Bonhams : From The Patrick Collection, effectively one owner, 2,192 kms from new,1986 Lancia Delta S4…

22 Apr 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Bonhams : From The Patrick Collection, effectively one owner, 2,192 kms from new,1986 Lancia Delta S4…
Lancia Delta


From the mid-1960s until the early 1990s, Lancia was a major force in international rallying, winning the World Rally Championship for Makes no fewer than 11 times between 1972 and 1992, including a remarkable six successive victories commencing in 1987. During the same period, Lancia drivers won the European Rally Championship on 14 occasions and the World Drivers’ Championship (only instigated in 1978) four times. The models used – Fulvia HF, Stratos, Rally 037 and the Delta family: S4, HF and Integrale – are among the most successful rally cars of all time.

Following Audi’s lead, Lancia had introduced a new four-wheel-drive World Rally Championship contender in 1985, the Delta S4, which bore more than a passing resemblance to its road-going namesake. That deliberate likeness though, was merely skin deep, for the two cars had next to nothing in common mechanically.

For whereas the Delta road car was a conventional, front-wheel-drive, five-seater hatchback, the two-seater S4 carried its engine where the rear seat passengers would have been and concealed a tubular spaceframe chassis – similar to that of the Rally 037 and incorporating fully adjustable all-independent suspension – beneath lightweight composite bodywork. Featuring numerous aerodynamic aids designed to increase downforce at high speeds, both front and rear sections of the S4’s body were quickly detachable in the case of an accident.

The transmission drove all four wheels via central and rear differentials while the Abarth-designed 1,759cc, 16-valve engine broke new ground also, employing both supercharging and turbo-charging to reduce the effects of ‘turbo lag’ at low revs.

As the FIA applied a ‘x1.4’ formula to the capacity of forced induction engines, the Delta S4 ran in the up-to-2,500cc class, which permitted a minimum weight of 890kg (1,958 lbs). A maximum power output of around 400bhp was available from the start, rising to in excess of 500bhp by the end of development.

After the required 200 Stradale (road-going) models required by Group B regulations had – allegedly – been constructed, the competition version made its first appearance in November 1985 at the RAC Rally, Henri Toivonen and Markku Alén finishing 1st and 2nd respectively to record one of the most successful debuts in rallying history. The Delta S4 went on to score three more World Championship victories in 1986, securing Lancia 2nd place in the Makes’ competition and 2nd place for Alén in the Drivers’ before being compulsorily retired at the end of the year when the FIA imposed Group A regulations for 1987. The FIA’s decision had been prompted by a series of serious accidents, including Toivonen’s fatal crash in Corsica at the wheel of a works S4, which also claimed the life of his co-driver, Sergio Cresto.

Lancia Delta

In use for only 13 months, the Lancia Delta S4 is one of the rarest of Group B rally cars. There is considerable doubt that Lancia actually produced the 200 road cars required for homologation, expert opinion being that fewer than 80 exist today.

Built in 1986, chassis number ‘117’ was first registered in the UK on 9th March 1987 and comes with Lancia UK Concessionaires purchase invoice to the Patrick Collection for £44,590. To comply with the extant Customs regulations, John Ward (the Patrick Collection’s then curator) had to register the car elsewhere in the EU (the Netherlands in this case) in his wife Brenda’s name prior to its importation into the UK, hence the V5 registration document’s reference to ‘one former keeper’ (Brenda Ward).

Finished in dark red metallic with pale tan interior, the car has been looked after in-house by the Patrick Collection’s resident curator. It has also benefited from expert attention at Walkers Garage, Delta S4 specialists based at South Otterington, North Yorkshire, where a major recent service included renewing the cam and oil pump drive belts; setting the injectors; stripping, cleaning and servicing the brakes; and various cosmetic works (see invoice on file dated 29th April 2011 for £7,697).

Presented in a condition commensurate with low mileage and careful ownership, the car is offered with owner’s wallet, instruction manual, assorted correspondence, MoT to April 2012, Swansea V5 document, SORN and four expired MoT certificates issued between 1994 (at 1,228kms) to 2003 (at 2,164kms).

Lancia Delta
Lancia Delta
Lancia Delta
Lancia Delta
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