A Porsche 924 Turbo Meets A Lancia Delta Integrale On An Italian Backroad
Photography by Andrea Casano
We all grew up with a dream locked in the back of our head, a holdover from our childhood that stays with us as we grow up and accumulates the value of nostalgia in the process. If you ask a car enthusiast what he daydreamed about was when he was a child, he’s most likely going to name a supercar instead of a superhero. It’s not only the scissor-doored and V12-powered ones that we fall for though, and if you grew up in the 1980s liking cars then these boxy turbocharged sports cars probably had your attention.
The ’80s and early ’90s represented one of the most significant periods of automotive development as a whole. It was a modernization process that produced exceptionally fast racing cars (the first turbocharged era of Formula 1, Group B rallying, and Group C endurance racing), as well as hot road cars that benefited from the trickle down of the motorsport tech and budgets. The technology advanced rapidly, but it was still a largely mechanical evolution as opposed to a computerized one—the cars were modern but still analog. The Porsche and Lancia pictured here were born in those times, and their current owners are able to live out their boyhood fantasies whenever they get together for a drive.
Marco and Alexander have known each other since they were very young. Their fathers were close friends, and the boys developed a common interest in cars just like them. Growing up in the Livorno area, the context of their youth was surrounded with easily-accessible car enthusiasm, and in this case it could be found in their own driveways. Marco and Alexander’s fathers were always a bit competitive when it came to their cars, and though they each unique tastes, their choices were both more than adequate in the eyes of their children. Especially so when one day they came home with a 924 Turbo and a Lancia Delta Integrale.
The 924 was a great sales success for Porsche (which means their water-cooled inline-four front-engine car helped keep their iconic 911 alive), and in Turbo form it made for a potent and highly entertaining sports car. The Integrale was the hot version of the humble Delta, and formed the base for one of the most successful rally cars of all time, with the Integrale being the only WRC car to win six championships in a row. In other words, these were special cars to have in 1992.
After the two friends would return from a drive together, they’d always be sure to park the cars next to each other, knowing full well that their sons would climb into the driver’s seats to work the pedals and grip the steering wheels, racing each other’s imaginations in the parked and silent machines.
“You can’t help but fall in love with the sound of a Porsche, regardless of how many cylinders it has or where they’re located,” says Marco, “every time I heard it start up, I would run into the garage and stand outside the car just listening to the roar until it was warmed up and it was time to get in the passenger seat.”
Over the years, their father sold those the cars their sons adored, but the boys’ dreams never faded. Fifteen years after the cars left their childhood driveways, Marco and Alexander both their own examples. As they talk to me about their experiences, it’s hard not to get caught up in the romance of it all. The Turbo and Integrale are special and deserve the status of dream cars, but it’s not so much the cars that make it so affecting but rather the dedication needed to spend 15 years waiting for the chance to make those imaginary joyrides a reality. I’m not sure how fate works, but it seems like it played a part in this story.
I ask them to drive me to the hills of Livorno to take some shots of the cars in motion to try to capture what they would have imagined all those years ago sat in the driver’s seat of their dads’ cars. Again, the cars are great subjects to view through my lens, but I find the expressions on the faces of their drivers—in between the near-constant smiles—to be more compelling. The late-day sun lends some warmth and drama to our little shoot, adding to the sense of living in a memory. And what can be better than this, driving dream cars with old friends on fantastic roads? What more can a car enthusiast ask for?