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The Lancia Stratos HF (HF stands for "high fidelity") came to be built as nothing less than a series-built competition car, launched as Lancia's entry in the FIA world rally championship in 1972 and virtually unbeatable until 1975 when it was retired to give the lowly Fiat 131 a chance at competition glory. The Stratos was street-legal merely to satisfy the FIA rulebook.
For the Miura and Countach, Gandini was charged with only the styling; for the Stratos, Bertone gave him the whole ball of wax from mechanical layout to the final form. What Gandini gave Lancia was a midengine layout built around a central monocoque with bolt-on space frames front and rear, fully adjustable suspension, four-wheel disc brakes and a transversely mounted DOHC Ferrari Dino V6 with a five-speed transaxle.
Most important, Gandini also delivered a simple, flip-up fiberglass body with a brutally stunning shape that makes any other rally car look decidedly average.
Chris Hrabalek, a London-based automotive designer who owns the prototype, states," In 1971, the idea of the midengine road car was still exotic. The 1968 Ferrari 246 GT Dino had only recently made such a thing practical on the street and Chevrolet was busily exploring the midengine concept for the Corvette. But Gandini single-handedly yanked the whole midengine idea into reality with the Stratos, an angry rejection of the glossy GTs of the 1960s”.
Even now, no other midengine car looks so modern as the Lancia Stratos. Its shape still has appeal, as Hrabalek proved when he drew rave reviews with his Fenomenon NewStratos, a concept car for an evolutionary interpretation of the Stratos idea that was unveiled at the 2005 Geneva Auto Show.
Factory figures quote the Stradale's 2.4-liter V6 to produce 190 horsepower at 7,400 rpm (the rally cars made 240 hp or so) and makes 169 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm, so the car is good for 0 to 60 mph in the sub-7s.