Clearly something was wrong with either the car, or the way it was being driven. It turned out to be the latter. The Stratos, or that Stratos, is the most throttle sensitive thing I have ever sat in, and given its rallying role in life and the brevity of its wheelbase, perhaps I should have been less surprised by that than I was. But once I realised it, adjusted and adapted to its way of doing things, it was simply incredible. You’d never brake into a corner, nor turn in under power: a gently trailing throttle was what was required to see it fling itself at the apex. Then, using the perfect manners of the engine, you’d apply the power and feel the back move, but this time completely benevolently. Watching the road ahead through those side windows became the most natural thing in the world, which, of course, is why they were there.
A Stratos was always a rare car and is now a valuable one too and while I loved seeing one again, it also made me sad. To think what has happened to that name, the company that brought us the Lambda, the Aprilia, the Fulvia, and Integrale not to mention the D24 and D50, 037 and LC2, is to think of an automotive tragedy. I know Lancia still exists, technically at least, but to me it is Lancia no more. But a Stratos is a Lancia and how lucky I feel to have made its acquaintance.