Like a scene out of Forza Horizon, finding something like an ultra-rare 1972 Lancia Stratos is a dream. The Ferrari-engined, Bertone-bodied rally car is one of the automotive highlights of the 1970s, winning the World Rally Championship three straight times (1974, 1975 and 1976). And while there were some 492 road cars produced, none were formally exported to the United States. Which makes the appearance of this red, Stradale variant quite a find.
It's up for auction at Bonhams, which has a thorough rundown of this particular model. As we said, it's a Stradale (Italian for "street"), designed to fulfill FIA homologation requirements. It uses a detuned variant of the Stratos rally car's 2.4-liter Ferrari V6, with 192 horsepower routed through a five-speed manual transmission. The curb weight sits under 2,200 pounds, which Bonhams estimates will help with the car's claimed 0-60 time of around five seconds.
This car was originally sold in Germany, before being imported to the US late in 1982 by a British national. He took delivery in Albuquerque, and proceeded to drive from there to his home in San Francisco. It was then regularly used for commuting, which must have been a quite a sight. The Stratos was put into storage in 1998 with just over 31,000 miles on the clock, and hasn't been moved since.
Not surprisingly, the auction house gave this Lancia a thorough examination, and found a body that is in "very sound condition," while the car's mechanicals appear complete. It even has the California stamp that signifies it's been federalized.
Bonhams is strongly recommending that this Lancia's new owner give the car a complete, ground-up rebuild. And if you were hoping that might lower the price a bit, you'd be wrong - Bonhams is predicting this particular car will sell at auction for $250,000 to $300,000. It's lot number 189, and will cross the block on August 16, at Pebble Beach. We've no doubt it will find a buyer.
Related Gallery1972 Lancia Stratos Barn Find at Bonhams
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.
Estimate: US$ 250,000 - 300,000
£160,000 - 190,000
€190,000 - 230,000