In rallying form it won five WRC manufacturer titles; in showroom trim it remains one of the best road cars ever made.
The passage of time can turn heroes into has-beens. Not so the Lancia Delta HF Integrale. Even today, almost 24 years after the original 8-valve Integrale was launched, you can storm along in the company of modern high-performance machinery and not have to make many excuses regarding the four-wheel-drive Lancia’s age. Sure, it may not erupt out of corners with the savage rage of a Mitsubishi Evo FQ-400 or Nissan GT-R, but the speed you carry into a corner can be maintained and used to rocket you out the other side.
Though more than capable of blinding speed across challenging roads and in dire conditions, the Integrale’s other attributes are what have helped it endure – and remain adored. Its wonderfully neutral chassis balance and agility. Its intimate steering feel. The whoosh and chuff of its turbocharger as it stokes the seductive-sounding 2-litre twin-cam four-cylinder engine. Not to mention the Integrale’s looks: beefily broad, broodingly hard-faced. As an overall package it’s deeply charismatic, which partly explains why values continue to remain strong.
It helps that the Integrale has motorsport heritage. A towering pile of the stuff, most of it podium-topping. When Group B rally cars were legislated out of the World Rally Championship at the end of the 1986 season, Lancia needed a production-based alternative to tackle Group A. Key technologies from the Delta S4 Group B, namely four-wheel drive and turbocharging, were then applied to the narrow-bodied Delta HF 4WD to create a very short-lived (yet able) road car and, for 1987, a WRC championship-winning rally car.
This Lancia Delta started out life as a normal road car built in February 1990 and spent 10 years pounding around the Italian streets. Imported in 2001, the car was the pressed in to service being enjoyed and used through the streets of London and the West Midlands. The car was taken off the road in 2015 due to the age-old problem of rust and was bought by the current owner in a sorry state. What followed was an epic journey of discovery, hard work, time and effort by a dedicated team of warriors who crafted an Italian thoroughbred out of rust grime and decay.
The build specification is nothing short of eye watering with pieces of engineering excellence. The heart of the Delta has been thoroughly worked over and includes a full endurance race specification of parts. These include a whole host of forged and billeted pieces of super light and super strong metal complimented with a touring car specification turbo system and bespoke exhaust. Power outputs are adjustable to over 500 horses, delivered to the road with no traction control, ABS or stability control.
To keep the car firmly on the road there is rally bred suspension components with 4-way adjustment, rally spec wishbones and custom made AP racing brakes with enormous discs to keep everything in check. The rally specification 17” wheels made by Speedline are set off with Nankang’s newest compound of semi-slick rubber using the AR-1 tyre or the NS2-R when wet.
Keeping everything nice and safe the car has been built with a replica of the group A rally cage but with enhanced bars and gussets to improve the safety and rigidity where possible. Both occupants have racing specification 6-point harness and an electronically activated fire suppression system. The fuel system is also aircraft grade with an 80l tank enclosed in fire and shock resistant composite casing enclosed in an aluminium body.