The Lancia Delta was a road car with a niche rally pedigree. Launched in 1979, the Delta was one of the hottest four-door hatchbacks one could buy and during that period, Lancia was also dominating the rally world. This led to more explicit publicity and a huge fanbase for the Delta and its various iterations. Lancia introduced 3 generations of the Delta, which spanned from 1979 to 2008, but as the years went by, the express desire to own a Delta died down too.
The Lancia Delta was as good on the public roads as it was in the rally world. Lancia had managed to conquer both the track as well as the streets and it showed. In the World Rally Championship, Lancia won 46 WRC titles, 4 Driver’s Cups and 6 Constructors’ Championship. On the streets, the fact that the Delta could carry immense corner speeds and catapult out of the corner like no other car made it a favourite for fans alike. The first generation Delta with the 1.3-litre engine and front-wheel-drive churned out only 84 horses, but the real showstopper was the Delta with the 4WD badge.
Lancia Delta HF 4WD was introduced in 1986 and that was the turning point for the brand. The 4-wheel-drive system was derived from the Group B Delta S4 rally car and was powered by a 4-cylinder, 2.0-litre, twin-cam engine that belted out 260 Nm of torque and 163 BHP. Enough to bring smiles to the faces of the people who got them home. Although, the company kept evolving as time went by and brought the illustrious Delta HF Integrale in 1988.
Lancia hit the sweet spot with this car by offering it with a full-time 4WD and tweaked the engine a bit. Resulting in an engine that was good for 182 BHP and 303 Nm of torque. However, the company did not stop developing the car there. The Delta Integrale 4WD won the WRC Constructors’ Championship a record-setting 6 times in a row (1987-1992). This record set by Lancia is yet to be broken by any other team in WRC.
In 1991, Lancia came up with the Delta HF Integrale Evoluzione. The Evo or Evoluzione is one of the most remarkable models in the Delta line-up. The Evo was equipped with a wider track, revamped exhaust system, bigger brakes and a tweaked suspension set-up. All this combined to deliver an ultimate car that in the hands of Jolly Club, won the final WRC title. The company then come up with the final iteration of the Delta line-up, the Delta Integrale Evo II. Lancia made sure that this car was the most coveted in the Delta lineage and hence equipped it with a more powerful engine which was good for 212 BHP and 314 Nm of torque. This was the end of the road for the Delta cars and the Evo II to date is the most prestigious of the line-up. Today, the 4WD Delta Integrale is a prized possession for any car collector and is often sold for big bucks, that is if the owner wants to part with this beautiful machine.