The mid-engine Lancia Rally car called the Lancia 037 (Abarth SE037) was built to compete in the FIA Group B World Rally Championship. Beginning in 1982, the World Rally Championship was contested under the Group B regulations which had recently been introduced. In comparison to the Group 4 regulations, the homologation requirement decreased from 400 cars to 200. Another change was the variable minimum weight depending on the engine's displacement, which allowed a variety of vehicles to compete in the Group B category.
Just as they had done with the endurance-racing Beta Montecarlo Turbo, Lancia approached Abarth and Pininfarina to aide in the project. The new rally car was code-named Abarth project SE037 and was based on the central monocoque of the production Montecarlo road car. The engine was mounted longitudinally and fitted with a Roots-type Volumex supercharger. The suspension was by double wishbones located at all four corners with twin dampers at the rear. The Kevlar composite body shells were built by Pininfarina, with the final body design being perfected in their wind tunnel. It had short overhangs and a spoiler in the back to help with downforce.
The engine was a two-liter, four-cylinder unit that had first been used in the Fiat 131 Group 4. The twin-cam engine had a sixteen valve head, a supercharger, and produced around 280 horsepower in competition guise. The de-tuned 'Stradale' road car had just over 200 horsepower.
By April 1st of 1982, Lancia had produced 207 examples of the 037 to homologate it for Group B competition. Two examples made the competition debut at the 1982 Rally Costa Smeralda in Italy, but both were retired early due to gearbox issues. Its first successful competition test was the Tour de Corse in May 1982, where it finished in 9th overall. Reliability plagued the 037 early on, and its first victory was not obtained until August when it won the Italian hill climb with Teodoro Peruggini behind the wheel. Lancia understood that the 1982 season would be a learning and intense development season rather than a championship run. Markku Alén and Ilkka Kivimaki did manage a fourth-place finish at the RAC Rally at the end of the season.
The 1983 was more successful for Lanica, with Walter Röhrl and Markku Alén leading the Martini Racing Lancia team to wins at Monte Carlo, Tour de Corse, Acropolis, New Zealand, and Sanremo on its way to the 1983 World Rally Championship. This was Lancia's fifth championship and the last WRC title by a two-wheel drive car. Röhrl and Alen were second and third in the Drivers' standings behind Hannu Mikkola of Audi.
Group B rules specified an evolution version could be built following the completion of the first 200 examples. Just 25 of these 'Evo' cars were required to be built. So for the 1984 season, Lancia introduced the 037 Evo. It was powered by a 2.1 liter engine that had 325 horsepower. Other modifications included changes to the supercharger boost, smaller and non-ventilated disc brakes, and the removal of the rear bumper. These changes were made to help it in the snow stages.
The 1984 season was once again a battle between Audi and their four-wheel drive Quattro and the Lancia. This changed when Peugeot introduced their all-new 205 Turbo 16 late in the season. Lancia would score a single victory during the season, at the Tour de Corse. Consistent results throughout the season helped place Lanica second in the manufacturers' championship.
Lancia used the 037 into the 1985 season, while work continued on the new all-wheel drive Delta S4. Beginning in 1986, the Lancia works team raced the Delta S4 exclusively, except for the Safari rally. Privateers, however, would continue to compete with the 037 for several more seasons. by Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2019
This Lancia Rally 037 Stradale is painted in the traditional Rosso Corsa color scheme and was delivered to Giancarlo Gianetti. Giancarlo's firm, L.M. Gianetti, in Torino, was an engineering and fabrication firm that developed and produced engine and ....[continue reading]
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