Lancia Stratos to jedna z największych legend w historii motorsportu. Była pierwszym samochodem skonstruowanym z myślą o rywalizacji w rajdach i całkowicie tę rywalizację zdominowała w połowie lat 70-tych. Niepowtarzalny był również jej kształt, dzieło Marcello Gandiniego z Bertone. Oryginał powstał w ilości mniejszej niż 500 sztuk, lecz podobnie jaki i legendarny Ford GT 40, doczekał się swojej kolejnej inkarnacji. To dzieło wielkiej pasji Chrisa Hrabalka, który dorastając wśród czterech oryginalnych Stratosów swojego ojca, postanowił stworzyć jego własną wersją. Zaczął od kupienia praw do nazwy Stratos, a 10 lat później kończył Royal College of Art’s z dziełem, które dzięki pomocy sponsorów zadebiutowało jako makieta i wywołało sensację na salonie w Genewie w 2005 roku. Wspierany przez niemieckiego milionera, Michaela Stoschka, projekt został skierowany do realizacji w studio Pininfarina. Tam do samochodu zaszczepiono podzespoły Ferrari 430 Scuderia. Do 2010 roku samochód był gotowy, i choć ówczesny dyrektor generalny Ferrari, Luca di Montezemolo, bardzo cieszył się z jazdy prototypem, odmówił dostarczenia części do produkcji 25 planowanych egzemplarzy. Musiała minąć niemal dekada, by po raz kolejny podjąć wyzwanie. Ferrari 430 Scuderia nie jest już produkowane, lecz jego części wciąż można pozyskać. Za projektem stoi Paolo Garella, kierownik projektów specjalnych w Pininfarina z czasów rozwoju projektu New Stratos, który prowadzi teraz własną firmę: Manufattura Automobili Torino (MAT). Dzięki nowoczesnej technice MAT New Stratos jest lżejszy i mocniejszy niż oryginalna Scuderia i prowadzi się fenomenalnie. Jest pierwszym z planowanych 25 egzemplarzy, a uzyskana za niego cena to 690 tysięcy euro (ok. 3 miliony złotych).
2009/2019 MAT New Stratos Coupé
Chassis no. ZFFKZ64B000166472
€ 700,000 – 900,000
PLN 3,000,000 – 3,800,000
Sold for € 690,000 inc. premium
Les Grandes Marques du Monde au Grand Palais
6 Feb 2020, 14:00 CET
Paris, The Grand Palais
Number 1 of a limited production run of 25
2009/2019 MAT New Stratos Coupé
Chassis no. ZFFKZ64B000166472
– The first example offered at auction
– Circa 3,000km since transformation
– Carbon fibre bodywork
– 540bhp 4.3-litre V8 engine
– F1-type paddle-shift semi-automatic transmission
– Registered in Germany
Few cars attain a status sufficiently exalted that they are revived decades after production ceased; the Ford GT40 is the standout example, to which one can now add the Lancia Stratos.
A limited production ‘homologation special’, the Lancia Stratos is historically significant as the first car from a major manufacturer conceived specifically for rallying. The spearhead of Lancia’s international rally campaign in the 1970s, the Stratos had its origins in a Fulvia-powered, mid-engined design exercise by Marcello Gandini first exhibited on Carrozzeria Bertone’s stand at the 1970 Turin Motor Show. Also the work of Gandini and Bertone, the production Stratos of 1972 retained the striking ‘wedge’ styling of its forbear but employed the powerful Ferrari Dino 2.4-litre V6 engine. The latter was housed in a robust steel monocoque body tub clad in glassfibre coachwork.
That such a daring design actually made it into production is mainly due to Cesare Fiorio, co-founder of the HF Corse team that had become Lancia’s official competitions department in 1965. Lancia was already enjoying considerable success in international rallying with modified versions of the Fulvia, but in the Stratos Fiorio saw an opportunity to create a purpose-built rally car from the ground upwards. He was an admirer of Ferrari’s quad-cam V6 motor, having evaluated a Dino for rallying purposes, and Enzo Ferrari was duly persuaded to come on board as the engine supplier. The stubby, mid-engined Stratos looked nothing like a traditional rally car, but then Fiorio knew exactly what he was doing.
