Featured: An Afternoon With Princess Martini of Tuscany

An Afternoon With Princess Martini of Tuscany

By Petrolicious Productions
August 21, 2015

Story and photos by Eduardo Mascalchi

I had been looking for her for a long time. Like all good surprises, she came a bit by chance, one morning on my Facebook wall when I saw Pino’s post to the Italian group dedicated to this wonderful car.

The car looked beautiful, perfect—with the Martini livery, which I love. Where does he live? In Siena! I tried to contact Pino, and I discover that the luck has kissed me twice: he’s a nice person and really passionate about cars. So here we are in Quercegrossa, divided between the towns of Castelnuovo Berardenga and Monteriggioni in Tuscany.

Importantly, here is the “Princess,” as Pino calls her.

We have in front of us a Lancia Delta HF Integrale Martini 5, created to commemorate the five-year winning streak in the World Rally Championship after winning again in 1991. It is a car produced in limited edition by Lancia in cooperation with Martini in 400 units.

At the time, Lancia was having a huge success in the World Rally Championship, winning all editions from 1988 to 1992 with the Delta, then was forced to give way to the emerging Toyota Corolla, Subaru Impreza and Ford Escort Cosworth. This car has a special Martini Racing livery on its sides (which copies her ”sister” that ran in the rally), Recaro seats in black Alcantara with contrasting red stitching, seat belts of the same color, black air intakes, and a rear spoiler adjustable in three positions.

The rims were white (like the car). The engine was a 1,995-cc turbocharged 4-cylinder with a strong 210 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque and, of course, four-wheel-drive. At the time, you had to spend 56 million of lire (today roughly 25,000 euros, but we are talking about completely different eras).

Pino is the first and only owner of this car. He tells me that he saw it for the first time in a dealership, placed prominently to attract visitors and sell more cars. But he wanted to own her. He confides me that it was not easy, the dealer did not want to sell that jewel so easily, and he was even forced to offer more than the standard price! In the end, however, it was a dream come true.

Always respectful to his Princess, he has never left the car wanting. This obsessive attention to detail has earned him the Gold Plaque, the highest recognition from Automotoclub Storico Italiano, or ASI, given to a historical car. After 23 years, Pino has not yet found a car that manages to involve him as she does, his love has remained young and unaffected, leading him to exhibit his car for the historic events like Tuscan Rewind(www.tuscanrewind.com), and leading the way to the Rally of Chianti each year.

The sun says goodbye, closing this afternoon that I’d be happy to enjoy a bit longer. In front of an aperitif, Pino tells me how much he feels lucky: he has a beautiful family, many grandchildren, and a wonderful villa in Chianti. He share these things every day with his wife and friends—but the feelings driving his Princess are private, and he really hopes to be able to enjoy all for many other years. Thanks!

You can view more of Edoardo’s work at car-shooters.com, www.edoardomascalchi.it, or follow him on Twitter @EdoMPhotography.

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3 years ago

Slight correction, it was the Celica GT4 that ended Lancia’s dominance, not the Corolla. The Corolla WRC came a lot later and was not near as successful.

Dan Vorobyov
Dan Vorobyov(@dankiev79)
6 years ago

I love this car!
Kiev. Ukraine.

Vintage Son
Vintage Son(@vintagesun)
6 years ago

Such a beautiful car. I’ve always loved the Delta’s, but I’ve never seen one that had this package on it. This man has certainly taken great care of this car, I’ve seen very few that are even remotely as nice. He loves it as much as he says he does.

6 years ago

Totally agree with all of what has just been said about the driving experience this lady gives to anybody who is lucky enough to be sat behind the wheel. It just feels so accurate, generous, nice and calm. And the faster it goes, the more it feels like it. Very funny and once again, nothing comparable to what’s being built nowadays. My father owns a torqueful 8 valves one, I tend to borrow it as often as I can !

Ian Miles
Ian Miles(@smilo998)
6 years ago

Seems a bit petulent Guitar Slinger. Part of the allure of any car is how it looks and this one looks great. Anyone who sees or drives it is immediately reminded as to why this car existed in the first place. Some companies are better at limited editions than others. However it is difficult to accuse Italian companies of doing this to take the money. It was the most successful rally car ever built and covering it in the Sponsors marking alone is not cheap but does make a statement. Beautiful car.

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger(@gtrslngr)
6 years ago

Much as I love Lancia Delta Integrale’s any of these so called ‘ Special ‘ .. ‘ Limited Edition’ .. ‘ Commemorative Editions ‘ leave me cold regardless of the car or brand . In no small part because 99.9999\% of the time you’re paying a premium for a badge or two and a bunch of decals/stripes with little or no substance to be had . Manufactured collectables sums it up quite nicely .

So as nice a car as this one is ..give me the ‘ Plain Jane ‘ version any day of the week . One thats driven daily as well .. as its maker had intended