Such was the impact on the rallying scene of the four-wheel-drive Audi Quattro that many an observer at the time reckoned it’s coming sounded the death-knell for two-wheel-drive, and that sending power to every wheel was the only way forward.
Ultimately, the assertion was correct and since the first of Audi’s two World Rally Constructors Championships a four-wheel-drive car has won the Constructors’ title every year … except one. Audi showed the world the way in 1982 with the incomparable Walter Röhrl at the wheel, but it’s often overlooked that the very next year Lancia fought back and incredibly snatched the title back with a two-wheel-drive car; the 037.
Just 207 examples were built for homologation and they were very special pieces of kit. The body was formed in glassfibre reinforced kevlar and in standard form the supercharged 2.0-litre, mid-mounted motor served up a very healthy 255bhp, while the competition versions ended up at around the 325bhp mark.
With so many finding their way on to the rally stages, regular ‘road’ examples of the car intended to replace legendary Lancia Stratos are extremely rare. The Stradale version you see here has not only never been rallied, but it’s a one-owner car with only 14,000 kilometres on the clock. As if that wasn’t extraordinary enough it apparently still wears the same Pirelli Cinturato on the spare wheel it was delvered with!
RM Auctions will be selling it in Paris during the Retrmobile event in February. As yet there are no price guidelines, but it will surely be coveted by many a collector. The thing is though, with so few miles rolled under it would you still use it much or preserve it?