80's/90's mid decade rally cross is the best cross. Group B was dead unless it was in a gladiatorial arena with fences to keep spectators away from the fire dragons. The rare place anything with 600 to 800 dragonpower could get out and stretch. This also included whatever you could build on your own that can take it on. For example: Arlid Martinsen's boostacular E30-M3.
...who built his own M3 complete with AWD and a similar turbo used in the F1 BMW cars. Sadly little info is public about this build. (It was the subject of one of my first posts ever here. Link fixed, new source.)
It took some knife-like handling Metro 6R4's and some RS200 Fords to outpace it.
Developments happen. Have a RS200 Evolution. Evolved into a berzerker of unknown boost and octane.
You could build yourself anything you wanted. Teams were only starting to have bigger budgets and your home made thing could have a chance, until those RS200's and 800hp Porsche "935's" appeared, making your little Mazda 323 GTX a hopeless cat toy. Who knows what they really were inside but they had as much wing as possible strapped on with what was practically an over boosted Group-C 3.2 engine. The age of non-factory support was nearing the end.
This was a home brew sprint. If you had the talent, with a wrench as well, you could win. Martin Schanche was pulling down some Audi's in this nice little Ford with a little help from a few well placed Zakspeed parts.
So where does that leave us today in the grand scheme of quality? Is this just as fantastic today?
Well, the action is most assuredly so. the action is still just as powerful and just as sideways and just as frenetic and desparate.
However-and a big however-money talks now days. Buy a factory fiesta from a factory chosen builder and you too can play on the big end of the stick. For the lower end 2wd classes, quite a few get, again, similar rally equipment but if you have heart and desire and some driving talent, a plan can be made and built and acted on. It can work if you do it right!
In, say, a ford Fairmount wagon.
Rally cross is attainable in whatever vehicle. It's attainable at every level. A set of steelies and snow tires for the dirt and grass are cheap (relatively speaking). There is a category for everyone in the SCCA: you vs. the clock style or on the circuit of the 'global' scene. There's no shortage of something not too far away. So, in effect, the rally cross of old was spectacular, but now, we got our own version that does not involve fiberglass shredding and sponsorship. It's something that we can afford, just like Auto cross and that makes today's version just as great, the accessibility.