Lot 246: Lancia Stratos HF Stradale Coup� to 'Group 4' specification
A limited-production 'homologation special', the Lancia Stratos is historically significant as the first car from a major motor manufacturer conceived specifically for rallying. The spearhead of Lancia's international rally campaign in the 1970s, the Stratos had its origins in a Fulvia-powered, mid-engined design exercise first exhibited on Carrozzeria Bertone's stand at the 1970 Turin Motor Show. Also the work of Bertone, the production Stratos of 1972 retained the striking 'wedge' styling of its forbear but employed the powerful Ferrari Dino 2.4-litre V6 engine. The latter was housed in a robust steel monocoque body tub clad in glassfibre coachwork. As befitted a car purpose built to cope with all types of rallying, the Stratos came with fully adjustable, all-independent suspension by double wishbones and coil springs, plus four-wheel disc brakes all round. With 190bhp on tap, the production road-going (stradale) version was good for 225km/h. The works Group 4 rally cars were, of course, considerably more powerful, later versions producing around 280bhp in fuel-injected, 24-valve form. Nevertheless, reliability problems meant that success was slow to come. After its initial major victory in the 1974 Targa Florio, the Stratos went on to dominate international rallying, Lancia winning the World Rally Championship of Makes in 1975 and 1976. Works pilote Bernard Darniche triumphed twice in the world's premier drivers' competition - the European Rally Championship - in 1976 and 1977, and the Stratos helped Markku Alen to the inaugural World Drivers' Championship in 1978. Alen's season had been split between the Stratos and the FIAT 131, and it was the parent company's political decision to favour that latter, rather than any lack of competitiveness, which saw the incomparable Stratos phased out. The Stratos was, quite simply, the fastest rally car of its day and Lancia's rivals must have breathed a collective sigh of relief to see it go. Nevertheless, a measure of factory support continued to be provided for prominent privateers and the Stratos remained competitive at the highest level throughout 1978 and 1979, Darniche winning the Monte Carlo and Tour de Corse events in the latter year. Incredible as it may seem today, after the 400 cars required for homologation had been completed in 1975, the vast majority remained unsold due to lack of demand. Almost as soon as it ceased active competition though, the car's historic significance was recognised and prices soared. This example was sold new as a Stradale and modified to Group 4 specification between 2002 to 2007 while in the hands of its late owner. We are advised that the car is very close to full Group 4 specification with regard to the brakes, suspension, bodywork, dashboard instrumentation, etc. while the engine is said to produce around 270bhp. It should be noted that the gearbox is the synchromesh unit and not the works type. Since conversion the Stratos has participated in some regularity rallies and comes with the appropriate FIA papers. All in all a great opportunity to acquire a painstakingly restored to great specification Lancia Stratos.
The Monaco Sale|
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