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						Delta Integrale Martini8

1992 Lancia Delta Integrale Martini 5

By Dean Larson

Photos: Seller, Craigslist

While emotions and loyalties run deep in the sport of rally racing, it requires very little convincing to argue that Lancia is the best manufacturer to ever hit the grid. Sure, Audi made its Quattro all-wheel-drive system a household name in the glory days of Group B, but Lancia was savvy enough to secure World Rally Championships with the rear-wheel-drive 037 and Stratos, the front-wheel-drive Fulvia and the all-wheel-drive Delta Integrale. Furthermore, Lancia still holds more manufacturers’ championships than any other brand in the world, despite not competing in the World Rally Championship since 1992. After winning five straight World Rally Championships in Group A, Lancia formally left rally racing, but not before building this car — the Delta Integrale Martini 5 Evoluzione — a staggeringly fast road car, and the swan song to end a rally dynasty.

Group B rally racing was one of the most insane displays of speed and technology in motorsport history, but all the top manufacturers felt the recoil from pushing the limits. Lancia’s own Henri Toivonen and Sergio Cresto paid the ultimate price at the Tour de Corse rally in Corsica in 1986, which was the last straw for Group B in the eyes of FISA. Group B was dissolved overnight, leaving the top manufacturers turning to Group A as the next best thing. 5,000 production units were required for homologation, meaning experimental technology from the factory was kept to a minimum, and privateers could better compete.

These new homologation requirements left many manufacturers from Group B scrambling to find worthy contenders for Group A. All except for Lancia, who happened to be debuting a hot all-wheel-drive version of the Delta hatchback at the Turin Motor Show that year. The new Delta HF 4WD was powered by a 163 hp turbocharged four-cylinder with a Garrett turbocharger, air-to-air intercooler and electronic fuel injection. The driveline utilized three differentials to permit torque-splitting all-wheel-drive functionality. While the little Delta HF was never designed to be a rally car, Lancia had an immediate Group A ringer on its hands, which won its first outing at the Monte Carlo Rally in 1987, and went on to dominate 9 of 13 races and win the Manufacturers’ and Drivers’ Championships of the 1987 World Rally Championship.

Despite its proven record, Lancia continued to modify and improve the Delta HF, adding larger wheel arches, a more powerful 16-valve engine in 1989 and various improvements to the forced induction and AWD systems year after year. And the design improvements paid off time and time again.

By 1991, Lancia had won five back-to-back World Rally Championships with the Delta, which had now been developed into a 200 hp, 137 mph monster masquerading as a simple hatchback. To celebrate this achievement, Lancia built the hottest homologation version of the Delta yet — the Delta HF Integrale Evoluzione. These cars featured various improvements to the braking and steering systems, along with even bigger boxed fenders and a rear spoiler. In addition to these cars, Lancia built 400 special Martini 5 Integrales, featuring the iconic Martini Racing livery, unique Recaro seats, Alcantera upholstery and red seat belts.

After its fifth rally championship in 1991, and the construction of the Evoluzion Integrale, Lancia formally left rally racing. But interestingly that wasn’t the end of the Delta’s dominance in rally, or Lancia’s refinement of the Delta HF. Two different factory-backed privateer teams campaigned the Delta Integrale once again in 1992, securing a sixth Constructor’s Championship for Lancia. Furthermore, Lancia continued to push the Delta even further, developing a more powerful Evoluzion II model in 1993.

With only 400 Martini 5 models built nearly 30 years ago, finding this one of these rare beasts is not an easy task, especially in the states, as they were never imported here. Fresh from our 25-year import ban, this Martini 5 Integrale is likely one of the only versions in the U.S., and it’s a damn good one too.

The car has just 20,000 km on the clock, or roughly 13,000 miles, and it looks nearly factory fresh inside and out. The seller describes the car as “rigorously maintained,” in “remarkable, virtually new condition.” From the photos, it’s practically impossible to note any faults, assuring that the car’s original owner knew they had something special on their hands.

Of the few Delta Integrale Martini 5s stateside, this has to be the one to have. The price? Available upon request, but I’d expect this car to come in somewhere between $150,000 and $180,000. See the Delta Integrale Martini 5 here on San Francisco Bay Craigslist.

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Lancia Rally Car