Lancia Delta HF integrale buyers Guide
Time to say Good Bye? 6.02.2021
Or should i say - now or never - the Lancia Delta EVO in 2020 and now 2021 are reaching unbelievable quotes in a all time high, with a continued great demand from the United States, as regulation are allowing now the Delta to be officially imported and registred. Time has come, to take a closer look at the HF integrale 8V and 16V, not less fun at a more convenient rate and with the History pedigree that defines a real World Champion.
The Lancia Delta celebrated its 40th Birthday in 2019. Designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, who also gave birth to the Golf Mark I and later was aquired under the Italdesign brand by the VW Group. Giugiaro was tasked to create what would become the most iconic Group A rally-car and shape, but i guess no one expected what the Delta could become at the end of it's career. Born as a sporty and luxurious grocery getter, it wasn’t until 1982 that the first Turbo engine was added to the line-up with the first carburettor equipped 1.6 HF Turbo. Still a FWD only model, but at last hinting at the Delta’s sporting potential, which was soon followed by the modernized Marelli Fuel Injected version, which he borrowed from its new angrier sister.
Fun fact the 037 won the WRC title with RWD over Audis 4x4
It was 1985, the Delta S4 made its debut and was instantly the technologically most advanced Gr. B Rally car ever produced, featuring a 1.8 Litre Turbo and Supercharger Compound Engine. Whereas the Audi Sport Quattro S1 was still based on a Audi 80 Chassis, whit a shortened wheelbase, the S4 was a full purpose build tube frame Carbon Kevlar mix on Hot Wheels.
Lancia Delta S4 Driver Gramenzi at the Rally Legend San Marino
Only 200 Stradale versions where build for Homologations, or should’ve been build, might be the better statement here. As some of the cars were never sold finished or should I say parts puzzle.
Audi S1 sitting at the Audi Tradition Paddock - Driver Walter Röhrl
Audi S1 on SS of the Rally Legend San Marino - Driver Walter Röhrl
The FIA planned to replace the Gr. B in 1988 with the new Group S that allowed racing cars that where build in at least 5 units. Lancia developed two Experimental Composite Vehicle, called the ECV1 and ECV2 only the ECV1 survived and is still in the FCA Heritage Museum till today. The second one was rebuilt on a private initiative around the original Triflux engine, which features a unique patented Biturbo setup. Too many fatalities forced the FIA to cancel Gr. B earlier as planned and withdraw all the plans for the new spectacular Group S.
Lancia Delta ECV1 at the Rally Legend - Driver Miki Biasion
Lancia Delta ECV1 at the Rally Legend - Owner G. Volta
Schematic ECV2 engine Layout with Apfelbeck inspired valve layout
A decision had to be made by the FIA and this was also the debut of the Group A Rally car. This new generation had to be manufactured at least in 2500 units and specified very close to its road going relatives and this was also the birth of a whole new era which lasted into the mid-90s, where manufacturer could Market under the old saying
– Race on Sunday sell on Monday –
Ford Escort Cosworth - Rally Legend San Marino
The Gr. A “Sport Homologations” are recently growing value strong. This variety of cars that this era gave birth to, are still today some of the most iconic cars in Racing History. Ford Sierra RS500 and its successor Ford Escort Cosworth.
BMW M3 E30 - Rally Legend San Marino
The BMW M3 E30 which was successful in Touring car and Rally The Toyota Celica 4WD and the later Gt-Four. Not forget to mention the two less known Nissan Pulsar aka Sunny GTi-R depending on the market. The Mazda GTR and the complete Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution series up to the Final Edition EVO X and last but not least of course as still in production, the Subaru Impreza STi.
Subaru Impreza 22B - Rally Legend San Marino
The new Toyota GR has the right genes to be hopefully not the last representant of a glorious and competitive period.
