The Lancia Stratos HF (Tipo 829), known as Lancia Stratos, is a rear mid-engined sports car designed for rallying, made by Italian car manufacturer Lancia. It was a highly successful rally car, winning the World Rally Championship in 1974, 1975 and 1976; and race car winning 1974 Targa Florio,[6] five times the Tour de France Automobile and three editions of Giro d'Italia automobilistico.

Lancia Stratos HF
Lancia Stratos HF Stradale (road version)
ca. 492 produced
AssemblyItaly: Turin
DesignerMarcello Gandini at Bertone[1]
Body and chassis
ClassSports car
Rally car
Body style2-door coupé
LayoutTransverse mid-engine, rear-wheel drive
ChassisSteel space-frame structure with integral roll-cage. Fiberglass body
Engine2,418 cc (148 cu in) Dino V6[2]
Power outputStradale: 190 hp (140 kW)[3]
Transmission5-speed manual
Wheelbase2,180 mm (85.8 in)[4]
Length3,710 mm (146.1 in)[4]
Width1,750 mm (68.9 in)[4]
Height1,110 mm (43.7 in)[4]
Curb weightStradale: 980 kg (2,161 lb)[4]
Group 4: 880 kg (1,940 lb)[5]
PredecessorLancia Fulvia HF
SuccessorLancia Rally 037

History edit

Lancia Stratos HF Prototype

Lancia traditionally used the design house Pininfarina and had not used Bertone before. Bertone desired to create an opportunity for a relationship with Lancia and knew that Lancia was looking for a replacement for the aging Fulvia for use in rally sports. Bertone decided to design an eye-catching model to show to Lancia. Bertone used the running gear of a Fulvia Coupé which belonged to one of his friends and built a running model around it. When Bertone himself appeared at the Lancia factory gates with the Stratos Zero he passed underneath the barrier, to great applause from the Lancia workers. After that Lancia and Bertone agreed to develop a new rally car based on the ideas of Bertone's designer Marcello Gandini. Gandini had already designed the Lamborghini Miura and was working on the Countach at the time.

Lancia presented the Bertone-designed Lancia Stratos HF prototype at the 1971 Turin Motor Show, a year after the announcement of the Stratos Zero concept car. The prototype Stratos HF (Chassis 1240) was fluorescent red in colour and featured a distinctive crescent-shaped wrap-around windshield providing maximum forward visibility with almost no rear visibility. The prototype had three different engines in its early development life: the Lancia Fulvia engine, the Lancia Beta engine and finally, for the 1971 public launch, the mid-mounted Dino Ferrari V6 producing 190 hp (142 kW) in road trim. The use of this engine had been planned from the beginning of the project, but Enzo Ferrari was reluctant to sign off the use of this engine in a car he saw as a competitor to his own Dino V6. After the production of the Dino had ended, the "Commendatore" (a popular nickname for Enzo Ferrari) agreed to deliver the engines for the Stratos, upon which Lancia suddenly received 500 units.

1974 Stratos HF Stradale 2.4

The final design shares several striking features with Gandini's Lamborghini Miura: the dual clamshell hoods (the front opening forward, over the spare wheel placed identically, and the rear hinging rearward, with stepped black louvres above the engine and integrating a trunk behind it) – as well as the way the door-glass bottom rears curve upward, giving the otherwise frameless doors an upward-swept frame section. In contrast though, the Stratos' body received an unmistakable short and wide wedge shape, so extreme that the nose drops below the top crests of the front wheel wells, and made unique by the semi-elliptical greenhouse's windshield and door glass ensemble, when seen from above.

