1981 Lancia Beta Montecarlo Turbo
Pilots: J-M. Lemerle, J. Castellano, M. Cohen-Olivar
Team: Jean-Marie Lemerle
Race: 12th GC (2nd Gr. 5 class) at Le Mans in 1982
Spark - S1388 (resin)
Designed by Pininfarina and produced by Lancia, the Lancia Montecarlo (Type 137) was a mid-engined sports car. It was manufactured from 1975 to 1981, and the first series of the car was called Beta (1975 to 1978). The Beta Montecarlo Turbo was Lancia’s weapon for the Group 5 wars. However, being a silhouette car, the only thing that the Montecarlo Turbo had in common with the road going car was the central section of the body. The original Fiat 2.0 liter inline-4 engine was substituted by a 1425 cm³ inline-4 built in-house by Lancia with DOHC and turbo-charged by a KKK turbine that generated 440 hp of power, while the chassis was built by Dallara.
Car #66 is chassis #1009, and though not in the more famous Martini colors of 1981 at Le Mans, this car in my eyes was a lot cooler at La Sarthe in 1982 than when it raced the year before. During one of his stints, Jean-Marie Lemerle went off the track in the Ford Curve, and the engine died. Unable to fire it up again, he pushed the car all the way to the boxes. Once there, the pit crew fixed it and the car was back in the race. Even with that mishap, #66 managed to finish in 12th overall!
As I said before, I’m a total sucker for these race stories of blood, sweat and tears. Therefore, this was the Montecarlo that I had to get. Another fine (finest, in fact!) model from Spark, with an awesome level of detail. In terms of Lancia, along with the Stratos, this is a must buy for a Le Mans collector.