1976 Lancia Stratos Stradale
Sold for $387,055 (€299,600) at 2012 RM Auctions at Monaco.
Within the motor sport of rally racing there are numerous examples of an iconic road car becomes a popular rally car. However, there are only a very few examples of specifically-built rally cars becoming greatly sought after road cars. One example of a rally car that did manage to become an iconic road car would be the Lancia Stratos 'Stradale'.
Toward the later-part of the 1960s, a team within Lancia would have an interest in competing in rally races. However, the team behind the rallying project at Lancia would approach the situation from a different point of view. Instead of making do with an existing road car and turning it into a rally car, the team would figure on designing and building a specially-built car that would dominate the competition.
Marcello Gandini at Bertone would end up designing a truly mean and aggressive looking car. Gandini would design a car sporting a crescent-shaped windshield to provide maximum forward visibility and a low, wide body that would provide the car with a low center of gravity thereby providing good handling. Then, in 1971, Lancia would make the announcement that they would procure the use of a Dino Ferrari V6. Combined with the car's wide shape and compact size, the Ferrari engine producing 192 hp would help to make a truly potent rally car.
When the car made its first appearance during the early 1970s, the Lancia Stratos represented a new era in rallying. The Stratos represented the first purpose-built rally car ever. And it would prove to be very successful. In fact, it would be one of the most successful rally cars of all time.
But while Lancia believed it had designed and built the best rally car it still had to contend with homologation rules regarding European rallying. This presented something of an issue considering the car had been built with very little in the way of amenities inside the car. It had been built as a rally car, and therefore, was void of anything that would add any unnecessary weight and mass that would hinder the car's performance.
Yet, despite being devoid of many of the comforts one would want, or, that one could get in something like a Grand Tourer, there was something about the Stratos that made people really want one. Perhaps it was the fact it was the fact, for many, it would be the closest he or she would ever come to owning a driving a rally car. Or, perhaps for others it was simply the truly wicked design Gandini had produced at Bertone. But whatever the reason, the Stratos would become a favorite that would have something of a cult following.
Lancia couldn't just sell 500 examples of the outright Stratos to meet the homologation rules. The car certainly seemed dangerous in the hands of anyone else other than professional rally drivers. So, Lancia would tune-down the Dino V6. Known as the 'Stradale', Lancia's de-tuned example of the Stratos would still be a very potent performer in its own right. While pushing 280 bhp in rally trim, the Stradale would utilize the base Dino V6 that would produce a still respectable 192 bhp. And when combined with Bertone's futuristic and wicked design, non-professionals would still have the opportunity to experience the sensations of rally driving.
One such Stradale, chassis 829 AR0 001 611 would be built in 1976. And while like other Stradales the chassis doesn't feature the performance of its rally-derivatives, it still features the same aggressive looks giving it the appearance of having come straight from the Welsh forest or the Monte Carlo Rally.
One of what is believed to be about only 492 Stratos ever to be built, this Stradale exists in even smaller company as the majority of the Stratos built were specifically for rally racing. This particular example would be delivered to a Dr. Rudolf Wiespointner of Wels, Austria in 1976.
Dr. Wiespoitner would end up enjoying the Stratos for no fewer than two decades. After 23 years and spending what was already a lifetime in Austria, the Stratos would be sold in 1999 to Rudolf Bromberger. However, the car would remain in Austria. It would only move to Vienna.
Despite being more than thirty years old the Lancia Stradale would only accumulate a total of 43,000 kilometers and would even undergo some restoration during the new millennium. Being that the car has been driven so little throughout the years it would not be at all surprising that the engine compartment remains clean and boasts of factory correct finishes all throughout. In addition, the low mileage on the car means the original gearbox and engine have not been restored and remain in impressive conditions even to this day.
Presented for sale at the RM Auctions event held at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco in 2012, the Lancia Stratos Stradale would come with a blue finish and gold-finished wheels creating a striking look that would become synonymous with another great rally performer that could also be purchased for the city streets.
And while so many of the few existing Stradales have been modified in order to reflect their high-performance brothers and sisters, this particular Stradale has a greater significance precisely because it is one of the few that has remained true to its street car roots. Complete with black roof, decklid spoilers and the original manual and sales brochure, this particular chassis is highly original from nose to tail.
