BMW M1

    With its steel spaceframe racing chassis and FRP body panels, the M1 was a Giugiaro-designed 277bhp supercar, built so BMW could race in Group 4. It was the first-ever M-badged BMW. We have much to thank it for.

  3. Ferrari 250 GTO

    Just 39 were made, fitted with a race-proven, 300bhp V12 and handbuilt by Scaglietti to be as lightweight and aerodynamic as possible. And the V12-powered racers dominated the GT series, even if they weren’t technically allowed to compete.

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  4. Ford RS200

    Built on a racing chassis, the mid-engined RS200 took on the best of the infamous Group B and… lost. Despite 450bhp, 4WD and advanced suspension, it couldn’t keep pace with the fire-breathing Lancias and Audis. That said, it’s still one of the maddest-looking Fords ever.

  5. Lancia Stratos

    Styled by Bertone. Powered by Ferrari. Three World Rally Championships in a row. It’s little wonder, then, the Stratos is a homologation hero. The Dino V6 from Ferrari was only good for about 190bhp in road trim, but with just 980kg to move, it’s still fast by today’s standards.

  6. Nissan Skyline R33 LM

    Perhaps the rarest homologation special ever. Exceptionally lax Le Mans homologation rules meant Nissan had to build just one R33 LM road car, complete with RWD, a 400bhp, twin-turbo straight-six and a stripped-out 1,150kg kerbweight. 

  7. Plymouth Superbird

    NASCAR in the Sixties started to get really into aero. The only problem was that everyone was driving American muscle. Enter cars with teardrop rear ends, nosecones and towering rear wings. And, in the case of the Plymouth Superbird, a 7.0-litre 425bhp engine. 

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  8. Porsche 911 GT1

    Built specifically as a race car, the GT1 Strassenversion was exactly that – a road-going version of the 600-plus bhp race car. Modifications were limited to friendlier suspension, a proper interior and little else besides.

  9. Peugeot 205 T16

    A turbocharged, mid-engined, 4WD weapon, built with race-spec parts and designed to win rally championships. Unlike the racers that dominated Group B in 1985 and 1986, the road cars didn’t have an easy 420bhp on hand but a friendlier 197bhp.

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