Lancia Rally 037 - the last rear-wheel-drive car to win the World Rally Champion
Words & Images - Nathan Duff
The 1983 Lancia 037 Group B would be the last rear-wheel-drive car to win the World Rally Championship. It was an important stopgap for the company and allowed it to claim another world championship and prepare for the transition to the four-wheel-drive era.
In 1979, the FIA announced sweeping changes to the racing car classification system and the newly conceived Group B was scheduled to begin with the 1982 season. This left manufacturers with barely any time to develop a new machine for competition under the new regulations.
As the Stratos had no successor, this would be the first time in 10 years that Lancia had developed a purpose-built rally car.
Even though homologation would only require 200 examples allowing car companies to be a little more adventurous with design, Lancia determined that there would not be enough time to start its new rally car entirely from scratch.
Sergio Limone, a young development engineer in charge of the Abarth Rally technical department, was tasked with overseeing development without knowing what marque it would eventually be – Fiat, Lancia or Abarth.
Various initial concepts were conceived but abandoned due to time constraints. Key among these were a Ferrari-powered Lancia Delta with a rear transaxle and tubular chassis code named 036. This would later be developed into the Lancia Delta S4...