As befitted a car purpose built to cope with all types of rallying, the Stratos came with fully adjustable, all-independent suspension by double wishbones and coil springs, plus four-wheel disc brakes all round. With 190bhp on tap, the production road-going (Stradale) version was good for 225km/h (140mph). The works Group 4 rally cars were, of course, considerably more powerful, but reliability problems meant that success was slow to come. After its initial major victory in the 1974 Targa Florio, the Stratos went on to dominate international rallying, Lancia winning the World Rally Championship of Makes in 1975 and 1976. Works pilote Bernard Darniche triumphed twice in the world’s premier drivers’ competition – the European Rally Championship – in 1976 and 1977, and the Stratos helped Markku Alén to the inaugural World Drivers’ Championship in 1978. Alén’s season had been split between the Stratos and the FIAT 131, and it was the parent company’s political decision to favour that latter, rather than any lack of competitiveness, which saw the incomparable Stratos phased out, though private entrants continued to enjoy success at international level into the early 1980s.
Incredible as it may seem today, after the 500-or-so cars required for homologation had been completed in 1975, the vast majority remained unsold due to lack of demand. (As it happens, that crucial ‘500’ figure was never reached, one widely circulated estimate stating that only 492 were built). Almost as soon as it ceased active competition though, the car’s historic significance was recognised and prices soared.
There have been various kit-car versions of the Stratos offered over the intervening years, but nothing that compares with MAT’s re-imagining, as seen here. The story of what would crystallise as the New Stratos began back in the mid-1990s when a teenage enthusiast named Chris Hrabalek bought the rights to the Stratos name, which Lancia had allowed to lapse. Some ten years later Hrabalek was a postgraduate student on the prestigious Royal College of Art’s Vehicle Design Course; rather than present the customary portfolio of drawings as his final-year project, he decided to build his own version of the Stratos. Ten wealthy backers came forward, and Hrabalek’s ‘Fenomenon Stratos’ was duly exhibited at the 2005 Geneva Salon where it caused a sensation.
Encouraged by the car’s favourable reception, Hrabalek explored ways to put his vision into production. One of those original ten backers, German billionaire Michael Stoschek, agreed to bankroll the project, and the legendary Italian design house of Pininfarina came on board as a technical partner. It was decided to use the then current Ferrari 430 Scuderia as the basis of the New Stratos. Using Hrabalek’s art school project as the starting point, Pininfarina refined the design to suit the 430 Scuderia platform, taking a whopping 7.9″ (20cm) out of the wheelbase and using a wind tunnel to check the aerodynamics.
By 2010 the New Stratos was ready. Although the result was well received by Ferrari – its then CEO, Luca di Montezemolo, greatly enjoyed his drive in the prototype – they declined to supply parts for the 25 cars planned and Pininfarina had no choice but to abandon the project.
Fast forward eight years: the Ferrari 430 Scuderia is no longer in production and there are plenty of used examples and spare parts available. Equally importantly, Paolo Garella, who had been the special projects manager at Pininfarina during New Stratos development, was now running his own company: Manufattura Automobili Torino (MAT). Garella revived the project, although this time using Ferraris supplied by his customers.
The New Stratos has a carbon fibre body while the interior is uncompromisingly Spartan, in keeping with original’s competition-car rationale. Boasting a revised exhaust system and changes to the engine-management electronics, Ferrari’s 4.3-litre V8 produces 540bhp in the New Stratos, some 37 horsepower more than in the Scuderia and 57 more than in the base 430. More powerful and some 110lb (50kg) lighter than the Scuderia, the New Stratos comfortably out-performs its Ferrari cousin in every department.
The highly esteemed American motoring journal Road & Track is one of the few fortunate enough to have tested a New Stratos. They were particularly impressed by its handling and cornering power: “One would expect a cut-down Ferrari on wide Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s to generate a lot of grip. And the Stratos does. But nothing can prepare you for the way in which the car changes direction… Turn in is otherworldy… There is no hesitation, no roll, no body motion, and no warning; the Stratos merely flings itself in whichever direction you turn the wheel.” The ultimate driver’s car? Very possibly.
Based on a 2009 Ferrari 430 Scuderia, which the client supplied, the example we offer is number 1 of the 25 planned. This car had approximately 30,000km showing on the odometer when the transformation commenced, the mechanicals being overhauled in the process. The car was finished in 2019 and first registered on 25th March that year. The result is nothing less than stunning, and when inspecting the Stratos one is surprised by the sense of quality and precision; nothing looks cheap or hurried, as is so often the case with limited production vehicles. Now run for some 3,000km and nicely set up, the car comes with regular German registration documents where all the modifications have been duly noted. Offered in white with (adhesive) Alitalia livery and black interior, this must surely be the first of these stunning cars to come to auction, and as such represents an exciting opportunity for the Stratos/Ferrari/Supercar enthusiast.