This Punchy Coupé Was Almost Lancia’s WRC-Conquering Machine For The ’90s
Photography Courtesy of Artcurial Motorcars
Chances are that if I mention “Group B” or “WRC,” the terminology will spark images of Lancia’s legendary machines. With 16 World Rally Championship wins, it’s nearly impossible to separate Lancia from its persistent rally dominance over the decades. Since the brand’s International Championship for Manufacturers win in 1972 with the Fulvia, it’s been an all-terrain endurance force to be reckoned with…until about the mid-’90s, that is.
I say, “rally”. You think Delta Integrale. I say, “Group B”. You think Lancia 037. When I ask, “What’s the most spaceship-like production car?” you think Lancia Stratos. And when I say, “Martini” it’s either, “Shaken, not stirred,” or you’re thinking of the most iconic racing livery ever.
But what if I told you there was a Lancia you may have never heard of? A car born to wear the WRC crown but failed to reach the throne due to lack of support from its Fiat mothership?
Here is that very car: the 1993 Lancia Hyena.
In the early ’90s, the Delta Integrale was still competing in WRC and races alike, but Zagato designer Marco Pedracini apparently thought the box flared five-door wasn’t crazy enough. Using the Delta Integrale’s brilliant chassis, Marco penned an all-new aluminum and carbon fibre body—clearly taking influence from the cutest and most dramatic Alfa Romeos: both unsurprisingly designed by Zagato.
Accompanying the new sleek body was a retuned 16-valve turbocharged 4-cylinder Integrale engine with an adequate 250 horsepower…while the aluminum and carbon bodywork weighed 440 pounds less than a standard Delta, both of which assisted in a 5.4 second 0-62 mph sprint—serious figures for an early ’90s compact coupe.
Despite the Hyena’s capabilities, FIAT wasn’t as enthusiastic about the concept and declined production support following the 1992 Brussels Show debut. Thankfully, Lancia later agreed to build a limited run of 500. Fresh off the factory line, complete Delta Integrale HF were shipped from Lancia’s Holland plant to Zagato’s HQ in Italy where the Integrale shells were removed and chassis were shortened to align the new lightweight Hyena bodywork.
Difficult logistic issues created expensive production costs, which subsequently commanded the Hyena’s near $75,000 price tag—entry-level Ferrari money at the time. Likely due to the unforeseen complications and associated premiums, Lancia cut production short after just two-dozen Hyenas were built. Chassis #015, seen here, is said to be the only example sprayed in Zagato Green. With only 7,000 kilometers (~4,350 miles) accumulated, this green machine is said to be near showroom fresh—but that’s nothing a little gravel can’t fix.
If it hadn’t been for the expenditures associated with production, the Hyena could have very well been another rally car poster child. With performance figures equal to the era’s supercars, this Zagato wildling was Lancia’s next WRC champion…that never really got a chance.
– One of only 24 (only paint Zagato Green)
– Delta Integrale drivetrain, power plant, and chassis
– Custom aluminum and carbon fiber Zagato bodywork
“Massaged” 2.0-liter 16-valve turbocharged Lancia Delta Integrale engine (~250 horsepower), independent suspension, disc brakes, Integrale all-wheel drive drivetrain, and aluminum / carbon fiber bodywork by Zagato.
Chassis no.: 015