“Why the Lancia Stratos? Because it’s THE classic car, immediately recognizable and incredibly beautiful.” Meet our Escape friend Enrico Borgogno, the owner of this gorgeous 1974 model, which has been in his property for the last 5 years.
“It’s the only car which was designed specifically to go rallying, born out of the genius of Cesare Fiorio and developed by the legendary Sandro Munari!” he declares with emphasis. For each racing and rally fan, the Stratos goes way beyond the common “classic car” concept, especially due to its stunning performance, still capable of out-pacing most modern sportscars. The torquey 190hp Ferrari 2.4 liter V6 engine, with its melodious-but-high-pitched sound it’s magnificent at lower rpm’s and a joy for driving fanatics: it pulls vigorously from the bottom to the top with a never-ending surge of power.
The difficulty in driving this car at the limit is as legendary as much as its victories: however, it’s surprising how much user-friendly it is. “Even if it’s difficult to drive fast, thanks to its high limits it’s more accessible than you might think,” says Enrico, after a challenging cornering section, still with his eyes focused on the road.
Despite being a piece of history worthy a museum, the Lancia Stratos finds itself perfectly at home through the corners above Montecarlo, which takes with a surprising agility. Despite this particular example has its original, super-soft, Rolls-like suspension set-up, it has all the qualities that need to shine in a rally car: low-end torque, a short wheelbase, and a driving style privileging oversteering. “I often use it to have fun on these roads, despite it is not as rigid as a Group 4 racing car.” Enrico’s smile while driving is contagious and so is his passion for this remarkable car.
The panoramic windscreen, designed by Marcello Gandini to resemble the shape of a helmet’s visor, offers superb front and lateral visibility, which is way better than today’s automobiles. The Stratos is a feather-weight performance car, a thing which is now almost impossible to achieve due to extra CPU’s and safety equipment…back then your traction control was your right foot! it’s a racing car adapted to road use, the exact opposite of what normally happens with production supersports automobiles. The style of the Stratos is just breath-taking: it’s one of the most beautiful cars ever designed!
The idea that gave birth to the Stratos was born at the beginning of the 1970ies, when Cesare Fiorio, the then Chief of Lancia’s Squadra Corse, was looking for a replacement for the venerable front-wheel-drive Fulvia 1.6, which was beginning to suffer the competition from the Alpine A110. The first step towards this was represented by the “Stratos Zero”, a concept car designed by Gandini in 1970 for Bertone, in order to allow the historic coachbuilder to Lancia. Unfortunately, it received poor critics and no one loved it: the legend goes that Nuccio Bertone drove the car under the barriers of the Chivasso’s Factory to force Lancia’s top managers to see his creation.
Although the development of the “Zero” prototype was never considered, the seeds of a future collaboration between Lancia and Bertone were planted. Despite the gestation of the Stratos was long, with the first road going example readied in 1974, the car was able to win right away both on gravel and tarmac, conquering for three times in a row the World Rally Championship, from 1974 to 1976.
“it has got all the winning qualities of a real collector’s car: unique styling, an impressive competition pedigree, a thrilling story and more importantly the fact that is a Lancia! I will never part ways with her, not considering today’s value.”
If that’s not true passion…