Lancia Stratos HF #10 – Spark

HF #10
1976 Lancia Stratos HF #10
Pilots: S. Munari / S. Maiga
Team: Lancia Alitalia 
Race: 1st overall at the Monte Carlo Rally in 1976
Spark - S9082 (resin)

Published 11/03/23

Up until 1970, Lancia’s rally effort consisted of the Fulvia. However, in production since 1963, the Fulvia was long in the tooth, so Lancia needed a new model. Aware of Lancia’s need, in 1971 Bertone presented to Lancia the outrageous 1970 Stratos Zero prototype, designed by Marcello Gandini. General management liked the Zero, and in the 1971 Turin Auto Show Lancia unveiled the Stratos HF prototype. A very important fact about the Stratos was that it was the first car specifically designed for rally racing. And for Lancia, rallying was serious business, with basically three people behind this project. They were Lancia team manager Cesare Fiorio, Briton engineer and pilot Mike Parkes and factory rally driver Sandro Munari. Additionally, Marcello Gandini took a personal interest in the design and production of the bodywork. However, there were problems finding a suitable engine.

HF #10
With the Stratos, 037 and Delta, Lancia won a total of 10 World Rally Championships.

Lancia would use either the Fulvia’s or Beta’s engine, however both proved to be too weak. Unprecedentedly, Lancia managed to convince Enzo Ferrari to let them use one of his engines. With Il Comendattore’s acquiescence, Lancia used the Ferrari Dino’s 2416 cm³ V6, rated at 142 Kw (190 hp). The Stratos had a steel space-frame chassis with an integral roll-cage. The body was made of lightweight fiberglass, and interestingly consisted of dual clam shell hoods. The front part opened forward, over the spare wheel, and the rear hinged rearward, over the engine. With a curb weight of 980 kg, the Stratos could reach 230 km/h and 0 to 96 km/h in 6 seconds. Nonetheless, for homologation to compete in FIA’s WRC Group 4, Lancia needed to produce 500 cars. With everything sorted out and Ferrari delivering 500 engines, production of the Stratos HF Stradale began in 1973.

With the HF #10, Munari achieved his second Monte Carlo win with a Stratos. And he would win again in 1977.

FIA homologated the Stratos for Group 4 in October 1974. However, Lancia raced the Stratos before that, as a Group 5 prototype in 1972 and 73. The first rally win came in the 1973 Firestone Rally, with a second place at the Targa Florio later on. After that, the success piled up, and Lancia won the WRC in 1974 and 1975. The 1976 season began in Monte Carlo, and of course the Stratos HF was back. The 44ème Rallye Automobile de Monte-Carlo of 1976 consisted of 530 km of mostly asphalt roads. However, since it went from January 17th through January 24th, there was LOTS of snow. And to make things even more interesting, there were a few night sections. Lancia Alitalia arrived in the principality with three cars and an impressive support team. The cars finished in 1-2-3, with Stratos HF #10, piloted by Sandro Munari, in first place.

I love my “Aseptogyl Stratos”, yet the HF #10 is cooler, hands down.

Talking to a gearhead friend recently, he defined the Stratos very well: it’s bizarrely cool 🤣. Objectively speaking, it does look as if it came directly from the drawings of an 8yo. However, to the 12yo me, that looks friggin’ cool 😋. Though I have one (of only two) Stratos that raced at La Sarthe, a “proper Stratos” comes in Alitalia colors. And recently Spark released one of its best interactions: a night version of a Monte-winning car. In Alitalia colors. I don’t consider myself one, nonetheless an Alitalia Stratos has to be a priority to a rally collector. ‘Cause this HF #10 is just bizarrely cool.

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