Lancia Stratos HF 2.4 V6 24V Prototype at 1973 Targa Florio

The Stratos was a successful rally car during the 1970s and early 1980s. It started a new era in rallying as it was the first car designed from scratch for this kind of competition.[7] The three leading men behind the entire rallying project were Lancia team manager Cesare Fiorio, British racer/engineer Mike Parkes and factory rally driver Sandro Munari, with Bertone's Designer Marcello Gandini taking a personal interest in designing and producing the bodywork. A dedicated calculations engineer from Lancia was tasked with performing calculations on many of the chassis, steering, suspension and engine components: Nicola Materazzi.[8]

Lancia undertook extensive testing with the Stratos and raced the car in several racing events where Group 5 prototypes were allowed during the 1972 and 1973 seasons. Production of the 500 cars required for homologation in Group 4 commenced in 1973 and the Stratos was homologated for the 1974 World Rally Championship season.[5] The Ferrari Dino V6 engine was phased out in 1974, but 500 engines - among the last examples built - were delivered to Lancia.[9] Production ended in 1975, when it was thought that only 492 were made (for the 1976 season, the Group 4 production requirement was reduced to 400 in 24 months[10]). The manufacturer of the car was Bertone in Turin, with final assembly by Lancia at the Chivasso plant.[11] Powered by the Dino 2.4 L V6 engine that was also fitted to the rallying versions, but in a lower state of tune, it resulted in a power output of 190 PS; 188 bhp (140 kW) at 7,000 rpm and 226 N⋅m; 166 lbf⋅ft (23 kg⋅m) at 4,000 rpm of torque, giving the road car a 0–100 km/h (62 mph) time of 6.8 seconds, and a top speed of 232 km/h (144 mph).[3] The car was sold as the Lancia Stratos HF Stradale.

Lancia Stratos HF at the Lancia centenary celebrations in Turin in 2006

The Stratos weighed between 900 and 950 kilograms, depending on configuration. Power output was around 275 hp (205 kW) for the original 12 valve version and 320 hp (239 kW) for the 24 valve version. Beginning with the 1978 season the 24 valve heads were banned from group 4 competition by a change to the FIA rules (which would have required additional production of 24-valve cars for re-homologation).[10][12] Even with this perceived power deficit the Stratos was the car to beat in competition and when it did not suffer an accident or premature transmission failure (of the latter there were many) it had great chances to win.

The car won the 1974, 1975 and 1976 championship titles in the hands of Sandro Munari and Björn Waldegård, and might have gone on to win more had not internal politics within the Fiat group placed rallying responsibility on the Fiat 131 Abarths. As well as victories on the 1975, 1976 and 1977 Monte Carlo Rally, all courtesy of Munari, the Stratos won the event with the private Chardonnet Team as late as 1979.[7]

Lancia Stratos Turbo Group 5

Without support from Fiat, and despite new regulations that restricted engine power, the car would remain a serious competitor and proved able to beat works cars in several occasions when entered by an experienced private team with a talented driver. The last victory of the Stratos was in 1981, at the Tour de Corse Automobile, another World Rally Championship event, with a victory by longtime Stratos privateer Bernard Darniche.

When the Fiat group favoured the Fiat 131 for rallying, Lancia also built two Group 5 turbocharged 'silhouette' Stratos for closed-track endurance racing. The powertrain and aerodynamics were engineered by Nicola Materazzi based on experience gained with the earlier generation.[13][14] These cars failed against the Porsche 935s on closed tracks but proved successful in hybrid events. Stratos won a record 5 times the Tour de France Automobile between 1973 and 1980, and also the 1974, 1976 and 1978 Giro d'Italia automobilistico, an Italian counterpart of the Tour de France Automobile. One of the cars was destroyed in Zeltweg, when it caught fire due to overheating problems.[15] The last surviving car would win the Giro d'Italia event again before it was shipped to Japan to compete in the Fuji Speedway based Formula Silhouette series, which was never raced. The car would then be sold and reside in the Matsuda Collection before then being sold to a collector of Stratos', Ernst Hrabalek, who had the largest Lancia Stratos Collection in the world at the time, 11 unique Lancia Stratos cars, including the fluorescent red 1971 factory prototype and the 1977 Safari Rally car.[nb 1][16][17][18] The Stratos also gained limited success in 24 Hours of Le Mans, with a car, driven by Christine Dacremont and Lella Lombardi, finishing 20th overall and 2nd in GTP class in 1976.[19]

