By on October 24, 2019

We began our story of the Lancia Delta with its conception and birth. Taking its place as the small family hatchback in Lancia’s lineup, it was quickly worked into something much faster and more aggressive. Let’s find out just how far Lancia went with its creative editing.

After a successful introductory period (a couple of model years), the Delta was visually upgraded in 1982. The hatchback slimmed down with the edits, and all models lost 88 pounds of weight. Meanwhile, a larger 1.6-liter engine featuring two overhead cams was introduced in the GT 1600. Performance was just beginning.

1983 saw the introduction of the first performance-focused Delta, the HF. Lancia turned to its favorite High Fidelity moniker for the first time since the legendary Stratos, and in doing so set high expectations. The 1.6-liter engine from the GT was upgraded with twin turbochargers, accompanied by understated yet sporting exterior cues.

Two years later, a special HF Turbo arrived. It used the same power plant as the HF which preceded it, but reeled in the sports styling of the previous HF. The HF Turbo remained on sale as a basic performance model in place of the HF after the 1985 model year. For a brief period, the HF Turbo was the best Delta customers could buy. That changed in spring of 86, via a new Delta feature: four-wheel drive.

Accompanying the four-wheel drive was a second styling refresh. The Delta’s range was reworked into seven models; engine sizes ranged from 1.3 to 1.9 liters. A Turbo DS model received its 1.9-liter turbodiesel engine from the Prisma sedan and was pitched as a refined sporting alternative to the range topping, high-strung HF 4WD. But more changes were coming.

Late in 1987, Lancia trumped the HF 4WD with the new HF Integrale. The HF 4WD and HF Integrale were created to comply with the homologation requirements of Group A rallying. Rules stipulated there had to be road-legal versions of rally cars in order to compete. So, Lancia made street-legal rally hatchbacks for its customers at the same time it was winning rallies across Europe. The first version featured an eight-valve engine of 2.0 liters. This mill featured revised inner workings, better cooling, and revised fuel injection, among other changes. That meant 182 horsepower through the five-speed manual. The four-wheel drive system was permanent, and a Ferguson viscous coupling distributed the torque front and rear, depending on grip.

The eight-valve Integrale was superseded by the 16-valve version late in 1989. With a new hood bulge to fit the new engine, the 2.0-liter mill cranked out 197 horsepower. Mightier engine figures came via new injectors, better cooling, and a new version of the Garret T3 turbocharger. The standard four-wheel drive gripped the 16-valve hatchback from 0 to 60 in 5.7 seconds. By 1991 there were further revisions to the HF Integrale that created the most desirable versions: Evoluzione. It was the ultimate version of the ultimate Delta. Lancia kept winning rallies but did not make any more homologation cars after 1992.

The 1993 Evoluzione II was a last chance exercise in marketing, as the first Delta was already being replaced by the thoroughly underwhelming second-generation model. That vehicle was related to the Fiat Tipo and was not available in rally variants or with four-wheel drive. Lancia made another Delta from 2008 to 2014, as well, but it’s best not to look at that one. A sad second and third album buried the Delta’s name for good.

Today’s Rare Ride is one of the 16-valve Integrales that is not an Evoluzione, which explains its price. In the correct Rosso Monza red and with 67,000 miles, it asks $36,500 or best offer.

[Images: seller]

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16 Comments on “Rare Rides: A Lancia Delta HF Integrale From 1990 (Part II)...”

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    I remember Jeremy Clarkson crediting Lancia as being the manufacturer who has created/made the greatest number of ‘interesting’ cars. However I have unfortunately never driven a Lancia branded car, and therefore fortunately also never owned one.

    • 0 avatar

      Were Lancias ever imported to Canada?

      • 0 avatar

        I think they may have been on a limited basis. There’s an episode of Restoration Garage where the shop acquires a Fulvia Zagato from an older Torontonian who, I believe, has owned it from new. A really cool car, IMO. There’s both a Jay Leno’s Garage and a Harry’s Garage installment on the Fulvia Zagato. The pre-Fiat Lancia designs are interesting.

        In typically half-clever fashion, Leno mocks the model names of that era of Lancia, such as the Flaminia. My 2¢ is that it was one of the best naming systems any manufacturer has ever had, the different models being named for Roman roads. Alas, the world we live in is far more Jimmy Fallon’s than Edward Gibbon’s.

