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						Lancia 037 Tribute
Technical Brilliance in a Lancia 037 Tribute

Lancia 037 tribute project

By Dean Larson

Photos: Seller, BringaTrailer.com

The Lancia Rally 037 is one of the most exciting automobiles ever assembled for use in rally racing. The styling was absolutely bonkers, and its performance was especially lively given its supercharged 2.0-liter engine, light weight and rear-wheel-drive orientation. Just 217 Lancia 037s were built from 1982 to 1984, and as you can probably guess, none were sent here to the U.S., and they’re worth a small fortune today. The next best option is clearly to build your own, like the car we’re looking at here on BringaTrailer.com. But as you’ll clearly see, this 037 tribute build is much more than a Montecarlo in wolf’s clothing.

By the 1970s and ’80s, rally racing had advanced to a level where the manufacturers were engineering purpose-built cars from the ground up, instead of modifying production cars for competition. These cars usually stretched the rules to the absolute limit, and they only built as many as they had to adhere to homologation figures. Lancia had pioneered this move in 1973 with the Stratos, but by 1982-1983, Group 4 was replaced by Group B, and along with it came a looser set of rules, including a reduction in the number of production cars that needed to be built. Now just 200 cars were required for homologation, and Lancia wasted no time initiating the development of an all-new car, codenamed SE037.

Abarth’s Sergio Limone was in charge of the car’s design, and instead of starting from a clean sheet, he decided to use the Lancia Montecarlo Turbo as a mechanical basis, albeit with some major alterations. Much of the Montecarlo’s center section was left alone, but the chassis received steel subframes front and rear for mounting its mechanical components. The twin-cam Montecarlo Turbo engine would be used in the 037 as well, but Limone chose to mount the engine longitudinally instead for more rear suspension flexibility. For rally duty, the turbocharger was replaced with an Abarth Volumex supercharger, producing between 8.7 and 13 psi.

For the widened front and rear sections of the car, Kevlar and fiberglass clamshells were made with plenty of air ducting front and rear. The car was tested extensively in Pininfarina’s wind tunnel, where it was found that the car needed more downforce, which was the impetus for the massive molded wing on the rear.

The 037 was ready for competition by 1982, but Lancia largely used the year to further develop the car, and the year was plagued my mechanical failures. The 037 was poised for success by 1983 though, and despite tough competition from the all-wheel-drive Audis, Lancia won the World Rally Championship Constructors’ title, relying heavily on Walter Röhrl and Markku Alén for driving duties. While Lancia unveiled the more powerful Evolution 2 model for the 1984 season, all-wheel-drive entries had finally turned the tide. The 037 had made its mark on the sport as the last rear-wheel-drive car to win a World Rally Championship.

Around 207 road-going straddle versions of the car were built, with few deviations from the rally formula. These cars are incredibly sought after and valuable, with average sales figures hovering around $550,000. So naturally, finding an affordable 037 is impossible, and driving one isn’t very feasible. The clear solution is build your own, which is exactly what we’re looking at today on BringaTrailer.com.

The car started life as a 1977 Lancia Scorpion, which is how the Montecarlo was badged in the U.S. to avoid legal issues with the Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Fiberglass 037 conversions for the Montecarlo/Scorpion are somewhat common given the affordable price of these cars, but they’re seldom completed to this level of mechanical specification. Especially considering the tubular steel subframes on this car front and rear, which are passible copies of the original 037 hardware.

One interesting diversion on this car is the turbocharged Honda K24 engine. In the hotter K24A spec, this engine was run in several hot Accord and Odyssey JDM models naturally aspirated, but it also powered a ton of malaise Hondas in lesser spec. This engine was built by 4 Piston Racing in Danville, Indiana, with a Borg Warner turbo, Wiseco pistons, a billet camshaft, dry-sump oiling and a host of other goodies. A Fortin Racing sequential gearbox sends power to the rear wheels. Power figures aren’t given for the engine, but I’m sure it comes out way ahead of the 81 hp 1,756 cc four-cylinder used in the federalized Scorpion model.

The distinctive 037 look comes courtesy of replica fiberglass parts from Carteroni in New Zealand. Braid three-piece wheels echo the look of the original Speedline wheels perfectly, and the Pirelli Corsa rubber is the same as what was used on the original cars. And to finish it all off, no self respecting Lancia rally re-creation would be complete without a compliment of driving lights up front.

Significant rollover protection has been added to the cockpit in the form of an integral cage with door bars and a brace in the center of the windshield. Given this level of protection, and the quality of the seats and controls, it’s pretty clear the builder intended to do some serious driving. As for why the car is being sold as an incomplete project, the builder stated that it’s a bucket list project that he no longer had room for. A love for Group B and hand built things fueled the project to this point, but now it’s time for someone else to pick up the torch.

I’d say this is one of those projects where all the “heavy lifting” has been done, but there’s still a significant amount of time and money that will go into making this thing road worthy. There’s electrical and plumbing to do yet, bodywork and a bit of fabrication as well. The car currently sits at $40,500 with one day remaining in the auction, and I’d say it’s anyone’s guess where it lands. When she's finished, this car will definitely be one of the finest and fastest Lancia 037 re-creations out there, and we hope to see it again someday finished!

Check out the Lancia 037 tribute here on BringaTrailer.com.

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