1983 Lancia 037 Stradale
- The chosen feature car of ‘037 Ultimo Mito’
- Matching-numbers example, Three documented owners from new, displaying fewer than 16,300 km
- Retaining its original set of books, including the ultra-rare warranty and service booklets, in addition to the original toolkit, spare wheel and jack
- One of just 207 Lancia 037 Stradales , Italian homologation special delivered new to Italy
- The ultimate rear-wheel-drive car to win the World Rally Championship
The Lancia 037 Stradale
As road-going homologation specials go, the Lancia 037 Stradale is just that: special. Lancia built just 207 of these pretty and purposeful Pininfarina-designed coupés in order to enter its full-fat Group B rally version into the 1982 World Rally Championship.
It was a true thoroughbred, honed by Lancia’s racing department in collaboration with Abarth and Pininfarina in order to do one thing: win rallies. And win rallies the Lancia 037 did. Thanks to head engineer Aurelio Lampredi’s novel use of supercharging, which largely eliminated the lag suffered by its turbocharged rivals, along with its lightweight clamshell body design that drastically reduced servicing time and a squadron of hot-shoed drivers, the 037 fulfilled its destiny, winning the World Rally Championship in 1983. It was the final rear-wheel-drive car in history to do so.
Unlike most of its road-going homologation rivals, the 037 Stradale was not constructed so haphazardly. In fact, its black cord interior is a wonderful place to sit, blurring the lines between theatre and refinement. Electric window switches and air-conditioning vents can be found alongside a supercharger boosts pressure gauge and a bank of blown fuse indicators. From a driving point of view, everything that made the rally version such a formidable machine – the agile chassis, pin-sharp steering, bump-soaking suspension and punchy supercharged engine – is carried over yet in a more approachable and tractable package. These cars are an absolute joy to drive.
This Lancia 037 Stradale
This red-over-black Lancia 037 Stradale, chassis 045, has a number of trump cards up its sleeve. Not only is it one of the most original and comprehensively documented examples we’ve ever encountered (and we’ve seen a lot of these cars!) but it’s also the cover star of 037 Ultimo Mito, the definitive book on the legendary homologation model.
Chassis 045 was issued with its Certificate of Origin on 2 January 1984 and sold and registered in the name of Crido Leasing Srl in Turin the following day for the sum of 35m lire. It was assigned a now-desirable Turin registration, ‘TO W89282’.
In 1992, chassis 045’s custodian, an Italian collector by the name of Piergiorgio Pelassa, commissioned a definitive book on the Lancia 037. And 037 Ultimo Mito nailed the brief. Better still, chassis 045 was photographed in all its glory and featured heavily throughout the book, including on the front and rear covers. It was something of which Pelassa was extremely proud having enjoyed and cherished the car for a number of years.
“Let’s now take the wraps off this museum piece of mine, the red Lancia I’ve been driving for 10 years – without ever accelerating abruptly, without ever attempting to imitate the champion drivers of whose great feats this book speaks, without spending exorbitant sums on maintenance,” he lyrically waxes in the introduction. “Yes, this car’s greatest gift is its simplicity.” His restraint and care were truly admirable, as evidenced by the condition of this 037 Stradale today.
By 2013, chassis 045 had been issued with both its ASI (Automotoclub Storico Italiano) Certificato Di Identita, confirming its ‘A 1’ Classification Group and its Attestation. Pelassa finally parted with his beloved Lancia in February of 2015, opting to sell the car via RM Auctions at its Retromobile sale. Max and Marcus, who worked at RM at the time, recall selling the car. Its condition and originality helped it smash through its pre-sale estimate. The car returned to its native Italy, where it remained until 2018, when it was bought by an incredibly passionate Lancia collector in the US.
Today, this low-mileage matching-numbers Lancia 037 Stradale presents in exceptionally original condition. It even retains the chassis number markings inside the front and rear shells, which were hand-painted at the factory. Benefitting from a recent engine rebuild by the renowned Baldi twins in Turin and a fresh service, chassis 045 is accompanied by a remarkably comprehensive history file.
‘Hen’s teeth’ is how our research guru Marcus describes chassis 045’s original Lancia warranty and service booklets, for example – “You simply don’t see those with 037 Stradales anymore,” he comments. “Perhaps most importantly, these documents prove the car’s numbers match, which is a significant advantage for collectors.” The car also retains its original toolkit, spare wheel and jack.
In the rarefied world of the Lancia 037 Stradale, the ultimate rear-wheel-drive Group B homologation special, chassis 045 has always been regarded as a particularly special example, ticking all the boxes required by today’s discerning collectors.
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