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Author Topic: Sunday Times - In Gear last Sunday  (Read 558 times)
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Neil
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« on: 23 December, 2010, 11:35:39 AM »

No 25: Lancia Stratos Stradale

Unveiled in 1971 at the Turin motor show, the Stradale version boasts a 190bhp 2.4-litre engine that makes the drive exhilarating

Lancia Stratos Stradale
Price
£180,000+
Acceleration
0-60mph: 7sec
Top speed
143mph
Verdict
An ageless supermodel
Engine 2418cc, V6
Power 190bhp @ 7000rpm
Torque 160 lb ft @ 4500rpm
Transmission Five-speed manual
Fuel/CO2 Not available
The Lancia Stratos is as much of a pin-up today as it was at its unveiling in 1971. It was designed by Marcello Gandini, an Italian who had already created two of the most stunning cars of the era: the Miura and Countach for Lamborghini.

When the covers came off the prototype Stratos at the 1971 Turin motor show, the design concept (painted in a lurid fluorescent red) was greeted with delight. Lancia had no problem selling the required 400 road-going versions that the FIAís rally rules demanded before the Stratos could make its world rallying debut. Known as the Stradale version, these 400 road-legal cars used a detuned version of the Ferrari V6 engine that powered the rally cars. The Stratosís 190bhp 2.4-litre engine was the same as in the Ferrari Dino, as was the five-speed gearbox, and together they allowed the Stratos to hit 60mph in seven seconds and reach 143mph flat-out.

At just over 12ft, it is shorter than todayís Mini, but itís also ultra-responsive. With the V6 just behind your head, the cabin is hardly a relaxing place to be, but the drive is so exhilarating that you quickly forgive it everything.


Pulling power
Iím afraid she will constantly tell you what a silly car it is. Getting in is a chore, the cabin is crowded when there are two of you in there and the engine noise kills conversation stone dead. Then again, is that a bad thing?


Desirability
You have only to look at an original Stratos to want one. Itís hard to believe the road-going version is now nearly four decades old, but thatís a sure sign of great design. And it won the 1974, 1975 and 1976 world rally championships. Who wouldnít want one?


Kudos
With so many kit-car copies of the Lancia Stratos knocking about, the problem is convincing people that your car is an original. The way to look at it is that all those fakes prove just how much kudos a proper Lancia Stratos Stradale has.


Bank manager's reaction
Nobody is quite sure how many of the original 400 Stradales still exist but there are not many. Values have leapt recently and youíll be paying at least £180,000 for one today. Thatís a huge amount of money for a Lancia but I say it will prove a wise investment.


Running costs
Original body panels are no longer available, so try not to crash it. The engine is pretty tough, and, as you wonít be driving long distances in the car, it should last a long time with a bit of TLC.
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Neil   
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1973 Fulvia S2 1.3
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