Lancia: the italian genius from rally racing to the red carpet
On the one hand, an icon of timeless style and elegance; on the other hand, a rally legend holding unmatched records.
Manufactured between 1951 and 1958, the unforgettable Lancia Aurelia B20 was immediately an enormous commercial success. It stood out in national and international competitions.
A large, comfortable and mechanically refined sedan. It was the first-ever car to boast a 6V cylinder and it also had independent suspensions and a gearbox with a differential on the rear axle. It marked the start of a generation of Lancia vehicles with names of ancient Roman roads. It also entered the history of film as the protagonist of Il Sorpasso, driven by Vittorio Gassman.+A22
Designed with a 2.5-litre V6, it marked a deep evolution compared to the Lancia Aurelia. The style was more modern compared to the round designs of the past, the interiors were more luxurious, and the rear had distinctive fins. To this day, the executive convertible long-wheelbase version is the official state car used by the President of the Italian Republic.
After winning the 1972 Monte Carlo Rally, the Lancia Fulvia Coupé 1.6 HF made Italians intrigued and passionate about the rally racing world. It paved the way for a glorious future of Lancia wins that continued with the Stratos, the Rally 037 and the Delta S4, peaking in the records achieved by the Delta Group A.
The Beta (whose project code was initially Y1) was the first brand-new vehicle presented by Lancia after the takeover by Fiat in 1969. The Beta sedan had numerous strong points: it was spacious (with a 254-cm wheelbase), comfortable, and had excellent performance and roadholding properties. A product of the Pininfarina studio, the Beta HPE combined sportiness and practicality.
The rally weapon of the Squadra Corse HF racing team debuted at the 1972 Tour de Corse, equipped with the 2.4-litre V6 engine from the Ferrari Dino mounted at the centre of a sturdy chassis. It won the Monte Carlo Rally 3 consecutive times and was also a three-time winner of the Constructors’ World Championship.
The Gamma sedan was presented at the same time as the coupe at the 46th Geneva Motor Show in June 1976 (although the Coupé was marketed starting in ’77). In the Lancia tradition, the vehicle was quite revolutionary when compared with its competitors: high-class design, fancy finish and comfort.
1979 marked the birth of the compact 5-door sedan designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro: a superbly refined ‘midsize’ that – even more than the Fulvia – would leave an indelible trace in rally history.
Lancia Rally started competing in World Championship races in 1982, but the turning point for the sportscar occurred in 1983: thanks to Röhrl e Alén’s one-two at the Montecarlo Rally, the Rally 037 won the World Constructors’ Championship. The win was especially significant because it occurred in parallel to the advent of all-wheel drive Audis, but Lancia managed to make up for its rear-wheel drive with the reliability and efficiency of the entire Racing Team.
Trends pass and even habits can change, but the guiding values of the Lancia brand remain the same.