Toyota Yaris GR - Photo Courtesy of Toyota Europa
It was two more years before Lancia made its mark on the Group A World Rally Championship with the Delta HF4WD, which by its nature still looked like the grocery getter with Battle make up. Nonetheless all the right ingredients were already on board, made winning the drivers & manufacturers title with Juha Kankkunen the first road car derived Group A Lancia. By 1988, the Delta had its badge, HF Integrale. The power unit was still the 8V engine from its predecessor, but with a slight tune and better cooling it delivered from the base 165 hp now 185 hp. Not only the power increased, also the fenders did, the bonnet that was still shared with the HF4WD.
Lancia Delta HF4WD - Rally Legend San Marino
In 1989 the 8V engine reached already its peak performance and was replaced by the brand new 200 hp 16V engine which debuted in the Lancia Thema. The HF integrale 16V was standing out also from the outside perspective. To make space for the larger 16V cylinder head, it was necessary to install the arched engine bonnet, with the wide trademark HF integrale air vents. Over the years, the 16V spawned several Group A and Group N wins, in sum it was the most successful HF integrale version overall.
Lancia Delta HF integrale 8V Safari - Raduno Maranello
Lancia Delta HF integrale 8V Holze Gr. N - Rally Legend San Marino
Lancia Delta HF integrale 16V - Driver Catania
1991 was the debut of the last, most sought-after version till today, the Lancia Delta HF integrale Evoluzione, also fondly called “Deltona” to underline its impressive shape. This Delta nowadays is mostly known as EVO1 initially available only with the non-emission regulated 16V engine, that also received a little power upgrade to 210 hp, mostly due to the new single tip exhaust line, in comparison to the HF integrale 16V twin tip exhaust.
Lancia Delta HF integrale EVO Ponzio - Rally Legend San Marino
Whereas the HF integrale 16V still had that Econobox 80s design, the EVO Design was clearly a 90s child. It changed a lot, front and rear bumper, side skirts all in body colour and in a smoothed-out design to match the wider fenders. The shoulders grow again in width, making it almost square, giving the car the looks for what it is know today.
Lancia Delta HF integrale EVO Verde York as a rare 8V cat. Version
The bonnet received two additional cooling vents and was raised further high, which was not just for the looks. The suspension towers had to be redesigned. To allow for more suspension travel in the like of the 1000 Lakes Rally, the only solution was to raise the towers to allow longer shocks to be installed. This feature is also key in a buyer car inspection. Over the years many 8V and 16V HF integrale were transformed into EVO look-a-likes.
Lancia Delta HF integrale 8V Engine bay and 2 bolt Top Mounts
The towers have always 3 bolts top mount attachment and are sitting almost even with the fender fixation. To celebrate the 5 and 6 consecutive World Rally Championship win, Lancia gave birth to two Special Edition also known as the Martini 5 and the Martini 6 with bespoke interior and exterior features. Another special Series with the EVO1 was the ultra limited edition “Club Italia” also with bespoke interior and exterior features for the members of the correspondent club. Another Limited Edition EVO1 model is the beautiful looking “Verde York” with its British Racing Green exterior and Tobacco colour leather interior.
As the 16V engine was not allowed to be registered into countries with emission limits, Lancia decided to take the 177 hp 8V engine with catalytic converter as used in the Thema and Croma before. This engine was from 1989 in markets, such as Switzerland, available in the 16V Bodyshell and later in the EVO1 versions.
In 1993 followed the Lancia Delta HF integrale EVO2, also named “Sedici” i.e. sixteen in italian. Fun story, due to the restrictions only EVO1 8V catalytic were officially allowed in Germany and the marketing department thought it was a good idea to indicate explicit the “Sedici” so customers do know they’ve more valves available.
The EVO2 was not longer a “Sport Homologation” model, but more of a cash cow for Lancia, as the Rally commitment was ditched by the Fiat Management, in favour of the Alfa Romeo Touring car engagement. The whole Abarth team was abrogated into Alfa Corse Team, which gave birth to the Alfa Romeo 155 GTA Touring Car, that competed in the Italian Touring Car Championship “Superturismo” and won, mostly with the Lancia Delta underpinning, which was followed by the Alfa 155 Q4 which shares some of the genes of the Delta. The later 155 DTM and ITC cars don’t share much with the Delta but names like Giorgio Pianta or Sergio Limone, to name just two, still where the soul which link these cars with Abarth and Alfa Corse.
