Lancia Rally 037 (also known as the Lancia Abarth #037)
In 1981 Lancia began designing the 037 to comply with the then new FIA Group B regulations that allowed cars to race with relatively few homologation models being built. As the project was number 037, this eventually became the name by which the car was known. Abarth, now a part of the Lancia-Fiat family, did most of the design work, even incorporating styling cues from some of its famous race cars of the 1950s and 1960s such as a double bubble roof line.
Prior to its first participation in the 1982 World Rally Championship season, 200 road-going models were built to comply with Group B regulations.
The car made its competition debut at the 1982 Rally Costa Smeralda in Italy. The 1983 season was very successful for the 037: Lancia took the 1983 World Rally Championship Constructors’ title with Germany’s Walter Röhrl and Finland’s Markku Alen its principal drivers, despite serious competition from the 4WD Audi Quattro.
The Lancia 037 was a silhouette racer; while it was loosely based on the Lancia Montecarlo (also known as Scorpion in the US and Canadian markets) road car.
They shared only the center section with all body panels and mechanical parts being significantly different. Steel subframes were used fore and aft of the production car centre section, while most of the body panels were made from Kevlar.
The mid-engined layout of the Montecarlo was retained, but the engine was turned 90 degrees from a transverse position to a longitudinal position in order to decrease the vehicles polar moment and improve handling. Lancia chose a supercharger over a turbocharger to eliminate turbo lag and improve throttle response. Initially power was quoted at 265 hp (198 kW) but with the introduction of the Evolution 1 model power jumped to 300hp with the help of water injection. The final Evolution 2 model produced 325 hp (242 kW).
An independent double wishbone suspension was used on both the front and rear axles, with dual shock absorbers in the rear in order to cope with the stresses of high speed off road driving. The 037 is notable as it retained the rear-wheel drive layout that was nearly universal for rally cars of the pre-Group B period; nearly all subsequent successful rally cars used four-wheel drive, making the 037 the last of its kind.