1983 Andy Bentza and his RX Lancia Stratos HF, the only 3.0 L Stratos

Another unique Group 5 car is the Lancia Stratos HF of Austrian Rallycross driver Andy Bentza. The car was first driven by his Memphis teammate Franz Wurz, father of Formula One pilot Alexander Wurz. In 1976 Wurz claimed the first ever European Rallycross title recognised by the FIA with the car, by then still featuring a 2.4 litre engine with first a 12 and later a 24 valve head. For the ERC series of 1977 Wurz was entrusted with an experimental 24 valve engine by Mike Parkes, equipped with a special crankshaft to bring the engine capacity up to just under 3000 cc. For 1978 Bentza took the Stratos over from Wurz, sold his own 2.4 L 12V Stratos to compatriot Reneé Vontsina, and won the GT Division title of the ERC. The one and only 3.0 litre Stratos worldwide was raced by Bentza till the end of 1983. After keeping the car for another 30 years Bentza has sold the Stratos to Alexander Wurz. It was fully restored over a period of almost two years and revealed to the public in May 2016, converted back to its 1976 rallycross specification with Memphis livery.

WRC victories edit

No. Event Season Driver Co-driver
1   16º Rallye Sanremo 1974   Sandro Munari   Mario Mannucci
2   3rd Rally Rideau Lakes 1974   Sandro Munari   Mario Mannucci
3   18ème Tour de Corse 1974   Jean-Claude Andruet   Michèle Petit
4   43ème Rallye Automobile de Monte-Carlo 1975   Sandro Munari   Mario Mannucci
5   25th International Swedish Rally 1975   Björn Waldegård   Hans Thorszelius
6   17º Rallye Sanremo 1975   Björn Waldegård   Hans Thorszelius
7   19ème Tour de Corse 1975   Bernard Darniche   Alain Mahé
8   44ème Rallye Automobile de Monte-Carlo 1976   Sandro Munari   Silvio Maiga
9   9º Rallye de Portugal Vinho do Porto 1976   Sandro Munari   Silvio Maiga
10   18º Rallye Sanremo 1976   Björn Waldegård   Hans Thorszelius
11   20ème Tour de Corse 1976   Sandro Munari   Silvio Maiga
12   45ème Rallye Automobile de Monte-Carlo 1977   Sandro Munari   Silvio Maiga
13   20º Rallye Sanremo 1978   Markku Alén   Ilkka Kivimäki
14   26º RACE Rallye de España 1978   Tony Carello  
15   47ème Rallye Automobile de Monte-Carlo 1979   Bernard Darniche   Alain Mahé
16   21º Rallye Sanremo 1979   Antonio "Tony" Fassina   Mauro Mannini
17   23ème Tour de Corse 1979   Bernard Darniche   Alain Mahé
18   25ème Tour de Corse 1981   Bernard Darniche   Alain Mahé

Concept cars edit

Stratos Zero edit

1970 Stratos Zero concept car

The Lancia Stratos Zero (or 0) preceded the Lancia Stratos HF prototype by 12 months and was first shown to the public at the Turin Motor Show in 1970. The futuristic bodywork was designed by Marcello Gandini, head designer at Bertone, and featured a 1.6 L Lancia Fulvia V4 engine.[20] The Lancia Stratos HF Zero was exhibited in Bertone's museum for many years. In 2011, it was sold during an auction in Italy for €761,600.[21] It has been displayed in the exhibit "Sculpture in Motion: Masterpieces of Italian Design" at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. It was at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta at the "Dream Cars" exhibit in 2014, on loan from the XJ Wang Collection of New York City.[22]

The car's body is wedge-shaped and finished in distinctive orange. It is unusually short in length (3.58 m (141 in)) and height (84 cm (33 in)), and it shares little with the production version. The Zero appeared in Michael Jackson's 1988 film Moonwalker.[23]

Lancia Sibilo edit

In 1978, Bertone created and designed a concept car based on the Stratos called the Sibilo. It was conceived as a futuristic two-seater coupè on the chassis of the Lancia Stratos, the wheelbase of which was lengthened from 2160 to 2280mm. The car's glass surfaces seemed almost integrated into the volumes of the body, which looked like a monolithic sculpture of vigorous and smooth shape.

