Classic Cars

50 Years Since The Lancia Stratos Claimed Its First International Rally Victory

Driving the Stratos, Bernard Darniche won two Euro European Rally Championships and four out of the seven rounds
he won in his career were part of the World Rally Championship.

The Stratos was something of a brutal and efficient car, designed and built specially to win and break away from the more traditional offerings from other manufacturers. The inspiration for the Stratos came from the 1970s “Strato’s Zero” prototype, a futuristic wedge shape designed for rallying. The final version was unveiled the following year, with its sharp front end, wide wheel arches and a sloping front windshield that encompassed the front pillar and continued into the side windows. The roof dropped away vertically over a small rear window which was enveloped by the large rear bonnet.

The bonnet and the trunk were made up of two parts, both being lightweight shells included their own wheel arch fenders and opened wide for easy access to the engine bay. The large wing mounted at the rear was designed purposefully and the front had a pair of round headlamps.

The V6 engine was based on that in the Ferrari Dino 246, and really sounded the part. The interior was also functional, entirely designed to be focussed on the driver. Just two seats and two compartments for racing helmets.

In the road version there was the so called “Color-Blocking”, where continuous contrasts played through the interior using the primary colors of blue, red and yellow.

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