Short, stubby and simply unstoppable, the Lancia Stratos HF won a staggering 18 World Rally events and no fewer than three World Rally Championships.
Its formidable performance can be attributed largely to Marcello Gandini, the design wunderkind who, working under the Bertone banner, single-handedly revolutionised the world of car design. The introduction of the Stratos in 1970 heralded the era of the ‘wedge’ and petrolheads simply had no idea what they were in for.
Arguably the very first thoroughbred rally car, no stone was left unturned by Lancia and Bertone’s designers and engineers in the quest for performance. The Stratos’ desperately short wheelbase (just 2.18 metres) coupled with its 880kg weight meant it was positively nimble and direct. It took a skip-full of skill to master it, which explains why Sandro Munari ranks so highly in our list of great drivers.
For the heart of its new car, Lancia approached Ferrari, a company whose legend was forged around the power and reliability of its engines. A 2.4-litre six-cylinder ‘Dino’ engine was chosen and tucked transversely right behind the cabin. It produced a mighty 300HP in Corsa spec. And it sounded a rabid dog barking for its life.
“The Stratos’s formidable performance can be attributed largely to Marcello Gandini, the design wunderkind who, working under the Bertone banner, single-handedly revolutionised the world of car design.”
Crucially, the rallying rules of the time dictated that 500 road-specification cars were to be built in order to homologate a competition variant. In typically Italian fashion, Lancia didn’t manage to do that. It’s estimated that 492 Stratos HF Stradales left the marque’s Chivasso plant, of which this beautiful example from 1975 is one.
Chassis number 001545
The production of this magnificent Stratos HF Stradale, chassis number 001545, was completed at Lancia’s Chivasso plant in January of 1975. Finished in Rosso Stratos over a Nero con Alcantara (black leatherette seats with Havana Alcantara inserts) interior, the car was delivered with two optional extras: larger Pirelli 205/70-section tyres and red carpets.
Lancia first sold this Stratos to Lancia France in Levallois, where it was first registered in 1978. And France is where it would remain for over four decades, passing through the hands of a number of custodians including the well-known French collector Monsieur Jacques Capoulade and Francois Ceresa, who participated in the 1999 Coupe des Alpes.
This Lancia’s penultimate Parisian owner acquired the car in 2014. During his tenure as chassis 001545’s owner, he maintained the car fastidiously, as proven by the myriad invoices we have on file. In 2017, he commissioned a sensitive cosmetic refresh with Carrosserie Martin, which included a full repaint in the original shade of Rosso Stratos, a gearbox rebuild and the fitment of a new exhaust system and tyres.
We at Girardo & Co. had the pleasure of selling this Stratos in early 2020, its next and current custodian opting to import the car to the United Kingdom. Carefully stored and infrequently driven, the Lancia’s most notable outing under the stewardship of its current owner was the 2022 Tour Auto Optic 2000. The 2,000-km road rally meandered from Paris to the Andorra and encompassed 14 special stages and a number of legendary racing circuits. Needless to say, chassis 001545 didn’t miss a beat – a testament to the fastidious care bestowed upon the car throughout its life.
The accompanying Girardo & Co. history file testifies to the love and attention this Stratos has enjoyed over the years. It’s crammed with invoices. Also included are its Lancia Classiche Certificato di Origine, copies of the Stratos’ FIA homologation papers and factory Lancia user manual, service schedule and spare parts catalogue.
In spite of its rally roots, versatility is the Lancia Stratos’ trump card in today’s world. Among the most famous 1970s sports cars of them all, the Stratos is go-anywhere, do-anything car – from concours competitions and historic road rallies to showing up modern supercars at your local cars-and-coffee morning. We’re confident this gorgeous and highly original Stratos HF Stradale won’t hang around Belchers Farm for long.