I’d like to think that John Campion is my kind of guy. He has enough money to stuff an airplane hangar with Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and gold-encrusted Rolls Royces- if not, you know, an actual airplane. Instead of those things, though, he fills his hangar with classic rally cars. The crown jewel of Campion’s collection is something else, too: this savage Lancia Delta S4.
The guys over at Petrolicious took their camera crews out to John’s storage facility and interviewed him about his background and, of course, his incredible cars. It’s an incredibly human story, too, and talks about Campion coming to the US as, “a lucky immigrant” in the 80s- check it out, below, then let us know what you think of John and his S4 in the comments section at the bottom of the page.
This Lancia Delta S4 Is A Ballet Of Brutality
“It’s a car enthusiast’s collection, right,” says John Campion. “I don’t have cars because I want to impress anybody. If you don’t know what a rally car is, you’re kinda like, ‘That’s a dirty car, there are cracks on it’… But I find the passion I have for these cars goes back to the individuals who drove them.”
Beginning as a “lucky” immigrant to the U.S. in 1984 with $26 in his pocket, Campion has worked hard for the last few decades and is finally able to indulge in the vehicles most meaningful to him. From a Lotus Cortina similar to the Ford Cortina his father bought new in period to World Rally Championship rally-winning group B cars, his collection is definitely filled with fog lights and Martini stickers.
“I grew up in Ireland in the late-’60s and early ’70s, and had a fascination with all things mechanical,” he says. “My father was a mechanical kind of guy, and we grew up restoring old tractors and steam engines—so once I started making a few dollars, I started purchasing cars, and went through the wholly myriad of cars and ended up where we are today, which is predominantly cars from my youth— rally cars.”
He makes no mistakes in recognizing his limitations as a driver, because piloting some of the fastest all-road vehicles ever conceived takes a steel will and full commitment. “I drive the car for 15 minutes, and I’m exhausted,” he says to convey how amazing Group B pilots were in period.
“Group B drivers were the best of the best of the best …” he says. “But it’s still humbling to drive the same car as these rally legends; to be able to show the cars, drive the cars, and get a wider audience for these race cars. If you own them and don’t show them, and you own them and don’t drive them, and own them but don’t share them…it’s a rich man’s folly.”
Source | Images: Petrolicious.