1992 Lancia Delta HF Integrale Evo 1
You’ll find this example of the ultimate Eighties rally legend hard to resist
Even if you knew nothing about this squat red hatchback, the power bulge on the bonnet and flared wheelarches would tell you that the word homologation features in its background. By the time this Evoluzione version of the Integrale was launched in 1991, Lancia’s Group A cars had already won the World Rally Championship Ave times and would do so again that year.
Make no mistake though, when you slip behind the (left-hand drive only) steering wheel you feel you’re in a nicely appointed road car cabin – we’re not into the era of carbon- fibre highlights yet. And judging by the state of the interior and those body-hugging sports seats this example has been well cared for – not always the case with these cars: many fell into ‘can buy but can’t maintain’ territory.
The car’s maintenance record is extensive and meticulous with the last owner taking an ‘everything correct, everything working’ approach, testified by a £3000 bill at Zagato Lancia. Looking at that regularly-attended engine bay, there are certainly no signs of leaks or overheating, and hoses look clean and supple and fluids clear and at the right levels.
Bodywork is good with paintwork that retains a deep shine with, for instance, no stress cracks in the finish around the A-pillars, as sometimes happens with these. There are no signs of corrosion and the underside is clean. Wheels and tyres are in excellent condition.
The engine fires up eagerly and runs with no undue smoke or untoward noises, and pulling away brings a smooth power take-up with no jerks or judders. Despite considerable power from the willing turbocharged two-litre, the Integrale drives well in town traffic and can be as urbane as any eco-town car. But press the accelerator further and it will soon show you its more potent side. Throttle response is excellent; mildly disinterested below 1800rpm, the engine soon picks up into a smooth, linear power delivery. Coupled to the beautifully weighted steering and taut suspension it is well able to deal with quick changes in pace and direction, remaining poised and well-damped over potholes and through bends.
Altogether, this car drives impeccably, with temperature and pressure gauges throwing up no warning signals.
The asking price is fairly strong money for one of these, but examples like this one that present well and have good documentation are likely to attract knowledgeable buyers. The main worry of ownership might be doing it the injustice of using it as your everyday car.