1974 Lancia Stratos HF Group 4
The Lancia Stratos was an automobile made by Italian car manufacturer Lancia.
The Stratos was a very successful rally racing car during the 1970s and 1980s. It started a new era in rally racing as it was the first car designed from scratch for this kind of competition.
The bodyworks were designed by Bertone and were loosely based on a concept car first shown at the Turin Motor Show in 1971. The Stratos had a distinctive crescent-shaped wrap-around windshield providing maximum forward visibility with almost no rear visibility (which was unnecessary for rallying anyway). The body was wedge-shaped, and unusually short and wide, providing maximum traction.
The engine was a mid-mounted 190 bhp (140 kW) 2418 cc Dino Ferrari V6. For racing, this engine was tuned up to 280hp and even further with a turbocharger. However, turbocharged versions were only allowed to compete in Group 5 and were never as reliable as their naturally aspirated counterparts.
Lancia did extensive testing with the Stratos and raced the car in several racing events where Group 5 prototypes were allowed during the 1972 and 1973 seasons. The 400 cars required for homologation in Group 4 were launched in 1973 and the car was homologated for the 1974 World Championship.
The car won the 1974, 1975 and 1976 championships, and might have gone on to win more had not internal politics within the Fiat group placed rallying responsibility on the Fiat 131 Abarths.
Lancia also built a Group 5 road racing 'silhouette' version of the car for sports car and endurance racing. The car won the Giro D'Italia Automobilistica - a latter day version of the Mille Miglia - in both 1976 and 1977
With only 492 ever made, the Stratos is very rare to this day.
In popular culture
The Stratos was featured in the cartoons The Transformers as the Autobot Wheeljack and Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex as the vehicle of Batou, as well as in the video games Muv-Luv and Muv-Luv Alternative in which the character Kouduki Yuuko drives one. The Stratos was massively introduced to younger audience with its appearance in the 90's world classic racing game Sega Rally Championship and has since popped up in various videogames including Project Gotham Racing 2, Forza Motorsport and Gran Turismo 4.
In the Anime éX-Driver, one of the three lead characters, Lisa Sakakino, drives a blue Group 4 specification Stratos with an attached lamp pod onward from episode 2 after wrecking her WRC Subaru Impreza on the previous episode.
It was also featured in Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo (1977), as one of the cars in the Trans-France Race. Being one of two other known Lancia cars in the race, this car was red with white stripes and gold wheels, as well as a number 4 on the sides. The other was a Lancia Fulvia Sport Zagato.
At the Geneva Auto Show of 2005, a British design firm known as Fenomenon debuted a retromodern concept version of the Stratos. No production plans have been announced.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
- http://www.stratossupersite.com/ Stratos fan site
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