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Conceived in 1979 by Giorgio Guigiaro, the model was based on the Fiat Ritmo platform, sufficient for the ambitions of a small family car with some modestly luxurious add-ons.
The first sports version was presented in 1986, and it used a two litre four-cylinder engine with a turbo-compressor, an eight-valve head, and a four-wheel-drive system.
The first of the 1987 versions of the Lancia Delta Integrale 8V, also called the Delta 4WD, was homologated by the Italian brand to be used on competition stages. The quietly understated family car would go on to dominate the World Rally Championship for several impressive years. Its four-cylinder block was fitted with a five-bearing crankshaft and an aluminum head with double camshafts controlling two valves per each 84mm X 90mm cylinder. An IAW-Weber multipoint electronic system and a GarretAiResearch turbocharger allowed the Lancia to output 185cv at 5300 revolutions per minute, whilst its maximum torque of 304 Nm was achieved at 3500 revolutions per minute.
To send power to the wheels, an integrated transmission was used as well as independent suspension on both axles with MacPherson struts, helical springs, telescopic dampers, and stabiliser bars. The rack and pinion type steering was hydraulically assisted, and disc brakes were fitted to all four wheels.
The original road-going Delta Integrale was not impressive by any means, but it still allowed Lancia to have a solid base from which it could develop a rally car in the mid-1980s. The brand turned the docile family car into the fabulously performing Delta S4 group B rally car before the class was banned for being too dangerous.
In 1989, Lancia presented a 16-valve version of the Delta Integrale, increasing the engine output to 200cv.
The company followed up in 1991 with another update, the first Evoluzione model, known in some markets as the Deltona. The Evoluzione was easily recognizable by its bodywork extensions and additional air intakes. Engine output was increased to 210cv at 5750 revolutions per minute through the use of a Garret T3 turbo-compressor and intercooler. The transmission on the Evoluzione was also upgraded with a planetary central differential, viscous multi-disc clutch and a Torsen rear differential, allowing a forward-rearward power distribution of 47-53 percent.
Although the benchmark performance improved slightly, with the Lancia Delta Integrale HF Evoluzione, the main differences from its predecessors was its impeccable behaviour and driveability on the demanding rally stages—demonstrated by being crowned as multiple World Rally Champion.
Two years after the emergence of the first Delta Evoluzione, Lancia presented the Delta Integrale HF Evoluzione II, aesthetically similar to its predecessor, but with a reprogrammed Magneti-Marelli IAW electronic management system, raising the engine to 215cv. Interestingly, this version was not used for FIA homologation purposes, as it was equipped with a smaller low-inertia turbo which made the engine docile at low speeds.
Considered even today as the most successful model in the history of the World Rally Championship, the Lancia Delta Integrale clinched a remarkable total of six world titles.
This car was donated to the Museu do Caramulo by Ilídio de Oliveira Freitas.