What is a Group A car?
To qualify for approval, a minimum of 2500 cars of the competing model had to be built in one year, out of 25,000 for the entire range of the model (e.g.: 2500 Subaru Impreza WRX, out of 25,000 Subaru Impreza). Up to 1991, the requirement was a minimum of 5000 cars in one year, without regard to the entire range, but the FIA allowed "Evolution" models to be homologated with a minimum of 500 cars (e.g.: BMW M3 Sport Evo, Mercedes-Benz W201 Evo, Nissan Skyline GT-R NISMO). Rules also required some of the interior panels to be retained, e.g. interior door panels and dashboard.
However, not all manufacturers who built 500 such models sold them all, some stripped the majority of them to rebuild them as stock models or used them to allow teams to use modified parts. One such example of this was Volvo with the 240 Turbo in 1985. After they had produced 500 such models, Volvo stripped 477 cars of their competition equipment and sold them as standard 240 turbo roadcars. As a result, after FISA's failed attempt at finding an "Evolution" car in any European countries, Volvo were forced to reveal the names of all 500 "evo" owners to be permitted to compete. The other example was Ford, after selling off their entire RS500 stocks, they read the rulebooks and found themselves that rather than using either the Sierra Cosworths or the RS500s, they could use the body of the basic 3-door Sierra, which Ford was discontinuing, and use their Evolution equipment on them. Nowadays, these cars are treated as any other model in the range.
Australian manufacturer Holden also failed to build the required 500 cars for their VN Commodore SS Group A SV in 1991 (though they had no problems producing 5,000 base model VN Commodores). There were in fact only 302 of the Group A SV's built. However, since Group A as a category was to be replaced from 1993 in Australia, and to give Holden's latest flagship model a presence in Australian touring car racing (the previous model VL Commodore SS Group A SV which had been designed by TWR had been racing since 1988, though it was actually released after Holden had already launched the VN model), the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport (CAMS) fully homologated the VN Commodore for racing.
For touring car competition, vehicles such as the BMW 635 CSi and M3, Jaguar XJS, various turbo Ford Sierras the V8 Ford Mustang, the turbo Volvo 240T, Rover Vitesse, various V8 Holden Commodores, various turbo Nissan Skylines, including the 4WD, twin turbo GT-R, Mitsubishi Starion Turbo, Alfa Romeo 75 (turbo) and GTV6, various Toyota Corollas and the Toyota Supra Turbo A were homologated. In the European Touring Car Championship, Group A consisted of three divisions, Division 3 – for cars over 2500cc, Division 2 – for car engine sizes of 1600–2500cc, Division 1 for cars that are less than 1600cc. These cars competed in standard bodykits, with the production-derived nature required manufactures to release faster vehicles for the roads in order to be competitive on the track. Tyre width was dependent on the car's engine size.
The FIA continued to promulgate regulations for Group A touring cars until at least 1993. Group A survived in touring car racing in domestic championships until 1994, when the German Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft (DTM) switched to a 2.5L Class 1 formula, while in Japan by that year as the Japanese Touring Car Championship organisers followed suit and switched classes like most other countries who had adopted the British Touring Car Championship-derived Supertouring regulations. Many of the redundant Skylines found a new home in the form of the JGTC (Japanese GT Championship) with modified aerodynamic devices, showing its competitiveness whilst being up against Group C, former race modified roadcars and specially developed racers, like the Toyota Supras during the earlier years.
The Confederation of Australian Motor Sport had originally announced in mid-1983 that Australia would adopt Group A from 1 January 1985 to replace the locally developed Group C rules that had been in place since 1973 (Group A in Australia actually started in mid-late 1984, but would not become uniform until 1985). From 1993, CAMS replaced Group A (or Group 3A as it was officially designated in Australia ) with a new formula for Australian Touring Car racing. This was initially open to five litre V8 powered cars and two litre cars (later to become known as V8 Supercars and Super Touring Cars respectively).
Hillclimb races still use Group A as a touring car class across Europe, while in Australia Group A is now a historic class, though only actual cars raced from 1985–1992 (complete with log books) are allowed to compet