1972 Lancia Stratos Stradale
Coachwork by Bertone
Chassis no. 829ARO 001941
2418cc V-6 Engine
192bhp at 7,000rpm
5-Speed Manual Transmission
4-Wheel Independent Suspension
4-Wheel Disc Brakes
*Virtually original, as delivered
*Approximately 50,000 kilometers from new
*Long-term ownership, parked in storage since 1998
*Complete and sound, ready for sympathetic restoration
*Rare 'Stradale' version
The Lancia Stratos
The Lancia Stratos is many things - among them, one of the most successful rally cars ever built, one of the most valuable Lancias ever produced, an example of clever corporate parts sharing, challenging and daunting to drive and a spaceship for the road. All of that is true, but it doesn't tell the full story. Constructed for homologation purposes, Lancia Stratos 'Stradale' or 'street' models used the same 2.4-liter Ferrari Dino V-6 found in 'Rally' or racing versions, but in a significantly lower state of tune. Even with 'only' 192 horsepower, the Stratos Stradale's light weight, less than 2,200 pounds, helped the wedge-shaped rocket accelerate from 0-60 MPH in less than five seconds, on its way to a top speed of some 140mph.
While record keeping is difficult to exactly reconcile, it is thought that approximately 492 Lancia Stratos models of all variants were constructed during the car's brief production run. As many were either raced, crashed, or both, it's impossible to know how many surviving examples remain, especially of the Stradale variant. While the exact number is unknown, many of the Stratos's built and delivered as 'Stradale' models have over the years been either modified for competition or turned into Group 4 rally replicas.
The Motorcar Offered
There are certainly very few Stradale examples which survive intact in almost completely original condition from new. This is one such car. This Stratos was originally delivered in Germany, historically one of Lancia's best export markets. It was imported to the US in late 1982 and purchased by the vendor, a citizen of the UK who was a resident in California, in November of that year. He took delivery of the Stratos in Albuquerque and recalls vividly the drive home to San Francisco, a trip which took him through both the deepest arroyos in the Mohave Desert as well as snow in the mountains.
In all conditions, the Lancia was a thrill to pilot. He often used the car to commute between his home in San Francisco and his ranch in Santa Barbara, sometimes on the Pacific Coast Highway, occasionally on the Interstate. As his family grew and other obligations found him spending more and more time abroad, the Stratos was used less and less, finally going into storage at the ranch in June, 1998.
The Stratos has not been started or run since that time but on a recent inspection by Bonhams specialists, the body appeared to be in very sound condition and it is mechanically complete. The odometer read 50,116km (31,072 miles) at the time of inspection and the Lancia showed all factory delivered finishes and details, with the exception of the seats, which had at some point prior to 1982 been reupholstered in leather in place of the original cloth, along with an aftermarket gear shift knob. The required German-language data plate is in place as is the California 'Bureau of Automotive Repair' sticker in the door jamb attesting to its Federalization on import, as none of these cars were officially brought into the US.
A total re-commissioning would be required before the car is run again, and it would not only be prudent but absolutely required that all mechanical systems be thoroughly rebuilt and refreshed before beginning to safely exploit the performance capability of this supercar. The Stratos can be a surprisingly usable car. It has great forward visibility, enabling it to be very accurately placed. There is a good deal of luggage room in the rear and the cockpit also has ample elbow room thanks to the helmet pockets in the doors.
When properly sorted, they are also surprisingly unfussy mechanically, as in their day they needed to be reliable on long and grueling rally stages.
The Lancia Stratos is acknowledged as one of the all-time classic purpose-built rally cars; to find a rare Stradale, which is largely a time warp as delivered, is essentially unheard of. This delightful example awaits a sensitive hand to bring it back to good health again; the experience of turning the key again will be one to be savored.