2014 was a sad year for Lancia. It’s when we found out Sergio Marchionne was planning to reduce the automakers lineup to a single model by discontinuing the Delta, and both the Chrysler-based Thema and Voyager. As if that wasn’t enough, the remaining Lancia Ypsilon will be sold only in Italy, which essentially means this Italian automaker is on a quick road to extinction. For me, a big Lancia enthusiast, that’s downright terrible. Sure, present-day Lancia is just a shadow of what it used to be, but that’s no reason to pull the plug on it and let it die. On the contrary, Marchionne should devise a plan to bring it back in the spotlight, much like he’s doing with Alfa Romeo.

It remains to be seen whether Fiat will come to its senses or not, but in the meantime I’m here to present you with one of Lancia’s glorious past moments. Thanks to Petrolicious, which has made a habit of showcasing some of the most important cars the industry has created, we can have a closer look at the Lancia 037, the racer that won the World Rally Championship and paved the way for the stunning first-generation Delta.

The 037 saga began in 1980, when Lancia started working on a rally car to comply with the then-new FIA Group B regulations. The Italians opted for a mid-engine layout and turned to Abarth for a few tips. Fitted with a supercharged, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder powerplant that developed 265 ponies at first and 325 in its final Evolution 2 configuration, the 037 became a successful rally car, winning the series in 1983 with German ace Walter Rohrl behind the wheel.

With FIA regulations requiring at least 200 road-going version to be built for homologation, Lancia also rolled out a Stradale version, with its engine detuned to 205 horses. Although less aggressive than its rally-course sibling, the 037 Stradale is now a collectible in its own right. If only Lancia would look back on its legendary cars and move toward reviving its heritage...

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