After the tragic events of 1986 at Corsica, it was clear Group B had little legs left in it, but its scheduled replacement, Group S, didn’t even manage to get off the ground. Despite so, a couple manufacturers managed to develop cars for the series ahead of time, including the ultimate rally car to never rally, Lancia’s incredible ECV.
Billed as the replacement to the supercharged, turbocharged, 1000hp four-wheel drive Delta S4 monster, the ECV, or Experimental Composite Vehicle was built to toe the line of the new Group S regulations. About as simple as it got, the Group S rules would have limited output to 300 horsepower and a run of just 10 road cars for homologation, but outside of the power limit, manufacturers had total free reign. Constructed, as the name suggests from composite materials such as carbon fibre and kevlar, the super lightweight 900kg body was mated to a mid-mounted 1.8-litre twin-turbocharged power plant kicking out around 600 horsepower. Had Group S proceeded the ‘Triflux’ crossed valve engines power output would have been significantly handicapped, though today the glorious prototype ECV exists in its raw, unshackled, flame spitting purity, capable of sprinting from 0-60 in just 2.5 seconds; quick enough to shame a LaFerrari.
As Group S was cancelled before take-off, the monstrous ECV was never given the chance to prove its metal in competition, but still managed to mark the end of the golden years of rallying with one hell of a bang.