Lancia Delta S4
‘Group B Rally Car’
The Lancia Delta S4 is a Group B rally car that competed in the World Rally Championship in 1985 and 1986, until Group B cars were banned from competition by the FIA. The car replaced and was an evolution of the Lancia 037 Monte Carlo. The S4 took full advantage of the Group B regulations, and featured a midship-mounted engine and all wheel drive for superior traction and handling.
The car's 1759cc four cylinder engine combined supercharging and turbocharging to reduce turbo lag at low RPM. Officially the car produced 480 horsepower (352kW). Independent figures show the S4 could accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (62mph) on gravel in under 2.3 seconds!
In competition the car won its first event, the 1985 RAC Rally in the hands of Henri Toivonen and carried Markku Alén, in 1986 there were 3 wins for the Delta S4 (Sanremo not included). The Monte Carlo Rally by Toivonen, Rally Argentina by Massimo Biasion and the Olympus Rally by Alén. The car also won the 1986 European Rally Championship with Italian driver Fabrizio Tabaton.
Unfortunately, the car's legacy was tainted by the fatal crashes of Toivonen and co-driver Sergio Cresto on the 1986 Tour de Corse, where the Finnish driver inexplicably missed a tight left-hand hairpin bend and plunged into a ravine.
Lancia Delta S4 ‘Stradale’
Built as a road going version of Lancia's Group B contender with all the comforts of a production car, the Delta S4 Stradale also possessed all the radical traits of the race car it was made from. This included the interesting dual-stage induction which included both a supercharger and turbocharger. Although detuned for sanity, this system catapulted the Group B version to 600 bhp and zero to sixty in less than two seconds.
Two hundred S4 Stradales were required and built for homologation, and no doubt many were taken from the road right back onto into motor sports. Very few cars remain unmolested; especially considering that removal of the air restrictors and a few adjustments could double the available power.