The Lancia 037 is a rare standout among the four all-star Lancia rally cars reunited for the Amelia Island 2015 Concours.
Rare because unlike the others, this machine ditches almost all sense of road-car in favor of an extreme supercar package. In proportions and width, this mid-engine, rear-drive turbo monster is what happened when the Lancia and Abarth racing teams start from a blank sheet of paper — engineering an all-star from the ground up.
As one of the first cars anywhere to use carbon-fiber composites, the “zero-three-seven” was named after is project code in the Abarth speed labs. The truly experimental nature of the project was a perfect fit for the no-limits rulebook of Group B rallying.
Within the rally and Italian exotic community, the 037 had an outsize impact on supercar manufacturing and engineering. It is fair to say that the Ferrari 288GTO was from the same breed as the Lancia 037, arriving a year after the Lancia Martini won the manufacturers prize of the WRC in 1983.
The explosive power of these new-generation turbochargers opened a variety of possibilities for ultimate performance — and may have spurred the F40 to production using a very-thrilling twin-turbo V8.
In person and next to the 1975 Stratos and 1988 Delta Integrale, the 037 is quite a beautiful thing. Not from its actual lines, but from the sheer purpose and brutal competition aesthetic to every panel. The rear wing and giant, ~11-inch-wide rear tires point to the excess power coming from under its giant clamshell rear hood — but ultimately this rear-drive monster was not able to harness the same grip as the Audi Quattro it lost the championship to in 1983 and 1984.
1983 Lancia 037