Just before this Lancia was exported to the United States, it received an engine tuning and gearshift upgrade done by Karlofer.
Lancia motor cars have not been sold in the United States since 1982, and even then, the American understanding of the brand was a far cry from its extraordinary performance pedigree in Europe. Perhaps it's even ironic that this U.S. departure took place in the same year as Lancia's introduction of the 037 model for competition in Group B of the FIA World Rally Championship-a now-legendary "golden era" of all-out international rally racing, with limited regulation, blindingly fast cars, daring drivers and even more daring fans. The 037 ultimately begat the Lancia Delta S4, but with more speed came more danger, and by 1987 Group B was over as fast as it had begun.
The Group A series came in its place, and with it, a homologation requirement of 5,000 road cars, for which Lancia was ideally positioned. Its Delta family hatchback model had steadily evolved in performance since its 1979 introduction, developing into the HF and HF Turbo and ultimately the advent of four-wheel drive. By 1989, the facelifted Delta HF Integrale 16-valve was a far-cry from its origins as a hum-drum Italian grocery-getter and the introduction of the "Evoluzione" iteration in 1991 was utterly earth shattering. A turbo-charged, two-liter Lancia engine produced 210 horsepower at 5,700 rpm, fed by a highly responsive Garrett T3 turbo, an efficient intercooler, larger exhaust system, improved steering, strengthened suspension, two-piston Brembo brakes in front, and much more. Stylistically, the wider wheels and tires, raised bonnet, aggressively flared fenders, and three-position rear-wing made for a downright menacing sports car, the likes of which any Porsche driver on an Alpine pass would be unhappy to see in his rearview mirror...and then, very likely, through his windshield.
Whether it was on the tarmac in Monte Carlo, the snow and ice of Scandinavia, or the unpaved roads in Kenya, the Lancia Delta Integrale was absolutely dominant, winning the Group A Constructors Championship five years running-1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, and 1992. With that fifth victory, Lancia celebrated its unprecedented achievement with the introduction of a limited edition Delta Integrale Evoluzione 16V "Martini 5."
Only 400 examples were built, of which the car presented here is serial number 131. Like all Martini 5 cars, it is liveried with the iconic Martini stripes running down each side, commemorative "World Rally Champion" badging, Recaro seats trimmed in dark grey Alcantara with red stitching, and red seat belts. With only 2,500 kilometers indicated on the odometer at the time of cataloguing, this Martini 5 is almost certainly one of the very best presented and prepared examples in the world. A recent inspection by our specialists confirmed the originality of the paint throughout and the car's superior cosmetic presentation.
Offered on behalf of a distinguished private collection, the car was acquired directly from Karlhofer in Germany, the preeminent name in Delta Integrale outfitting. At the time of its acquisition and in advance of export to the United States, the car was equipped by Karlhofer with an engine tuning and gearshift upgrade at a cost of nearly 4,000 Euro.
The Lancia Delta Integrale Evoluzione 16V is truly the pinnacle capstone on the decade-long development of one of rally racing's greatest and most iconic cars. The limited edition "Martini 5" celebrates not only this development but the extraordinary achievement of five victorious seasons. There are truly very few cars as thrilling to drive as this, particularly such a low-mileage, time-capsule example.