Stratos vs Stratos
Original Lancia meets new in the hillclimb of a lifetime. Hold on tight...
Posted: 07 Nov 2012
Apocrypha like this somehow imbues the Stratos with its character. The defiantly odd driving position helps too, and it's best to remember that first gear is on a dog-leg... It's also so cramped inside that I have no idea how Walter Röhrl - a man of giraffe-like proportions - even fitted into it. But then there are ergonomic strokes of genius, like the doorbins that are swollen to accommodate crash helmets.
God, it's fun to drive. Again, the lack of mass means that it gathers velocity in that instant, uncorrupted manner typical of most powerful old cars. No electronics to gum things up, no assistance, no extra fat: just a 2.4-litre V6 howling away behind your head as the needle in the rev-counter wanders drunkenly towards the red line. "Don't brake, don't brake!" Stoschek shouts, as we pile down the mountainside and my foot naturally glues itself to the middle pedal. With its whip-crack throttle response, wonderfully direct steering and wieldy little body, it's not difficult to imagine doing some serious business in a Stratos on some dusty rally stage. It even understeers helpfully - on the road, at least - before physics intervenes and those fat back tyres let go.