From Rally Stages to Iconic Streets: The Lancia Delta Integrale Story


By: Zachary Wohl

Whether you have always been a car enthusiast or not, the resonant melody produced by a 6.3L Naturally Aspirated V12 is timeless. Amidst the realm of high-performance engines and cutting-edge technology, this engineering symphony roars with power and elegantly transcends the boundaries of generations. For those born in the digital age, there's a magnetic pull towards the sound and power of forced induction engines. While I find myself lucky to enjoy the era of hypercars and rev matching in our daily sedans, a part of me wishes the first Porsche 930 Turbo had me head over heels. I have had the fantastic opportunities to travel the world and see thousands of cars that have changed the history of automobiles. Yet, I wish I could relive the monumental moments that have defined racing and engine advancement. I write these blogs not to share some of my favorite cars or my opinions with the public but to educate car enthusiasts who may need to learn of the fantastic automobiles that have made a mark in time. 

Since a young age, I have always been astonished by the world of racing. The sentiment shared by so many is derived from various factors, such as the admiration of the skill and precision drivers must have, the engineering masterpieces, the historical significance, and the sense of community among our fans. Whether you are an F1, Endurance, IndyCar, Rally, or an automobile enthusiast, we all love cars. While my love of racing lies in the heart of Formula 1, Rally Car has always fascinated me. While rally history is rich in fearless drivers, including the infamous Colin McRae and Walter Rohl, light-weight cars with high-revving engines, such as the Audi Quattro or Toyota Celica, continue to inspire the next generation of rally racing. However, there is one remarkable machine that transformed the world of rally. 

 The Lancia Delta Integrale might be the most prominent rally car ever produced. Originally launched in 1979 by the designer Giorgetto Giugiaro, the Lancia Delta was introduced as a four-door front-wheel drive hatchback that produced only 84 horsepower by the Fiat SOHC engine. By 1986, the all new four wheel drive system was developed for the infamous Delta S4 Group B rally car. This new derivation was powered by the turbocharged 2.0 Liter "Lampredi" twin-cam four-cylinder engine that pumped 163 Horsepower and 192 Lb-ft of torque. When Group B was canceled at the end of the 1986 season due to safety concerns and numerous fatal incidents, Lancia decided the Delta HF 4-WD would compete in the new Group A class. 

In 1987, Lancia developed the renowned Delta HF Integrale for the Group A championship, that car we all know and love today. The subsequent years witnessed spectacular dominance as the Integrale clinched a record-breaking six consecutive WRC Constructors' Championships from 1987 to 1992. While immense modifications were made during this period to maintain their domination, the original Integrale was boosted to produce 182 horsepower and 224 lb-ft in the roadgoing trim and a robust chassis that allowed for exceptional handling on diverse terrains. In 1989, the race-going car was equipped with the all-new 16V engine, which won Lancia its third WRC in a row and subsequently the following two seasons of 91 and 92. The combination of power, agility, and reliability made it a formidable force on the rally circuit. 

In late 1991, Lancia introduced the Delta HF Integrale "Evoluzione" and discontinued its factory rally team. Designed with larger brakes, a more robust steering rack, all-new suspension, and a high-performance exhaust system, this car has car enthusiasts like myself wishing to drive it just once. In 1992, the Jolly Club, a private Italian team, won the sixth consecutive and final manufacturer title with the Evo. 

Lancia, in June of 93' decided to build the final and ultimate Integrale, the Evo II. Four thousand two hundred twenty-three units left the Maggiora factory, which ended in November of 94' coming in various colorways, including the famous Martini Rally livery. The homologation version, "Evo Edition," did not lack any competitive edge. It came with a smaller Garrett T3 turbocharger that reduced lag and gave better responsiveness at high revs. Equipped with the same engine, the 16V producing 215 bhp and 231 Ib-ft torque, Alcantara Recaros, and a rear spoiler, this hatchback was designed to crush time trials. 

Despite its impressive rallying record, the Delta Integrale Evo 2 was produced in limited numbers for homologation purposes, making it a rare find even during its production period. Auction houses and specialized dealerships report strong demand for well-preserved stock examples, often fetching prices that reflect the car's unique place in automotive history. The Lancia Delta Integrale Evo 2 is a testament to the golden era of rallying and the enduring allure of iconic automobiles. Its rich history and exceptional performance by famous drivers, including Juha Kankkunen (1987 and 1991), Miki Biasion (1988 and 1989), and Carlos Sainz Sr., have elevated it to a collector's dream. As prices continue to climb, the Lancia Delta Integrale Evo 2 remains not just one of my favorite cars but a symbol of a bygone era of rallying, cherished by automotive enthusiasts worldwide.

Thanks for reading!