For a long time, enthusiasts have claimed that you need to have rear wheel drive to enjoy a car’s dynamic abilities or have a successful race car. However, while limited in their application, front-drivers have a very long and successful track record dating back to the 1960s. Let’s not forget the Mini, SAABs and even some early Audi rally efforts which used front-drive platforms and were winners. In touring cars, Audi ran Coupe GTs and front-drive 4000s in Group 5 and later Volkswagen took the idea of the performance hatchback to their Golf platform in the GTi. Wildly popular as a budget racer since new, the Golf’s basic layout and platform evolved into the Volkswagen coupes – both Scirocco and later Corrado. While the early Sciroccos also gained much success in SCCA racing in the 1970s and early 1980s, the Corrado introduced a new level of performance with the VR6 engine. While the torque-laden application would seem on the surface to be a bad match for a front driver, the Corrado when properly set up is truly an impressive car and massively quick – a great alternative to the E36 chassis, for example:
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Pablo over at flüssig magazine tipped us off to a rare 924GTP for sale in Germany, a template for what would ultimately become the 944. Sit back and enjoy another history lesson courtesy of our water-cooled Porsche guru.
The ‘P’ stood for prototype…this car was the 944 prototype and secrecy had to be kept for two more weeks; the 924 GTP, chassis 924-006.
Under the hood, the engine was pure Porsche. Their first water-cooled four cylinder engine Typ 944/71 (internal designation Typ 949), derived from half of the 928’s V8 but of completely new design, displacing 2.5 liters (2,479cc). Utilizing dry-sump lubrication and placed into the engine compartment at a 45 degree angle, this large capacity was obtained with huge 100 mm bores and a relatively short 78.9 mm stroke. But there was something a bit different going on above those bores…an all new sixteen valve head coupled with a KKK K28 exhaust driven turbocharger breathing in through an air to air intercooler.
Let’s talk about the cylinder head since it bears special mention here. This was a one-off design by Dipl. Ing. Hans Metzger, and although you might think, “ah, so that’s the one that they used for the 944S!”
And you’d be wrong.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1981 Porsche 924 GTP
The “Batmobile” is a legendary car that helped to both define BMW’s place in global motorsports and to solidy its presence in the sports sedan realm. Sure, they had competed successfully for years in touring car and sports car races, not to mention substantial involvement in motorcycle racing. But the bread and butter of BMW’s 1980s reputation was built on their sporting nature, and that legacy was born in the 1970s touring cars. The CSL was a message to the world, much like the Porsche 911RS was – BMW was a major player, and here to stay. They’ve since built upon that racing legend, but enthusiasts look back upon these models as the ones that spawned the dreams of countless children – the lucky ones of which would go on to buy new BMWs in the 1980s. It’s not often that you see a well presented CSL with racing pedigree come up for sale, but there’s a stunning example available today:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1972 BMW CSL on racecarsdirect
Long before the E36 even debuted, the Porsche 944 was deeply entrenched in the track scene. From weekend warrior autocrosses to full out Le Mans endurance racing, the 944 touched all aspects of motorsports, and in many cases won. While the roots were in a economy sports car, the 944 Turbo took well to supercar slaying – massive flares hiding brakes borrowed from its brethren and boosted performance from the all-Porsche turbocharged 2.5 inline-4. With near perfect weight distribution, these Turbos were relatively easy to drive and accepted high levels of modifications well. Into the 1990s, the continued to be favorites at track events – and today, even nearly 30 years later, they’re still potent packages capable of winning club races. Today I have three different takes on the 944 Turbo; modified but still streetable track event car, stripped and turned up club racer, and a collectable bit of Porsche racing history with a Turbo Cup car in original configuration. Which is your flavor?
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Porsche 944 Turbo on eBay
In the days when 930s were a tad bit more affordable than they’ve become in recent years, it wasn’t uncommon to see blown-engine examples be turned into track creations. It makes a fair amount of sense – with upgrades brakes and wider flares, the Turbo model was a natural born track car. So with that in mind, we have two very different routes that seemingly similar cars could take; both based upon Turbo models, which is your track-flavored style? First we’ll look at the 3.6 flat-6 RSR-styled PCA racer: