Lancia Rally Car is Half Practical, Half Uncut Awesome
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.