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