How Italians move dirt


Known for being the most successful rally car ever, the Lancia Delta Integrale still remains one of the most exciting hatchbacks ever created.

Its compact and boxy look was designed by Guigiaro, the creator of the Golf Mk.I, Lotus Esprit, and BMW M1 among many more. It offers a contained weight of around 1,200kg, an excellent permanent 4 wheel drive system and a 2L turbo engine delivering 185 to 215hp depending on the version and makes it a perfect companion for B-roads, twisties and dirt trails.

Technically, the Delta HF Integrale was ahead of its time and featured a very clever permanent 4 wheel drive system that allowed excellent grip and traction on different surfaces. The first 8v version offered a 44% rear torque split whereas its updated 16v version offered a 53% rear bias. The 8v already represents a massive improvement compared to the original HF 4WD, with a shorter drive ratio bigger radiators and fan, new valves, new brakes and suspensions, and a larger Garrett T3 Turbo which brings the power to 185hp.

The 16v variant is for some the most desirable of the lot. Being a significant upgrade from the 8v, but just missing a few from the Evo 1 and 2, it seems to be the right compromise for anyone looking for a fast 90s 4WD hot hatch. Compared to the 8v, it offers slightly bigger tyres, new injectors and intercooler, new bumpers and bonnet, and many more…The final output of 200hp allows the 16v to reach 60mph in 5.7 seconds (disputable according to sources)! This is properly quick, even for nowadays standards. To put it into perspective, the current Renaultsport Clio 220 Trophy as reviewed by EVO Magazine takes 6.6 seconds, while a BMW 335i e90/92 is roughly around the same figure as the Delta. Again, a properly fast car even today!

What makes the Delta so interesting, efficient and enjoyable to drive is its motorsport heritage and pedigree. Indeed, the Delta Integrale is the most successful rally car ever created and dominated the WRC from 1987 to 1992 with 6 consecutive titles and 46 overall victories! Rallying has always been part of Lancia’s DNA, and they proved it by winning the WRC title 11 times in total. The Delta Integrale is no exception and remains a great demonstration of what could be accomplished in the 80s and 90s from manufacturers who wanted showcase their engineering skills during races and rallies using road going production cars as a basis.

Current values range from £15K for a decent 8v to £50K+ for a nice Evo 2. Some very limited editions have seen their value skyrocket well over £100K. Get in touch if you are looking for one.

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