Did Lancia save the best for last?
By Matt Bird / Wednesday, November 3, 2021 / Loading comments
Perhaps the very fact that the Lancia Delta Integrale is still talked about in such reverential tones tells you all that’s important about the five-door hatchback. Remember the base model launched more than 40 years ago, the first 4WD version arrived as long ago as 1986 and the very last Deltas were produced in the mid-1990s. Unlike cars such as the Golf GTI, which have been updated along the way from their humble 70s’ origins, the Delta is just the Delta. (We’re not including that weird Lancia hatchback from a few years back.) For a car made in relatively small numbers so long ago – it’s believed 44,000 Integrales were built – the car has an incredible legacy.
We all know why, of course. Back when people really cared about rallying (and Martini sponsored everything), the Delta Integrale was incredibly successful – and looked brilliant doing it. It helped prove that rallying was alive and well post Group B (even if the opposition wasn’t) paving the way for exciting, production-based competition that would evolve into the Evo and Impreza years. Icon, if anything, sell it a bit short. Which is useful for those now trying to sell a Delta Integrale…
Having secured all those WRC titles between 1987 and 1992, Lancia knew in the Delta it already had a legend on its hands before production finished. And it wasn’t afraid to make the most of that. Though Evo updates (Evo I in ’91, Evo II in ’93) did bring useful changes, we all know there were plenty of specials spun off both models to help keep people interested as well. Some made more sense than others. Don’t forget this was a car, however awe inspiring, that was being sold in the 1990s yet designed in the 1970s, so it was good to keep people distracted. And if you can name all 12 special editions, then at least you have a Mastermind special subject lined up. For those that don’t, they were the HiFi (yes, seriously, there were 25), the Martini 5 and Martini 6, the Club Italia, Dealers Collection, Lancia Club, Verde York, Giallo, Giallo Ferrari, Blu Lagos and Bianca Perla. You thought Pagani was bad…
The keen will have noticed just 11 special edition Integrales are listed there; all good things must come to an end, you see, and for the Delta that was the Final Edition. Or, to give the car its full name, the Lancia Delta Integrale Evo 2 Edizione Finale. Which sounds much better. 250 were made, all in Rosso Amaranto with the yellow and blue stripe; this was because the Japanese ‘Deltisti’ liked those colours, and the entire production run was going there. The Final Edition also featured front and rear strut braces, new Eibach springs, carbon accents and even a push button start, though the mechanical spec was identical to an Evo 2.
Even then, it was clear that the Edizione Finales would be collectable, and this one has been preserved as such. It’s covered just 3,000 miles since the 90s, and therefore looks just as perfect as it would have all those years ago. Though one UK keeper has had the Delta since 2009, it hasn’t really done much, having been kept in storage for most of that time. A pity, perhaps, but then this isn’t any old Lancia Delta Integrale – you wouldn’t blame anyone for keeping it like an artefact.
And it means the next owner stands to acquire a jewel of a car. Recently recommissioned by a specialist with a new cambelt, fuel pump and filters, whoever does take the Delta on need not be afraid about adding a few more precious kilometres to that scant total. Just to see what it’s like, of course. The price is as high – £224,995 – as the mileage is low, and will seem a world away from those alluringly affordable Integrales that festooned the classifieds not so long ago. But then the Final Edition always was a special one even by those exalted standards, and this is probably the finest example of the breed. The best of the best of a rally icon for new supercar money, then, doesn’t seem such a bad deal after all – does it?
- Mitsubishi Evo VI TME sells for record £100k
- Original Lancia Stratos for sale
Source: Read Full Article