After the rally heyday of the Lancia Stratos, it was arguably the Delta HF Integrale family that picked up the baton when it came to this Italian automaker’s racing offerings, even though Lancia produced a large variety of rally-bred cars. And in many ways, the Delta HF Integrale went on to wield greater influence over a longer period of time while also being far more accessible to racers of all stripes. You certainly needed to be somebody in the world of racing to own and race a Stratos, but the Delta lineup was more inclusive, and was
produced over a longer period of time in a number of configurations.
Haven’t seen one of these in person? That’s quite understandable, as Lancia left our shores just before the Delta hatchback arrived. The base Delta hatch itself could be found in very plebeian specifications, with tiny engines that even included diesels. But the Delta HF Integrale was a very different car underneath, featuring a rally-bred suspension and engine, in addition to a much wider stance and a whole menu of racing components inside and out. The base Delta itself was already a few years old by the time the Evo I model went on sale in 1991, but the long span of time simply allowed the Integrale to benefit from a decade’s worth of tweaks while accumulating rally victories to add to its display case.
The result was a rally-bred terror that could be docile enough to be used in city traffic, but that could also unleash its turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, good for 210 hp, through a five-speed manual transmission and sending power to all four wheels.
“As a road-going, limited-edition halo-car—paying tribute to its domination of the Constructors’ World Rally Championship for the sixth consecutive year in 1992—Lancia set out to build a special Delta HF Integrale Evo 1 to commemorate the occasion; the iconic and now legendary ‘Martini 6,'” the auction house says. “At a cursory glance, the new livery on the model might have looked similar to the previous model, but on closer inspection, the red-and-blue Martini stripe over its white paintwork widens over the car’s bulging wheel arches in both the front and rear, giving it a very aggressive and competitive look.”
The car that Bonhams will offer later this month is the 145th out of 310 examples of the Martini 6 special editions that were produced to mark the 6th consecutive Constructors’ World Rally Championship victory in 1992. According to its history file, this car was completed on November 30, 1992, and registered in December of the same year by the dealer. The car was bought by its first owner just a few days before the new year. Its first owner put 7,309 kilometers on the odometer by 1994, later selling the car in 1998 to an owner in the Bergamo area of Italy where it remained for another decade. In 2018 the Lancia made its way to the U.K., and then to the U.S. its fourth owner and current consignor.
The car now shows 27,000 kilometers, or about 16,800 miles, with the most recent service performed by Miller Motorcars of Greenwich, Connecticut. The auction house reports that the Recaro Alcantara seats are in exceptional condition, and that all the decals are intact as well.
“Adding to the outstanding original condition are the accompanying items and documentation offered with the car, including the original Lancia tool kit, original warranty card and service booklet, owners and operation manuals in pouch, spare and master keys, and a comprehensive history file binder including the Certificate of Origin, Centro Storico FIAT documentation, copy of Automobile Club d’OItalia registration card, Italian road inspection records and service invoice,” the auction house adds.
Bonhams expects this Delta HF Integrale Evo I to bring between $160,000 and $190,000 on auction day, which is the range in which the best examples have been trading. Of course, only a handful have been offered at Stateside auctions, the 25-year rule keeping them out until just a few years ago.
But with the opening of the 25-year window, a number of examples have made their way to American collectors of Italian cars. The Delta HF Integrale Evo I in Martini 6 colors is certainly one such blue chip car, and is still a rare sight on our shores.
Visit the auction website to view the full list of lots and detailed auction schedule from the upcoming sale.
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