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Rumormill: Lancia May Turn the Chrysler 300 into a Two Door

Rumormill: Lancia May Turn the Chrysler 300 into a Two Door

Ahh, rumors in the automotive world spread just about as fast as the rumor that the captain of the football team was kissing the head of the girls’ chess team under the bleachers at the homecoming dance… And we love ‘em. The latest rumor is an interesting one that actually has a fair amount of validity.

Lancia is one of the many companies under the protective umbrella of Fiat Automobiles S.p.A. and it loves to borrow its models from Chrysler, add a few small touches, and call it their own. One of the latest models to make the Lancia conversion was the Chrysler 300, which prances around Europe bearing the name “Lancia Thema” (image above). That’s not the rumor though, as we already know all about that.

The rumors being whispered are that Lancia really wants a full-size coupe for its European market and the only car available to possibly satisfy this itch is the Chrysler 300. Ask any custom coach builder and he will tell you that turning a four-door body into a two-door car is not as tough as you may think, but going the other direction is nearly impossible.

So, if Lancia decides to hack up the B-pillar on the 300, shorten the opening a little and slap two fewer doors on the 300, would this model make it to the U.S.? The two-door full size car essentially died with the downsizing of vehicles in the late-1970s, but a small niche market may be in order.

This also spawns the possibility of Chrysler finally satisfying its nostalgia buffs by taking the two-door blueprints that Lancia would create and turn that into a two-door Charger. The pair of extra doors have always been a thorn in the side of Charger buffs, so Chrysler could breathe a little extra life into both models – not like the 300 needs more life, but extra sales can’t hurt – by offering two-door models of each.

This is certainly an interesting rumor to ponder and we are more likely to see pigs fly before we see a two-door 300 and Charger, but we’re telling you there’s a chance.

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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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2010 Lancia Stratos

2010 Lancia Stratos

Most new cars we feature are the creations from the world’s multibillion dollar automakers and are not very close to the heart. This New Stratos on the other hand is the realized dream of one man who poured his heart, soul, and a ton of his own money into the project. The labour of love involving automotive parts supplier, Michael Stoschek, has taken 24 years to materialize, all starting out from a friendship forged at a Lancia Stratos event held in Alta Badia back in 1986.

Michael, a self-confessed uber fan of the original Stratos, decided to create his own new version of the classic Italian Rally superstar. The outcome of all the hard work and passion, we have to say, is utterly amazing. To prove the passion this part-time racer has for the original, he has even bought the trademark rights for the Stratos name from Lancia – which we can assure you didn’t come cheap.

The resemblance to the original is uncanny, yet everything has been updated and made better, without losing any of the nostalgia and old school appeal. The overall “wedge” shape is still the same and the powerplant is still from Ferrari – albeit louder and more powerful. The New Stratos shares a large amount of its underpinnings with the Ferrari F430 Scuderia – which is a brilliant car. If that’s any indication of how this car will ride, handle, sound, and perform, we are in for an absolute treat of automotive euphoria.

UPDATE 02/14/2011: The 2010 One-Off Lancia Stratos may not be a one-off for very much longer. So far 40 potential buyers in Europe and other regions have expressed in interest in purchasing the Ferrari-based model, and plenty more are expected to climb on the bandwagon. If a small series is produced, rumors suggest that each unit will cost about €400,000, or around $545,000 at the current exchange rates. Something tells us that Michael Stoschek - the owner of the one and only 2010 Lancia Stratos so far - may not be too happy with his exclusive ride getting cloned, even if it is only for about 40 other people.

UPDATE 05/10/2011: Michael Stoschek took his brand new Lancia Stratos for a spin on the race track. Hit the jump for the video.

UPDATE 06/27/11: Michael Stoschek had the New Lancia Stratos built for only one reason: racing. In the latest video, Stoschek rides his brand new ride with Dieter Hawranke as he blasts off along the streets of Zwickau during the Sachsen Rallye 2011. Check out the video after the jump to see the New Stratos run rampant on concrete!

Hit the jump to continue reading.

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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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Video: Ferrari CEO Luca di Montezemolo takes the one-off Lancia Stratos for a test run

Video: Ferrari CEO Luca di Montezemolo takes the one-off Lancia Stratos for a test run

The Pininfarina-built, one-off New Lancia Stratos was recently presented to its smiling new owner, Michael Stoschek after over two years of development. But before Mr. Stoschek gets to enjoy his ultra rare sports car, the Stratos has to make a few more test rounds and, not to mention, have its own media unveiling at the Paul Ricard Circuit next week.

But before that, the New Stratos headed over to Ferrari’s Fiorano circuit in Maranello so that no less than Ferrari CEO Luca di Montezemolo can take it for a spin. Seeing as the New Stratos is based on the underpinnings of the Ferrari F430 Scuderia, it would only make sense that di Montezemolo had testing dibs on the one-off sports car.

Needless to say, the Stratos turned out to be as good as advertised with the Ferrari chief showering it with lavish praises after giving it a proper shakedown at the Fiorano circuit. Di Montezemolo was so geeked up after driving the car that he even invited Ferrari technical director, Roberto Fedeli, to have his turn behind the wheel of the sports car.

