"In a straw poll of Influx readers on which Lancia you would like in your garage, I'm quite sure the Lancia Delta Integrale would be among the most popular. It was the king of rallies in the 1980s and 1990s, "
Lancia Delta and Peugeot 205: In Love, With Cars
Love is a word that can mean many things. Sometimes it’s felt physically – an embrace after a hard day at work and sometimes it’s only the company that matters. Sometimes, we love through our efforts, and sometimes those efforts are spent on our motors who, funnily enough, also make great company.
Owen Stevens (35) from Camden shows us this with his impressive collection, most notably the Lancia Delta Integrale, which he’s customised with his own love.
“I made some modifications to the Delta, that I think a lot of people perhaps won’t enjoy. There’s some LED headlights in there, it’s got an Android auto screen… But it’s all to make it more drivable, and to allow me to drive it on long road trips, and also because it’s customising. I think part of the fun of owning a car is putting your own stamp on it.”
Sal Rowberry (33), owns a Peugeot 205 that matches the Delta in red and shares a near identical number plate. Initially a purchase of ‘drunken fate’ by husband Owen, Sal’s love for the 205 goes all the way back to the 80s and 90s, when the Peugeot supermini first entered the European market. The 205 would later go on to be declared Car of The Decade by CAR Magazine in 1990.
“My grandad used to own one, and he was a big part of my life,” Sal says, “Growing up with him as my ‘best mate’, it’s always been a dream of mine to have a 205 again to reconnect with him. He didn’t exactly teach me to drive, but he was always giving me driving tips and was a really important figure in my life. His Peugeot was really important to him and he really looked after it.”
The appearance of the 205 hadn’t significantly changed by the 90s, proving its worth as a ‘modern classic’ and letting the world around it know that the design was here to stay. Some forty years later, the supermini is recognised as a reliable and sturdy car from many childhoods. Sal mentions: “It’s [Peugeot 205] a really nice link back to my childhood and is something that makes me think back to my grandad; I’ve wanted one for ages.”
“Everyone’s mum or dad, or friend of the family, or person down the street had a 205,” Owen adds, “I think there will always be that yearning and that kind of connection to get as close to that as you can, and remember what it was like.”
It’s not only this time period that the couple’s bond to these vehicles goes back to, though. As Owen states: “The Delta’s a 1988, which is the same year that I was born – I think it’s about six months younger than me. Your [Sal’s] 205 is a 1990 and I think it’s about six months younger than you. When I bought the Delta and it was the same age as me, it just had a slightly different feel to it. Something about driving a car that’s the same age as you, where you really appreciate all of the dents and the paintwork, all of the squeaks and the engine, the unreliability… You feel like: ‘I’ve gone through this much – it’s gone through the same amount’, and you respect it a little bit more perhaps.”
It takes two to tango. Without a doubt, cars have personality and substance, and they give back that love to us in many ways. Whether that’s the rush you feel from the exhaust note and the gear shifts, or whether you see a car from your childhood pass you by on the streets – fondness is almost always a passenger.
“It’s kind of nice driving together,” Sal says, “It’s really fun if we drive behind each other – people clock the Lancia first, and then they see another neo-vintage car behind it with an almost identical number plate, in the same colour. Then they’re even more confused by what’s going on.”
Owen harks back to how the pair met following this: “I had this lovely Alfa, and we used to go for drives and just sit and chat. We met in Bournemouth, at Bournemouth Uni, so we’d go and sit by the beach and have sandwiches and chats.”
All in all, love is a thing that goes two ways. Outward, and inward. Whether that’s for it to be received by passersby, or for someone to give themself the love they are able to share with their motors through the trials and tribulations that come with them – one thing’s for certain; and that’s that each and every one of us deserves it.
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