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          @ Featherston: What a wonderful response. Thanks.
          My memory may be clouded but I seem to remember that they were available, around the early 1970’s. There is a very large Italian presence in parts of Canada, particularly Toronto, Hamilton, Sault Ste Marie and Montreal.
          Thus in the 1960’s and 70’s it was not uncommon to see Italian cars on the streets of these cities.

  • avatar

    You’ll never be able to reach the spark plugs in that crowded engine bay… oh wait.

    Corey, if I see that seat fabric crop up in a new car four years from now, I’m blaming you.

    • 0 avatar

      You see a lot of fabrics like that on public transit seats and on carpet in heavily-trafficked office areas, because they hide stains pretty well.

      • 0 avatar

        +1 dal20402. I think that’s actually the origin of the GTI’s plaid seats. I used to dislike most patterned cloth seats, but now I appreciate that there’s some practical thinking behind them.

        • 0 avatar

          I think the GTI was mostly an aesthetic (vs utilitarian) decision. There’s a recent story somewhere about Gunhild Liljequist, the designer, who was inspired by the tartan cloths she saw in Britain.

          I wish you could get plaid inserts on leather seats on the GTI. I recall some 80’s and 90’s Porsches that had interesting plaid cloth inserts on leather seats, like in the original 944 Turbo S. That combo is more interesting, and often more durable and comfortable, compared to all-leather or all-cloth.

          Oddly, both of our current rides have fabric-insert-on-leather seats – patterned ballistic nylon on leather in our ’13 T&C “S”, and alcantara on leather in our ’14 Fiat 500c “GQ”.

          • 0 avatar

            Yep, I bet you’re right re: the GTI. But I think a lot of people think it’s a purely aesthetic decision, when there actually is some common sense behind it. That makes the plaid a great feature, IMO, since it checks boxes for tradition *and* practicality.

            Side note: I’m in the minority(?) of people who didn’t mind Buick’s use of VentiPorts on cars like the Verano and pre-facelift Encore, since there actually was some history behind it.

    • 0 avatar

      Could look good in a new Corolla.

      • 0 avatar

        I love the seats TBH. Just like I think that VW should offer plaid cloth as an option on everything they build that’s not a CUV.

        Make GTIs pattern exclusive to that car and create a different one for everything else.

        Tell the purists to quit bellyaching when they whine about it.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “Lancia made another Delta from 2008 to 2014, as well, but it’s best not to look at that one.”

    I didn’t see a car in this photo:

  • avatar

    These were awesome group A rally cars in the late 80’s. Bonus: They looked good winning. Then the ugly bubble Celicas knocked them out of contention. Boo hiss

  • avatar

    Yes, these were wicked in final form. One has to remember in those late ’80s days that Toyota had an AWD turbo Corolla, and Mazda the 323GT AWD on sale in Europe and Ford the Sierra Cosworth AWD, before Mitsubishi really got rolling on AWD and definitely some years before the first WRX.

    “Ferguson viscous coupling distributed the torque front and rear, depending on grip.”

    No, it did not, not directly. Viscous couplings were used as limited slip elements to lock up the center differential when front to rear output rotational speeds differences were high. Would hardly ever happen in practise except in ice and snow before traction control. Same thing as the old Eagle Talon AWD (I had one) and the current five and six speed manuals in Subarus (but not the STI). Viscous couplings have very low torque ratings in a reasonable size unit so aren’t really suitable for passing driveline torque through at all – the only car that used one to drive the rear wheels was the old Honda Wagovan, where it was essentially useless. The Ferguson system used a planetary center diff with the viscous coupling as the limited slip device. That’s what everyone copied except Audi, who fitted a Torsen center diff instead by ’93 after having only open or locked ones before (had one of those too). AMC used a much cheaper and more robust AWD system with bevel center diff in the Eagle wagons, also using a viscous coupling as a limited slip way back in the ’70s, all developed by New Process Gear, a Chrysler outfit.

  • avatar

    Can I ask, does anybody know anything about the seller? I was interested in a Fulvia this company was offering for sale and received no response. The company seems to have gone through a few different names, and Max, the owner, auspiciously features a Porsche 959 in every photo of the dealership and their inventory never seems to move. Something weird going on.

  • avatar

    Really, the S4 would be the ultimate Delta, but it was only a Delta in name.

    Also, there was a Chrysler-badged version of the 2000’s Delta and apparently in 2010 there was even one at the Detroit auto show, so there was once some thought of selling it here, which would’ve made the Saturn Astra look like a smash hit.

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