40 AUGUST 2014
lAnciA STrAToS HF
through rallying. Agreement was reached.
The Stratos HF (for High Fidelity) was go.
The achievement of getting sign-off on
this project (Tipo 829 in Lancia’s model
nomenclature) can’t be underestimated.
This was a seminal moment in the sport
of rallying – one often overshadowed by,
but right up there with, Audi’s four-wheel
drive revolution of the early 1980s. In
pushing the button on the Stratos, Lancia
committed to producing the 500 cars
demanded by the FIA’s Group 4 regulations,
the tech rules then in place for cars vying
for outright World Rally Championship wins.
This wasn’t about plucking a handful of
shells from the production line, sticking a
roll cage in and going rallying; this was
about stopping the Lancia production line
and redirecting the workforce to go and
virtually hand-build the exotic Stratos.
And it had never been done in rallying.
With Bertone taking care of the chassis
design, Fiorio turned his attentions to the
powerplant. But the engines emanating
from Lancia’s Chivasso factory weren’t
really setting his pulse racing. Not like the
howl of a Modena-born V6...
As soon as the 1971 Monte Carlo had
finished, Fiorio headed into the Alps with
a couple of Ferrari Dinos liberated from
the factory. Munari and Rafaele Pinto
were brought along to conduct a test
over the top of Col de Turini, one of the
Monte’s most famous and feared stages.
The results were good. Very good.
So, that’ll be 500 Ferrari Dino V6
And fortunately, Fiorio found
Il Commendatore in benevolent mood.
“Enzo Ferrari never gave his engines to
anybody outside of Ferrari,” says Fiorio.
“But I had a good relationship with him;
he was looking sympathetically at the
“The problem we had was
with Fiat. There was a strong
fight against Lancia and
myself to stop this project”
Nuccio Bertone knew full well that
Lancia’s chosen design partner was
Pininfarina, but this was a chance for his
company to show what it was capable of.
It worked. Fiorio loved it. And when
Bertone himself drove the Stratos Zero
across town and under the entry barrier
at the Lancia factory (the car’s roof was
only 33in. from the floor), the workers
stood and cheered. The future was here.
Convincing the workers was one thing.
Convincing Fiat would be quite another.
“We had good support from Lancia
management and the factory,” recalls
Fiorio. “Everybody was very pleased with
the success that we achieved in rallying
with the Fulvia. The problem we had was
with Fiat. They wanted to compete using
the 124, so they were not happy at the
idea of us producing this car. There was a
very strong fight against Lancia and
myself to stop this project, and we had to
go through very difficult moments, but
finally we managed to finish the program.”
A big help came when the Stratos
returned in a more refined and rally-ready
shape to the 1971 Turin Motorshow. A
few months later, Sandro Munari won the
Monte Carlo Rally in a Lancia Fulvia, and
suddenly the Fiat brass was talking about
Lancia and how it could redefine its image M c K l
All seven of Italian
WRC wins came at
the wheel of a Lancia
Monte Carlo Rally
wins (1975-’ 77).
(MAIN) As a study in aggressive, purposeful design, there’s no bad
angle on a Lancia Stratos. (BELOW) the Stratos Zero, Bertone’s
low-line, futuristic concept that morphed into the Stratos HF rally car.