Northwest European
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What is a Homologation Special


What is a Homologation Special?

This is a question we often hear as interest in these cars continues to grow. In our opinion, it is one of the most interesting time periods that elicited a delicious recipe; where motorsport technology and sanctioning requirements met with road legal cars.

What does the term mean?

In layman’s terms – a “homologation special” is a road legal car, produced in limited series by a manufacturer, to meet a race sanctioning body requirement. Typically, the sanctioning body (FIA as example) would state that a certain number of street cars must be produced to allow the car to compete in the racing series. The most well-known examples come from Touring Car and Rally Championship series.

Examples of popular cars that are Homologation Specials?

Here is a short list, with some well-known examples (this list is in no way comprehensive):

  • Lancia Stratos
  • Renault R5 Turbo
  • Peugeot 205 T16
  • Lancia Delta S4
  • Ford Escort Cosworth RS
  • BMW E30 M3
  • Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16
  • Audi Sport quattro
  • Ford Sierra Cosworth
  • Lancia 037
  • Ford RS200

Examples of Race Series where these cars would have competed?

  • Rally - Group 4, Group B, Group A
  • World Touring Car Championship
  • FIA GT Sportscar Racing – Porsche GT1, Mercedes CLK GTR, etc.
  • World Superbike – Ducati, Honda, etc.

Why are these cars special/desirable?

  • Motorsports heritage built in from the beginning - cars were built to race series rules, and while often adapted from a current road going model, there are numerous examples of clean sheet designs.
  • This is a special time period in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s that produced road legal race cars that is unlikely to ever be seen again.
  • Series production in limited (sometimes extremely limited!) numbers.
  • Unique mixture of road legal cars for the general public with direct ties to iconic factory and privateer campaigned race cars.

What an odd word, what is the literal definition?

Homologation is a technical term, derived from the Greek homologeo for "to agree", which is generally used in English to signify the granting of approval by an official authority. This may be a court of law, a government department, or an academic or professional body, any of which would normally work from a set of strict rules or standards to determine whether such approval should be given. The word may be considered very roughly synonymous with accreditation, and in fact in French and Spanish may be used with regard to academic degrees. Certification is another possible synonym, while to homologate is the infinitive verb form. In today's marketplace, for instance, products must often be homologated by some public agency to assure that they meet standards for such things as safety and environmental impact. A court action may also sometimes be homologated by a judicial authority before it can proceed, and the term has a precise legal meaning in the judicial codes of some countries. The equivalent process of testing and certification for conformance to technical standards is usually known as Type Approval in English-language jurisdictions.” – From

I’d like to learn more…

Stay tuned, we will do some more in depth articles in the future, as well as check out our current inventory, these homologation special cars are an area of focus and passion here at Northwest European.