﹒Only 46k miles from new with comprehensive history file
﹒Lovely shell and mostly original interior
﹒Recently serviced and ready to be enjoyed
As the years tick by, those of an advanced age can take solace from the concept of the ‘late bloomer’. The late Alan Rickman was 46 when he got his first major Hollywood part in Die Hard, and Dame Judi Dench was 61 when she landed her breakthrough role in James Bond. Now consider the Lancia Delta. Designed by Giorgetto Giugaro and released in 1979, it wasn’t until 1987 that the turbocharged four wheel drive version, the HF, started its run of wins in the World Rally Championship. After stepping in following the enforced end to Group B and early bath for the Lancia Delta S4 (which was technically no relation to the mass market version, despite adopting the name and some of its styling), the Delta HF Integrale went on to secure a record six constructor’s championships in a row for Lancia, a feat yet to be repeated.
The Delta was originally conceived as an upmarket, front wheel drive small family car and by 1986 was getting a bit long in the tooth. During the planning for the facelift, the WRC team manager Cesaro Fiorio pushed for the inclusion of the four wheel drive system that they had developed for the Group B car as payback for all the effort that they had put into it. Then when Group B was cancelled and the FIA announced that the new rules would be for Group A, based on mass-produced cars, he drew up a further wish list for the Delta. This included flared arches to accommodate bigger wheels which in turn allowed for bigger brakes, better suspension, and a big grille to help the engine to breath more effectively. In this case, motorsport really did improve the breed, as parent company Fiat agreed to the changes and in 1987 when the HF Integrale was launched, a star truly was born.
First out of the gate was the 2 litre, 4 cylinder, 185 bhp 8 valve model but with rapid development needed to keep pace with the competition in top level motorsport, this was quickly replaced by the 16 valve edition, launched in 1989. This featured larger injectors, a more responsive Garrett T3 turbocharger and the characteristic bonnet bulge required to clear the bulkier cylinder head. Boasting 200bhp and a more rear-biased torque split from the permanent four wheel drive system, the car received an enthusiastic response including from UK journalists, despite being only available in left hand drive. In competition form, it won on its debut outing in the 1989 San Remo Rally.
Subsequent developments led to the Evo and Evo II editions of the Integrale which, although an improved basis for the competition cars, were felt by some to compromise the fluid handling characteristics that made the earlier versions such great road cars.
This red example has spent most of its life in Japan and was acquired by the vendor as part of a private collection which was imported into the UK early in 2020. Now fully UK registered, it benefits from new disks and pads and refurbed callipers together with new shocks and a fresh handbrake cable. A recent service also included filters, spark plugs, radiator hoses, turbo and intercooler hoses and a new battery.
Despite desperately wanting to add this to his collection of other iconic cars, the seller does not have the space and so is offering it for auction.
In addition to the V5 and MOT certificate showing no advisories, there is a full set of service history with the only hitch being that you’ll need to read Japanese to fully decipher it. It does however have the advantage of supporting the low odometer reading of just under 75k kilometres.
Aside from the replacement of the driver’s seat with a fishnet Recaro, the interior is in very original condition. Remarkably, even the plastic protective covers which would have been in place when the car was new are still in place on the rear door cards. The carpets are faded from the original grey, the headlining a little saggy and the stereo absent but it does sport an original, untouched rear parcel shelf which is known among Integrale aficionados as a very rare item. Most have been butchered to add additional speakers and the seller has been offered £1000 for this item alone!
The upholstery has no rips or tears though the door seal around the B pillars has aged to be a little blue rather than the original black. A fresh set of HF mats are included along with two keys and, helping to dispel the stereotypes around Italian electrics, all of the buttons function as they should.
As anyone who has imported classics from Japan will tell you, one major advantage is the lack of salt on their roads which means that the body-shells are generally very well preserved. It proves to be so here with a shell that is mint with the arches, inner sills, floor and jacking points all completely straight. In fact the underside can be described as pristine, and the exhaust is also in great condition.
The red paintwork is immaculate with only a few tiny blemishes including where the door seals have rubbed on the body and there are no dents or scratches. The spoiler is an aftermarket addition in carbon effect and mirrors the look of the Group A rally car. The Speedline alloys show no signs of kerbing or scratching, despite not having had a refurbishment and they wear tyres with a good 4-5mm of tread all round. The spare looks to be unused. Even the windows are all original, bearing the original markings.
The freshly detailed and refreshed engine bay contains an engine in fine fettle. It starts on the button and pulls strongly through the gears with a smooth shift and no smoking. With its new shocks the handling is true to form and there are no untoward noises. In short, it’s ready to go.
There are few cars that have such a direct link to motorsport and anyone who witnessed the Lancia World Rally team’s success in the late 80’s will have lusted after one of the road going versions at some point. That’s reflected in values, which have been rising steadily over the last decade. While the biggest rises have been for the later Evo and Evo II versions, they are steadily pulling the 8v and 16v versions along with them. However whilst the Evos are now beyond the reach of many, the earlier cars are still relatively affordable – for now.
This example , whilst not totally original, is not far from it and has the added benefit of having spent its life away from the salty roads that lead to tricky corrosion that is commonly observed on European cars. As well as its pristine shell, it’s also in tip-top mechanical condition and therefore ready to be enjoyed; just add underseal if you want to take it out in winter. The low mileage means that there’s plenty of life left in it yet and the rising market means that it should provide a financially secure way to unleash your inner Juha Kankkunen.
** The photos in this listing have been provided to us by the seller **
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