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1974 Lancia Stratos HF Stradale

1974 Lancia Stratos HF Stradale

A true rally legend, straight out of Italy

Let’s do a little thought experiment. Say you’re looking to create one of the greatest road cars in existence. Where do you start? The answer should be obvious - racing, or, more specifically, a homologation special. These are machines birthed from the womb of competition, tuned ever so slightly to meet the rules of the road and sold to mere mortals like you and me. The Lancia Stratos HF Stradale is one such vehicle. Plucked from the sideways insanity of the WRC, the Stratos comes from a time before AWD, a time when simple, brutal machines vied for supremacy by dancing on the limits of adhesion offered by the rear wheels alone.

The “HF” in the name stands for “High Fidelity,” Lancia’s go-to designation when it comes to its high-performance models, while “Stradale” is Italian for road, indicating the car’s street worthiness. Powered by a Ferrari-sourced V-6 and stripped down to only the bare essentials, the Stratos is often credited with changing the world of rally as the first car designed specifically for competition in the sport. Throw in the fact Lancia made nearly 500 examples for the road, and what you’re left with is a truly fantastic car.

Continue reading to learn more about the Lancia Stratos HF Stradale.

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1985 Lancia Delta S4 Stradale

1985 Lancia Delta S4 Stradale

A Group B racer for the road

Fleeting, brutal, and wickedly fast – these are the words that best describe the Group B era of the WRC, a period now known as the Golden Age of Rally. In just a few short years, Group B spawned some of the most legendary race cars to ever churn terra firma, but few capture the unbridled insanity of mid-‘80s rallying quite like the twin-charged, mid-ship, AWD monster known as the Lancia Delta S4. Although Group B regulations were notoriously vague, competitors still had to produce a limited number of homologation specials for public consumption, and as such, Lancia dialed back the boost on the S4, added a thin veneer of civility, and tacked on some license plates. The result is called the Stradale.

Don’t let the civilian appointment fool you – under the skin, the Stradale is still very much a rally hero, with the same cutting-edge go-fast technology as its competition-spec sibling. Unfortunately, this abundantly obvious performance heritage makes it difficult to find an example in its original factory condition, as many were either converted into club racers straight out of the box, crashed, or both. That said, if you know where to look, and you’ve got an extra six figures burning a hole in your pocket, there are a few out there that are still up for grabs.

Continue reading to learn more about the 1985 Lancia Delta S4 Stradale.

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1982 Lancia 037 Stradale

1982 Lancia 037 Stradale

Before the Ford Focus, before the Subaru WRX, and before the Mitsubishi EVO, there was the Lancia 037 Stradale. This vehicle is arguably one of the greatest rally cars ever created, despite winning only a single manufacturer’s title in the 1983 season of the World Rally Championship. You see, the Lancia 037 accomplished that feat as a mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive platform running against the seemingly indomitable Audi Quattro. Even as the beast from Ingolstadt kicked off the sport’s inevitable mass migration to all-wheel-drive grip, the Lancia 037 somehow clawed its way to victory over the mighty German competitor. The pitched battles fought between these two titans has become the stuff of rally legend, and now, the Lancia 037 sits as the final rear-wheel-drive car to win a WRC manufacturer’s championship.

As part of the homologation rules set forth by the FIA, Lancia was required to create 207 street versions of its 037 for public consumption. Essentially a full-blown rally racer for the street, this vehicle gives no quarter to comfort or practicality. Everything about it connotes a single mindedness, an all-encompassing drive to velocity. A long list of Italian speed-makers can attach their name to this car, including Abarth, Dallara, and Pininfarina. Lift up the lightweight bodywork, and you’ll find a steel subframe hiding underneath. The power plant behind the cockpit produces 205 horsepower, which is quite impressive for a 2.0-liter engine made in the early 80s. Even the interior on the streetcar incorporates features specifically designed for use by a co-pilot.

Most of the 207 original street Lancia 037s have disappeared into the mists of time, with many receiving a full transformation to competition race trim and the consequent beating such an outfit entails. Actually running across an original is extremely rare, but every so often, you get incredible finds like the example pictured here. This thing is about as cherry as they come: chassis number 045, single owner from new, less than 14,000 km (8,699 miles) on the odometer, unmodified and in showroom condition. It even has the original Pirelli Cinturato P7 tires. Yes, even the tires are original.

This car is a thick slab of rally history, a physical manifestation of a long-gone era in one of the most exciting sports in the world. And now, it’s going up for auction.

Click past the jump to read more about the 1982 Lancia 037 Stradale.

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1976 Lancia Stratos 'Stradale' by Carrozzeria Bertone

1976 Lancia Stratos ’Stradale’ by Carrozzeria Bertone

The Lancia Stratos was once one of the most dominant forces in the World Rally Championship, as it took home the championship in three consecutive seasons – 1974, 1975 and 1976. After the 1976 campaign, however, the Stratos was pulled out of the WRC.

In 1979, the Stratos wound up with a private racing firm and dominated the 1979 Monte Carlo Rally. The legend of the Lancia Stratos continues amongst rally enthusiasts. The Stratos was not only a rally machine, as Lancia did manufacture a small number of street versions of its rally champ. Unfortunately, with its popularity in the Rally realm, many of the street-version, known as the “Straddles,” Stratos have been converted into rally cars or modified into replicas of the WRC Champion car.

Thanks to the folks at RM Auctions you may be able to own one of the few near-mint condition 1976 Lancia Stratos ’Straddles’ left in the world. This beautifully restored classic is set to go to auction on May 11th or 12th in Monaco.

You may be wondering how well restored is this classic car or maybe if it is worth its asking price? Maybe you haven’t even heard of this car and would like to know more about it before considering shoving off to Monaco.

Click past the jump to read our full review to get a better feel for this car.

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