Fresh ablaze has been casting on Mitsubishi’s stillborn attack to accompany the cast of the Audi Quattro and Ford RS200 in rallying’s craziest era, afterwards ahead concealed official sketches of the company’s Starion 4WD were apparent in the abject of an archive.
These artist’s impressions, appear actuality for the aboriginal time, were beatific as allotment of centralized accord at Mitsubishi’s UK importer in 1984. They actualization the aggregation was austere about architecture 200 roadgoing examples of the Starion 4WD – the cardinal appropriate to accede its accord in Group B rallying.
The Mitsubishi activity charcoal one of apple rallying’s ‘lost cars’, alongside Ford’s rear-wheel-drive Escort RS1700T (abandoned in favour of the RS200) and mid-engined versions of the Audi Sport Quattro that were activated abaft the Iron Curtain in Czechoslovakia but ultimately dismantled afterwards the activity was discovered.
Conceived as the aftereffect to the rear-drive Lancer 2000 Turbo, the Starion 4WD was developed by the Ralliart aggregation in the UK, beneath the administration of above disciplinarian Andrew Cowan and with ascribe from above Audi artisan Alan Wilkinson. It would accept had a 2.0-litre agent in assembly anatomy – in effect, an adapted adaptation of the Lancer’s motor – and this would accept been broadcast to 2,140cc for the 20 ‘evolution’ antagonism specials that would accept been accustomed beneath Group B rules.
The agent is estimated to accept had about 350bhp, and all-encompassing use of carbonfibre and kevlar for the bodywork is said to accept kept the car’s kerbweight at aloof over 1,000kg. These numbers would accept been a solid abject for the Starion 4WD to be competitive, at atomic until alike added barbarous versions of the Quattro and Peugeot’s 205 Turbo 16 accustomed in the additional bisected of 1985.
The best accessible aberration amid the Starion 4WD and its accepted rear-drive assembly stablemates is at the front, area the approved car’s pop-up headlights accept been replaced by a accepted quad-lamp arrangement. This, in turn, accustomed Cowan and his engineers to acutely abbreviate the Starion’s advanced overhang, allowance to advance its weight distribution, while additionally binding in a beyond radiator.
A letter accompanying the images suggests that Mitsubishi was planning to put numbered plaques on all of the Starion 4WDs, and says that the car was actuality lined up to accomplish its admission at the 1984 British motor show. This would account with the development assemblage car’s actualization on that summer’s Mille Pistes Rally, a awfully asperous accident captivated on the huge Canjuers aggressive abject in southern France, area it accomplished sixth in the easily of Mitsubishi analysis disciplinarian Lasse Lampi.
The car additionally ran in ancestor anatomy as allotment of a civic accident formed into the 1984 RAC Assemblage – but the activity abject abominably and while homologation was accepted to be closed ancient in 1986, the abandoning of the Group B chic in bounce of that year affected the Starion 4WD to be abandoned.
The assignment on the proposed archetypal wasn’t a complete waste, however; Mitsubishi and decidedly Ralliart took ability on engines and transmissions gleaned from the activity and fed it into a new amateur for the added production-based Group A regulations: the Galant VR-4. That car denticulate the Japanese brand’s aboriginal WRC victories, persuading it to accomplish added with the Lancer Evo that went on to win four back-to-back Apple Assemblage Championships for Tommi Makinen, as able-bodied as a makes appellation for the Japanese cast itself in 1998.
Ralliart is abiding to motorsport. Read added here…
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