Lancia is famous, indeed very famous for its cars. Especially in the 20th century, the company gave birth to extraordinary models. Today we will meet one that perhaps would have deserved a very different fate.
The history of Lancia, from a sporting and commercial point of view, is nothing short of illustrious. Motoring enthusiasts know this well and have deeply loved models of the caliber of the Lancia 037, Stratos and Delta Integrale. But there was another extraordinary vehicle, built in the company’s best years from a sporting point of view.
Let’s talk about the Lancia EV, a prototype built in 1986 to participate in the world rally in the S Group; the latter was supposed to replace Group B starting the following year, but nothing came of it. The history of this Lancia and the group, in fact, coincide dramatically. its production was quickly stopped by events much more relevant and immediate than the company’s sporting history and, therefore, also the commercial one.
Lancia EV, a difficult story: what you don’t know about the prototype that was never born
Lancia EV, a prototype built in 1986, as we have said. Its birth is characterized by the advent of the innovative – for the time – tub frames in composite material, which endowed the cars with more lightness and stiffness. Even Abarth, which was in charge of the research and development of Lancia components, quickly realized this.
One is made on a model suitable for mounting many components of the Lancia Delta S4. A prototype which, once built, was called ECV (Experimental Composite Vehicle). The maximum power of this vehicle was 600 HP on dirt and 800 for races on asphalt.
It weighed only 930 kilograms and the maximum speed was around 230 kilometers per hour. You understand that it was a car built for only one purpose: to go as fast as possible. Despite these premises, however, the prototype it was abandoned in 1986 following a series of fatal accidents culminating in the tragedies linked to the death of Henri Toivonen and his co-driver Sergio Cresto, who dramatically disappeared at the Tour de Corse with a Lancia Delta S4 – the year before, unfortunately, it was Attilio Bettega’s turn in a Lancia 037.
As for its appearance, even outside the races it was not very successful for unpleasant shapes, making it so little noticed from the point of view of aesthetics. After all, we are talking about a car that focused a lot, if not all, on performance.
Lancia ECV, part two: the true story of the Lancia ECV2
A story that could have been different without a shadow of a doubt, that of the Lancia ECV. And that of the Lancia ECV2 could also be. Yes, because there was a follow-up to the project which was then left to die in 1986. A subsequent model born from the chassis of a Lancia Delta S4 assembled with original ECV components and bodywork, which was dismantled to donate the chassis to its heir.
It was prepared by Giuseppe Volta, who made an almost entirely faithful reconstruction of his “mother”. This car had more luck (but not too much) than the previous one, being driven by the two-time World Champion Miky Biasion at the Rally legend 2010. It also appeared in other events and motoring events such as the Monza Rally Show of the same year.
It was presented in 1988 and was fitted with the same 4-cylinder as the ECV as well as a much more aerodynamic body which brought it many technical benefits. It was also 30 kilograms lighter. Its top speed was 220 kilometers per hour – a hardly replicable result in a rally special stage – and it only took nine seconds to go from 0 to 200. Impressive, isn’t it? Of this car, there is only one example, which is currently exhibited at the Lancia Museum in Turin.
Unfortunately, his potential could not be shown where it mattered, ie in the race. However, it is not difficult to understand that we are talking about simply extraordinary performance, especially in the eighties. Its appearance is clearly very sporty. An aesthetic enhanced even more by the white Martini Racing livery. While it has never seen the road as it deserved, it remains a truly unique car.
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