The Lancia Stratos was built as a rally winner first and a road car second. Fiat-owned Lancia took the bold step of designing an all-new car solely to win the World Rally Championship, and with a V6 Ferrari Dino engine on board, the Stratos had success in 1974, ’75, and ’76. Rallying rules demanded that at least 500 cars be built, but Lancia needed only 40 for its rally program; the rest lay unsold in showrooms across Europe for years and were even given away as prizes to high-selling Lancia dealers.
Beauty is more than just skin deep on this lovely little Lancia, for underneath those lean Pininfarina loins the Aurelia’s innards bristle with innovative engineering. For a start there is the compact alloy V6. Designed under Vittorio Jano, the man responsible for the great racing Alfas of the Twenties and Thirties, this free-revving, torquey little lump was the first mass-produced V6.
Minivans or MPVs erupted onto the scene in the 1980s. But where did the idea come from? And which was the first? The Nissan Prairie? Renault’s Espace? The Chrysler Voyager?
The Lancia Delta appeared in 1979 and this small family car’s first generation would be around until 1994, proving to be a great commercial success. Road cars always did well on the back of Lancia’s legendary rallying prowess — established in the 1960s with the Fulvia and continued in the 1970s with the Stratos — and the Delta would be no exception. Continue reading “Lancia Delta HF Integrale – 1987”
The Lancia Stratos HF (HF = High Fidelity) was developed for the purpose of rallying, and very successful this extraordinary machine proved to be. Lancia had enjoyed great success on the rally circuit during the 1960s, but the Fulvia coupe was starting to struggle and a new contender was required. Happily, the recent takeover of Lancia by Fiat (who also bought a half share in Ferrari) provided the ideal opportunity to create something special. Continue reading “Lancia Stratos HF – 1972”
The takeover of Lancia by all-conquering Fiat led to some strange anomalies — one of which was undoubtedly the appearance of the Lancia Montecarlo in 1975. This mid-engined sports car came in two versions — a two-door coupe and a two-door convertible, the latter with an unusual roll-back targa-style top operated by hand. Continue reading “Lancia Montecarlo – 1975”
The 1963 Geneva Motor Show saw the introduction of a car that would win its spurs in the competitive world of international rallying and enjoy long life and considerable fortune as a road car. But for all that it couldn’t prevent its parent from being consumed by Fiat in 1969, though happily the proud Lancia name was allowed to live on.
Before and after World War II, Lancia never introduced a new car without an accompanying strategy to develop a series. The company was expert at demographic subdivision, and ultra-sensitive to the sudden shifts in public taste. The Aurelia series as a whole, and the Aurelia B20 GT in particular, typified the success of their vision.
Jump into a major technical milestone (though it may simply seem like a fabulous 1920s sports car) and enjoy a road-hugging drive. In fact, the Lancia Lambda introduced the monocoque technique later put into mass production by Citroen… and now the cornerstone of modern car construction.