You really can’t diss Lancia. Unless you’re French. Because they have a rivalry with the Italians I imagine. And why not. Though, knowing them, they’ll be singing praise about the Italians next week instead.
It is the only brand with two cars in GTP’s Ice Box, as owned by Lord Kelvin. The most recent one to get in there was the Lancia 037, which beat out the Ferrari F40 (rightfully so), the Aston DB5 and the Porsche 917, as well as Lancia’s own Stratos and the Ford RS200 Evo (which is just about in the Box). Only the Lamborghini Miura, Shelby Cobra and Mercedes-Benz 300SL lie above it. And you wouldn’t argue against those 3 being at the top.
Note: the 037 actually has the most single votes of Sub-Zero of all the cars, on 95, just 1 ahead of the Cobra. But 20 frankly idiotic people dragged it below the other 3’s belt by not voting that somehow…
But even I didn’t expect the 037 to come out only behind those. Especially because the one who nominated it was…me.
Ouch dat wheel tho
I was planning on making my nomination rather random to allow for some balance on the Cool Wall, because the main regime there is that someone nominates a car they really like, and it ends up as cool. Or, if you’re lucky, Sub-Zero. The only time something gets into the Ice Box is because somehow no-one had thought of it before.
The random pick didn’t quite go to plan. Both were Beemers, but one was a Mille Miglia tribute that ended up in cool, while the other was the fast but probably pointless 760Li, which ended up in the lower half of the wastelands. Though notably both were nominated when the Cool Wall was beginning to die down, before its eventual revival.
The one car I had picked before had was the Mitsubishi Legnum VR-4. Which, as it turned out, ended up going to cool. I didn’t quite expect that, but it was nice.
I think I decided to nominate the 037 after going through my time, having got carried away and witnessing it once again. I noticed it wasn’t on the Cool Wall, and something like it clearly deserved its place.
The 037 was a mid-engined rally car built by Lancia in the 1980s purely for the Group B WRC. Driven by Markku Alen, Attilio Bettega and Walter Rohrl, the car won Lancia the manufacturers’ world championship in the 1983 season. It is the last rear-wheel drive car to win the WRC.
For approval in Group B it was necessary to build at least 200 road versions of the model in question. The road version had an Abarth developed 2-litre inline-4, with a supercharger which developed 205bhp capable of pushing the 037 to over 137mph and reaching 60 from a standstill in less than seven seconds.
The perfect storm for coolness, then. Mid-engined rally car, built by Lancia, who remain the best in history, for Group B. The rear-wheel drive factor is one of the most key parts though. Much as I love the 4WD drivetrain, the 037’s status as the last WRC winner of its kind gives me immense respect for it. The engine was awesome too, and most importantly, it looked not just brilliant. But, in my opinion, the most beautiful car…ever.
Even then, I wasn’t expecting it to go into the Ice Box. But it went in easily, and well. At first it looked like it might even be in the Miura’s top spot of ‘Steve McQueen’s Garage’. But 20 ill-informed people were enough to drag it down and leave it in the still incredible spot of the world’s 4th coolest car (as of this article) according to GTP.
Me though, it’s my coolest, as well as my most beautiful. It’s in my top 5. I want one badly. I saw one at a legends motorshow once and, even though then back then I didn’t even know that much about it, I just could not get enough of it. It looked just…way beyond anything else.
Of course, the Stratos is probably the one that sticks in most people’s minds as the Lancia god. The reason GTP voted the 037 well above it is probably because, as true car nuts, we see the 037 in an even bigger light that the mere car-likers don’t. But there’s also the one that hit after the Group B storm had been catastrophically stopped – the Delta Integrale.
After the utterly brilliant Delta S4 had contributed in Group B’s saddening downfall, Lancia stuck with the Delta itself, making it a rally car for the new Group A rules that came about. What resulted was a car that eclipsed the Stratos and 037’s achievements before it by winning the WRC 6 times…in a row. It makes up 60% of Lancia’s 10 wins…so while it looks rather more boxy than its beauty-filled forefathers, it must clearly have been the best…and in some ways, that was the case.
Indeed, of all the Italian brands that can be claimed to have an unreliability reputation, Lancia stretches above all by far. Every car had the most fundamental and ridiculous flaws, but come on…just look at them!
The Delta Integrale, Lancia’s last great car to date, went ahead and reversed the trend by being more limited on looks but instead…being a pure masterpiece to drive. It summed up everything rally cars would be known for until the modern day, whereby homologation really is no longer a thing. Homologation specials, in case you haven’t noticed, have a reputation for being the coolest of all…just like the Stratos and 037.
The Delta Integrale was more of a mass modification to the rather paltry normal Delta, but it was built so Lancia could go rallying once again. So that makes it a semi-homologation. But no less cool regardless of its worse looks.
Upon Lancia’s introduction into Gran Turismo in the 2nd installment, PD acknowledged the rally legend so well that they put 3 versions of it in the game. The Integrale 16v, which was the second version of the Delta, then the Evoluzione model that were to be the final homologation cars built by Lancia, and which is present here in Premium form having been made so as early as GT5 even. And in GT2, as a little extra something, the Collezione version.
The Stratos was also included in GT2 but was left hanging around in GT3’s code, accessible by Game Shark but out of the main game otherwise. The Delta meanwhile got its first feature in its famed rally car form, in the 1992 spec Martini livery that would be the last of the winning Lancias.
For GT4 the road Delta was brought back in addition to the predecessor Delta S4. The Delta and now the Stratos have since been Premiumed and now stand as fan favourites in the GT series.
Where does the Delta stand then on its famed rally surface of the dirt? It does a supreme job, actually.
Relatively speaking, on the road the Delta can be surprisingly slow. It also unfortunately didn’t feel too sprightly in GT5 in the handling stakes either, but on the gravel here, the tables are turned completely. The 4WD not only means that speed is ideal but also it is a superb car to handle as well. It doesn’t do anything less than you’d expect on the dirt, and on the wide confines of Toscana it really can be stuck wherever you damn well want it.
It’s quite a cool reverse, and a useful one too. Lancia’s rally cars before, the mid-engined ones, were kings on tarmac but a handful elsewhere. Lancia’s focus here on the other surfaces meant that it was the best by far this time.
The sound is worth a mention too. It’s a low, angry growl of a big dog, which in some ways gives the Delta that spirit. It reaches a pitch that’s not quite perfect. But it’s still very good, good enough that you don’t care too much that you wish it were just a bit higher.
As an early game prize car, the Delta is also a car you will receive very quickly and probably have to use well in career mode. Though you won’t be taking it to the dirt, it should still serve you well.
The Delta really deserves its place in car history, this game, any car game really. So does the Stratos of course. And so does, above all really, the 037…but wait…where’s that in GT6? Kaz?