A rare Stradale version with only two registered owners since it rolled out of the factory, chassis 829 AR0 001 611 would be estimated at 250,000 to 300,000 EUR at the time of the auction. And when the gavel fell, the Stratos 'Stradale' would garner a sale price of 299,600 EUR.Sources:
'Lot No. 332: 1976 Lancia Stratos 'Stradale' by Carrozzeria Bertone', (http://www.rmauctions.com/CarDetails.cfm?SaleCode=MC12&CarID=r329&Currency=EUR). RM Auctions. http://www.rmauctions.com/CarDetails.cfm?SaleCode=MC12&CarID=r329&Currency=EUR. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
'1974 Lancia Stratos Stradale News, Pictures and Information', (http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z6831/Lancia-Stratos-Stradale.aspx). Conceptcarz.com: From Concept to Production. http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z6831/Lancia-Stratos-Stradale.aspx. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
'Race Cars/Other/Lancia Stratos', (http://auto.howstuffworks.com/lancia-stratos-sports-cars.htm). Howstuffworks. http://auto.howstuffworks.com/lancia-stratos-sports-cars.htm. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
Wikipedia contributors, 'Lancia Stratos HF', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 28 April 2012, 08:06 UTC, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Lancia_Stratos_HF&oldid=489592821 accessed 17 May 2012 By Jeremy McMullen
The Lancia Stratos is one of the most successful rally cars ever built. It was the idea of Lancia competition boss Cesare Fiorio as a way to turn the Lancia brand into a new World Rally contender The prototype made its debut in 1972 and initially got off to a slow start. In 1973, the Stratos won its first victory, and an increase in sales soon followed.
Power was from a 2.4-liter Ferrari V-6 engine mated to the five-speed transaxle and mounted on a short chassis. It was given quick steering and a relatively high centre of gravity. By late 1974, the factory reported the completion of 200 cars in a 12 month period and was homologation for Group 4 competition. It is believed by this point, just 140 or so examples had been built. It was in that year that the Stratos helped Lancia win what would be the first of three consecutive World Rally Championships in 1974, 1975, and 1976. After 1976, it was withdrawn as the Works entry, but would go on to win in private hands up through 1979, when it clinched the Monte Carlo Rally.
The futuristic styling was by Carrozzeria Bertone's Marcello Gandini. It was given a dramatic, sharp, wedge shape with sculptured wheel openings. The project was inspired by the Stratos Zero prototype.
It is believed that 492 Stratos were built and most were the competition, or 'Rally' specification cars, while the 'Stradale', or road versions, were built in much smaller quantities.
The Stratos Stradale has a surprising amount of luggage room in the rear and ample elbow room inside, thanks - in part - to the helmet pockets built into each door. The 190 horsepower engine gave the car a top speed in excess of 140 mph.
This example was sold new as a Stradale and modified to Group 4 specification between 2002 to 2007. The car is very close to Group 4 specification and the engine produces around 270 horsepower. The gearbox is a synchromesh unit and not the works type. Since the conversion work was completed, the car has participated in some regularity rallies and comes with the appropriate FIA papers.
In 2012, the car was offered for sale at the Monaco sale presented by Bonhams. The car was estimated to sell for €290,000 - 340,000 but bidding failed to satisfy the vehicle's reserve. It would leave the auction unsold.By Daniel Vaughan | Jul 2012
A big success by any standard both in and out of competition, the Lancia Stratos was developed as a homologation Special for European rallying. After production ceased it became a cult car and is now highly-priced as the 'modern classis' it is. Conceived strictly for rallying, the Lancia Stratos, however, makes an exciting road car, though it is very far from GT standards in both luxury and refinement.
The concept vehicle responsible for providing the inspiration for the Lancia Stratos Rally car is the Lancia (Bertone) Stratos. The Stratos featured a 1584 cc V4 DOHC with 115 bhp horsepower at 200 rpm. Designed by Marcello Gandini, the same designer responsible for the Lamborghini Countach and Lamborghini Miura, the Stratos concept was a development of the Bertone designed Alfa Romeo Carabo concept from 1968. The Carabo concept was also a Gandini creation.
