People take some crazy cars rallying, but seeing a 1980 Plymouth Fire Arrow on the 2014 Sno*Drift Rally entry list piqued my interest more than most oddities. A running Fire Arrow is a novelty on any day, but a rally-prepared version of the Malaise Era captive import is something special. As a certified Master of the Internets, I was able—after many arduous seconds spent typing “Fire Arrow rally video” into a search engine—to find a video of it running the final night stage of last year’s Sno*Drift . Follow the jump for that video and for more on this profoundly cool car’s (and its driver’s) history. [Hint: It’s appeared on this site before.]
You see, this is not merely a Fire Arrow. It’s a Fire Arrow that belongs to Steve Nowicki, a former privateer rallyist who won the Production Class Drivers’ Championship in SCCA’s ProRAlly three times. Nowicki, a shrewd 23 year old from Wisconsin when he won his first championship in 1982, ran up against big-dollar teams with his Fire Arrow and collected five class wins that year, including a snowy Reno rally in December to wrap up the championship.
Nowicki eventually hung up his rally helmet in the 1980s (though he’s hardly been away from motorsports), but in recent years, he acquired and built a “new” Fire Arrow, which he’s entered in a few regional rallies in the Group 2 class (two-wheel drive with a naturally aspirated engine less than 3.0 liters) starting in 2012.
The Fire Arrow was the high-performance version of the Arrow, itself a rebadged Mitsubishi Celeste. Powered by early versions of the Mitsubishi 4G64 2.6-liter engine that would later find its way into some Starions, the Fire Arrow was reasonably quick for its time, making 60 mph in less than 10 seconds from a stop. Several rally competitors ran Fire Arrows in various rallies, but Nowicki was one of the best at it.
Today, the Fire Arrow is generally overpowered by modern Group 2 entries, although Nowicki managed a class win at the 2013 Super Special Stage of Sno*Drift. The nighttime video isn’t anything too exciting on its face, but Hoons should rejoice that Nowicki puts this Fire Arrow through its paces. Indeed, the Sno*Drift crowd goes nuts for the Fire Arrow around the video’s 4:00 mark and Nowicki responds by pitching the old Plymouth sideways through a snow-packed hairpin in the rally’s final stage. Glorious.
[Photos: STPR_Rally’s Flickr Photostream]