Sporting pretensions increase, as we move further up the ranks in this series.
155 PS | 1380 kg | 112 PS/t
Punching square holes in the air at frightening speeds, it’s the original turbo brick. Forced induction in Volvos was a novel idea at the time yet, with major success in the European Touring Car Championship of 1985, it’s clear the idea took off. Remember, these cars were not always of cult status: they earned it.
117 PS | 1030 kg | 114 PS/t
Here is a car which failed to lose its image problem too easily. Even with visible MG logos and fuel-injection, some questionable quality led it to become yet another source of comedy among the British Leyland circus. Regardless, much like the red seat belts, its admirable performance proved difficult to ignore.
145 PS | 1275 kg | 114 PS/t
Meet the Dodge Challenger. As much as the history books try to forget, this very car once held the iconic nameplate in hopes to impress the American public. Muscle car this was not, for what Mitsubishi created was a cruiser with little tolerance for the quarter mile; its lovely pillar-less doors were what mattered.
115 PS | 1010 kg | 114 PS/t
Known in Britain as the Vauxhall Cavalier, this vehicle became the ultimate object of desire for sales representatives across the country, all for the want of an ‘i’ badge to boast about. It was a strange time indeed, as some knew this car was based on the unfortunate GM J-body. Still, in this guise it was plenty fast.
89 PS | 780 kg | 114 PS/t
It brings me great sadness to announce that no hi-res colour press photos could be found for the Rallye model, so you will have to settle for the Samba Symba. In contrast, when the Peugeot-owned Talbot brand went under, very few felt sad: fewer noticed entirely. This underrated pocket rocket became their eulogy.
105 PS | 920 kg | 114 PS/t
Americans are still fighting over Mustangs and Camaros, but in Europe, pub brawls brewed over the Escort XR3i and Golf GTI. Both cars were largely similar in respects, serving as the staple hot hatches for the decade, but it appears the GTI has the upper hand on this list. Again, you can’t go wrong with either.
96 PS | 840 kg | 114 PS/t
Scratch that, it looks like the Escort’s baby brother has pipped it to the post (albeit by a few decimal places), talk about rubbing salt in the wound. Lacking the magic of fuel injection, it was never going to challenge the likes of the famed 205 GTI, but it would at least bring a smile to anyone at the wheel.
94 PS | 820 kg | 115 PS/t
Even the Fiesta was unsafe from hot hatch competition, in this case being beaten by yet another problem child from British Leyland. It’s not hard to see why though, as the combination of a mighty turbo and light weight was perfect. Sadly, that wasn’t enough, ongoing weight reduction via iron oxide killed many.
167 PS | 1442 kg | 116 PS/t
Before the later Taurus SHO adapted the role, this was an American four-door which possessed the ability to challenge any unsuspecting sports car. With (single-point) injection, (front) disc brakes and (almost) five litres of raw engine to play with, it has since remained criminally overlooked to this day.
80 PS | 690 kg | 116 PS/t
Yes, a Daihatsu was faster than all those previous cars. No, it’s not a joke. Rather, it’s proof of concept, essentially an exaggerated take on the Metro Turbo formula. The whole package isn’t far off an original Mini in weight, so when DeTomaso of supercar fame got their hands on it: warp speed approached.
Stay tuned next time as we enter an even greater supply of turbocharged beasts.
All photos sourced from WheelsAge.org.