11-12 May 2012

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Lot 332

1976 Lancia Stratos 'Stradale' by Carrozzeria Bertone

  • Chassis no. 829 AR0 001 611
  • Engine no. 001142
  • Body no. 281

Sold for €299.600

190 bhp, 2,419 cc DOHC V-6 engine, three Weber carburettors, five-speed manual transmission, four-wheel independent suspension with front coil springs, rear MacPherson struts, and four-wheel disc brakes. Wheelbase: 2,180 mm (85.8”)

• Rare ‘Stradale’ version

• Two registered owners from new

• Recently restored

The Stratos is said to be many things. Among them, one of the most successful rally cars ever built, one of the most valuable Lancias in the classic car market, an extraordinary example of parts bin engineering, wicked and demanding to drive and a spaceship for the road. Some or all of that is true, but it does not truly tell the whole story. Conceived by Lancia competition boss Cesare Fiorio as a way to jumpstart the flagging brand as a new World Rally contender, it débuted as a prototype in 1972. It got off to a slow start, as Lancia completed final development, but it all came together in 1973 when the Stratos won its first victory.

Assisting in that development work were two notable figures in the Italian sports car world, Giampaolo Dallara and Mike Parkes. The torque profile of the 2.4-litre Ferrari V-6, mated to the five-speed transaxle and a short chassis, quick steering and a relatively high centre of gravity all combined to allow the Stratos to be nervously active and easily pitched on tight rally stages. In late 1974, the factory reported the completion of 200 cars in a 12 month period and was granted homologation for Group 4; it is widely believed that at this point, no more than 140 or so had been built. It was in that year that the Stratos helped Lancia win what was to be the first of three consecutive World Rally Championships in 1974, 1975 and 1976, after which, it was withdrawn as the Works entry. Nevertheless, the Stratos would go on to win in private hands up through 1979, when it clinched the Monte Carlo Rally.

Carrozzeria Bertone’s futuristic styling by Marcello Gandini of the Stratos was also a triumph of functional design – a dramatic, sharp, wedge shape with sculptured wheel openings. Some believe the windows resemble the shape of a driving helmet. Whilst not as extreme as the Stratos Zero prototype, which inspired the project, the production version certainly did not lack dramatic presence. There are believed to have been 492 Stratos built. Most were the competition, or ‘Rally’ specification cars, whilst the ‘Stradale’, or road version, was built in much smaller quantities.

As a street car, the Stratos is also surprisingly usable. The forward visibility is excellent, so the pilot can place it with great accuracy. There is also a surprising amount of luggage room in the rear and ample elbow room inside, thanks in no small measure to the helmet pockets built into each door. The 190 horsepower generated by the ‘Stradale’ was good enough to achieve a top speed in excess of 140 mph. With a capable and compliant suspension, it can be a good road companion, and the interior ventilation is more than adequate.

Originally delivered to Dr Rudolf Wiespointner of Wels, Austria in 1976, this particular Stratos has spent its life in Austria, with only two registered owners from new. Dr Wiespointer retained the Stratos for 23 years, selling it in 1999 to Rudolf Bromberger of Vienna. With only 43,000 kilometres since new, and the beneficiary of a recent restoration, this Lancia presents itself very well. The classic blue finish reveals an attention to paint quality and panel fit rarely, if ever, seen when these cars were new. Opening the large hinged front and rear panels reveals suspension components and an engine compartment in virtually unused condition, showing factory correct finishes. The original engine and gearbox were not restored and can be found in excellent condition as well. Included are also the original workshop manual and sales brochure. Proper gold-finished wheels lend a wonderful period look, and the black roof and rear decklid spoilers are emblematic of the purposeful design for which these cars are known.

So many of the few original Stradale cars have been modified over the years to become either competition cars or copies of competition cars that to encounter a well maintained street example with known ownership history and no racing in its past represents a rare occurrence. For enthusiasts seeking a chance to own one of the most important sports cars of the 1970s, this superb Lancia offers an extraordinary opportunity.

Alexander Weaver

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California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

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Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

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David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

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Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

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Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

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Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

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Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

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A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

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Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

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As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

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With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

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Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

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Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

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Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

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United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more