Every once in a while, the world is blessed with a car that stands out from the rest. Think about the Lamborghini Countach, the Pagani Zonda, the McLaren F1, the Mini Cooper, or the Audi Quattro, which completely revolutionized the sport of rally. Speaking of rally, there will be hardly a fan who loves rallying and hasn’t heard of the Lancia Stratos.
In 1973, Lancia came up with the Stratos HF in their successful attempt of making a car that won rally races as easily as our hearts. Over the course of 7 years, the Stratos has amassed 18 victories in WRC in the hands of icons like Sandro Munari, Mario Mannucci, and Silvio Maiga. Back in the ’70s, the Lancia Stratos was known for being one of the best cars to enjoy driving. The lightweight chassis and agile handling thanks to WRC-oriented development made it one of the most fun to drive sports cars in the whole world.
Today, the Stratos is a rare car with a vast following and the status of a legend. In the modern scenario of the automobile industry getting surrounded by EVs, Sub-Compact SUVs, and Crossovers, we desperately need a car like the Stratos back to make up for the lack of cars focused on driving feel. Here’s why the Lancia Stratos needs to make a comeback right now.
The Groundwork Has Been Laid
Lancia doesn’t need to come up with any cutting-edge solution to bring the Stratos back to life one more time. There are many manufacturers that have revived one of their past models with varying degrees of success. By learning what they did right and avoiding the mistakes that they have made, it indeed is possible for Lancia to breathe new life into the Stratos.
Look at what Land Rover did by bringing back the Defender into the US, and what Nissan did with the new Nissan Z, bringing back the spiritual successor of the acclaimed series.
It Can Easily Rule The Entry-Level Sports Car Segment
If the new Stratos gets revived in all the glory and power of its predecessor, it can easily rule the mid-size sports car segment filled with cars from Audi, BMW, Kia, Mercedes, Toyota, and Subaru. At just over 2000 lbs, the classic Stratos packed a 190-horsepower V6 engine that made it fly through corners.
If brought back today, it might not necessarily be the most powerful, but if it remains lightweight and preserves the same driving mechanics and handling, it can offer what few other cars manage to offer: An addictively terrifying and thrilling drive experience.
Beloved By Enthusiasts
If Lancia fears that the era of Stratos’ popularity is long gone and now it’s merely a forgotten legend, then they need to think again. Thanks to its appearances in popular TV Shows like Top Gear, The Grand Tour, and various documentaries covering the history of Rally racing, the Stratos is popular enough to make breaking news upon reentering the automobile industry.
Today’s age of social media might have a lot of downsides, but the news of this legendary sports car returning in a modern version would definitely cause an insane amount of hype.
Lancia Needs To Spice Up Its Lineup
Lancia Ypsilon. That’s it! That’s all Lancia offers right now. Italian brands are known for making the most stylish cars in the world, and Lancia used to be one of the frontrunners back in its glory days. Now, the only car that Lancia offers is the opposite of stylish and fancy.
The future plans of Lancia are surely worth considering and have us excited. But if Lancia needs to be taken more seriously and have its rightful position back in the upper part of the echelon, then bringing back one of their most acclaimed cars can be a key factor in that.
Referred to as the world’s first purpose-built rally car, the Stratos has gained strong cult status in the last few years. The reason the phrase ‘cult status’ is used here is because these days, the Stratos is way more popular than when it first came out.
Midships drive train from Ferrari’s Dino 246 GT and FIAT’s backing provided for a great opportunity for the arrival of the Stratos HF. Now, Lancia can repeat the history and come up with another Stratos that will be remembered for decades to come.
It’s A Performance-Oriented Driver’s Car
Like mentioned earlier, there are very few performance-oriented driver’s cars available in the market today. And most of them are hot hatches.
If the Stratos makes a comeback, it’s all but sure to be a breath of fresh air, as an oasis of water in the desert of bland economic coupes.
Today is not the golden age of rally racing. And it’s definitely not the most popular sport in the world. But it’s got enough fans to remember and spread the tales of epic rally moments like the era of Colin McRae, the Subaru vs Mitsubishi era, and the legendary rivalry of Audi and Lancia in WRC ‘83.
The arrival and domination of the Stratos is another such example of epic and historical moments to remember.
Potentially High Demand
The high demand for cars that are not necessarily economic and are developed to cater to the needs of a person seeking pure driving pleasure proves that there is space for the Stratos in the automobile market. Not only is there space but it can be said that there is a need for such cars in the age of EVs, Hybrids, and economic city commuters.
Maybe not as a daily driver, but a lot more people have space in their garages for a weekend cruiser of a track day machine than we realize. Considering the price of the Stratos doesn’t blow up through the roof, this is a good time for a car like the Stratos to arrive.
A Small Company Already Tried To Revive It
When we say that the Stratos needs to come back, we meant that the original Stratos needs to come back in its true form. Otherwise, if you’re just after the name and a similar driving experience, there will be 25 of these new Stratos roaming the streets.
For example, the folks from Italian coachbuilding firm Manifattura Automobili Torino took a Ferrari 430 Scuderia, shortened the chassis from the middle, and put a Stratos-resembling body on top of it! Lancia can learn a thing or two and get to work if they wanted to.
An Italian company custom-builds a Ferrari-based Lancia Stratos tribute car. It’s a Group B legend for the next decade
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