Subaru MP-1 Utility + Homologation Version

Published on: Feb 9, 2016 @ 17:35
Originally Published in: 2015 (old website)
(C) Jay Auger - website owner & author
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Ron Shapley’s Subaru MP-1 at the New Zealand Rally

During the short-lived Group B era, Subaru focused its official rallying ambitions in Group A with the Leone and later with the RX Turbo. However, Subaru would homologate two cars into Group B; the 2nd generation MP-1 Utility and later on the XT 1.8 Turbo. With large enough production numbers, it is safe to assume that the FISA regulations on the minimal interior space for Group A is why these two cars were homologated in Group B instead. Group B itself was divided into multiple classes pertaining to engine displacement, giving smaller engine / low horsepower cars a chance to clinch their respective class honours instead of going for the impossible overall win.

The MP-1 Utility is known to have made two appearances in the WRC New Zealand Rally; driven both times by privateer Ron Shapley, the car managed a respectable 23rd (1985) and 35th (1986) overall place finish. However, the car was competing in the B/11 class (for engines between 1599~1999 cc), managing a 4th (1985) and 2nd (1986) class place finish.

Very little is known about the specs of the MP-1 rally car other than it was running in the B/11 class. However, this gives an important clue as it confirms the homologation papers stating that the car used the normally aspirated “EA-81S” 1781 cc unit instead of the turbocharged version that was also available at the time (which would have put it in the B/12 class with the x1.4 forced induction factor).

In twin carburetor form, the EA-81 engine was known to be able to produce around 100 HP / 90 TQ. It is safe to assume that the rally car was using that configuration and made around that amount of power. A longer ratio 1.950 second gear was also used on the rally car. Other than a basic aluminium roll cage, the rest of the car remained stock, featuring all steel body panels and normal safety glass.


Group/Class B/11 Homologation number: B-259 (click # for the papers)
Years active 1985~86 Homologation

  • start: March 1st 1984
  • end: December 31st 1999
Type EA-81S, H-4, OHV 8 valves, gas front, longitudinal
Displacement 1781 cc  WRC = 1781 cc
Compression ratio
  • road version: 8.7:1
  • rally version: N/A
Output power – torque
  • road version: 95 HP @ 6400 RPM
  • rally version: N/A
  • road version: 89 lb-ft @ 4000 RPM
  • rally version: N/A
Materials block: aluminium cylinder head: aluminium
  • Normal / Natural
  • Twin DCG 306 Hitachi Carburetors
Ignition N/A
Cooling system water-cooled
Lubrication system wet sump N/A
Type four wheel drive 4 speed manual
Gearbox ratios
  • 1st: 3.636
  • 2nd: 1.950
  • 3rd: 1.344
  • 4th: 0.942
  • R: 3.583
Differential ratios 3.70 single/dual range transfer case
Clutch single plate, mechanical
Type Leone-based steel monocoque chassis with roll cage, 2 door “coupe utility” steel bodyshell
Front suspension McPherson struts, coil springs, wishbone, anti-roll bar
Rear suspension semi-trailing arm, torsion bar
Steering system rack & pinion 18.5:1 (3.8 turns lock to lock)
  • Front: single piston calipers
  • Rear: drums
dual circuit, hydraulic
length: 4415 mm (173.8 in) width: 1635 mm (64.4 in) height: 1430 mm (56.3 in)
wheelbase: 2445 mm (96.3 in) front track: 1265 mm (49.8 in) rear track: 1250 mm (49.2 in)
Rims – tires
  • 13 inch
  • N/A
Curb Weight 935 kg (2060 lb)
Weight/power N/A
Fuel tank 55 litres


Subaru Brat

While the Group B homologation is under the “MP-1” name, this quirky coupe utility by Subaru is also known under various names; 284, Brat, Brumby, MV, MPV, Shifter, and Targa. A very far cry away from being an homologation special (which it obviously isn’t) the car was produced from 1978 to 1994 thus carries a wide range of specifications: CLICK HERE.



(C) Articles by Jay Auger – website owner & author

  • All homologation papers are the property of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA): SOURCE

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