Words and photos by Michael Chandler
So, sometime last week CAM turned 5. Yes! We’ve been plugging away at this for five years. Going to track days, meets, SEMA, all sorts of places to show you cool cars and events and people. In those five years we’ve seen some exceptionally cool things, but more often than not we see some mind blowingly cool things in our own backyard. Things like a Lancia Delta HF Integrale running about in one of the HPDE groups at the last NASA Utah weekend.
The Delta was Lancia’s last Group B WRC monster. It featured an insane twin charged, two liter, four cylinder engine. It was the peak of rallying insanity! This isn’t one of those, BUT it is a former “works” car. The 16 valve engine produced 200 horsepower, and sent the car to 62mph in five and a half seconds. Five and a half seconds doesn’t seem fast today, but that was faster than an E30 M3 and a half second behind a 911 Turbo of the day.
This belongs to a fellow also named Mike. He, like myself, is also from the Chicago area so we hit it off quickly. He told me that this is one of two former works cars in the country, and that its sister car competes in hill climbs and ran the Tail of the Dragon. Hopefully this car will follow in its sister car’s footsteps (tire marks?) and get into some classic rallies and hill climbs.
These cars are legal for import now, but you may want to think twice before having one shoved into a container. Lancias were never really known for being rust proof. In fact, about a third of all Lancias made in the late 80’s and early 90’s have completely rusted away*. Also, these being performance vehicles they have probably been beat on. Pretty hard. And finally, while people in the States have been messing around with engines like the RB series and SR’s, not a lot of people have been messing with Lancia mills over here. Something to think about, because you don’t want to find yourself 1500 miles away from the nearest mechanic when you start hearing a ticking noise.
All that said, I’d bring one over in a heart beat. Just look at it! It’s a four door hatchback, but it’s so much better looking than a four door Golf. The wide fenders and bulged hood don’t seem like tacked on after thoughts, they look like they were always meant to be there. They have a purpose, but not to the point where it’s sacrificing aesthetics. It’s definitely a child of the 80’s, but unlike an IROC Camaro it hasn’t become associated with the cheesiness of the decade.
I could throw all the usual cliches a writer uses when describing an Italian car, but I’m not going to. But I will leave you with a question: if you could bring over a former race car, what would it be? It has to comply with our current import laws (that draconian 25 year crap), but besides that it can be any former race car.