Best Rally Cars of All Time

Lancia Stratos
Lancia Stratos

Cars or you could say automobiles, to be in the spirit of the time, existed as far back as 1894, and so did rallying.

The French Newspaper Le Petit Journal would organise à daring race for horseless carriages (aka cars), which would unknown to them usher in a great period of city-to-city “contre la montre” races.

As interest and demand for this new kind of racing grew, so too did the rules and as with anything in which mass demand is accompanied by rules, the new sport went professional and international.
In 1895 the first-ever recognizable rally (not called that at the time) was ran through Paris-Bordeaux-Paris, with drivers allowed to go through farms and off the road, taking road notes and marking time spent from going through marked points. In the same year, the Club Automobile de France will organize the longest rally yet to date, and this one would take the format we have come to know today, divided into stages and ran from Bordeaux-Agen-Bordeaux.

Lancia Stratos
Lancia Stratos

Rally Cars, however, are a more specific subject. Usually built specially for the track, or simply modified version of the perfectly road-capable vehicle, rally cars are very much your every day Citroën, Peugeot, and Renault, just tweaked to survive the rigours of the race.

What is the best rally car?

So this is obviously going to be the tricky bit, not because of there no monsters cars (please, on the contrary!) but because the best cars have not been the ones with the best engines, but ones with the best drivers. So without further ado…

Citroen Xsara WRC
Citroen Xsara WRC

Citroën DS3/Xsara

These two cars will not be the best out there by any stretch of imagination, but Sebastian Loeb used them to devastating and dominating effect, winning the World Rally Championship a record nine times from 2004 to 2012, and set a record of 79 wins. Need to say more?

Audi Quattro

Besides being a total beast, the Audi Quattro changed the world of rally sports forever ever, when it became the first car with a four-wheel drive.


Probably you could say ‘legend’ and would be absolutely true. The first time car was created to rally racing originally.

Subaru Impreza

One of the most popular rally cars, the Impreza made an impressive debut in rallying by making a podium finish in its first ever race after replacing the Subaru Legacy. This is one of the most decorated and recognisable (watch out for the blue and yellow) cmrally cars of all time, with more than 150 WRC wins to its name.

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution

Remember that scene where Brian O’Connor, in 2003’s 2 Fast 2 Furious, instantly falls in love with the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution with its slick and unmistakable design (don’t forget to remember what he did with it).

The Evo is perhaps only bested by the Impreza in terms of popularity and success before Mmthe manufacturer went traipsing away from rally racing from 2002 to 2004.

Upon its return, the Evo was no more. (RIP Paul Walker)

This list is obviously not complete without a Porsche, or Fiat, or even a Peugeot, but let’s hear yours.