Deep Dive #4 Lancia Delta (All generations)
This marks the 4th Deep dive of @ellocars. Unfortunately I do not remember who suggested this deep dive but you may speak up or forever practice your fake blowoff valve noises.
Next time your at a stop light and a 16 year old with a flat brimmed Monster Energy hat rolls up next to you in a Rally Blue Subaru STi with a embarrassingly large wing sprouted from its tookhes I would like you to take 2 seconds to think about one of the greatest cars in history and how it was responsible for some of the best fun for your dollar that you can buy today.
For you ello people that are new to the addiction of cars, let me clarify one important part about 80s cars that is relevant to this article. In the 80s, when racing of all kinds was big money, companies were forced to build what was called a homologation car according to the rules of the race they were in. This was a road going version that had to be just like the race version in all major ways but also comfortable enough that aunt Sue will want to ride to the airport with you in one. So as we go through this story it’s vital to understand that some of these ridiculous racecars could be purchased and driven with air conditioning and leather seats. And that is why the 80s and 90s where a very special time for the car world.
The story begins with this oddly shaped but also oddly beautiful car…
This is the Delta S4 Stradale. Stradale by the way means road in Italian so the one your looking at up here is the road going version of this little dude…
Just incase the word cute crossed your mind when you saw those photos lets go over some figures. Numbers don’t lie. The Delta S4 had a 4 cylinder in the 1980s that made 600hp! This engine was mounted in the middle of the car and with AWD was able to catapult the vehicle to 60mph on loose gravel in right around the same time as a Pagani Zonda can do today on dry pavement. (2.6 sec) This was achieved through not only turbo charging but also a supercharger. Well, funny thing is, when you put this much power in a car and race it against other cars equally as fast on loose dirt and let guys with oil running through their veins stand 3 feet from it while it goes by at 100mph bad things are bound to happen. And they did. In 1986 (two years after the S4 was introduced) Group B rally was banned from racing and so Lancia had to come up with something to keep up it’s reputation.
Maybe its not fair that I started talking about the S4 first. As many of you may be drooling over your keyboards by now I want to point out that a 600hp car that just wants to kill it occupants at every hairpin is probably the type of car you sign a contract in blood for right before a quiet smiling man with cat eyes hands you the keys. It might just be better to look at. So we’ll take a slow creeky step back and look at what followed.
This may not be S4 exciting but as is the case with many things except already moldy cheese, it got better with time. This vehicle was Lancias answer to the new focus of rallying called Group A. The HF turbo AWD would go on to become a rally legend and found very few competitors that could come close. Soon after came the first integrale. This boosted HP to 185 and finally offered fuel injection. Most importantly it included the wonderfully flared wheel arches that made a few rally cars of this era so recognizable.
Soon after that many more versions followed including the Integrale 16V, EVO 1, and the EVO 2.
The EVO 2 ended the reign of Italian all wheel drive madness. Sadly this happened because as is always the case in the automotive industry, price will pull people away from great cars. The Subaru Impreza came to the scene in 1992 with a more sensible price tag for essentially the same package it quickly stole the lime light from the wonderful Lancia Delta. To this day Lancia has never been able to recreate the soul of a Detla Integrale in any of its other cars. It’s a appreciated classic at this point and if you don’t want to spend $70K on a rally legend, I suggest you purchase one of the more sensible counterparts available today.
And for dessert. Lets check out the beautiful but simple innards of the Lancia Delta Evo2
And just incase you want to wet your wistle some more or you want to see what I’m going on about check this video of Chris Harris in the three legends themselves. @lucian it also includes a Stratos incase you haven’t seen this.