Lancia Delta HF Integrale
Lancia is virtually unknown in America and on the verge of closing in Europe. That’s too bad because they were a fantastic company with outstanding cars. Their last magnificent car was the Delta HF Integrale. It is rare in the U.S., but can you imagine this rally champion tackling the deserted twisty mountain roads in your region?
Lancia’s compact model, the Delta, entered the car market in 1979. However, it was only after it was on the market for five years that the company started thinking about a performance version. Lancia was always big in rallying. But after the banning of their Group B model S4, they wanted something that would work on the street and on the track. And so, the HF Integrale was born.
The main features of this model were a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with, at first, 185 HP, and later up to 220 HP. It also had a permanent, well balanced all-wheel-drive system. The Delta HF Integrale is an important hot hatch because it was the first with an AWD system. This marked the beginning of the transition from front-wheel drive to simple, affordable hot hatches. And also to the high-tech, all-wheel-drive performance monsters, we have today.
The combination of a powerful engine, sharp handling, great traction and low weight was intoxicating for magazine testers of the day. They gave the Delta HF Integrale nothing but praise. Over the years, the Delta HF Integrale was a successful concept on rally stages all over the world, but also amongst hot hatch fans. Production stopped in 1994 after they made almost 40,000 of them.