1986 Olympus Rally Part 1: Scrutineering

Back in 1986, the Toyota Olympus Rally in Washington State, was the last round of the 1986 World Rally Championship.  It was the end of the Group B era, Group B was to be banned at the end of the 1986 season.  Peugeot and Lancia were battling for the Driver’s championship even though the Peugeot 205 in the hands of Juha Kankunnen was the dominant force of the ’86 season, due to some funny business at the San Remo rally earlier in the fall.  The two factories sent cars to the Olympus for Juha Kankunnen and Markku Allen.  I was a junior at the UW back in ’86 and my friend and my older brother and I were lucky enough to attend the event on a cold, December weekend.  I took these pictures at the Tacoma Dome, in Tacoma, WA on Thursday, December 4th, 1986, where Scrutineering and the start was held.  I used my trusty Olympus OM-2s with real film.

The Peugeot factory team was there with a 205T-16 Evolution for Juha Kankunnen.

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Lancia was represented both by the factory team with a Delta S4 for Markku Allen and by the private team of the Alessandrini brothers.  Note the Martini & Rossi on the factory car instead of the typical Martini only.

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Toyota was the event sponsor and fielded a team of three Toyota Team Europe Group B Celicas for Bjorn Waldegaard, Lars-Erik Torph and Steve Millen.  Steve is Rod Millen’s older brother and raced Off-Road stadium trucks for Toyota.  Here is Waldegaard and his Toyota,

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American rally legend John Buffum was there with is Audi of America supported Sport Quattro.  Michele Mouton drove the car at Pikes Peak in 1985, and JB had been battling Rod Millen in his AWD RX-7 in the US SCCA Pro-Rally series.

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Rod Millen was entered in a Group A Mazda 323 GTX, since his custom built RX-7 AWD he usually competed with wasn’t homologated for the WRC.

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“Monster” Tajima and Jean Lindamood in a Suzuki Cultus (Swift).

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Volkswagen of America had a couple of Golf’s in the event.  They were prepared by Guy Light’s Light Performance Works.

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Gary English entered the Alfa Ricambi sponsored Alfa Romeo Alfetta GT.  I’m a dyed in the wool Alfisti, so I had to take a picture.  Too bad about the background…

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3 comments

  1. Wow! Thanks for taking the time to put all these pictures up. I will definitely be following the blog.
    Love that 323GTX above.

  2. My name is Gary English and this in my Car! I bought it 10 weeks before the rally. It was a street car, I had a Datsun 510, I had rallied for 10 years in the California Rally Series. I moved all the rally stuff from the 510, Got a bolt in cage from England and preped the Alfa Alfetta 2.0 for group N. The goal was to be left over at the end, eg finish the Rally. We made it 2 days of the 4. The root cause was, not enough spring, which lead to exhaust failure, that ultimately cough the wiring harness on fire. The car & the battery died at the start of one of the last night stages on the 2nd day. My navigator Mike Blore and I spent the next 2 days spectating the last running of the Group B cars. In hindsight the best of both, running in the last group B rally and getting to see (and feel) these fantastic cars run. They showered you with rocks as they approached! and shook the ground! On stages that I averaged 32 mph They average over 70! averaged! it was almost as if the laws of physics have been exceed. I also got to meet Alen and Kankkunam. Thanks again to the fantastic support I received from the Northwest Alfa Club.

  3. Nice! – I’ve never seen many photos of this event or even the Buffum Audi nor the later competitors. Thank you for sharing us the pictures and the written memories!

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