5 homologated Lancia rally cars one can buy today
The later versions of the Lancia Delta Integrale are now importable, thanks to the 25-year rule.
They say you should never meet your heroes, in the chance that you’ll be disappointed. Well, what if your hero is a Group B race car whose poster you had on your wall in the mid-1980s? For some car enthusiasts, not only is it possible to meet their hero but it’s possible to take that hero to a Wendy’s drive-thru or to buy a couple of bags of mulch at Home Depot.
Lancia’s rally history dates back decades before Group B was even created, as the Italian marque’s cars were often used for overland expeditions and rallies in the years after WWII. Lightweight aluminum construction, intricate metalwork, powerful but not thirsty engines and great handling made them a favorite of various adventurers who took them across almost all continents. It was this pedigree that sparked the post-war racing efforts by the automaker, an era that, unfortunately, did not last long enough, running out of steam in 1992.
Homologated does not mean domesticated and that is a good thing, as Martha Stewart would say, and thankfully enthusiasts now have a few choices of homologated Lancia rally cars to choose from while also having their choice of lesser examples that can be found for well below $10,000, just without the potent engines. The investment-grade homologated cars aren’t for every budget, but when it comes to sheer number and variety along with investment potential, Lancia’s cars are hard to beat.
The Fulvia can be found in a wide range of conditions these days, but the best kept Rallye 1.6 HF models are the ones to collect.
1. Lancia Fulvia Rallye 1.6 HF
The Lancia Fulvia Rallye HF is where it all started in 1963, when Lancia fielded a small and light front-wheel drive coupe to battle other European cars in the arena that mattered: sales. Powered by a longitudinally-mounted V4 engine, the Fulvia’s racing prowess was quickly noted, allowing Lancia to win the Italian Rally Championship in 1965…and every year thereafter, until 1973. The coupe offered a 65-percent front-biased weight distribution that, coupled with its modest curb weight and a favorable suspension, made it a favorite of privateer rally drivers. HF stands for High Fidelity, which is a moniker that needs to make a comeback in some cars. You can still find examples of the Rallye 1.6 HF today to experience that high fidelity.
The good news about this particular model is that there were quite a few of these produced, and plenty of others in less heroic specifications, so prices and condition can vary widely. The best examples will command some serious lira, but there are driver-grade cars out there as well that have yet to be restored.
Price now: $35,000 to $75,000. This wide value range is explained by several different versions of this car, as well as a variety of mileages and conditions. But the good news is that this is the most affordable Lancia rally car for the road, and that non-HF examples can also be readily found simply as used cars. But as always it pays to buy the best example you can find, whichever flavor of the Fulvia you choose.
We saw this 1975 Lancia Stratos at Greenwich Concours in 2016.
2. Lancia Stratos HF Stradale
The Lancia Stratos is a car that needs no introduction in enthusiast circles, because it’s probably the coolest car to come out of the 1970s. Created with rallying in mind from the very start, the Stratos paired a very short wheelbase with a 2.4-liter Dino V6 engine in different states of tune and a modest curb weight, as little as 1,940 lbs in Group 4 configuration. Homologation requirements meant that Lancia was mandated to produce 500 of these starting in 1973, but Group 4 requirements were relaxed to 400 units over a span of two years. Lancia ended up building just under 500 examples, (492 is believed to be the final number) marketing it as the Lancia Stratos HF Stradale.
One would think that all examples of the car have been kept under guard in private collections all this time, but believe it or not there was a Stratos in “barn find” condition offered at auction a few years ago. Of course, it wasn’t terribly mistreated, but we should note that quite a few perished early on in racing crashes of the time.
Price now: $250,000 to $525,000. There are a few Stratos examples in very used condition, as rally cars were turned back into something resembling road spec, but the best examples are very valuable. Even the “barn find” brought $264,000.
The rare and mysterious 037 is one of the hardest to find of the homologated Lancia models. We saw this 037 at Greenwich Concours in 2016.
3. Lancia Rally 037
Created by Lancia, Abarth, Dallara and Pininfarina, project 037 combined a tube-frame chassis wearing fiberglass and Kevlar-reinforced body panels. The Lancia Beta Montecarlo served as the inspiration for this Group B design, which was powered by a supercharged Lampredi 1,995-cc engine paired with a five-speed manual transaxle. The result was 205 hp and 166 lb-ft of torque, but it was the car’s innovative four-wheel double wishbone independent suspension system, along with four-wheel disc brakes that made it a real rally star, making its rallying debut at the 1982 Rally Costa Smeralda. Thanks to the driving talents of Walter Rohrl and Markku Alen, the 037 won Lancia the 1983 World Rally Championship Constructors’ title, in addition to collecting other Group B victories. 1986 was its last year in competitive racing, as that was the year Group B folded.
Price now: $400,000 and up for the best examples. There were not a lot of these out there to begin with, and they’ve all settled in private collections. There aren’t really any “bargain” versions of this car either, as they were all very special when first produced, unless we count the Scorpion.
This 1986 Lancia Delta S4 also appeared at Greenwich in 2016.
4. Lancia Delta S4 Stradale
Created as a successor to the already successful 037, the all-wheel drive Delta S4 featured a steel tubular space frame wearing an epoxy and fiberglass exterior skin. A turbocharged 1,759-cc Lancia inline-four engine featuring aluminum cylinders covered in a ceramic surface spat out a scary 480 hp in racing tune, with a positive displacement supercharger providing the low range power sent to all four wheels. Homologated cars dialed the power down to 247 hp and 215 lb-ft of torque, which is plenty to propel this very lightweight car. Just around 200 cars were built, making this one of the rarer examples that at least some buyers have the lira to purchase.
Price now: $350,000 to $450,000. These are pricey in just about every condition, but there are good reasons for this.
Examples of the HF Integrale are making their way into the U.S.
5. Lancia Delta Integrale HF Evo
The Lancia Delta can be readily found as a base hatchback, sans bulging wheelarches or any kind of sporting aspirations, but at the other end of the performance spectrum rests the rally-going Lancia Delta Integrale, powered by a turbocharged 1,995-cc four-cylinder engine paired with a five-speed manual transmssion, sending power to all four wheels. Unlike the Delta S4, the Delta HF relied on turbocharging alone, instead of supercharging and turbocharging, but much of the recipe remained the same, pairing a very modest curb weight with all-wheel drive. Following the closure of Group B the Integrale quickly won Lancia the World Championship in the two following years, gaining some power along the way. Lancia started churning out the homologated versions of this model in 1991 with an engine tuned to 210 hp, complete with flared fenders and a much wider track than the very base Deltas which could be found with tiny engines.
The HF Evo was a collectible right from the start, and given the fact that it was produced at the very tail end of Lancia’s rally efforts made it a slightly bittersweet, if ultimately very collectible car. The Evo 2 produced in later years kept the hot hatch flame alive for a little while longer, which also ensuring that just about everyone who could afford one could probably purchase one without overpaying scalpers.
Price now: $50,000 to $70,000 for the tidiest examples.
The regular Deltas from the 1980s, meanwhile, can be found in every condition and mileage, often for well under $10,000.
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