1991 Lancia Delta
Year of manufacture1991
The ex-Jolly Club; Auriol/Occelli
1991 Lancia Delta HF Integrale 16V Group A Rally Car
Chassis no. ZLA831AB0*00539503*
"Between 1987 and 1992, the Integrale utterly dominated its branch of motor sport, winning 46 rallies and six consecutive constructors' championships outright. And to keep the rally car at the sharp end of the results table, the road car went through a number of iterations, each more potent than the last." Octane magazine, June 2012.
From the mid-1960s until the early 1990s, Lancia was a major force in international rallying, winning the World Rally Championship for Makes no fewer than 11 times between 1972 and 1992, including a remarkable six successive victories commencing in 1987. During the same period, Lancia drivers won the European Rally Championship on 14 occasions and the World Drivers' Championship (only instigated in 1978) four times. The models used - Fulvia HF, Stratos, Rally 037, and the Delta family (S4, HF, and Integrale) - are among the most successful rally cars of all time.
After experimenting with a system combining both a conventional (Volumex) supercharger and a turbo on their 'homologation special' Delta S4 rally car, Lancia opted for turbo-charging alone for the less exotic Delta HF. Already a fine handling car courtesy of its tuned suspension, the HF moved up a class with the introduction of a state-of-the-art four-wheel-drive transmission incorporating Ferguson viscous couplings and a Torsen differential.
Badged as the Delta HF 4WD on its introduction in 1986, the model retained the Volumex blower initially before switching to a straightforward turbo when transformed into the Integrale in 1987. The latter would prove a supremely capable rally car, winning the World Championship in both 1987 and 1988, yet in road trim remained a thoroughly practical family hatchback. Integrale performance was boosted further by the introduction of a 16-valve cylinder head for the 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine in 1989, maximum power increasing to 200bhp and top speed to 220km/h.
This Integrale 16V was first registered as 'TO 55236R' in Turin, Italy on 15th May 1991, the first owner recorded in the original libretto being FIAT Auto SpA. The car was campaigned by the famous Italian Jolly Club team in the livery of the Belgian oil company FINA it is believed that only some six Lancia Delta Integrales were ever finished as such, crewed by driver Didier Auriol and navigator Bernard Occelli. Previously one of the works team's principal drivers, for 1991 Auriol moved across to the Jolly Club team, whose entries continued to be prepared in the Abarth factory alongside the works' Martini-liveried cars. Having served Lancia faithfully for four years, Auriol would move to Toyota for 1993 and the following year secured his one and only World Rally Championship while still with the Japanese manufacturer.
The first outing for 'TO 55236R' was the 1991 Acropolis Rally in Greece with start number '6', and the Integrale finished in a very impressive 4th place behind the winning Martini Integrale 16V of Kankkunen/Pironen. Sainz/Moya's Toyota Celica placed 2nd with Biasion/Siviero's Martini Integrale 16V 3rd, demonstrating the all-conquering might of the Lancia Delta Integrale. In 1992, 'TO 55236R' was campaigned in the Eifel Rally by Holzer/Seiter, but retired due to a problem with the turbocharger. The only other competitive in-period outings known are the 1994 International Rallye Castrol Gemer Dobinà in Slovakia (Drotár/Bánoci) and the 1994 San Marino Rally (Bubu/Kerék).
According to the car's original libretto, it changed hands in 2004, passing to the Padua-based Lancia dealer Bieffecar, who kept it until 2008 when it was sold again within Padua. Another car dealer, this time the Toyota concessionaire for Padua, owned the Integrale from 2011 until 2018 when it was purchased by the current owner; so effectively the car has had only four owners since it was sold by FIAT.
The current owner informs us that he had the car cosmetically brought back to its former glory with a repaint in the original white, while the FINA livery was applied by the same company that painted the original cars, Pubblimais of Turin. The interior appears highly original, retaining Auriol and Occelli's racing seats, and we are advised that the engine was overhauled by a retired Abarth mechanic in 2019. According to the vendor, very few cars remain in such original configuration. Following these works, the car has had only two outings: the Rally della Lana in 2019 and the Rally Città di Torino in 2020, being regularity events rather than gruelling rallies.
Offered with a set of original wheels and the all-important original libretto, this historically important Lancia Delta Integrale 16V is worthy of the closest inspection and is sure of a warm welcome at any historic rallying event.