Lancia Delta 

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Lancia Delta Integrale, 
winner of the odd rally
The Beta was the Fulvia's official successor, but perhaps the Delta was the real one. The Lancia Delta was introduced in 1979 and chosen as European car of the Year in 1980. The Delta, an almost timeless model, was to be Lancia's new rally world champion. More than 10 years after its first introduction, Lancia had changed very few details of the original design. Also quite stable: the Delta's impressive rallying successes.


After the Fiat's takeover of Lancia in 1969, Fiat promised that Lancia would be able to develop their own models. To be as cost-effective as possible, Lancia would use Fiat parts in all new Lancia models. The Delta is based on the Fiat Ritmo, introduced in 1978, though the only things the cars originally had in common were size and engine. Castagnero (designer of the Fulvia and Beta Coupe and HPE) was asked to design for the Delta, and submitted a proposal similar to the Beta Berlina or his early HPE designs. Lancia decided to use an outside designer, and chose Giorgetto Guigiaro rather than the more traditional Pininfarina (designer of the Gamma and long-standing Lancia coachbuilder). His previous work included the Volkswagen Golf, to which the Delta design bears some resemblance.

The wheelbase of Guigiaro's design was an inch longer than the Ritmo, but the Delta was two inches shorter. The Delta has more room inside, mainly because of a better dashboard design. Lancia also developed a new T-shaped suspension for the Delta, based on that of the Beta. This gave the car less understeer than the Ritmo.

When launched the car was only available with a choice of 1300cc or 1500cc engines. These gave 75bhp and 85bhp respectively, 10 horsepower more than the Fiat engines they were based upon. However, big things were to follow...

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Maintainer: Andrew Cliffe
Last update: 1st April 2001