First shown at the 1970 Turin Motor Show, the Lancia Stratos is one of the most amazing motor vehicle designs of the 20th century. With its mid-engine, rear wheel drive layout, light weight body, an incredible Ferrari built power plant (left over from the Dino 246), and simply STUNNING looks, the Stratos had a huge impact on car design and rally.
The Stratos is the epitome of the 'wedge' design which would become popular in the 80's, with a long angled nose incorporating pop-up headlights, this was one of the most aerodynamic car designs of the time. A roof mounted spoiler and 'ducktail' at the back added to the impression that this isn't just a car, it's a bleedin spaceship.
Only 492 of these amazing cars were built (although this figure is often debated), as this car was intended from the beginning to be a "homologation special". Up until that point all rally cars were production sports cars slightly modified for rally use. Noone had ever thought about building a car from the ground up as a pure rally weapon. Lancia thought of it. The rules at the time specified that a minimum of 500 cars must be built to allow a car to be homologated and used in international rallies. This figure was reduced to 400 part-way though the Stratos' development period.
The Stratos did exactly what it was intended to do. It dominated international rallying from its launch in 1974 until 1978 when Fiat's marketing division decided to direct focus toward the Fiat 131. After this the car saw some action with privateer teams, but no factory support.
In 1981, Lancia launched the Lancia Rallye 037, the new car designed to meet the new 'Group B' criteria. Although private teams continued to win in the Stratos (until its homologation expired in 1982) the heyday of this amazing vehicle was over.
Though few were made, and the production life of the Stratos was very short, its impact on the sport of rallying cannot be underestimated.
"With the Stratos, we had made a tremendous car, frightening other manufacturers, so that some dropped out." - Cesare Fiorio
Height = 111.4cm ( 3'7" )
Length = 3m 71cm ( 12'2" )
Width = 1m 75cm ( 5'8" )
Weight = 980kg ( 2160 lb )
= Front 143cm ( 4'8" ) Rear 146cm ( 4'9" )
= 2m18cm ( 7'2" )
= 13cm ( 5" )
= 10m20cm (33'5" )
Steel centre monocoque
with front and rear box section extensions.
Nose section, tail section and Doors in fibreglass
Mid Engine, rear wheel drive with engine transverse
ly mounted behind seats.
Ferrari Dino 246 V6 DOHC
Cast iron block, alloy
head, 2 valves per cylinder.
Compression Ratio = 9:1
= 190 at 7400 rpm
s = 3 x Weber
5 speed Ferrari Dino gearbox in complete unit with transversely mounted motor and differential
Front = coil spring
, hydraulic shock absorber
, wishbones and anti roll bar
Rear = McPherson Strut
, hydraulic shock absorber
, lower wish bone and anti roll bar
Rack and Pinion
- 3.2 turns lock to lock
Front and Rear ventilated disks.
Front = 26.6cm ( 10.7" )
Rear = 27cm ( 10.9" )
5 stud - 14" dia - 7.5" wide
205/70 x 14
2 x mid mounted fuel tanks. Capacity 85 litres.
Although getting your hands on a real Stratos is almost impossible without a SERIOUS budget (several hundred thousand US dollars), those with more modest means can have a kit-car version made by Hawk Cars of England. http://www.hawkcars.co.uk/ is their website, and ordering details can be found there.