First revealed at the Turin Motor Show in October of 1970, the Lancia Stratos HF prototype was a styling exercise for Bertone. A futuristic design, the Stratos featured a wedge-shaped profile that stood just 33 inches from the ground. Since the vehicle was so low, conventional doors could not be used and instead one accessed the interior of the Stratos by a hinged windscreen. Drivers had to flip up the windscreen and walk into the vehicle. Once inside, visibility was quite restricted since the front windscreen was narrow. The cockpit of the Lancia Stratos was designed specifically for fast forest flying.
The body design was predictably minimal to hold down weight and bulk with its most distinctive features being semi-concealed A-pillars and a door beltline that sharply upswept to the top of the daylight opening. The shape of the resulting unbroken expanse of glass gave the tunnel back roof the appearance of a futuristic crash helmet.
The main body structure was steel, like the chassis, and weight-saving fiberglass was used for tilt-up nose and tail sections. A small box above and behind the powertrain was where cargo space was held. Bins were also molded into the interior door panels for storing helmets.
The same engine utilized on the Lancia 1600 HF Fulvia was used on the Bertone-designed Lancia Stratos Zero prototype. A triangular-shaped panel hinged upwards to allow access to the mid-mounted engine. Developed for rallying purposes, the legendary Lancia Stratos was unveiled in 1974. The production vehicle Stratos was powered by a 2.4 liter mid-mounted V6 from the Ferrari Dino.
Like no other Lancia before or after, the Lancia Stratos was a shock that left enthusiasts and rally fans breathless. For almost a decade the Stratos streaked across the rally landscape much like a brilliant comet, while discarding past principles, it also fearlessly represented something undeniably new. A phenomenal rally car, the Lancia Stratos set an example to every other car manufacturer in the world. The first viable purpose-built rally car ever built, the Stratos was probably the last purpose-built rally car.
Created by the Bertone coachbuilding company, the Stratos was both radical, yet fully functional. Fiorio realized that for Lancia to continue to compete in the World Rally Championship, the Fulvia HF would need a much more powerful replacement. A the time, four-wheel drive was not an option, so a mid-engined configuration seemed ideal. To reinforce Fiori's convictions, the Bertone show car was featured soon after with a mid-engine Fulvia V4.
The introduction of the Ford mid-engine purpose-built GT70 rally car at the 1971Brussels Motor Show was what truly inspired the impetus behind the Stratos project. It was after this appearance that Lancia's general manager, Pierugo Gobbato contacted Nuccio Bertone. Though the GT70 was actually never put in production by Ford, it was this that sparked the inspiration of the Lancia Stratos.
As always, there was a minimum production requirement, 500 units for the Lancia Stratos. This was an awkward figure that would necessitate funds for at least semi-permanent tooling as well as design and development. This was a job well suited to the Italian industry. Fiorio masterminded the project, and he envisioned a short, wide coupe with a transverse midship drivetrain. Bertone was immediately contracted to style the vehicle and built its unit body/chassis structure.
43 months passed between the time of conception to the actual birth of the Lancia Stratos. The vehicle was developed to take over and make Lancia the outright world rally champ. The Stratos was both short and wide, with a wheelbase of only 7 feet 1.8 inches, the width of the vehicle was only 5 feet 8.9 inches. Weighing only 1958 lbs, the Stratos was only 3 feet 7.9 inches high. Able to easily exceed 140 mph, the Stratos featured 190 horsepower in roadgoing trim.
Having studied every possible powertrain in the Fiat/Lancia group, Fiorio secured 2.4 liter V-6s and 5-speed transaxles from Ferrari, which was an ideal choice as they'd be installed exactly as the Dino 246. All-independent suspension, rack-and-pinion steering, and four-wheel disc brakes were all specifically designed for the Lancia Stratos.
After 1978 the Stratos was officially retired and no longer was officially entered by the Lancia factory, the vehicle was still going strong. The Lancia team was headed by Sandro Munari who won its first event as a homologated entry in October of 1974. Munari entered alone 40 events with the Lancia Stratos and won 14. The Stratos also won the World Rally Championship in 1974, 1975, and 1976 and remained competitive for another four years. The final major win came in 1979 when a Lancia Stratos entered by the Monaco importer won the famed Monte Carlo Rally. Finally, the factory retired the Stratos.By Jessica Donaldson