For a car that took more than two years to develop, we certainly expected nothing less from the one-off Lancia Stratos because anything less than two resounding thumbs up would be a bitter disappointment.

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Scale models of the Lancia Stratos GT2 should hold us over

Scale models of the Lancia Stratos GT2 should hold us over

There were tons of rumors circling around about a future Lancia Stratos when spy shots were taken of a vehicle driving around at the Fiat Group test track at Balocco near Milan. Not long after those photos were taken the One-off Lancia Stratos was confirmed as a special project developed especially for the German millionaire collector Michael Stoschek. While a lot of people interested in a new Stratos pouted in defeat, the automaker’s wheels were turning, thinking of a way they could make a profit out of all this interest.

And they may have found a way in a small series of 25 units that may be developed to compete in the FIAT GT2 series. The announcement for this series was made by Paul Ricard during an exclusive presentation of the new Stratos to the international press.

While we may not see official details of the exclusive Stratos GT2 anytime soon, the company has released 199 1:8 scale models, distinguished by blue livery and on sale at a price of € 4150.

These scale models will be built by British manufacturer, Amalgam, and are distinguished by additional lights hidden behind the radiator grille and a large rear wing. The GT2 model will also get improved aerodynamics, clam shell fasteners, and a quick release fuel filler cap.

And to add a personal touch to the scale models of the Startos GT2 are the names of the original crew that worked on the Stratos back in 1974: "Loris Bicocchi, Bernard Darniche and Sandro Munari."

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New Lancia Stratos goes to its owner

New Lancia Stratos goes to its owner

After months of teasing, the mystery has been finally solved: the man who will enjoy all the work done for the New Stratos is Michael Stoschek, a German millionaire. The project has been two years coming and with final testing and polishing complete, the one-off model was given its big sendoff, but not before all who were involved joined together for some good ol’ fashioned celebrating.

This special model is powered by a Ferrari 430 motor producing 483hp. The body is comprised of carbon fiber and the chassis
is shorter than the 430’s.

The one-off Lancia Stratos is far from completing its journey, however. The vehicle will need to undergo further track practice as the final performance figures need to be calculated and transformed into verifiable data. These figures need to be complete and accounted for by the time the new Lancia Stratos is presented to the international press at the Paul Ricard Circuit in two weeks.

Press release after the jump.

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Video: Lancia Stratos final testings

Video: Lancia Stratos final testings

The new Lancia Stratos is currently making its final testings. Current WTCC and former Formula-1- Pilot Tiago Monteiro tested the New Stratos at Balocco test track, Italy.

Also, on September 13th, the final wind tunnel test was held at Pininfarina in Turin. The aerodynamic data already gleaned from the 1:1 model of the New Stratos, together with all the subjective driving impressions from the various test tracks, was compiled and applied to the optimization of the lift and downforce values.

This Lancia is a one-off build for a rich German businessman by Pininfarina. There haven’t been any new details released on the car, but this is the first time we have seen large photos. Under the hood is a 483-horsepower motor that came from the Ferrari 430. The body is carbon fiber and the chassis is shorter than the 430’s.

Wind tunnel testing after the jump.

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Full Photos Of Lancia Stratos

Full Photos Of Lancia Stratos

Until now, we have only seen a few photos here and there of the one-off Lancia Stratos, but those haven’t showed many details on the car. That being said, we have been hoping that the car would be made into a production machine, and there have even been rumors that it would happen, but for now, we are unsure.

This Lancia is a one-off build for a rich German businessman by Pininfarina. There haven’t been any new details released on the car, but this is the first time we have seen large photos. Under the hood is a 483-horsepower motor that came from the Ferrari 430. The body is carbon fiber and the chassis is shorter than the 430’s. The only questions that we still have revolve around the interior and the performance figures.

After seeing the photos of this car, we can only hope that the company decides to put a few into production. We would be happy with 25 examples.

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New Lancia Stratos spied testing

New Lancia Stratos spied testing

If you have been following the automotive industry, then you probably already know that Lancia is preparing a new Stratos model. At first it was thought that the model seen testing was just a little project being worked on by a European industrialist, but rumors are suggesting that the Stratos model is definitely in the works. And these latest spy shots seem to be the proof you might have needed to believe them.

The new Lancia Stratos will be based on the structure and running gear of the Ferrari F430 Scuderia and will be unveiled later this year. It will weight less than 1200kg and the Scuderia’s engine will be lightly tuned for its application in the Stratos.

The Stratos was originally conceived as a rally car and was designed by Bertone. It was powered by a Dino sourced engine, with an output of 280 HP, but possible to be updated to 560 HP when a single KKK turbocharger was added. There were only 492 units ever made, so the Stratos is very rare to this day. In 1978, Bertone created and designed a concept car based on the Stratos called the Sibilo, although it was never intended for production.

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2006 Lancia Fulvia

2006 Lancia Fulvia

Lancia has decided to build a prototype to celebrate one of the models that have made the brand famous throughout the world. Apart from anything else, the Lancia Style Centre designers have always had one perennial dream: to recreate the Fulvia Coupè as though it had been left free to evolve stylistically without interruption.

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