Lancias have competed in rallying since the Aurelia in the 1950s. But the modern Lancia rallying legend was established from the late-1960s to the 1990s, when first the Fulvia, then the Stratos, Rally 037 and Delta, successively became cars to beat on first the European and then the world stage. The marque has still won more World Rally Championship (WRC) manufacturers’ titles than any other.
As you’d expect from such successful (and colourful) rally machines, Lancias have been well represented in model form, but primarily in the larger scales: 1:43, 1:24 and 1:18, as both contemporary toys and collector models. Here are a few 1:43 Lancias from my collection: an Aurelia and Stratos from Solido, and a Bburago Delta S4.
In 1:64 and similar scales, it’s more of a mixed bag. A handful of contemporary toy Lancia rally cars, many of them modeled on the spectacular Stratos, were later supplemented by a ton of releases from CM’s, the pioneering but sadly now defunct blind-box brand. Multiple CM’s sets – SS.3, SS.5, SS.11, SS.13 and SS.18 – gave us a stack of wonderful Lancia rally models so it’s no surprise that the brand dominates this review.
There’s been a surge of interest in older rally cars more recently however, some of it due to starring roles in video games, and it was the newly issued Hot Wheels Lancia Rally 037 that prompted me to pull some of my favourite small-scale rally Lancias together. Let’s take a look!
To the best of my knowledge there isn’t a 1:64 rally version of the Fulvia, although Kyosho made a nice road car and you can buy a decal set from Japan to fit. That means we start our rally odyssey with the Stratos, a Ferrari Dino V6, mid-engined machine that was the first production car designed specifically for rallying.
Homologated in Group 4 for the 1974 season, it won three world championships from 1974-76 in the earliest days of the World Rally Championship (WRC), adding to the legacy of the Fulvia’s International Championship for Manufacturers from 1972. The Stratos continued to win major rallies even after Fiat later switched its works backing to the 131 Abarth.
These Stratos models are from CM’s. The one on the left is Sandro Munari’s 1974 Sanremo Marlboro car. In the middle is the ‘dirty’ version of Munari’s 1977 Monte Carlo-winning Alitalia car – the first of the classic Lancia rally paint schemes. On the right, we have the Pirell-sponsored 1978 Sanremo machine driven by Markku Alén. There are further versions that I don’t have!
The CM’s can be pricey and hard to find but a great Stratos on a budget is the Hot Wheels version. Shown here are both the original that first appeared in 2002 (red) and a Michael Heralda-deco’d yellow version in a fictitious rally livery from the following year. The Mark Jones-designed Stratos was retooled and issued again as a mainline in 2015.
Tomica has also made some desirable Stratos models. The orange one shown below is a road car, an original Made in Japan model from the F (foreign) series. There are epic Marlboro and Alitalia rally versions that unfortunately I don’t own! The Alitalia car on the left is a very recent issue in the Tomica Premium line – a new casting – but I think the shade of green is much too light.
Before we move on, here’s the Tomica again with a couple more, larger Stratoses: a red 1:25 by Polistil (Bernard Darniche, Tour de Corse 1975) and a Marlboro Norev Jet-Car.
The Lancia Beta was also rallied, albeit on a much more limited scale and through privateer entries. In 1985, the Beta Montecarlo (fastback) was produced in model form by Majorette in a Martini scheme borrowed from the similarly shaped Rally 037s of the time.
Although there was never a Martini Beta Montecarlo in period, one has been recreated retrospectively, as featured in this Petrolicious article and video – a rare case of the model coming before the real car!
The true successor to the works Stratos HF arrived in 1982. The Rally 037 was a Group B car designed specifically for the stages and produced as a limited-run road car to homologate the machine for competition.
Kyosho made a nice roadgoing Rallye 037 in 1:64 but I don’t have it. I do have several motorsport versions from CM’s as well as the new Hot Wheels, which was again designed by Mark Jones.
As you can see below in the comparison pic with a CM’s 037, the Hot Wheels is quite a bit bigger than 1:64 (it’s also a ton heavier in this all-metal Car Culture release) but the shape is captured well and the livery pays tribute to the iconic Martini cars of the era in a family-friendly way! The wheels are good, too.
The three CM’s models below represent, from left to right: Miki Biasion, 1983 Sanremo (Jolly Club/Totip); Fabrizio Tabaton, 1983 Sanremo (Würth); and Markku Alén’s ‘evo’ Martini car from 1984 Tour de Corse (Rallye de France).
By the end of the 1984 season, the Rally 037 – the last 2WD car to win the manufacturers’ WRC – was being outclassed by 4WD rivals like the Audi Quattro and Peugeot 205 Turbo 16, so Lancia developed the Delta S4. It made a winning debut on the RAC Rally (now Rally GB) at the end of ’85 in the hands of Henri Toivonen, as represented here by another terrific CM’s model.
After several fatal accidents in 1986 – notably involving a Ford RS200 on Rally Portugal, but also one in Corsica that killed Toivonen – Group B was banned at the end of the season and the S4s retired.
The new Group A regulations for the following year bring us to the final models in this roundup. Lancia’s new challenger was the Delta HF 4WD – a much more stock machine than the spaceframe, mid-engined Delta S4 – and they took both the drivers’ (Juha Kankkunen) and manufacturers’ championships. The cars were later developed into the Integrale and Integrale Evo.
Two more CM’s Deltas are shown here with the S4. The works Martini car is the winning Integrale 8v from Monte Carlo in 1989 (Miki Biasion) while the FINA Delta is the Integrale 16v in which Didier Auriol won the Sanremo (Rallye d’Italia) in 1991.
The factory Lancia team withdrew from the WRC at the end of 1992, but the Delta was rallied by Jolly Club through 1993 (CM’s made a Carlos Sainz car from that year). For more on the Delta in 1:64, don’t miss willdiecast’s article here.
As ever there are plenty of models I haven’t included here because I don’t have them in my collection, including Stratoses from Guisval and Zylmex, the Fulvia and 037 from Kyosho and a Maisto 037. If you know of more, please get in touch via the comments below. Thanks for reading!
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