Stola S81 edit

Stola S81 Stratos

In 2000, Marcello Gandini created a modern interpretation of his Lancia Stratos, commissioned by the Stola of Turin. A concept car that is a two-seater coupe built with Ciba LY 5185, a new material considered more useful than traditional clay.[24]

Fenomenon Stratos (2005) edit

Fenomenon Stratos in Alitalia livery, IAA Frankfurt 2005.
Fenomenon Stratos, Classic Remise Berlin.

At the 2005 Geneva Auto Show, a British design firm known as Fenomenon, who had rights to the name,[25] exhibited a retromodern concept version of the Stratos, designed by Chris Hrabalek[26] and following its exhibition at the Frankfurt show, developed by Prodrive. The concept was based around a mid-mounted 419 hp (312 kW) V8 engine.[27]

New Stratos edit

New Stratos
Manifattura Automobili Torino[28]
Also calledPininfarina Stratos
DesignerLuca Borgogno at Pininfarina[29]
Body and chassis
ClassSports car (S)
Body style2-door coupé
LayoutRear mid-engine, rear-wheel drive
RelatedFerrari F430 Scuderia
Engine4.3 L Ferrari F136 V8
Transmission6-speed 'F1' automated manual
6-speed manual
Wheelbase2,400 mm (94.49 in)
Length4,181 mm (164.6 in)
Width1,971 mm (77.6 in)
Height1,240 mm (48.8 in)
Curb weight1,247 kg (2,749 lb)

Following the stalled Fenomenon project, one interested backer funded a one-off model. Commissioned by Michael Stoschek (a keen rally driver and chairman of Brose Group) and his son, Maximilian, the New Stratos was announced in 2010 based on the overall design and concept of the original Stratos and was designed and developed by Pininfarina.[30]

The car made use of a Ferrari 430 Scuderia as a donor car, using the chassis (shortened by 200 mm (7.9 in) resulting in a wheelbase of 2,400 mm (94.49 in)) and much of the mechanical elements including the 4.3 L V8 engine (4,308 cm3), tuned to generate 540 hp (403 kW) at 8,200 rpm[31] and torque of 519 N⋅m (383 lb⋅ft) at 3,750 rpm.

The New Stratos weighs 1,247 kg (2,749 lb) and is claimed to accelerate to 100 km/h in 3.3 seconds and on to a top speed close to 320 km/h (200 mph).[32] While shorter than its donor car, the New Stratos is a little larger than the original Stratos, with a length of 4,181 mm (164.6 in), 1,971 mm (77.6 in) wide and 1,240 mm (48.8 in) tall. There were reports that given sufficient interest a small production run of up to 25 cars could be possible.[33] Ferrari did not consent to this plan, and forbade its suppliers to support the project.[34] However, on 10 February 2018, Italian coachbuilding firm Manifattura Automobili Torino of Paolo Garella[35] announced that it would be commencing with the production of the originally planned 25 cars.[36]

Rear view

In popular culture edit

The Autobot Wheeljack from the Transformers franchise transforms into an Alitalia-sponsored Stratos in the Generation 1 toy line and its cartoon adaptation, albeit with the Alitalia markings on the toy intentionally misspelled as "Alitalla" (presumably to avoid trademark infringement). Earlier samples of the character's toy from Takara's Diaclone toy line (where most of Transformers' character designs came from) were sold with a Marlboro-inspired livery.[37]

Notes edit

  1. ^ Many sources in the 2000s claimed the car belonged to the son of Ernst, Christian Hrabalek, when in fact it was 'loaned' to him.

