Illustration of the Lancia Delta S4 Stradale

Lancia Delta S4 Stradale


Could the Lancia Delta S4 Stradale be the sexiest Group B monster?

If you liked your Cavali distinctly Latin in temperament, then the Lancia Delta S4 Stradale was the ultimate in musky Italian testosterone.

Lancia built the obligatory 200 road-going versions of the S4 Group B monster, and we reckon that, of ALL the Group B homologates, the Lancia Delta S4 Stradale is the most aesthetically desirable.

In pure terms of aesthetics, the shape that the origami body panels of the S4 Stradale had – in epoxy and fibreglass, and with an assortment of ludicrous excesses – shouldn’t have worked. But for our eyes, every time we see a picture of the Stradale we let out an audible little groan.

Black and white photo of the Lancia Delta S4 Stradale

Just look at the gaping intakes on the Lancia Delta S4 Stradale’s rear haunches. Sex.

The Stradale was, and obviously still is, a ridiculously impractical, stratospherically priced machine. Even when it was released in 1986, it would have cost you 100 million Italian lira (approximately the equivalent of £41,349.14 in the UK in 1986). As a point of comparison, the most expensive Delta Integrale on the market at the time would have set you back a mere 20 million Italian lira (approximately equivalent to £8,269.82 in 1986 in the UK).

There’s apparently only around 40 of these cars left in existence. This has meant that the selling price has skyrocketed, with some S4 Stradales going for around €1,000,000 (around £880,000).

The Stradale’s structure was a Cromolly steel and aluminium space frame, and came with a mid-mounted 1.8 that was not only Turbocharged, but Supercharged too. Talk about McDonalds car park bragging rights. A Stradale would have been the one.

Red Lancia Delta S4 Stradale parked on the side of the road

The Lancia Delta S4 Stradale has a “cobbled together” look

Still, the road-going car only produced 250bhp, which, from today’s tech perspective, looks a little light. The straddle had a really trick, race-derived transmission system, though – three differentials sending power to all four corners, with a 70% bias to the rear wheels.

This car is a weigh-point on the road to the really special rally-derived cars that emerged in later decades. It led to the sales of more workaday Lancia Deltas going through the roof and shone a light on a brand that has now seen a sad demise.

There’s something of that weird and uniquely Italian “cobbled together” look about the S4 – and something too of the unadulterated, plasticky rashness of the mid-eighties that means that this car is an all-time classic.

Fantasy garage inclusion nailed on.

Interior of the Lancia Delta S4 Stradale