Homologation Specials: 1974 Lancia Stratos HF Stradale. Lancia’s motorsport legacy spans many decades and disciplines, but the Italian marque earned its most consistent and most significant victories in the World Rally Championship (WRC). As far removed from a one-trick pony as possible, Lancia won 10 WRC constructor titles between the 1974 and 1992 season with three very different cars (four if you count the precursor championship to the WRC, which Lancia won with the Fulvia), but the extraterrestrial, wildly successful Stratos was the company’s only completely purpose-built machine.
The Stratos had a dominant reign in the WRC that continued well beyond the lifespan of a typical competition car (besides winning a hat trick of WRC constructor titles for the factory team between 1974 and 1976, privateers ensured that the Stratos continued to win rally stages and events into the early 1980s), but its place in Lancia’s history isn’t based solely on its trophy-taking abilities.
The Stratos was a special project that combined the then-burgeoning dynasty of Lancia rallying, the paradigm shifting and era-defining design of Bertone’s Marcello Gandini, and to make the story even more of an Italian all-star team, its horsepower came courtesy of a certain prancing one: Ferrari. Powered by the Dino’s V6, the Stratos was not just a Lancia success story, but an Italian one. The car evolved beyond the rally stage to take on the Group 5 competition during the silhouette era, and the street legal version has remained one of the wildest machines to ever wear a license plate. In this week’s film we join Sam Hancock in one such Stradale model as he gives it some proper exercise on a suitably dreamy stretch of coastal mountain road.
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