The prototype model, designed by Bertone, was presented at the 1971 Turin Motor Show. In the 1970’s Group 4 rally regulations required a production of 500 units for homologation, so production of the Lancia Stratos started in 1973. The bodyshells were produced at Bertone’s plant while the final assembly of the rally car was made at the Lancia plant.
Lancia Stratos was a two-seater car with a compact body and mid-engine, rear-wheel drive layout. The length of the car was 3710mm and the width around 1800mm, depending on the type of the rear cover. Wheelbase of the car was 2180mm. Lancia Stratos’ 2.4-litre V6 engine was borrowed from the Ferrari Dino. In the production model the engine produced 192 horsepower. For racing, the naturally aspirated engine was tuned up to 280 hp. With a single KKK turbocharger the engine could produce over 500 horsepower. Power was delivered through a five-speed gearbox to the rear wheels. Depending on the gearing, the rally version could accelerate from zero to 100km/h under five seconds and reach a top speed of 232 km/h (144 mph).
Lancia Stratos was a very successful rally car in the 1970’s. Lancia tested and raced with Stratos in several events during 1972 and 1973 seasons in the prototype class. Finally, the Lancia Stratos was homologated for the 1974 World Rally Championship. The car was successful right from the start. Driven by Sandro Munari and Björn Waldegård, Lancia Stratos won the 1974, 1975 and 1976 manufacturers’ championship titles for Lancia. During those years, no drivers’ championship titles were given.
In 1977, the Lancia works team was merged with the Fiat rally team and Fiat Group wanted to put bigger effort on the Fiat 131 rather than the Stratos. Lancia still raced with the Stratos during 1977 and 1978. In addition to the Lancia works team, also private teams were rallying with the Stratos successfully and 1979 onwards, it was only private teams that still continued to rally with the Lancia Stratos in various events until its homologation expired at the end of 1982
In 1981, Lancia unveiled its new Group B rally car, the Lancia Rally 037.