The Lancia Stratos remains one of the all-time icons of motorsport, and is appearing at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Autocar takes a look back
Matt Burt
28 June 2012

The origins of one of the most significant rally machines of all time lie in a concept created by coachbuilder Bertone for the 1970 Turin motor show.

When Nuccio Bertone presented the wedge-shaped Stratos Zero concept, it happened to be fitted with a 1600cc Lancia Fulvia powerplant in a mid-engined configuration.

Bertone’s design exercise inspired Cesare Fiorio, Lancia’s motorsport boss, to imagine a competition version of the Stratos Zero.

Fiorio had already kicked around ‘ultimate rally car’ concepts with Lancia’s factory rally drivers such as Sandro Munari. In his mind, Fiorio conceived a powerful, mid-engined, rear-drive sports car.

At the time, many of the unmade country roads used as rally stages on the Continent were being surfaced for the first time, so Fiorio envisioned a car that would handle well on smooth asphalt.

To cope with the rough forest and desert rallies, he reckoned his dream car would need suspension that could be adjusted in less than 10 minutes.

But Fiorio’s competition car would need more power. The answer lay in another part of the mighty Fiat empire, which had bought Lancia in 1969: Ferrari. Enzo Ferrari offered the use of the 2.4-litre V6 from the Ferrari Dino 246 GT.

The Lancia Stratos HF broke new ground because it was the first car to be designed specifically with rally competition in mind. It was built around a steel monocoque with tubular sub-frames and clad in glassfibre body panels, and weighed less than a tonne. It also had extremely compact dimensions, at just 3708mm long, 1727mm wide and with a 2184mm wheelbase.

The first win came courtesy of Sandro Munari in the Sanremo Rally of 1974 and Lancia went on to win the World Rally Championship for manufacturers each year between 1975 and 1977.

About 500 road-going examples had to be built to meet rallying’s homologation rules, but with the price tag of £5000 close to that of the Ferrari Dino, the no-frills Stratos was slow to sell. Today, rally-prepared examples in mint condition fetch about £250,000.

The 1974 Stratos featured here is owned by Steve Perez, rally driver and boss of the Global Brands drinks distribution company. 

Refreshingly, Perez believes in giving his car a proper workout rather than locking it away in a museum. This car has been rebuilt for the Goodwood Festival of Speed by Castleford-based rally specialist BTR Preparation, and the bark of the Ferrari V6 will be heard on the Forest Rally Stage this weekend.

Join the debate

Comments
4

28 June 2012

You can buy a Stratos replica from Hawk cars, for about £20k for the kit. Which is a whole lot cheaper, more reliable and slightly more practical (fitted with an Alfa v6 engine). Still the best name ever for a car though. If only Lancia still made rally cars....

www.KOOOLcr.com

 

289

28 June 2012

yeh, but you will always know you bought a replica...not the real thing - cos you couldnt afford one. And that will stick in your throat everytime someone who cant spot a replica asks you "is it a real one"...then you have to decide whether to lie or not

Bit like Cobra replica's really...made by the same company-Hawk!

28 June 2012

You would buy a replica because the real thing would be too precious to leave in a Tesco carpark. With a replica you don't have to worry so much.

289

28 June 2012

Uncle Mellow wrote:

You would buy a replica because the real thing would be too precious to leave in a Tesco carpark. With a replica you don't have to worry so much.

...whats the point of taking a Stratos to Tesco's...cant get anything in it...maybe an Ice Lolly if you eat it real quick!

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