Lancia Stratos: a rallying legend that lives on
In the 70s and 80s, the rally was at its peak, with many manufacturers trying their luck to stay on the top step of the podium. Amidst all this hype, a relatively smaller automaker began to emerge among the ranks of the giants and made a name for itself. It’s the Italian car manufacturer Lancia, which started quite well with Fulvia and ruled the rally championship world for years.
The most important car in the Lancia portfolio to date is the Stratos. It debuted in 1971 and was primarily intended for Group 4 rally competition. It was the first rally car to be designed and built from scratch and took a lot of effort and multiple collaborations to achieve. she becomes an all-time legend. Let’s take a look at the technical specifications of the Lancia Stratos and an overview of its restoration in today’s world.
A short story
Lancia initially hired Pininfarina to design the Stratos, but things took an interesting turn when Bertone decided to design a Stratos himself and drive it into the Lancia factory. The company gave him the task of designing their legendary car, with the help of Gandini, a well-known designer responsible for Lamborghini Miura and Countach. The next task was the powertrain; which Ferrari was hesitant to supply, but eventually agreed and handed over 500 Dino engines for the Stratos. What happened next is history, and Lancia Stratos etched its name on the rallying wall of fame with more than a dozen victories in various championships.
Technical specifications Lancia Stratos
Rally cars are purpose-built vehicles with rugged bodies, powerful engines, high-performance transmissions and durable suspensions. All of these things combined ensure that the driver has everything they need to win the challenge, and Lancia Stratos is no exception.
Here are some of the technical details of the Lancia Stratos that made it so successful.
The engine of the Lancia Stratos was a naturally aspirated Ferrari-Fiat 236 L Dino V6 2.4 liter engine. It featured a dual overhead camshaft valve configuration, a 65oh V-cylinder arrangement, with two valves per cylinder. This engine produced 275 horsepower and 256 pound-feet of torque.
The Ferrari engine was made of lightweight cast iron alloy and was placed just behind the passenger compartment in a “mid-engine” style positioning with a transverse layout. This has helped to optimize weight distribution and lower the center of gravity. Being a rear-wheel-drive car, a mid-engined configuration also precluded the need for an extended driveshaft, further reducing weight and improving the Stratos’ performance.
The engine also featured wet sump lubrication to meet extreme performance needs, and a setup of three Weber 40 IDF 28 carburettors to feed the starved engine. A water-based coolant maintained the optimum temperature, while the four crankshaft bearings helped the six cylinders fire continuously at 9:1 compression. It also had a timing belt specifically designed to meet the performance requirements of the Dino V6 engine.
Maximum speed: 230 km/h
Maximum power: 320 hp (for the 24-valve version)
Torque: 256 lb-ft
0-100 time: 6 seconds
Quarter mile standing: 13.5 seconds
The Stratos’ powerful V6 engine was mated to a 5-speed manual transmission with optimized gear ratios. A dry single-disc clutch makes quick shifts easier and smoother to meet the demands of the track.
Upper gear ratio: 0.99
Final Drive Ratio: 3.82
Suspension and steering
A hardcore rally car must endure the grudge of rough tracks and unforgiving terrain, and Lancia knew it had to design and equip the Stratos with tough suspension and steering to meet the challenge.
Stratos has a very heavy-duty suspension setup, with hydraulic shock absorbers and coil springs up front and an anti-roll bar with coil springs in the rear. All other components, such as the bushings, spacers and A-arm, have also been improved. Stratos also had hydraulic rack-and-pinion steering for precise response and to keep oversteer or understeer to a minimum.
Stratos had a tubular frame design, an all-new chassis built from the ground up with two ideas in mind – stiffness and lightness. A steel-aluminum alloy has been used to make the frame and careful attention has been paid to its setup, to avoid any excessive body roll or steering conundrums. An integrated roll bar has also been added to the Stratos to ensure the safety of the diver and navigator in the event of an accident. The lightweight construction worked perfectly as the Stratos weighed only 980 kg (2160 lb), with an excellent power-to-weight ratio of 5.2 kg/hp (11.4 lb/hp).
Restoration of a Lancia Stratos
Restoring a classic rally car that has seen the punishment of the tracks is no easy task. It is a multi-step process that must be performed according to a specified pattern and requires specific equipment and expertise to get everything right.
1) Strip the parts | Dismantling
The first step in restoring a classic car is to strip it down to the bare bones. Remove all body parts/panels, engine, suspension, exhaust, wheels and interior, bringing the car back to the metal body.
2) Rust and corrosion treatment | Acid soak
An older car will likely have corrosion of metal parts. The first step would be to perform a physical abrasion and get rid of all debris and contaminants. Then immerse the frame and metal parts in an acid bath for a specified time.
3) Body conditioning | Preparation for painting
After the chassis and all parts have been acid treated, the body is prepared for priming and painting by etching the body and dipping it in electrolyte for a negative charge. Primer and paint are applied in three layers, which irreversibly bind to the negatively charged body. All fiberboards are also painted separately.
4) Parts Restoration | and interior panels
All mechanical and cosmetic parts are also restored side by side. In particular, the engine, suspension, transmission and interior panels are given a thorough overhaul. Every part is stripped down to the nuts and bolts, acid treated and silicone powder coated (suspension and steering only). These are then assembled and the interior upholstery, seats and carpets are also completely redone.
With the integrated roll cage installed and all parts carefully checked, the engine and transmission are installed, along with the exhaust system. Next, the suspension and steering assembly is installed. The last part includes the installation of the interior panels and the wheels with the tires. All lubricants and fluids are checked before a test is performed.