In the early to mid 1980s the FIA had a racing class known as Group B. In order for a car to qualify for Group B, manufacturers had to build a minimum of 200 road legal examples and then certain modifications were allowed to evolution examples that were raced. Most Group B cars were intended for rallying although some ended up on the race tracks as well. Most European car-makers got into the game and built a Group B car, including such legends as the the Ferrari 288 GTO, the Ford RS200, the MG Metro 6R4, Peugeot 205 T16 and many others. Unfortunately these cars proved to be too wild and costly and the FIA cancelled Group B after only a few years.

One of the most renowned Group B cars was the Porsche 959, at the time the wildest, fastest, most technological advanced Porsche ever. In the intervening years "run of the mill" 911s have eclipsed the performance of 959, but at the time it was king of the hill. None of the less than 250 examples were ever made US street legal from the factory although some were privately imported to the US anyway, including two by Microsoft founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen. They weren't allowed on public streets until 1999 when they and other rare cars were given an exemption to drive a limited number of annual miles. Since then Gates is reported to take regular late night jaunts in his 959, although those days appear to be numbered. The state of Washington is looking for ways to reduce pollution and Governor Chris Gregoire is considering trying to get those rare car exemptions revoked. If that happens Gates may only ever be able to drive his 959 on race tracks from now on.

[Source: Australian IT News]

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