It was the first automobile purposely built for competition in the World Rally Championships, and the Stratos powerful, radical design looked like nothing else on the road, even more so when considering that it was probably one of the only Ferrari-powered cars regularly seen covered in mud. Italian design house Bertone arrived at the 1970 Turin Motor Show with the positively radical Stratos Zero concept car. As it was rakish and sharply scalloped, the concept stood out not only to crowds of media and show-goers but also to Lancia Director of Public Relations Sandro Fiorio. Fiorio turned to his son, Cesare, Lancia’s rally team chief, and the two pondered about how a production version of the Stratos could be utilized to reverse both the automaker’s shaky image and its struggling motorsports division. Together, the Fiorios approached Lancia Managing Director Ugo Gobbato with the idea of a Bertone-bodied car that was based on the Stratos Zero concept. Intrigued, Gobbato, an ex-Ferrari chief, green-lighted the project, provided it would be powered by a mid-mounted Ferrari/Dino V-6 engine and a five-speed manual gearbox.
A year later, the glowing orange Stratos HF (for “High Fidelity”) prototype debuted at the 1971 Turin Auto Show. The Stratos stunning design was entrusted to Marcello Gandini, and in a nod to the car’s competition intentions, he featured a large wraparound front windshield on it, to offer an enormous outward view for its driver.
Gearbox: 5 Manual
Power: 140 kw (188 bhp / 190 ps)
Torque: 225 Nm (167 lb-ft)
Displacement: 2.4 liters (146 ci)
Engine type: V6 Ferrari engine from the Ferrari Dino 246
Engine location: middle
Max speed: 230 kph (142.6 mph)
0 - 100 kph: 6.2 s
1/4 mile: 13.5 s