Rare Rides: A Lancia Delta HF Integrale From 1990 (Part II)
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.
Trackratmk1 on Oct 25, 2019
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.
Scott25 on Oct 28, 2019
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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