1986 Olympus Rally Revisited: Scrutineering

My good friend and fellow rally nut, Denton Morris  went with me and my older brother to the Olympus.   Denton is now a physicist at Fermi Labs and also a professional photographer.  He graciously scanned his photos and allowed me to post them here.  You can see his recent work at his website  www.dentonmorris.com.  The photos below are Denton’s property and he holds all the rights to them, please contact him directly, or me and I will put you in touch, if you wish to reuse them.

Scrutineering was held on a late Thursday afternoon in early December in Tacoma, WA at the Tacoma Dome.  We hung around in the parking lot and caught the cars as they arrived.

John Buffum / Neil Wilson in the short wheelbase Sport Quattro.


The late Jon Woodner in his Peugeot 205 T-16.  This was one of the 200 road going homologation cars that Jon had converted to rally specs in the UK as Peugeot Sport would not sell him an ex-works car.



Rod Millen got his Mazda 323 GTX ready in the parking lot.


The factory Peugeot of Juha Kankunnen was also sitting in the parking lot.  We couldn’t believe that we were actually seeing a real works car.


BTW that is me in the back in the red coat :-).


The cars were rolled into the Tacoma Dome via the service entrance.


This is a really cool shot that I’m glad Denton took of the floor of the Tacoma Dome while scrutineering was going on.  Note all the Toyota banners and the new for 1986 Toyotas outside of the scruitineering area.  Toyota was the sponsor of the rally, but since manufacturers are not allowed to sponsor rallies, there was some creative bending of the rules and looking the other way by the FIA.


Toyota Team Europe had 3 Group B Celicas entered.  Here is Bjorn Waldegaard’s #3.


TTE entered a car for Rod’s brother Steve Millen.  Steve drove Stadium trucks for Toyota.  Maybe this was a reward…


I haven’t been able to find the name of the crew, but apparently this was the last WRC event for the venerable Saab 96 after 30 years of service.  After 1986 it was no longer eligible.


The local crew of Whiting / Damitio’s Toyota undergoes inspection.  The car was sponsored by the local Olympia Toyota dealer.


Markku Alen’s Lancia Delta S4 undergoes inspection.


The Alessandrini brothers privately entered Delta S4 in the scruitineering area.


Guy Light’s Light Performance Works had prepared two Golf GTI’s entered for Volkwagen of America.  Walter Boyce was the driver of one, Guy was the driver of the other.








  1. Thanks for posting. This was a delightful trip down memory lane. Where others see drivers/cars/competition, I remember the massive amount of work done by the greatest & most dedicated group of people on Earth to make all that happen. Long ago and far away, now, but still some of the very best times ever. Thanks for the memories! Claudia Joy Bandy (formerly Claudia Nagel)

  2. Great articles and photos. I also have a book signed by John. Sadly it only covers half of his story. The second half isnt written but would be just as interesting. Hes still very involved in rally. I hope someone captures his and others stories soon.

  3. The Saab 96 with start number 42 was built and run by John Vanlandingham from Seattle, co-driven by Dave Wilson–in his second event ever…It was in fact the last International event the great 96 was eligible for as production had ended in 1980 and FIA had a “5 year rule” after which Homologation expired. But ’86 was 6 years? Saab sold off roller shells thru 1981 and generously extended homologation thereby..
    The start number proves that Saab 96 in rally form is indeed the answer to all life’s big questions of life, the universe and everything….as we so produdly proclaimed at the time—apologies to Douglas Addams!

    We DNF with broken ring gear on SS19—and then got to spectate the Last GpB event in World History!!

    The car was put back to US “Open” spec and went on to get pounded another 11 seasons, even winning one class win in the newly introduced “Group 2” class for normal aspirated 2wd cars when it won Group2 at1995 Maine Summer Pro Rally, then co-driven by the always cool Debbie Sweet..
    That car is sitting about 40 feet from where I type..

    I’m the guy that built and ran it for 12 years.

    I have a scan of an article from the Swedish motorsport weekly covering that car and the 99 Saab of Göran Östlund, I can forward it if you’d like..might fit in here.

    1. John, Thanks for the added information on the 96. By all means fwd the article. The site has been pretty stale lately. I need to get the stack of pictures from Olympus ’88 scanned and up.

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