- Image courtesy of Girardo & Co.

Amazing Lancia Martini Racing collection up for sale

3w ago

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In Motorsport advertising, no name is more idolised than Martini. The white based cars covered in blue and red stripes are synonymous with success. In recent years, we’ve seen the iconic livery adorning the Williams F1 cars. However, back in the 1980’s, it was Lancia cars that were usually adorned with the classic colours.

Today, Lancia mostly sells cars that make the Fiat Multipla look like a supermodel, which many of the brand’s fans are nostalgic for the golden years of racing. Thankfully for those that do look back on the past with fond eyes – and that have bucket loads of money – old racing cars do sometimes appear online.

Currently, there is a whole set of these motorsport heroes available in what Girardo, an Anglo-Italian auction site, is calling ‘The Campion Collection’. The word “champion” isn’t used lightly here. In fact, each of the six cars in the collection has found great international success during its travels.

Lancia Beta Montecarlo Group V

Today, the GTE class at the Le Mans 24 Hours can look a little sedate with consistency being of top priority. Back in the Group V days of the early 1980’s, that was far from the case. Massive turbochargers, ridiculous power to weight ratios and a lack of downforce to say the least all meant that these monsters would be a challenge to drive a single lap in. Let alone a full round the clock race.

The Beta Montecarlo Turbo was Lancia’s contender in this extreme category. Built with the expert help of Dallara and powered by an Abarth-developed 1.4-litre turbocharged engine, the Montecarlo wasn’t playing games.

The Beta entered the World Endurance Championship for the first time in 1978 and quickly rose to the top with a dominant class win and second overall in 1979. Winning its class and finishing on the second step of the podium would become quite the trend for the Beta Montecarlo. In fact, at the 1980 Le Mans 24 Hours, it did just that with Carlo Facetti and Marini Finotto behind the wheel.

Further domination in the 1981 season with a 100%-win rate is what convinced Lancia to continue its escapade in endurance racing.

Lancia LC1 Group VI

After the success of Lancia’s first venture into endurance racing for over 8 years, the Italian brand continued its partnership with Dallara to build the 1982 LC1 prototype. This was far from a bad idea as, yet again, a Martini-liveried Lancia absolutely dominated the World Endurance Championship.

On its first outing at the Silverstone 6 Hours, the LC1 claimed victory over the might of the Porsche 956 Group C. In that same year, the LC1 blew the competition out of the water at both the Nurburgring and Mugello 1000km races.

Unfortunately, Italy’s first ever ground effect car only competed in six of the eight rounds that year meaning it couldn’t quite clinch the title. That being said, Riccardo Patrese still managed to finish second overall just 8 points behind Jacky Ickx in his Porsche 956.

The car up for sale with Girardo is the model that won the Nurburgring race that year. Therefore, it features the high downforce aero kit including a massive rear wing and more focused front splitter.

Lancia LC2 Group C

In 1983, the Group C category truly took over from Group V and Group VI. This meant that, one year after designing the LC1 that ran in Group VI, Lancia was forced to start again from the ground up with the LC2.

Thankfully, Italian brands liked sticking together back then. Therefore, when looking for an engine to power its creation that met Group C’s economy regulations, Lancia went to Ferrari who let them use a twin-turbo V8 that put out over 800hp.

The LC2 ran in the World Endurance Championship from 1983 to 1986. Although it didn’t quite have the ridiculous success of its predecessors, it did manage to get into the history books. In fact, at its first event, the Monza 1000km, it took pole position only to drop out of the race due to tyre issues. This would remain a trend all season long. However, it did manage to claim victory in the European Championship at the Imola round.

A decent end to the 1983 season translated into a successful 1984. In fact, the LC2 managed to get a podium finish at Monza where it dropped out of the lead twelve month beforehand. After a fourth-place finish at Silverstone, the Lancia team locked out the front row of the grid at Le Mans.

Unfortunately, the LC2’s trend of great speed in qualifying but poor reliability saw Lancia pull its funding from the project at the end of the 1986 season.

Although it has had some success in the world of endurance racing, Lancia is best known for its rallying prowess. In fact, names such as the Delta Integrale and the 037 should be known to even the casual rally follower.

Lancia 037 Rally Evo 2 Group B

The Group B days of rallying was made iconic by insane amounts of power, cars so lightweight they were almost prototype racers and drivers with more guts than an abattoir. With the likes of Walter Rohl behind the wheel, the 037 definitely ticked all those boxes. That is what allowed it to compete, and beat, the four-wheel drive Audi Quattro in 1983.

Under the highly attractive bodywork sits a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder Abarth engine that shoots a modest 325bhp to the rear wheels only. Its success has given it the unofficial name of the ultimate two-wheel drive world rally car.

Despite not being the factory Lancia 037 that took the brand to the Manufacturer’s title in 1983, this particular car has an equally impressive resume. It was run by the semi-works team, Jolly Club where it earned rising star, Dari Cerrato a number of podium finishes during the 1985 season including victories in Rally Colline Oltrepo and Rally Citta di Mantova.

Since then it has won several rallies both in official competition and, more recently, in historic events.

Lancia Delta S4 Corsa Group B

As I mentioned, the 037 was the last of the rear-wheel drive Group B cars. From 1985 onwards, it was replaced by the Delta S4 Corsa, a legend of the rally world. With a 550bhp four-cylinder featuring both super-and-turbo charging, it could reach 60mph from a standstill in 2.5 seconds on pretty much any surface.

This incredible pace gave five rally victories over the two years it competed in the World Rally Championship (1985-1986). However, it’s also that speed that caused the accident to end Group B racing forever.

This particular example of the S4 is certified to race by the Abarth Classiche organisation and has a very successful past. Built in 1985, its first competitive rally was the 1986 Rally 1000 Miglia, which it won for the Jolly Club racing team. From then on, it continued to help claim victories, stage wins and podiums for the team as a test car.

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Alongside competitive glory, the car featured in Petrolicious’ video, ‘A Ballet of Brutality’.

Lancia Delta HF Integrale Group A

With Group B tossed in the growing pile of abandoned motorsport categories, Group A stepped into the limelight meaning manufacturers had to yet again design new cars. Lancia’s offering to the party was the impressive Delta HF Integrale.

Thanks to its 2.0-litre, turbocharged inline-four, it won its first competitive rally in the WRC, the 1987 Monte Carlo Rally. This tour de force continued for most of the Integrale’s time in service. In fact, history books will show that over a 5-year period, it won 36 World Rally stages, took six manufacturer titles and five driver titles.

For the 1988 season, the Integrale got an upgraded turbo, reworked body panels and a six-speed gearbox to become the Delta HF Integrale 8V.

The car included in the Campion Collection is one of those built after the upgrade. In fact, it’s the exact car that won the 8V’s first rally, the 1988 Portugal Rally, in dominant style leading from start to finish. The same car competed in the 1988 United States Rally which, ultimately, earned Lancia the title that year.

As an endurance fan myself, I have to say that out of the selection in the Campion Collection, I have a soft spot for the Lancia Beta Montecarlo Group V car. Not only is it an incredibly sleek and attractive car, the thought of all that power firing you down the Mulsanne straight at Le Mans is a dream.

However, I have to say that the Delta S4 Corsa is a tempting proposition. With the engine sitting in the middle of the car, it is essentially a supercar covered by a little hot hatch body.

The sad thing is that, most of us won't ever be in the position to get in one of these heroes of classic Motorsport, let alone own one. However, if you're simply interested in looking at a model of one and, potentially learning about the finer details, Tamiya offers some highly intricate remote control models. One of which is a replica Delta HF Integrale.

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