Have you ever even heard of a car called The Lancia Stratos? If you haven’t, you shouldn’t feel bad. After all, the car went out of production in the 1970s and, as you might have already guessed, it is an import from Italy. Chances are, you have heard of Fiat, the company that eventually bought Lancia. Fortunately, the Stratos was made before all of that happened, and it is definitely one of the most unique automobiles in existence. Better yet, it just so happens that one of the most amazing examples of this car from 1975 is about to become available for auction.
A Brief History of the Lancia Stratos
Most people aren’t even aware that Lancia was ever a car company, especially individuals that are just getting their driver’s licenses now. That is largely because the company was very much an Italian company based in Italy that didn’t do a great deal of business in the United States. It also has a lot to do with the fact that Fiat bought the company and put their name plate on everything that the company had created. As a result, consumers are far more familiar with the Fiat name but they start scratching their heads when someone mentions a Lancia. That said, there are things that this car company achieved that are truly astonishing. For starters, they were the first ones to engineer a complete electrical system that was capable of operating the entire car and all of its components. They were also the first ones to marry a V6 engine with a manual 5-speed transmission. Since then, this is a combination that almost every automotive manufacturer has mimicked, especially those that are trying to create a sporty car that performs well. Any automaker worth their salt uses this combination when they want to have very quick responses as the driver moves through the gears. It’s possible that this combination would have never come to pass had it not been for the engineers at Lancia. It’s genuinely unfortunate that they don’t get the credit that they deserve for the contributions they made to the automotive industry. That is even more true when you consider the fact that many of those same contributions are still being widely used today.
A Rally Car For The Ages
One of the models produced by Lancia was the Stratos, the car produced in the 1970s that was strictly a rally car all the way to its core. The thing that made this particular model different from everything else on the road was that it looked like a stunted Lamborghini, with a wheelbase that was only 85.8 inches and a rather modest looking engine. However, it was a car that was capable of maneuvering like nothing that anyone had ever seen before. It ended up winning the Monte Carlo rally in the late 1970s and continued to win rallies almost everywhere that it competed. It didn’t have a lot in the way of creature comforts. In fact, the interior was obviously designed for rally competition and little else. However, if a driver wanted a car that was capable of maneuvering faster than almost anything else out there while still responding to gear changes with rapid acceleration, this was the car to be in. They weren’t produced in large numbers and there are even fewer of them remaining on the road today, but every once in a while an example will still surface.
A Perfect Example
Recently, it was announced that a near perfect example of a 1975 Lancia Stratos will go on sale in September. The car is powder blue and looks like it’s ready to go compete in a rally this very instant. In addition, it has been kept in pristine condition in almost every manner, ranging from the engine to the interior and everything in between. As such, it is a car that someone could purchase and then drive that same day, if the desire to do so were to strike them. How much will it likely cost the lucky individual who finally gets their hands on this fine example of automotive engineering? The sale will be set up as an auction, so it’s impossible to tell with any level of certainty at this point. However, it looks like the sale price will be somewhere between $500,000 and $550,000, give or take a few thousand. That’s a considerable chunk of change, to be sure. However, it’s also very much worth it to most automotive aficionados, especially those who have a special love for Lancia. Since there aren’t that many of them that are still around to begin with, they can be quite difficult to find. As such, most collectors are ready to get their checkbooks out when they do run across one. That is even more true when they find an example like this that is in pristine condition, as if it were brand new.
A Price Comparison
Is every Lancia Stratos going to bring a commanding price of $500,000 or more? Not necessarily. In fact, the majority of them sell for somewhere in the neighborhood of $350,000 to $360,000. However, not all of these cars are in completely original condition, nor are they all ready to be driven as soon as they are purchased. This car is worth a bit more because it is a 1975 model, which makes it even more rare than some of the other Stratos models that are available. In addition, it has been very well taken care of over the years and every aspect of it has been restored to brand new condition. Therefore, it is believed that it will command a considerably higher price. Truth be told, it is highly doubtful that there will be any trouble getting at least $500,000 for the car. There is no doubt that there are people out there waiting with bated breath for September to roll around so they can take a stab at getting their hands on it.
Photos by Jessica Lynn Walker, courtesy of Stratas Auctions