Entries in Stratos (6)


Our friend Phil on Petrolicious

Local car nut and friend Phillip Toledano was on Petrolicious last week with his electric blue Stratos, which I rode in and photographed a few months back. Some memorable quotes. In particular I like his description of the Stratos as "a weapons grade product."  Perfectly said, sir!


Riding Shotgun: Lancia Stratos

After bringing the A110 back to the garage, we fired up the Stratos next. Turned out in its factory shade of very electric blue, the Stratos is really a time warp to when Italy was the epicenter of badass homologation racecars for the road and when the name Lancia really stood for something.  The Gandini-penned body is short and stubby. The car isn't exactly beautiful, and drew less approval on the road than the Alpine did--people were more puzzled than amazed as its compact, wedgy silhouette slipped past them in a cloud of noise.  But what it lacks in elegance, the Stratos makes up for with boldness, charisma and character.  The whole machine is so unique, so utterly special that it's really like no other car in the world, even among other Italian exotics of the period. The exterior is spacelike and full of fascinating, ingenious design details. The interior, in contrast, is delightfully low rent, with all the dashboard gauges from the FIAT parts bin.  The door panel inserts are flimsy plastic, and instead of map pockets, each door has a fiberglass shelf designed to place a helmet on it between stages.  This helmet shelf is a magnificently idiosyncratic detail, though it does feel like it will snap off in your hand.  The Plexiglas windows don't roll up and down. They slide in a groove, and adjusting them is something that is better left alone. I think the Ferrari F40 is the only other car I have sat in that even approaches this level of spartan simplicity. The famous curved windshield gives decent forward visibility, but there is next to no rear visibility, and the blind spots are massive. Clearly this car is meant to go forwards very fast, and who gives a shit about what else is on the road.Due to the lousy and confined roads of the neighborhood, we had little opportunity to see what the Stratos can do. But I was surprised at how the Ferrari Dino engine mounted transversely behind our heads sounded so ordinary in lower revs. On the cam, the car really came alive and made all sorts of wonderful sounds.  Sadly, thanks to stoplights and construction, these moments were fleeting.  Going over speedbumps, Phil pointed out that the car, being a race-bred machine, has no rubber bushings. All the suspension linkages are metal on metal, and you can feel that in the jarring report every time you cross a bump.  I can only imagine the sounds and feelings you'd get blasting through a gravel rally stage in this car!Unlike the stylish Alpine, the interior of the Stratos isn't exactly a place you want to linger.  The heat began to stifle after just a few minutes in the sun, and the offset footwells should have the number of a good orthopedist stitched into the carpeting.  It's a totally incomparable experience riding in a Stratos, but it's not the kind of car you can imagine falling in love with on a long road trip. And better bring a guy friend, because no wife or girlfriend is going to sit shotgun in this beast for more than 10 minutes.

And in the end it's that no-nonsense race-bred feel that makes the Stratos so compelling, yet ultimately so unliveable. It's a car with no compromises, no pretense, and no apologies.  Pity that no one will ever make anything like it ever again, and that today Lancia has fallen so far from this singular, shining achievement.  Check out the full glorious Stratos gallery HERE, and stay tuned for the BMW M1...


Stratos Zero Moment of Zen

I love the Lancia Stratos Zero Prototipo. Designed by Marcello Gandini at Bertone, it's still probably one of the most futuristic cars ever designed. Here's a great abstract view of it that you don't see very often.


The Ultimate Lancisti Garage

While doing research on the Lancia Fulvia Barchetta (more to come on that topic, folks!), I came across these photos on a Belgian classic car forum. I translated the page and learned that apparently these Lancias belong to a man in Southern France who clearly has awesome taste. He pretty much has my dream Lancia collection all under one roof! Stratos? Check. Fulvia HF? Check. Fulvia HF Barchetta (one of 4 made)? Check. Fulvia Zagato? Check.  I would count myself tickled to own just one of these wonderful cars in my lifetime.  Also, in today's era of nouveau riche eat-off-the-floor garage-mahals, I love the unpretentiousness of this dream garage, complete with le bebe foot. See the whole gallery HERE!

via autoforum.be


Automobiliac Video of the Week: Lancia Rally cars on Japanese roads

Here's a video I had to share just for its sheer surrealism. Imagine you are driving along a Japanese highway and come across an Alitalia-liveried Lancia Stratos in the other lane. Now imagine you happen to be driving your own Martini-liveried Lancia Delta HF Integrale...too cool!

Here is a wonderfully dreamy little video from the same youtube account from inside the Stratos, along with a pleasing Hip-Hop beat. This guy is really adept at taking awesome footage with one hand while driving with the other!