For those of a certain age, you’ll remember the TVR Cerbera Speed 12 as the car that was totally uncontrollable in Gran Turismo. Others might remember it as the McLaren F1 rival that never was. So perhaps that is why the TVR was voted number one by a clear majority of CTzens when we asked the original community question.
However, we have to highlight that the Speed 12 is not strictly a ‘homologation’ special, primarily due to its difficult gestation period. The Speed 12 was originally designed so that TVR could race in the GT1 class at Le Mans. And because the small company didn’t have the funds of manufacturers like Porsche and Nissan, they planned to work their way up to international competition, starting with the British GT Championship.
Unfortunately, by the time the ladies and gents at TVR had completed testing and felt they were ready to take on Circuit de la Sarthe, the GT1 rules were changed to rule out purpose-built race cars. As a result the Speed 12’s Le Mans campaign was over before it had even begun. So there was no longer a need to actually homologate the bonkers machine. But to avoid the whole project being a waste of time, TVR planned to put a road going variant into production.
The road car was powered by two Cerbera straight-six engines, glued together to create a 7.7-litre V12. This truly insane engine allegedly produced 800bhp, but it was known to be putting out over 1000bhp on the dyno. Even in the modern world of Bugatti Veyrons and McLaren P1s, 800bhp in a car weighing 1100kg sounds pretty terrifying. And supposedly, it was this that led to its demise.
Peter Wheeler, who owned the Blackpool based company, famously took a pre-production version of the Speed 12 out for a drive on his local road and immediately declared that the car was too dangerous to be sold to the public. A strange decision for a manufacturer who was known for building some of the most extreme cars in production.
Allegedly on the basis of that quick drive, Wheeler cancelled all orders for the new road car. In the end only one Speed 12 was ever delivered to a individually vetted customer. So it’s not a homologation special in the traditional sense, but it is still incredible car.
Ford has created some phenomenal motorsport machines in the last century, but one that often gets overlooked is the RS200. Built from the ground up as a Group B rally car, the RS200 was a short wheelbase, four-wheel drive missile. But in order for the car to race in Group B, the FIA required that 200 road going models were produced.
The road car featured a 1.8-litre Cosworth tuned four-cylinder motor that produced around 250bhp, much less than the rally car. But with its short wheelbase and ferocious on-the-limit-handling, this probably wasn’t a bad thing. However, clearly some owners were braver than others, with 24 of the 200 cars being upgraded to a 600bhp Evolution specification.
After the death of Henri Toivonen in 1986, Group B cars were banned and the RS200 was retired after only two years of competition.
The Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 is arguably the coolest Group B Homologation car of all time. Just like the RS200, Peugeot had to build 200 road cars in order to compete in the war zone that was Group B. The 205’s specification was ridiculously close to its rally car counterpart. It featured a mid-engined 1.8-litre turbocharged engine and put its 197bhp to the ground via an advanced (at the time) four-wheel drive system.
The exterior of the car shares hardly anything with the standard 205 GTI; the lights and the grill are about all that remain. A tubular steel structure demanded that everything was flared to the maximum and the clamshell is pure supercar. We want one badly.
In order for Porsche to enter the highly competitive GT1 category back in 1996, a total of 23 road going-machines had to be built. To be specific there were two 1996 cars, 20 1997 cars and only one variant was built in 1998.
The Strassenversion (road going) uses a 3.2-litre twin-turbo flat-six engine which puts out 536bhp and 443lb ft of torque. Now these might not seem like big numbers compared to modern supercars like the Porsche 918, but considering the GT1 only weighed 1120kg, the GT1 could get to 62mph in around 3.8 seconds.
Unfortunately the GT1 was routinely beaten on track by Mercedes’ ferocious CLK-GTR. As a result Porsche - along with a number of other manufacturers - pulled out of the GT1 class for 1999, effectively killing the championship class.
Key regulations were introduced for 1995 in the FIA GT1 championship that effectively abolished prototype racers from the class. Eyeing an opportunity, Nissan decided that it would base its new Le Mans racer on the highly successful R33 Skyline. Unusually, only one road car had to be built to homologate the model, so Nismo did just that.
The R33 GT-R LM retained its RB26DETT engine and produced a reasonable 305bhp which was sent to the rear wheels. Visually, the biggest difference was the wide body kit that Nismo designed to accommodate the race car’s wider track. Because only one car had to be built, the LM was never sold. It is now stored in Nissan’s invitation-only museum.
Are there any other specials that you feel should be on the list? Let us know!