Step aside, Subaru and Mitsubishi. Pay your respects to honor one of the greatest homologized rally machines of all time. With 11 World Rally Championship titles and a combined 46 series wins upholding its proudly given name, the Lancia Delta has become part of the top wish-list entries for car enthusiasts of all kinds across the globe.
Lancia, an Italian vehicle manufacturer, dominated the WRC scene way before any of the Japanese automakers had even thought of making their names present on the roster. Lancia is the quintessential car manufacturer that has shaped an unforgettable and inspiring era in the rally racing motorsport. This may seem like an opinionated cliché made by an obsessed WRC fanatic, but the phrase is in fact genuine in its own dictation.
In the late '70s, Lancia and Fiat collaborated with a Swedish automaker named Saab to generate the Lancia Delta. The Delta evolved with more powerful features over a period of 15 years, from the HF4WD, Integrale 8v, Integrale 16v, Integrale Evoluzione and, lastly, the Integrale Evoluzione II. Lancia and its ultra-modern creation had dominated the WRC during the late '80s and early '90s, where the company still holds the title for the most manufacturer championships. The machine was planned, designed and set into limited quantity production solely to meet the homologation regulation the FIA had enforced to all prospective participants.
Owning an exclusive homologation-purpose vehicle is a special honor of its own. Not only does it give you the right to legally drive a turnkey race car on the streets, but it can also satisfy that craving for all the attention certain sports car owners crave. However, due to the rarity and the high demand of these machines, the price tag may not be the biggest problem. Instead, just finding one anywhere in the world may be a cruel and frustrating battle.
So what's it like to own a car with this much clout? Ask Dieter Verboven of Belgium who is the exuberant owner of this Lancer Delta Integrale 16v. This nostalgically expressive vehicle spends most of its time on the racetrack, where its design potential is constantly put to the test. It's no wonder Dieter receives loads of thumbs-ups from almost every EVO and Impreza owner he encounters.
The Lancia Delta is composed of a four-cylinder, turbocharged engine with a complex 4WD system. In Dieter's case, after blowing the head assembly up with the usage of nitrous, he decided to completely rebuild the engine to WRC Group A specs. This small project may not seem like a huge accomplishment, but just locating Lancia parts is a great headache of its own. Group A regulations are comprised of limitations on power, weight, cost, technology and, of course, there had to be a minimum of 5,000 production units on the market per year. Keeping a careful eye on the Group A technical specs, Dieter built the engine with a freshly treated aluminum head assembly mated with high-lift camshafts and adjustable cam gears. Reinforced connecting rods were attached to Mahle WRC edition pistons with the entire rotating engine assembly blueprinted and balanced. The Mahle forged pistons dropped the compression ratio from the factory 8:1 to 7.5:1 ratio, giving lenience for substantially increased boost pressure.
The vehicle is already quite a piece of work to begin with. From the factory, the machine came equipped with ALS (anti-lag system), basically known as a misfire system. The ALS system significantly retards ignition timing when the throttle is let off, igniting a delayed air/fuel mixture, keeping the turbocharger spooling. This essentially eliminates turbo lag and is still used to this day. Dieter's Delta features a Group A-spec Garrett/AiReseach T3 turbocharger good for 1.9 bar (28 psi) of boost pressure. The factory Weber-Marelli engine control unit was replaced by a full Motec stand-alone computer good for 361 hp at 6000 rpm and 348 ft-lbs of torque at 4500 rpm. The nitrous oxide system was still kept intact and tuned accordingly for when those desperate incidences for lower lap times emerge.
The suspension from the factory features a front independent MacPherson setup and the rear with an independent double transverse arms, evident of the FIA's enforcement in prohibiting overly designed radical suspension layouts. The Lancia Delta was known to provide great steering feedback to the driver due to its near perfect balance and quick response. Catering to his own driving needs, Dieter installed a BSS professional air ride suspension on adjustable Koni shocks and various Sparco chassis strengthening bars. A full Sparco rollcage further stiffened the creaking aged-old chassis, while providing protection in case of a rollover.
Despite already possessing a very capable brake setup from the factory, Dieter had his own list of modifications planned to improve the braking characteristics of the Lancia for more aggressive track use. Some 330mm AP Racing rotors and calipers from a Porsche 993 Turbo model were adopted while the rears received perforated EBC rotors with Ferodo DS2500 brake pads all around to assist the Michelin Pilot Sport compounds to a quick halt. Steel braided lines were thrown in to prevent slushy brake pedal feel and to prevent heated rubber line expansion during hard runs.
Ever since the Lancia hit the WRC scene, something phenomenal was in store for car enthusiasts across the world. It gave the Average Joe a chance to own a homologized race car and for people like Dieter to be able to mimic the legendary rally techniques accomplished by the team. The Lancia Delta Integrale is purely a European product, but for the right price, it can probably be sitting inside your American garage.
Inline 4-cylinder, 2.0-liter, 16-valve turbocharged
Fully rebuilt head assembly, high-lift/duration camshafts, adjustable cam gears, Magnecor spark plug wires, Samco hoses, fully blueprint/balanced bottom end, Mahle forged pistons, strengthened connecting rods, Group A-spec T3 turbocharger, Hormann intercooler piping, Forge intercooler, BMC air filter, Supersprint downpipe, custom exhaust, nitrous oxide injection, upgraded oil cooler
BSS air-ride suspension, Koni adjustable shocks, Sparco chassis strengthening bars
Wheels, Tires and Brakes
17" Compomotive TH2 rims, Michelin Pilot Sport 205/40-17, 3300mm AP Racing rotors (f), Porsche 993 Turbo calipers (f), EBC perforated rotors (r), Ferodo brake pads, steel braided brake lines
Custom carbon-fiber hood, custom carbon-fiber side skirts, carbon-fiber EVO roof spoiler, Group A side mirrors, custom modified front bumper, custom modified rear bumper, debadged grille, Delta EVO wipers
Sparco Corsa bucket seats, Sparco rollcage, Sparco Monza steering wheel, Sparco sports pedals, Sparco shift knob, HF floormats, polyester door panels and carbon inserts
Kempower Motorsport and Gert for all of the body work