Alfa Romeo 155 Q4 - Wheels by Speedshop.ch
Being a cash cow is a hard knock life, at the end of it’s lifetime, or should I say already over it’s lifetime, as the Lancia Delta 836 was already sitting at the dealerships waiting for its customers. As the demand for the EVO at the dealerships was still booming, Lancia decided to run a few Special Editions and also Limited Editions with the ongoing numbering tag and yes there is a difference. Mostly there are “Special Series” figures about production numbers, but to be honest a seriously doubt there has been any limitation with some of the special series, such as the Giallo Ginestra, these car have been sold as long ordering was possible, having no number tag on board, no one can really tell how many units have been build unless you start counting them one by one.
Lancia Delta HF - Rosso Monza, Bianco, Nero and Giallo Ginestra
On the other hand there are Deltas out there, that never have been officially listed anywhere and are super Limited because bespoke build, to name the Rosso Monza that went to the Greece importer with bespoke black Poltrona Frau leather interior, other Rosso Monza and Bianco have been bespoke specced with the Special Series - Giallo Ginestra - interior at the end of production run.
Well what to choose from is the question, with the quotes skyrocketing to supercar figures?
Many ask what is my personal favourite to drive and everyone is surprised when I tell them my little 8V cat. there’s real beauty in its simplicity, it is lighter, nimbler and agile – for portion of the current EVO quotes, within reach of many aficionados, having also the advantage of a better spare parts supply and therefore lower running costs. The flared arches, the quad headlights and telephone-dial Cromodora wheels leave a lasting impression, while inside it just gets better.
Lancia Delta HF integrale Stealth Black EVO - By Speedshop.ch
The interior of the Integrale is already on another level, with the legendary Missoni and Alcantara fabric-covered seats on the earlier models and full Alcantara on the later ones. Positioning you strangely perfectly to look at those Veglia dials with inverted Rev counter and the Momo steering
Lancia Delta HF integrale 8V cat. with OZ Racing Rally wheels
Out of the box, the Delta Integrale 8V and 16V was and still is an incredibly special car. For just over €20K you can get one in used conditions with work needed. From €25-30K you can still get a good car with minor work and finally €30-35K for a car with no faults restored with minimal wear. Can you think of many other models that have so much sporting history combined with genuine real-world usability?
Lancia Delta HF integrale 8V cat. with OZ Rally wheels
That fact that so many succumbed to neglect over the years also makes them a relatively rare sight on the roads today and always good for a thumbs up from other motorists along the road. I know, im a little biased 😉, but I can’t think of anything much cooler than an Integrale sliding its way up a snowy Alpine pass; so just let me know if you need any help finding your car,
eMail Klick me
27.12.2020 Buyers Guide
We will soon publish a Video guide for all prospect Lancia Delta HF integrale Drivers around the world. Don't hesitate to contact us with specific questions or if you need any advise buying a Lancia Delta, we offer mediation and car consulting and are able to help you out to find you the best available car that suits your specific needs.
Lancia Delta HF integrale Tuning Guide
Check out the first steps in our already mighty (old) tuning guide, which to some extend is still absolutely up to date and interessting, check it out. More to come here for sure.
Download here the "How to kill a Duck pecker" Lancia Delta Tuning Guide
How all started
Before writing a review i.e. buyers guide i need to go back a few years and tell you my own story about the Lancia Delta HF integrale and where it all started for myself. Go back means going back to the early '90s in neat Lancia Dealership close to Zürich where it came to my first close encounter of the third kind.
A childhood star that won (almost) any 0-100 Km/h challenge in the magazines of the time, standing in front of me. The walls of the dealership full of Posters of a icon already winning the World Rally championship 3 times in a row on rally stages all over the world. These where the years when WRC Rally Racing and winning the Montecarlo was worth a prime time TV News Story, good old days one might say...