Featured: Lancia Rally Car is Half Practical, Half Uncut Awesome

Lancia Rally Car is Half Practical, Half Uncut Awesome

By Andrey Smazhilo
June 25, 2014

Photography by Daniil Matyash for Petrolicious

People have been passionate about racing since the very first foot race. Hence, it was only a matter of time before a couple of guys with cars lined up next to one another and one said, “Bet I can beat you there…” The first auto races were held on public roads, and that’s how rallying as a form of motorsport appeared. The years passed by, cars became faster and more powerful, and rallying reached a zenith in 1982 with the introduction of Group B regulations. However, there was always some risk. Accidents happened and people got injured. But after Mr. Henri Toivonen and his co-driver Mr. Sergio Cresto died when their Lancia Delta S4 plunged into a ravine and exploded during the Corsica stage of the 1986 World Rally Championship, the FIA abolished Group B mere hours later. Similar to Formula 1, no one wanted to see people dying, safety was reconsidered, and this is how Group A came to be, which in turn led to the appearance of Lancia Delta HF 4WD.

From the outset, the car brought Lancia even more fame. Wins came after wins. But rules specified that homologation was necessary, so road cars were offered to customers before the season began. Wild, outrageous, and desired by many but owned only by those who dared. From year to year, the four-wheel drive Delta went through changes, starting with the eight-valve Integrale and up to this gorgeous Integrale Evoluzione II. The last version of the legend, it was only produced for two years, 1993 and 1994.

This one hails from St. Petersburg, Russia. The car seems to possess some inner power that you feel when standing close by. It is not like anything else. Rally legends? Yes, Lancias are amazing: the Stratos, the 037, the S4, and the Integrale. The Audi Quattro is also a rally legend but its missing that certain something to truly reel you in, from my point of view. Ivan, the owner, has dreamed of the Delta Integrale since childhood, and it took him around four months to convince the previous owner to say his farewells to this masculine and extremely charismatic machine, but finally the dream came true.

However, the reality was a little bit less charming than the dream. At first, the old sheetmetal did not accept new paint but, after some preparation, everything worked out. The rust was ruthless. Besides the paint, it had some more serious issues and thus a complete restoration began. Finding parts for such a rare car was not an easy matter, so you’d better think twice if you’re considering purchasing something like a Delta Integrale. The engine, transmission, and suspension were also rebuilt with the addition of some aftermarket parts, which improved the performance of this old little Lancia. And, of course, the legendary Martini Racing livery was added. In spite of all the issues, it accelerated like a gunshot when Ivan first floored the pedal, before any work was even done.

Not only does driving a rally legend like the Evo II make you feel completely different on the road but it also exposes you to a completely new world of people, whose way of thinking is just like yours. So if you ever thought of owning such a car, go for it, do not wait any longer. If you need to justify it, well, it’s got four doors. It might be not the best investment in the world but definitely one of the most exciting.

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Hans de Silva
Hans de Silva(@hans_de_silva)
4 years ago

This isn’t an Evo 2 but an Evo 1, best identified in this case by it’s raingutters which are black and a different shape to the bodycoloured items on an Evo 2. Besides that a standard evo 2 has 16″ wheels to the evo 1’s 15’s and the latter has a bigger turbo (as standard) compared to the evo 1. Also the standard evo 1 didn’t have highback Recaro’s (except for special editions) but regular Recaro’s. The evo 1 was produced from 1991 up until about august of 1993. How do I know all this? I used to own a 1990 16v and was a member of the Dutch LCN/ Lancia Delta HF Integrale “Squadra Chivasso” club. Unfortunately I sold mine many years ago regretfully seeing the rise in prices of the last couple of years and obviously the fact that it’s still my number one car in the world ever!

Ian Miles
Ian Miles(@smilo998)
6 years ago

One of the best and most informative reviews I have seen….https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PI–8IH5XJw

Mattia Franchin
Mattia Franchin(@mattia)
7 years ago

What a fantastic car this is! To me it’s like a religion, you can’t judge, you need to believe in her. Love it

Paul Rea
Paul Rea(@x19dude)
7 years ago

Mr Marchionne please take note – people all over the world DO love Lancia – with Subaru and Mitsubishi gone from the WRC why not inject some life and passion back into rallying and take Lancia rallying again.

7 years ago

I was lucky enough to be loaned an Evo by a fellow club member to take down to the Phillip Island classic this year, to display along with other Lancias. I know what it is, but I was amazed at how many people knew what it was and came up to chat about the car and say how it was “on their list”. Lancia does have a history outside of Italy. A memorable weekend…

Joe Golliher
Joe Golliher(@jgolliher)
7 years ago

That is AWESOME. Bucket list car right there.

7 years ago

And that idiot Marchionne says the Lancia brand has no history outside Italy!

Erwan Brillot
Erwan Brillot(@starskeye)
7 years ago

The sound, we need the SOUND OF IT !! 😉

7 years ago

TJ Martin-What fun and a great car, that’s what this hobby is all about! If you appreciate these wild box flared road/rally cars with racing pedigree, then you might want to check the link below. We happened to have taken a look at the restoration/modification build of a similarly liveried ’88 Deltra Integrale here:
Lancia, we miss you! Bring the Integrale and 037 (amongst others) back! 🙂

Dustin Rittle
Dustin Rittle(@mosler)
7 years ago

Seeing a Lancia like this one makes you wish for the good ole days of Lancia back when they were building true awe inspiring cars.

Ae Neuman
Ae Neuman(@fb_1293493178)
7 years ago

one of my favorite cars.
a modern hot hatch will be faster, handle better, be more of a daily driver.
but no modern comes close to feeling as alive as this little italian.

Greg Deschodt
Greg Deschodt(@deschodt)
7 years ago

Seriously guys, could you please stick with expensive exotics and NOT expose to the world one of my favorite cars just before they become exportable to the US ? Now we’re all gonna be fighting over one, you’ve just cost me $10K 😉 At least !
Superb car… Although, having driven once semi-recently, it’s amazing how whatever seemed out of this world in the 80s now seems underpowered ! I’d still have one though !

7 years ago
Reply to  Greg Deschodt

Can you explain? I have been looking at this and not sure what you mean are almost exportable to US?

7 years ago
Reply to  BY

25-year rule is about to expire on those, that’s what he means.

7 years ago

Lancia Delta Integrale was less than 4m long. I know I know, it sounds like a meaningless number, but if you think about it, I think, it says a lot. (a lot about whatta hell is wrong with cars today.)

TJ Martin
TJ Martin
7 years ago

I’ve driven an unmolested and well maintained from purchase one [ in Italy ] back in the day . The ultimate in bat ___ crazy , daily driver practicality IMO . The best part was going head to head with a hard driven F40 [ true story and one oft repeated ] on a high mountain pass pulling away like the F40’s tires were flat . Beep beep Zip bye bye !