Some of you already know Jay as the owner and author of this website and that obviously makes him one of the best Group B aficionado and connoisseur on the planet. His journey is however an humble one, especially in such an elitist world, but we nonetheless invite you to follow him through the story about how his love for Group B changed his life.
QUICK BROWSE CONTENT
- JAY’s JOURNEY
- RALLY GROUP B SHRINE CREATION
- 53B RS-TURBO 16V: A Tribute to Group B and the 1980s + A Return to Rallying
- WHY WAS GROUP B SO AWESOME?
- JAY’s ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
- CONTACT FORM
Born in the 1970’s in Canada, Jay has been a rallying fan for as long as he can remember and has the sport to thank for his undeniable love for cars. In his youth, he followed his father, a RCAF loadmaster, to some of his various military assignments around the world. In mid-1986, one of them gave Jay the incredible opportunity to be stationed in Germany at the peak of the Golden Era of rallying. After seeing an Audi Sport quattro E2 for the very first time, he instantly fell in love with the Group B rally machines; the speed, the power, the looks, the audacity of it all! It was the beginning of a lifetime obsession: the passion. Jay’s family adventure in Europe was sadly cut short, as was Group B itself, and in September of 1987 he came back to his home country, this time for good… or is it?
It was not long after that Jay wanted to emulate his high-flying and fire-spitting heroes. However, most of the car models of Group B never were available in North America. As such, he had to make due with much cheaper second-hand base models such as an Opel Kadett E (GM import), Mazda 323 GTX, Subaru Legacy RS, Mitsubishi Colt-Lancer and a very rusty Audi Coupe quattro – the latter stranding him on the side of the road on the very first day. Sadly, Jay’s small stints into local rallycross events were as short-lived as the quattro and he quickly parted ways with these rather rare cars as soon they started breaking down. He often nags himself in the thought that he would be having a quattro E2 replica at this very moment if only he realised that the selling of the Audi would be one of the biggest mistakes of his early adult life.
Quite distraught, Jay went into a slump that lasted for a few years. This unfortunately made him forego his love for 1980’s machinery, so he purchased more modern and more reliable Subaru cars such as the WRX and STi models. It is at this point in time that he realised that he should build up his mechanic skills to be able to take care of his cars himself, hopefully saving enough money to get back on the rallying saddle.
One day, the dream almost collapsed: a person he cares very much for was hit with a degenerative disease and that melted his wallet back to almost nothing. However, this somehow gave him the courage needed to not give up on his goals and go forward, finally turning his fear of failure into determination. Hence, Jay went out to learn the proper skills needed to fabricate his own rally cars from top to bottom.
Jay would fiddle around with one of his Subarus and be the first person worldwide to short-wheelbase a GD platform, initially by six inches, ultimately by eighteen inches overall. Then, in a weird twist of fate, nostalgia kicked down the door: his undying love for the 1980’s and Group B suddenly came back like a tidal-wave! Hence Jay parted out with his beloved and quite unique rally car.
It all obviously wasn’t a logical choice but the nostalgic link to the 1980’s, be it music, movies, cars, etc, is something that gives Jay much solace. With these personal moments, for mere seconds at a time, recalling feelings of youth; a time when everything felt better, simpler. It’s his “drug”, as he tells it. Jay thus begun building from scratch his own vision of a Group B fantasy car, basing it on one of his other childhood loves – a second generation Volkswagen Scirocco. The car finally made the possibility for a return to rallying in 2020 after a near 20 year hiatus! For more details about Jay’s very special Group B / 1980’s tribute car project and his rally stories, please CLICK HERE.
In a decade, this exceptional journey of hard work and dedication has made Jay become a self-taught welder (MIG, TIG, Stick), fabricator, mechanic, engine builder and bodywork adept – turning him into an avid “do-it-yourself” person. This led him to also fabricate his own trailer to haul his current creations to competitions and venues. First as a simple flat-deck, then converting it into a sliding-tarp design to make it feasible to work all around the car while protected from the elements if, say, the garage is already crowded with another one of Jay’s creations.
One day, Jay fully realised that his Group B passion had been life-changing; every skill, every major decision, every people he met, it all traces back to when a young lad saw, eyes-wide and jaw-dropped, a Group B car zoom by.
THE RALLY GROUP B SHRINE
Jay’s nostalgia culminated in a need to further research Group B history. It is then he noticed that there wasn’t a website dedicated to Group B rallying that was very inclusive of all content; some had information only about the cars, others only about the statistics, and most only carried partial, biased, or incomplete information. This led to the creation of the “Rally Group B Shrine” which was originally put up on Jay’s personal blog in 2014.
Hundreds, if not thousands of hours (Jay says he eventually lost count) of his time was used to research and write all the articles. Since Jay then resided in Canada, he was nowhere near actual Group B cars or museums, and this made the whole adventure quite difficult at first. In a short amount of time, the “Shrine” soon became the most popular section of Jay’s blog which made him realise that it should be independent – this is where we are now!
Alongside Jay’s various rally and race car projects, the adventure has so far given him the opportunity to communicate with some of Group B’s legends, to publish specialised Group B articles to various auto magazines of renown, all the while helping out the Group B community such as getting involved in sourcing hard to find parts and restoration projects.
This Shrine is part of the master plan to make him relive the childhood dream of being part of Group B. He does note that the website yet remains an ongoing project in itself, at a fraction of his overall vision. Jay hopes that the Shrine will be one day recognised as the “official” Group B encyclopedia. We can say that Jay is well on his way!
Since the genesis of the Shrine I have become a published author by providing Group B-related articles to auto magazines of renown. However, I have to say many thanks to the people who’s publications have inspired me because, if not for them, I wouldn’t possess the knowledge that I do and this website would not exist or be as complete; Graham Robson, Mike Moreton, John Davenport, Reinhard Klein, Vittorio Roberti, Luca Gastaldi, Bill Munro, the collective work of Motor Sport Magazine, and Auto Moto and Sport Magazine. You could even say that my love for Group B might not have been as strong if I didn’t have their work as a daily reminder.
I dedicate the “Rally Group B Shrine” to the exploits and sacrifice of the courageous drivers and co-drivers, imaginative engineers, hardy mechanics, and everyone involved in making what Group B was. Shall they be remembered forever!
Rally Group B Shrine owner, main author and chief editor
The Rally Group B Shrine is a small team of volunteers, simple fans at a glance, but with an extraordinary amount of passion. All is done in the little free time that is not dedicated their family, side-projects, and career. As such, if you find the website enjoyable and a good source of information, a small personal donation could be much appreciated! The Shrine expansion is still ongoing with as much effort as can possibly be put into it.
Do you have questions for Jay or about his website? If so, please use the contact form below to get in touch! (anonymous or hateful messages will be rejected)
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