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Petrolicious Features the Beautiful and Brutal 1974 Lancia Stratos Group 4: Video

Petrolicious Features the Beautiful and Brutal 1974 Lancia Stratos Group 4: Video

Introducing "The Rally Queen"

The Lancia Stratos was the first car to be constructed from the ground up with the sole purpose of going rallying. As legendary as it is fast, the Stratos still races in historical rally events, and this particular one won the 2017 European Historic Rally Championship with former endurance and GT racer Erik Comas behind the wheel.

Comas, a former Le Mans podium-finisher with Pescarolo, has owned four Stratoses over the years, but this one is the one he calls "The Rally Queen." It was formerly owned by Lancia test driver Claudio Maglioli who worked on the development of the Stratos. Comas took it back to Biella, Italy, where the car was originally maintained to have it refreshed before he returned it to action in 2015. That year, he won the Italian Historic Rally Championship. No wonder he hails the handling characteristics as "perfect."

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Chris Harris riding shotgun in a selection of classis Lancia rally cars

Chris Harris riding shotgun in a selection of classis Lancia rally cars

If you watch Formula One as religiously as we do, then you’ll be aware that the commentators continually refer to F1 drivers as the best in the world, and while we respect their talent immensely, we do have a firm belief that rally drivers possibly possess even more skill. This is simply due to the fact that they often drive cars which can accelerate as fast as F1 cars on roads less than half the width of a common F1 track.

Additionally, rally cars have a lot more personality than F1 cars as classic rally cars were not as clinical as F1 cars of the time and right now, and if you love rally just as much as we do then the following video is a must.

In the latest episode of ‘Chris Harris on Cars’ on the Drive YouTube network, the man himself, Chris Harris, was lucky enough to be invited by Pirelli to the Italian launch of its new P7 Corsa Classic racing tire specifically designed for classic rally cars.

In a first, Harris rides shotgun in a selection of incredible rally cars, rather than drive them, but this has to go down as one of our very favorite Chris Harris reviews. Cars featured heavily in the video include the Lancia Stratos, Lancia Delta S4, and the incredible Lancia 037 which produces a noise so incredible that it will literally send shivers down your spine.

Add that to the fact that a host of extremely successful rally drivers were on hand to drive Harris around in the cars, including Markku Alen and Juha Kankkunen, and you have the makings of a truly incredible video.

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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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1974 Lancia Stratos

1974 Lancia Stratos

The seventies brought us things like bell bottom jeans, the Village People, and of course, a slimy-haired John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever. In the car world, it was a time where muscle cars were well and truly in their element. Whilst Detroit was reveling, there was also a revolution going on, but one that would blow the lid off car design norms. It was all happening in the house of Bertone and the car in question was poised to re-write history in the worlds of car design and Rallying. It was, of course, the revolutionary Lancia Stratos HF.

With its striking good looks, the car was a unique design that was unparalleled at the time. What also made it special was the fact that it was built from the ground up for one purpose: to win the World Rally Championship. It is very seldom that you come across cars that are designed as race cars and then turned into road cars – usually it’s the other way around. Other examples that share this rare trait include the Maserati MC12 and Mercedes CLK GTR. The road going version was only produced so that homologation criteria could be met in order for it to enter the Group 4 class of the Rally World Championship. And for that reason, like the Maserati and Mercedes, it had quite a few shortcomings in the real world. Its performance wasn’t one of them – largely due to the mid–mounted Ferrari V6 engine form the Dino - after all Ferrari was owned by Fiat and the Stratos was developed as a race car.

Hit the jump for the full story.

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