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.
The Lancia Stratos that we saw driving around keeps getting more interesting every day. Many thought that this was just a one-off car built for some rich person with way too much money to spend. This might not be true after all, as Car and Driver has done some research.
This car was said to be in the works for years and Jason Castriota designed it when he worked for Pininfarina. The website, Italiaspeed, has a sketch of the Stratos with a different front end that is signed by the designer. If this drawing is accurate, it could mean big things for Lancia.
Lancia has come back with rebadged Chryslers – which isn’t going to work – and they haven’t been very good. This new Stratos could give the company the car it needs to get back on the world stage. We truly hope that this information is accurate because the car looks sensational.
We’ve heard this one before; Lancia may or may not be working on a new version of their legendary Stratos model. If these photos taken at the Fiat Group test track at Balocco near Milan are indicative of the Stratos’ future then, this time, the rumors may be true.
The Lancia Stratos was a sports/rally car designed from the mind of Marcello Gandini, then head designer of Bertone, and was based off the Stratos Zero concept presented at the Turin Motor Show in 1970. It was short, wide, and had a wedge shape that provided maximum traction. The Stratos was home to three different engines during the first part of its life: The Lancia Fulvia engine, the Lancia Beta engine, and the mid-mounted 190bhp Dino Ferrari V6 engine, with the V6 being the favorite.
The Stratos was produced from 1972-1974 and ended up winning the 1974, 1975, and 1976 WRC titles as well as gaining victories in the 1975, 1976, and 1977 Monte Carlo Rally. With 492 units sold during its time, the Lancia Stratos is a very rare and beautiful automobile.
So, is it making a comeback? Unfortunately, we think the answer to that question is no. Apparently, the spy shots taken of this new Stratos is a project that is being privately funded by a European industrialist. We are hoping that the distinct Stratos characteristics, such as the wheel arches cutting into the bonnet, the curved windshield and wraparound side glass, the engine cover, and the flip-up rear spoiler, will mean that this prototype will give way to a new Lancia Stratos for us all. Especially since the vehicle is also being tested at Balocco. Here’s to hoping!