1989 Lancia DeltaIntegrale Group A - Works car
- Year of manufacture1/1989
- Mileage100 km / 63 mi
- Car typeSaloon
- Competition carYes
- Exterior colourRed
This breathtaking Lancia Delta Integrale Group A was built as a tarmac specifications car with a lightweight body in 8 valve form, for the 1989 Monte Carlo. It was registered TO 70780L in the name of « Fiat Auto » on the 2nd of January 1989.
The lightweight bodies were used specifically for the only two tarmac rallies back then : the Monte Carlo and Corsica. These were subject to an extensive lightening process. Firstly the chassis and body panels were subject to acid dipping to reduce the steel thickness to between 5 and 6 tenths of a millimeter. Then all of the car’s other components were modified where possible to add strength and to shed weight. For instance the glass windows were reduced in thickness to only 2 millimeters. All of these measures brought the weight down from 1400kg to 1050kg.
The Monte Carlo Rally was the first one as a Lancia factory driver for Didier Auriol. This was his first WRC season after dominating the French Rally Championship three years in succession from 1986 to 1988. This was also his debut at the Monte Carlo and the least we can say is that he was not intimidated by the 1988 WRC champion Mikki Biasion who shared the same car. Amazingly despite his meagre experience with both the four wheel drive Delta and the Monte Carlo, Auriol managed to be the best performer despite no less than 6 WRC champions taking the start. He won no fewer than ten special stages and dominated the Rally. In fact he was only deprived of a fabulous victory due to several tire failures, as they had a surprising tendency to come off the rims in harpins. Auriol was actually entering corners much faster than Biasion and stressed the Delta to a level never seen before. He finally scored an impressive second place finish, a first class result for his debut appearance as a Lancia factory driver. This was also a massive 1-2-3 result for Lancia, the first at the Monte Carlo since 1976.
In the spring of 1989 the car was transferred to « Reparto Esperienza » to be used as a test car to develop the 16 valve specifications where it was driven by numerous Lancia drivers at the La Mandria - Fiat test track. TO70780L was presented to the press in early June where the car sported the new livery, the iconic red Martini scheme, and the new 16 valve engine too. This was the new version of the Delta that would be entered for the rest of the 1989 season and make its debut at San Remo. One interesting point is that this version was unrestricted and was running at full power, because as from the 1st January 1990 the Group A cars would run with a 36mm restrictor. Indeed though Lancia claimed 300HP, the real output with full boost was about 400HP. This is also the car that was pictured in studio for the press publications about the Martini Rosso colours and in total only seven cars received this livery.
It was last seen used by the factory at the recce of the Monte Carlo 1990 with Didier Auriol and after that, it was retuned to « Abarth Corse ».
In 1995 a member of Agnelli’s wealth management team acquired the car from Abarth and put it into his prestigious Italian race car collection. The car was kept in original condition and never driven to preserve its original paint.
However, in 2017 it was sent to « Carrozzeria Cieffe » in Parma where Mr Pandolfi was instructed to perform an extremely careful and conservative restoration of the car. It was completely dismantled and all of the mechanical components were refurbished by Jolly Club. The chassis was repainted but the bodywork was left with the original Martini Rosso paint along with the stickers. Throughout the restoration process extreme care was taken to respect its perfect originality and it is still fitted with all of the extremely rare factory parts. Since then the car has only been tested on the road and has covered less than 100km.
The original Italian registration has been transferred from Fiat to the collector and proudly bears TO 70780L on its road plates.
Such an impeccable provenance and time warp rally car rarely comes to the market, especially true of Deltas as most of these glorious cars have been molested and run after the factory with private teams.
TO 70780L is likely the very best Abarth Delta ever offered on the market. This is truly a museum piece with a fabulous sporting pedigree and testimony to one of the greatest eras of the WRC.
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