Donuts and defibrillators with the Lancia Delta ‘Icebulance’
Update: The Ice 2020 has been cancelled due to the coronavirus. You can find more details by clicking here.
Dr Christian Knetsch is one of the car-crazy and well-humoured individuals who you come across time and again in St. Moritz. Knetsch, who once worked as an assistant doctor in Samedan and now runs his own practice in Ascona, prefers to change out of his white coat at the end of the day and instead perform surgery on his new long-term automotive patient in the ‘Doc Garage’.
At the first Classic Driver Panda 4x4 Meeting in St. Moritz last December, he arrived with not one but two cars: a rare Sisley edition and a Panda covered in camouflage. Naturally, the medical professional was never going to miss the winter spectacle that is The International Concours of Elegance.
For use on the lake, Knetsch has transformed his white Lancia Delta Integrale from 1990 into a genuine ‘Icebulance’, complete with red lettering, flashing blue lights, on-board oxygen supple and a defibrillator. The Delta will be ready for use on the frozen racetrack on Saturday and Sunday, though hopefully not for the true use it was converted for.
“When I was 18, I dreamed of a Lancia Delta Integrale,” Knetsch told us, “and for my 40th birthday, I finally fulfilled my dream.” The doctor was enjoying a skiing holiday with his family in St. Moritz when his phone rang. Somewhere in Basel, there was a rare Swiss example of the Integrale, with eight valves per cylinder and a catalytic converter, in a barn. What’s more, it was for sale… for just 2,000 CHF!
Knetsch curtailed his holiday and promptly made his way to Basel. Having collected the tired old Lancia, he returned home and set about restoring it in his garage over the following years. His good friend Thomas Goosen of Swiss Kaktus Racing even rebuilt the engine, and he’ll be serving as co-pilot at The Ice this weekend.
Despite Knetsch’s medical competence, we’re obviously hoping that the ‘Icebulance’ from the ‘Doc Garage’ will only be used to hype up the audience with rapid and hilariously sideways four-wheel drifts. With this in mind, a sore neck should be the only ailment on the horizon for the participants!
Photos: Andrea Klainguti for Classic Driver © 2020