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Lot 018: 1976 LANCIA STRATOS

Sale Of Motor Cars, H&H Sales Limited (25 July 2007)

"I took a lime green Stratos over some twisty rally roads in northern Italy, including some mountain passes once used in the Mille Miglia and found it one of the most effective and enjoyable tools for fast travel I've had in my hands . . . The combination of big tyres, a short wheelbase and the concentration of masses in the centre give it an agility, an immediate response to the wheel, that is usually found only in racing cars. This plus an absence of roll in corners makes it unbeatable through snaky, twisty road sections". (Karl Ludvigsen, Thoroughbred & Classic Cars April 1976) Partially inspired by - and named after - a wild mid-engined Bertone concept car that had appeared the previous year, the Lancia Stratos HF prototype was unveiled at the November 1971 Turin Salon. Notable as the world's first purpose built rally car, it was the brainchild of Lancia competition chief, Cesare Fiorio. Though, his efforts were bolstered by those of Ing Gianni Tonti, Giampaolo Dallara and Mike Parkes among others. As well as styling the Stratos HF, Bertone were given responsibility for engineering its super-strong steel monocoque chassis and lightweight fibreglass body panels. Equipped with fully-adjustable independent suspension (double-wishbone front / McPherson-strut rear), rack and pinion steering and four-wheel ventilated disc brakes, the wedge-shaped wonder was powered by a transversely mid-mounted, Ferrari-sourced 2418cc 'quad-cam' V6 engine allied to five-speed manual transmission. Interestingly, the protracted negotiations necessary to secure supply of this advanced powerplant hampered development to such a degree that at one point Fiorio is rumoured to have approached Maserati about the Bora V8! Running as a prototype entry, the Lancia Stratos HF made its competitive debut on the November 1972 Tour de Corse, while the model's first win came at the Firestone Rally in Spain the following April. Entering series production that winter, it was finally homologated for the Grand Touring class of Group IV on October 1st 1974 (though, assembly continued into the next year). Despite varying figures from Lancia and Bertone, the general consensus seems to be that just 492 cars were made. Crushingly dominant, the Stratos secured three consecutive World Rally Championships (1974, 1975 and 1976) and would almost certainly have taken more had Fiat Group politics not seen it sidelined by the more sales friendly Fiat 131 Abarth saloon. Amassing no fewer than eighty-two International wins during its career (fourteen of them in World Championship events) not to mention three European Hillclimb Championships, the Stratos' last headline-grabbing victory came when its most prolific exponent, Bernard Darniche, used a 'privateer' Chardonnet Team car to outclass the opposition on the 1981 Tour de Corse. However, for many the high-velocity projectile will forever be synonymous with the charismatic 'Works' pairing of Italian ace Sandro Munari and co-driver Mario Manucci (who topped the podium thirteen times). Detuned to some 190bhp and 166lbft of torque, the road-legal 'Stradale' variant was nevertheless reputedly capable of 0-60mph in 6.8 seconds and 143mph. No less of a design statement than that other Bertone masterpiece, the Lamborghini Miura, the Lancia's bold silhouette and visor-like glasshouse remain striking nearly forty years on. A singularly invigorating if challenging machine, the Stratos has long deserved its iconic status. Finished in Verde Chiaro (Light Green) with Havana suede upholstery, chassis '001729' was supplied new to Hans-Dieter Domeng of Berlin. A 'Stradale' variant, it is thought to have covered approximately 10,000km before being acquired by British ex-pat Keith Norris in late 1979. Migrating to the UK the following year, the two-seater was photographed extensively for Graham Robson's book 'Lancia Stratos' (part of the Haynes Super Profile series). Passing into the hands of rallying stalwart the late Don Pither thereafter, it accrued further fame via Autocar (January 28th 1984) and Sporting Cars (September 1985) magazine articles as well as an appearance on the BBC television programme Top Gear (1994). A veteran of numerous historic rallies and tours whilst in the Pither family's custody, '001729' entered the current ownership during December 2002. Used sparingly since then for events such as the 2004 Rallye de Paris and 2006 Manx Classic, it is believed but not warranted to have covered just 40,613km or circa 25,000 miles from new (a figure substantiated in part by various MOT certificates dating back to October 1981 @ 16,177km). Retaining its correct Verde Chiaro livery, the Stratos rides on a new set of coffin spoke alloys shod with TB15 Michelin tyres. Described by the vendor as being in "good overall" condition, it is anticipated that the left-hand drive coupe will possess a fresh MOT certificate by the time of sale. A rare car made even more so by the fact that it has not been made into a clone of its Group IV cousins, '001729' is accompanied by its original Campagnolo 7.5in x 14in alloys and a history file (including the German Fahrzeugbrief registration document and aforementioned magazine articles etc). Please note, we have been informed that the vendor will be retaining the current UK registration number '19 DFD'.

Lot Details
Auction Sale Of Motor Cars
H&H Sales Limited, Kempton Park Racecourse
Lot Number018
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£89000
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Condition rating
Registration numberT.B.A.
Chassis number829ARO 001729
Engine number142536
Engine capacity (cc)2418
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors