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Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Looking back the fierce futuristic shaped car on the rally tracks of Lancia Stratos

~Legendary BEAST~ In addition to making a quite good four-wheeled vehicles, it turns out that Lancia also has a series of racing cars that are quite successful in the world car racing scene. Well, to develop such fast car model variants, the Italian automotive manufacturer then collaborated with several coachbuider companies. At first Lancia always used the services of Pininfarina and had never tried using Stilo Bertone's services before.
The Lancia Stratos HF (in pictured Group 4 rally car) developing process began in 1970 under the control of Sergio Camuffo and Giovanni Tonti, and among the engineers involved in this race car project were such Francesco De Virgilio and Nicola Materrazi. (Picture from: Wikipedia)
That's why then Stilo Bertone intends to create opportunities to collaborate with Lancia. The Italian coachbuilder knew that at that time Lancia wanted to find a replacement for their outdated Lancia Fulvia to use in the WRC rally event. Then Stilo Bertone decided to design a concept car model that caught Lancia's attention so that the Italian manufacturer was interested in using their services. In the process of designing the concept car, Bertone also used the Lancia Fulvia engine and put it into a chassis that had been designed by one of Bertone's renowned designers, Marcello Gandini.
The Lancia Stratos Zero as the predecessor of the Lancia Stratos HF designed by Stilo Bertone, and is exhibited for the first time to the public at the Turin Motor Show 1970. (Picture from: AutoWeek)
With the such good combinations then they managed to set a radical-shaped concept car that so could be said to be an important point of 20th century design, named the Lancia Stratos Zero. As we could be seen it has a low, sharp, and aggressive form and broke the tradition of a tough sports car that is dominated prevously by curved body cars.
The Lancia Stratos HF (in pictured Group 4 rally car) has a low, sharp, and aggressive form and broke the tradition of a tough sports car that is dominated prevously by curved body cars. (Picture from: Supercars.net)
Before being exhibited for the first time to the public at the Turin Motor Show 1970, Stilo Bertone brought the concept car to the Lancia headquarters and unexpectedly the Lancia workers greeted this car with enthusiasm and gave it a big round of applause. After negotiations, both parties agreed to build a new rally car based on Gandini's design.
The Lancia Startos HF (in pictured Group 4 rally car) was developed which is very similar to its road-legal car, and thanks to its 24 valves drivetrain, so the could be had a power of 190 bhp up to 280 bhp. (Picture from: CollectorsCarWorld)
The Lancia's new rally car developing process began in 1970 under the control of Sergio Camuffo and Giovanni Tonti, and among the engineers involved in this race car project were the Lancia's veteran engineer such Francesco De Virgilio and a young-talented engineer named Nicola Materrazi who later became one of the most visionary engineers in the Italian racing and sports car scene. 
 
At that time the Technical Director of the Lancia's Racing Division, Giovanni Tonti had briefed Bertone's Marcello Gandini in making that the Lancia new rally car candidate should no less luxurious than the Stratos Zero, but still different and far more practical for rallying. And from the start, the new rally car was designed as a mid-engined compact sports car built on the confines of the rally regulations of the time.
The Lancia Stratos HF (in pictured is 1973 model) produced began in 1973 with 400 units ever made for Group 4 homologation. (Picture from: FavCars)
As time goes in 1971, Marcello Gandini came up with a new Lancia Stratos HF prototype featuring a bright orange color and powered by a 2.4-liter V6 engine of the Ferrari Dino 246 that's deemed ideal by the Lancia's Technical Director to those Italian company's new rally car. Unfortunately at first those engine options for the mass production model did not go smoothly, due to Enzo Ferrari considered this new racing car as a threat to his Ferrari Dino, so the Maranello automaker was not interested in any cooperation with Lancia which of course required the Turin-based company should immediately find another engine supplier. 
The Lancia Stratos HF (in pictured is 1973 model) aims to not only speeding at asphalt events, but also be wildly successful on various surfaces ranging from gravel to snow and everywhere except to swim on the water. (Picture from: FavCars)
Then the automaker was forced to announce that the production version of the Lancia Stratos HF would be not use the engine from Maranello, and is considering to use Maserati's engine. But somehow then Ferrari turned to back support in 1972 and was willing to supply 500 engines for Lancia. The Lancia Stratos HF made its WRC debut with Sandro Munari behind the wheel at the Tour de Corse 1972 but its performances at that event and the next two series were plagued by problems with engine upgrades that were too beastly to bear on the back of the Stratos. After the problem was resolved, Stratos quickly took the step by taking the first win in the racing series which provided a winning streak for the Lancia team.
The Lancia Stratos HF (in pictured is 1973 model) is powered by a 2.4-liter V6 engine of the Ferrari Dino 246 that's deemed ideal by the Lancia's Technical Director to those Italian company's new rally car. (Picture from: OtoBlitz)
More than three years after the Lancia Stratos Zero was first shown, and its production finally began in 1973. At least 400 units ever had produced for Group 4 homologation, so there was pressure to assemble the racing cars as quickly as possible. Meanwhile the Stratos rally version was developed which is very similar to its road-legal car. And thanks to its 24 valves drivetrain, so the could be had a power of 190 bhp up to 280 bhp

By applying a slightly more aggressive body kit sets the rally car apart from the road version. In mid-1974 Stratos received full Group 4 homologation and in the hands of automaker team and privateers, the car began a series of extraordinary successes. At that time Italian rally legend Sandro Munari led the Stratos to their first win of a staggering seventeen WRC events during the San Remo rally in October 1974. 
The Lancia Stratos HF (in pictured is 1973 model) applying a slightly more aggressive body kit sets the rally car apart from the road version. (Picture from: FavCars)
Despite its supercar looks, the Lancia rally cars aim to not only speeding at asphalt events, but also be wildly successful on various surfaces ranging from gravel to snow and everywhere except to swim on the water. The car scored three consecutive WRC titles in 1974, 1975, and 1976. 

Unfortunately, Fiat withdrew its support from the Lancia Stratos and preferred to promote its Fiat 131 Abarth, but that didn't prevent the Lancia racing cars from continuing to win in the hands of capable drivers under well-organized privateer teams. Lancia Stratos HF scored its last WRC win at the Tour de Corse 1981, taking a total of 18 podiums. 
Apart from WRC victories, the Stratos HF was very successful in two major events, the Tour de France Automobile which was won five times in 1973, 1975, 1977, 1979 and 1980 and the Giro d'Italia automobilistico where it won three times, in 1974, 1976 and 1978.

Now for the drivers, besides Sandro Munari, another name that is closest to the car is Bernard Darniche. He was the ace of the French Lancia team whose brought victorious for the team in the WRC rally while behind the wheel of the Stratos HF and four of its six victories at the Tour de France Automobile. 
The New Lancia Stratos of 2015 posed along with its legendary predecessor Lancia Stratos HF. (Picture from: Autoblog)
In between 1973 and 1978 fewer than 500 Stratos (some said precisely has 492 units) were ever made, including about 50 competition cars. So it's undeniable if this car has deserved to note itself in history as one of the most legendary rally cars of all time and one of the most stylish cars. The car fits in well with Lancia's highly successful rally car series which includes its predecessor the Fulvia HF and its successors 037 and Delta. or its modern interpretation ones called New Lancia Stratos by Pininfarina back in 2015. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | LANCIA | WIKIPEDIA | AUTOWEEK | COLLECTORSCARWORLD | SUPERCARS.NET ]
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