Auctions and Brokerage
Coachwork by Bertone
Herbert Engel (acquired new in 1975)Peter Kaus, Aschaffenburg, Germany (acquired from the above in 1981)Evert Louwman, Raamsdonksveer, Netherlands (acquired from the above in 2006)Motorcar Gallery, Fort Lauderdale, Florida (acquired from the above in 2007)Phil Toledano, New York, New York (acquired from the above in 2011)Current Owner (acquired from the above)
Rosso Bianco Collection, Aschaffenburg, GermanyCopperstate 1000 Rally, Scottsdale, Arizona, April 2016Greenwich Concours d’Elegance, Greenwich, Connecticut, July 2016
Penned by stylist Marcello Gandini under the direction of Nuccio Bertone, the Stratos Zero was a mid-engine wedge-shaped design based on Lancia underpinnings. Merely 33" tall with a flat windshield extended over the passenger compartment to give a commanding view of the road in front and the sky above, the concept car looked like nothing else and astounded attendees of the 1970 Torino Motor Show.
The concept would pique the interest of Ugo Gobbato, Lancia’s managing director, and Cesare Fiorio, head of the company’s motorsports division. Fiorio envisioned a car with similar styling but purpose-built for rally racing, in the hope that it might fortify Lancia’s struggling racing team and burnish the company’s image. FIA rules required that 500 examples be built to homologate the car for qualification in Group 4 sports car racing, and Fiorio received the approvals to make it a reality.
A new prototype retaining the wedge styling of the Stratos Zero, dubbed the Lancia Stratos HF or “High-Fidelity,” appeared the next year. The lightweight Bertone design possessed a short wheelbase, central steel monocoque, rear Subframe of steel tubes, a fiberglass body, and a wraparound windshield. Following negotiations with Ferrari, the efficiently packaged and well-balanced 195 hp 2.4-liter V-6 engine from the Dino was made available for the project.
Lancia tested and raced the Stratos in several events during the 1972 and 1973 seasons in the prototype class. Finally, on October 1, 1974, the Lancia Stratos was homologated for the 1974 Group 4 World Rally Championship. The car was successful from the beginning, and for the next five years, the Stratos dominated rally racing, recording more than 80 international wins.
The Lancia Stratos HF Stradale, or street version – of which only about 250 are believed to have been produced – made few concessions to civility. Although slightly detuned for reliability, it was not lacking any of its rally car roots. Like the competition version, the Stradale was equipped with a Ferrari Dino engine, five-speed manual gearbox, rear-wheel drive, fully independent front and rear suspension, four-wheel ventilated brakes, and even the helmet holders beneath the side windows.
The example presented here was completed at Bertone’s Grugliasco works in 1974, painted in Azzuro (Blue) with blue carpet, and black Alcantra seats, dashboard, and door panels. Assigned chassis 001948, the car was sold new and registered to its first owner, Herbert Engel, on November 6, 1975, after which it was acquired by Peter Kaus for his superb Rosso Bianco Collection in Aschaffenburg, Germany, in May 1981. The Stratos spent almost 27 years on display in that legendary sports car collection until collector Evert Louwman acquired it. The next year, the Stratos was sold and passed through the hands of a dealer before going to Phil Toledano, a New York-based enthusiast with a passion for rally cars.
Over a two-year period, Mr. Toledano commissioned a thorough cosmetic and mechanical restoration of the Stratos. The car was completely disassembled, stripped, and refinished in its original color scheme. The interior was refurbished, including upholstery, panels, carpets, switchgear, and interior trim. All of the major mechanical components, including the engine and transmission, were removed and rebuilt or replaced as necessary, including a complete new wiring harness that was installed for reliability. The work was performed with great attention to detail, with receipts and photos that document the restoration. Since this restoration was completed, the Stratos has been enjoyed in a variety of classic car events, from the Greenwich Concours d’Elegance to the annual Copperstate 1000. It also was the feature subject of a video and article produced by Petrolicious.
An aesthetic and technical marvel, the Lancia Stratos rewrote rally history. With meticulous attention to detail, this rare Stradale version checks all the proverbial boxes, making it an outstanding addition to any collection and an ideal candidate for the enthusiast seeking success on the concours field or in vintage driving events.