The Lancia Delta S4 has been invading my brain for a few days now, and I just can’t seem to shake it off. If you aren’t familiar with it, I’m not that surprised because it was part of Group B Rally Racing back in 1985 and 1986. Then it sort of fell off the planet. Between 1982 and 1986, Group B rally racing was “open minded” when it came to the race cars, so some of them were horrifyingly, stupid, silly fast. In fact, they were so dangerous that Group B was ended by the FIA (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile) at the end of 1986. Many people blame the rally spectators for this FIA decision because sometimes they stood in front of oncoming race cars, and got hit…..duh… I’m not here to place blame though, I just want to share the greatness that is the S4.
The Lancia Delta S4 was loosely based on the Lancia Delta. In reality, they shared almost nothing, except for the general shape of the body. The Delta S4’s body was built from carbon fiber, it had long arm race suspension, all wheel drive, and of course a twin charged mid mounted engine. Officially it made 480 horsepower, but off the record, it was rumored to be closer to 600. That is ludicrous power from a little 1759cc engine (That translates to about a 1.8 Liter or 107 cubic inch), not too shabby.
Recently, I watched a great show on Group B racing, and one of the former drivers said that when guys got out of this car, they would be physically shaking because of the adrenaline. By no means was it a good looking car, but how can you not love a light car that is stuffed with 32 psi of twin charged forced induction goodness? Turbo? Supercharged? AWD? It’s a definite win. On to the videos!
Here is a video of the Lancia Delta S4 in a hill climb on pavement. Caution: Brilliant shifting inside.
This video is a little longer and rougher, but it gives you a good idea of how fearless (completely nuts??) the Group B drivers were, and how powerful these little cars were at the time.
……and because you deserve a tri-fecta, here is a great video of more S4’s doing paved hill climbs. Again, notice how fast he shifts, and the wastegate dumping hellfire out the exhaust.
Images borrowed from: