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The New Lancia Stratos
The original Lancia Stratos, that was first unveiled in 1971, was a revolutionary car which completely dominated rallying for many years. However that was decades ago and things have moved on.
There are still, however, many enthusiasts who hanker after the old days when a rally car had style, character and sheer guts and one of them is a German billionaire businessman called Michael Stoschek who ran a business marketing car parts. He had a dream of rebuilding the Stratos, but using modern technology to create a car that was even more exciting to drive.
He commissioned the design house Bertone, which had created the original Stratos, to build a one-off car for his own use – billionaires can do that sort of thing. It was based on a shortened Ferrari430 Scuderia chassis, with a 4.3 litre Ferrari V8 engine producing 540 brake horsepower and although the body structure resembled that of the original car it was made entirely out of carbon fibre, which made it far lighter. The resulting power to weight ratio was more than twice that of the original road legal Stratos and performance was shattering, with a top speed of 170 mph and nought to 62 mph (100kph) in 3.3 seconds. Lancia were both highly impressed and horrified; the original had been killed off partly because it could have been seen as a potential competitor and partly because of the high accident rate, caused by inexperienced drivers in a car that was simply too fast and powerful for them to handle.
In 2010 the new car was unveiled and Stoschek announced that there would be a production run of perhaps 50 cars. No, said Ferrari, this just isn't going to happen. They not only refused to supply any parts themselves but also forbade any of their suppliers from doing so either. Mr Stoschek's prototype was to remain the only New Stratos in existence.
That is not necessarily the end of the story. Mr Stoschek is not a man to give up and he finally obtained the rights to build 25 models, the first of which was unveiled at the 2018 International Motor Show. We await the next development with great interest.