If you ever watch/get a chance to watch rally car racing like the WRC and various Targa series, you'll see that the sport is dominated by hatchbacks and compact sports cars. Although it may not be obvious at first, they still have some variety to their racers.
Of all the motorsports series and championships out there, rally (Or the WRC more generally) has had some crazy cars participate; even supercars and sports coupes. These rare race cars have ranged from affordable front-wheel drive J.D.M. toys to hundred-thousand dollar classic supercars. Luckily, not every great rally coupe costs a boat-load of cash, yet still make for a fun weekend. To showcase some of these vehicles, here are ten coupes that make fantastic rally cars...
10 Acura Integra
For as long as all-wheel drive and four-wheel drive systems have existed, they've been used to great effect in rally racing. Surprisingly, though, some front-wheel drive cars manage to stand out and go above and beyond their expected performance. Such as, the Acura Integra.
What's great about the Integra isn't just that it's a good FWD off-roader, but that they'll so accessible and cheap. Because of this, the Integra has become a favorite amongst the rookie rally racing community. The Integra's also managed to garner a large selection of victories, which certainly aided in its popularity.
9 (2016-Present) Honda Civic Si Coupe
Although manufacturers like Subaru and Mitsubishi have withdrawn from the WRC and rally competition for quite some time now, multiple companies are still active and making great vehicles for the public and the course. Honda, for example, has seen a ton of success with their latest Honda Civic Si Coupe.
The Civic Si coupe is, essentially, a short wheelbase version of the standard Civic, just with a few boosts in power. When used for rally, though, the Civic does very well to fight for wins and keep up. Like the Integra, the newer Civic is relatively affordable for a factory-fresh compact sports coupe it's a pretty good deal!
8 Porsche 944
If you're not a long-time rally enthusiast, the concept of a Porsche participating in an off-road Rally race may sound absurd. However, Porsche actually has a rich heritage in off-road racing, including with their classic 944.
Once again, like the previous entires, the Porsche 944 is astoundingly cheap for being a brand-name, antique, sports cars. To add to this, the 944 had many choices for engines, a few being a Porsche-tuned V8 or inline-four. With its lightweight, german engineering, and knack for racing, the 944 became a shoo-in in the Rally series (Renowned even today).
7 Subaru BRZ/Scion FR-S
In the entire list of manufacturers to make great rally cars, Subaru is certainly one of the best of all time. They made a competitive car in the WRX and further with the STi. After that, though, they continued with a compact coupe: The Subaru BRZ.
When stock, the BRZ isn't a very impressive car. In all honesty, it's slow, but light and ripe with potential. For those who use that potential for rally racing, you'll find that the BRZ is still very much a Subaru at heart; tearing up dirt roads and sliding sideways as if it were its religion.
6 Porsche 914-6
Many years before the Porsche 944 was in the rally scene, they'd gathered a litany of championships through their 911 models. That, however, wasn't the only one winning rallies at the time. Along with the 911, Porsche also used the 914 (916).
The 914 (And slightly quicker 916) is a very tiny car. This, though, isn't out of the ordinary for Porsche, especially in the 1960s. They've clearly mastered the art of compact sports cars, and the 914 is no exception. These tiny go-kart-like racers are slow on tarmac, but decent on the dirt.
Similar to the Porsche 944, you'll see plenty of 914's and 916's at at rally event (The most being in the rookie categories).
5 BMW E36 Coupe
Even though BMW is a German company, you'd be forgiven for thinking they're Swiss: As their cars act like Swiss Army knives, capable of handling just about everything you throw at them. Their mid-to-late-'90s 3-series (E36) is no exception to this either.
The E36 coupe is like the Mazda Miata: Found in nearly every nook and cranny of racing, even rally. The E36, and its many iterations, are perfect for off-roading (With the proper mods, of course) along with drifting, road racing, and just showing off. Like the Integra, 944, and Civic, the E36 is another sturdy base to begin your Rally Racing career.
4 Toyota Celica GT-Four
One of the most overlooked models in rally racing (Mostly by rookies) isn't just the classic Porsches, but a few antique Toyotas as well. For example, the prominent Celica GT-Four.
The Celica GT is usually seen as one of Toyota's best rally cars. During its time in the WRC, the Celica took a lot of wins. Formula One fans may know the name of one of its drivers, Carlos Sainz, the father of Carlos Sainz Jr. (McLaren F1 driver). With the Celica GT-Four, Toyota collected more than four championships and over 25 races. So, in short, don't overlook the Celica; it may just be your best choice for a powerful rally racer.
3 Porsche 959
Once in a blue moon, motor sports is completely rocked by one specific driver or car. The arbiters of this have frequently been Porsche over the decades in their vast participation in several series. Perhaps the most mind-blowing example of Porsche's craziness, though, is in rally racing.
While Group B racing was in full swing, Porsche built the 959 for competition. The 959 is, probably, most recognized for its street-legal alternative (Often referred to as the direct competition to the Ferrari F40). Unlike Ferrari, however, the 959 got its start in rally racing, not circuit.
Because of the F.I.A. rules, Porsche was forced to make the road-going versions. Without those rules and rally racing, we'd likely never have one of the greatest '80s supercars to grace this Earth.
2 Lancia Stratos
Before Subaru and Citroën were the kings of Rally, another manufacturer held the title for many years. Their name was Lancia, and they were a company born and bred for the WRC, Group B, and everything else in-between. They made a few coupes, but their coolest was certainly the Stratos.
The Stratos is like the Porsche 959: A unicorn of the old days of rally racing. The Stratos' design was small and wedge-shaped, yet still capable of ludicrous acceleration and maneuverability. It doesn't hurt, either, that the Lancia Stratos is a beautifully designed and built masterpiece.
1 Alpine A110
Sitting up there with the greats like the Stratos, Audi S1, Porsche 959, and Peugeot 205 T16 is a separate addition that has recently begun its resurgence. Those in "the know" will quickly identify this as the Alpine A110.
Alpine, during its time, was an off-shoot of Renault; they took care of the more wild cars and Renault stuck to standard vehicles. Of all Alpine's creations, the A110 was their magnum opus. It quickly became an instant classic and renowned for its quality on the dirt. So much so that Alpine has returned, and so too has the A110. Thankfully, the latest Alpine A110 is very close to the original, even in price (over $120,000).