Only the enthusiasts of 70s and 80s rally championships can reminisce the nostalgia of that golden era. The rally racing was at its peak and all the major automobile brands were striving hard to prove their mettle, with fast and aggressive racing machines. Lancia was among the top competitors and enjoyed a successful career in the championship. In 1971, Lancia launched the Stratos in group 4 rally that replaced Fulvia and it went on to win various championships and embossed its name in the history books as one of the greatest ever rally cars.
Lancia had partnered with the Italian car boutique Pininfarina for its car designs until Bertone decided to surprise the Lancia management with his concept of Stratos. He modified a Fulvia coupe with the concept panels and parts of Stratos and drove into the factory. The company gave this design a go-ahead and was overall styled and designed by Marcello Gandini, designer of the famous Lamborghini Miura. The car was unveiled in 1971 at Turin Motor Show as Lancia Stratos HF.
Lancia Stratos boasted a stylish 2 door coupe design based on fiberglass, steel space-frame with an integrated roll cage. This structure offered strength, safety and weight reduction as the car weighed only 950 kg.
It was powered by a Ferrari 2.4 L Dino V6 transverse-mounted mid-engine, that transferred the power to rear wheels via a 5-speed manual transmission. The engine produced 190 horsepower and 166 lb-ft of torque that could catapult the Stratos from standstill to 62 mph in 6.8 seconds, to a top speed of 144 mph.
VICTORIES & ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Lancia Stratos enjoyed a successful rally career over the years and has a legendary portfolio as it won multiple prestigious championships.
- Back-to-back World Rally Championship in 1974, 1975 and 1976.
- It also won the 1974 Targa Florio.
- Five times champion of Tour de France Automobile.
- Won three editions of Giro d’Italia automobilistico. Victorious in 1975, 1976 and 1977 Monte Carlo rally.
DIFFERENT TRIMS AND UNIQUE VERSIONS OF LANCIA STRATOS
The initial road-legal units that Austin Rover produced to comply with Group B homologation rules were called the “Clubman”, which had reduced power and better cosmetics as compared to the rally version.
There were ~20 units that were modified for various racing and rally championships and were referred to as the “International” version of MG Metro.
Then there was the WRC compliant rally car – the original MG Metro 6R4 that debuted in 1984 at Lombard and retied with group B’s disbandment.
There was a one-off version, owned by Will Gollop, that ditched the naturally aspirated induction system and souped up the car with Bi-Turbo. This version had 700+ horsepower and ripped the RallyCross apart with its brutal power.