What appears to be an updated version of the showstopping Fenomenon Stratos concept car of 2005 has cropped up in a couple of previously unseen spy shots. Essentially an updated version of Lancia's all-conquering World Rally hero of the 1970s, the Fenomenon Stratos debuted back in 2005 at the Geneva Motor Show, where it went down a storm. Limited production was expected to follow in 2006 and 2007, but aside from images of an open-topped variant making the rounds, the car fell off the radar.
Taken by an anonymous photographer, these shots were allegedly snapped on a Fiat test track near Milan, though it isn't immediately clear when the images were taken. ItaliaSpeed indicates the pics were taken on June 21, but firm information seems scarce, and it's possible they could actually be older images just now coming to light. What's perhaps most interesting is that the car in these photographs boasts a different, more conservative front fascia (perhaps for better aerodynamics than the somewhat lift-happy look of the concept), and the split-screen windshield has disappeared, suggesting that there have been further developments on the project since it was last shown. Like the original, plans called for the Fenomenon Stratos revival to rely on Ferrari power, albeit with two extra cylinders. At the time, it was understood that the mid-mounted V8 from the 360 Scuderia would find its way into the engine bay, although we have no indication as to what's powering the car in the photos.
Does this mean that Lancia itself has taken up the torch on this car? Or has a wealthy benefactor kick-started life into a stillborn project for a tasty one-off (as suggested by Italiaspeed) – à la James Glickenhaus? Or has development been proceeding all this time? Or are we just getting too excited over the prospect of one of our all-time favorite supercars getting back out on the road, if only in spirit? Have a look at the shots below and let us know what you think.