The only major unblown GpB contender, 6R4 was homologated in November 1985, complete with its first evolution comprising lighter body panels and a full six-point Lucas Micos fuel injection system. And that engine was just one of its unique features.
A 2991cc V6 generating 420bhp, this unit was designed and built in-house by Austin Rover. The theory was that FISA had promised to control the exotic fuels being used in rallying and thus the turbos and blowers would have to run on pump fuel, which would dramatically cut back their outputs.
But GpB died before FISA acted and so this ugly little winged beast never got to spread its wings. It took third behind two of the new Lancia S4s on its debut, the 1985 RAC, but then ran into a string of problems affecting the camshaft drive belts and valve seats before reliability was established late in ’86.
The 6R4 used by Blomqvist here was the works car David Llewellin drove to ninth on the ’86 RAC.
Biomqvist’s view: I did try a 6R4 many years ago. We were recceing the Swedish Rally and ‘Pekka’ [Per Eklund] turned up with one and let me take it for a run.
I like the normally aspirated engine, completely different to all those other engines. You don’t have to think about keeping the turbo fired up, you just ask the throttle and it responds. You can let it drop down to almost nothing and it will just pull away. When you find that, you can understand why they were so quick on certain Tarmac stages: such quick response, no waiting, no problem to get the back end out. But you have to be quick on the steering or it can spin with that short wheelbase.
You can see very well to place the car, and braking is good – it must be helped by its wings.
Sadly, it was grounded by its lack of a turbocharger. And almost 20 years on the turbo still rules rallying’s roost. There are moves afoot to get rid of it, but those in the know say that its days at the centre of the stages are far from numbered.