References edit

  1. ^ "Designer". Retrieved 8 February 2012.
  2. ^ Derrick, Martin; Clay, Simon (2013). Million Dollar Classics: The World's Most Expensive Cars. Chartwell Books. ISBN 978-0-7858-3051-1.
  3. ^ a b "Lancia Stratos HF Group 4 and Stradale Specification". Retrieved 21 January 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Technical specifications of 1974 Lancia Stratos". Retrieved 14 February 2008.
  5. ^ a b "Lancia/Models/Lancia Stratos". Archived from the original on 26 April 2011. Retrieved 24 June 2007.
  6. ^ "World Sports Racing Prototypes - Non Championship Races 1974". Retrieved 5 January 2013.
  7. ^ a b "1975 Lancia Stratos". Archived from the original on 9 May 2006. Retrieved 24 June 2007.
  8. ^ Nicola Domenico Senatore, L'altra storia terra mia: Nicola Materazzi (in Italian), archived from the original on 21 December 2021, retrieved 21 October 2019
  9. ^ Thorson, Thor (February 2013). "1974 Lancia Stratos Groupe 4". Sports Car Market. 25 (2): 54–55.
  10. ^ a b "Appendix "J" to the International Sporting Code 1976" (PDF). FIA. 1976. Art. 251, 252. Retrieved 15 December 2014. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  11. ^ Evo 153, February 2011
  12. ^ Robson G., "Lancia Stratos" Rally Giants, Veloce Publishing Ltd, 2007, ISBN 1845840410, 9781845840419.
  13. ^ Cironi (28 July 2017), Materazzi Racconta Lancia Stratos (in Italian), retrieved 1 April 2020
  14. ^ Delbo, We sit down with the man who engineered the Ferrari F40 and 288 GTO, retrieved 1 April 2020
  15. ^ "6 h Zeltweg results". Archived from the original on 31 December 2006. Retrieved 24 June 2007.
  16. ^ "Father and son in court battle over four classic rally cars worth £2.2m". 23 February 2015.
  17. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 March 2021. Retrieved 13 May 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  18. ^ "Beyond the Stratos-phere". Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. Retrieved 24 June 2007.
  19. ^ "Le Mans 24 Hours 1976 - Race Results". Retrieved 18 February 2024.
  20. ^ "Historical collection". Archived from the original on 28 December 2011. Retrieved 29 November 2011.
  21. ^ "Lot 113 – 1970 Lancia Stratos HF Zero". Archived from the original on 6 April 2011. Retrieved 22 February 2011.
  22. ^ "Upcoming Exhibitions: Dream Cars: Innovative Design, Visionary Ideas". High Museum of Art. Archived from the original on 29 May 2016. Retrieved 14 February 2016.
  23. ^ End credits. Moonwalker. Warner Brothers. 2005. The Producers gratefully acknowledge the cooperation of Carrozzeria Bertone S.P.A. of Torino, Italy for the use of the beautiful STRATOS 0 used in this film.
  24. ^ "Lopresto - 2000 Lancia "New Stratos" Stola". Retrieved 15 September 2022.
  25. ^ Hull, Nick (1 March 2005). "First Sight – Fenomenon Stratos". Archived from the original on 16 October 2010. Retrieved 22 February 2011.
  26. ^ "". Archived from the original on 4 June 2010. Retrieved 22 February 2011.
  27. ^ "Prodrive takes on Stratos". 5 October 2005. Retrieved 22 February 2011.
  28. ^ "New Stratos". Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  29. ^ "Lancia New Stratos: design sketches and updates". Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  30. ^ Bremner, Richard (26 August 2010). "New Lancia Stratos – latest pics". Retrieved 28 May 2011.
  31. ^ Barker, John (29 November 2010). "New Lancia Stratos supercar review". Retrieved 22 February 2011.
  32. ^ Barlow, Jason (30 November 2010). "Exclusive first drive in new Stratos supercar". Archived from the original on 28 July 2011. Retrieved 29 May 2011.
  33. ^ Madden, Luke (16 August 2010). "Lancia Stratos officially revealed". Auto Express. Retrieved 19 May 2011.
  34. ^ Spinks, Jez (14 July 2011). "Ferrari blocks iconic sports car". Archived from the original on 17 July 2011. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
  35. ^ "Paolo Garella". Retrieved 11 January 2020.
  36. ^ "The New Stratos will return as a 550bhp rally-ready supercar". 9 February 2018. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  37. ^ Bellomo, Mark (5 July 2016). The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Transformers Action Figures. Wisconsin: Krause Publications. p. 29. ISBN 978-1-4402-4640-1.

External links edit