Top Gear’s Top 9: homologation specials

By topgear, 02 May 2020

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 230hp on tap. It was potent both on and off the track.


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

Ferrari 250 GTO

Just 39 were made, fitted with a race-proven, 300hp 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.

Ford RS200

Built on a racing chassis, the mid-engined RS200 took on the best of the infamous Group B and… lost. Despite 450hp, 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.

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 190hp in road trim, but with just 980kg to move, it’s still fast by today’s standards.

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 400hp, twin-turbo straight-six and a stripped-out 1,150kg kerbweight. 

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 425hp engine. 

Porsche 911 GT1

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

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 420hp on hand but a friendlier 200hp.

STORY Craig Jamieson

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