Conor Mills | Freelance Automotive and Travel Journalist

Freelance Automotive and Travel Journalist

Feature: If I won the lottery… Lancia Stratos

Posted by Admin On July - 21 - 2010

The Stratos is one of the most beautiful cars ever to have entered a special stage. Less than 500 were ever made, and they are now prized collectors’ items.

You expect a car styled by Bertone and powered by a Ferrari V6 to be a star of a motor show stand, not thrown sideways into corners and covered in mud and dust in the midst of a gruelling rally. But back in the Seventies, this is the sight that met motorsport fans around the world.

The Lancia Stratos is one of the most beautiful cars ever to have entered a special stage, and will always have a place in my heart. It would also have a place in my garage if I won the lottery! How on earth did it find its way into the mucky sector of motorsport?

Simple: look at how small it is. The beautiful wedge-shaped design is less than four metres long, and Lancia guessed correctly that it would be fast and nimble enough to become a Group 4 world beater. The 2.4-litre V6 sent 265bhp to the rear wheels, giving scintillating pace, and the Lancia went on to clinch the WRC manufacturers’ crown for three years in a row from 1974 to 1976.

However, the British round of the WRC eluded it, although many fans will never forget its efforts in 1975’s Lombard RAC Rally. Sweden’s Bjorn Waldegard suffered a broken driveshaft, but engineers patched up the problem, removing the entire rear bodywork for easy access. Waldegard went on to win 40 of the event’s 70-odd special stages, before being disqualified for driving on the road between venues with no number plate or tail-lights!

Less than 500 Stratoses were made, and all have become collectors’ items. The car in our pictures stars at the Historic Motorsport Museum in Daventry, Warks – but it would look pretty cool in my garage, too.

In detail
Production: 1972-74
Engine: 2.4-litre V6, 265bhp
Transmission: Five-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
0-60mph: 4.1 seconds
Price: £750,000 (est)

Original publication: Auto Express

Original online version: Click here

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