Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Lancia Stratos

Midway the 1970s, Lancia started a whole new era in rallying with the Stratos, the first car designed specifically for this kind of competition. Originally named the Lancia Stratos HF (for High Fidelity), the Stratos was a very successful rally car, winning three consecutive World Rally Championships in 1974 to 1976.

In order to be able to compete in rally, Lancia had to make 500 cars for homologation purposes. However, production ended in 1975 when 492 cars were built (in 1976, changed regulations only demanded 400 cars to be produced to compete).

The road version of the Stratos, known as the Stratos Stradale, shares the same Ferrari Dino V6 engine with its rally brother, but in a lower state of tune. Power output was about 190bhp, which meant the Stradale could reach 60mph from standstill in under five seconds. Keep accelerating, and the Stratos would top out at 232km/h.

Rally versions were more powerful: the engine would be tuned up to 280hp, and there have even been versions of the Stratos with engines tuned up to 560hp, figures which could be reached with the use of a turbocharger.

There has been talk of a new Stratos in 2010, and a one-off has officially been produced with another 24 examples planned. Unfortunately, Ferrari (who provided the donor car, a Ferrari F430 Scuderia) did not consent to this plan, so it is very unlikely the 24 remaining cars will ever be made.

Anyway, if you're a rally enthusiast, you'll probably look back on the Stratos with some very fond memories!

... old versus new ...

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