Think of the most iconic cars of the World Rally Championship and what springs to mind?

Colin Mcrae’s 555  Suburu Impreza perhaps or maybe the game-changing Audi Quattro.

Lancia Stratos legacy with 555 Suburu Impreza and Audi Quattro
Ultimate Impreza & Quattro

Both supremely impressive and memorable cars but no discussion or trip down memory lane would be complete without arguably the most iconic of them all in the Lancia Stratos.

From 1974 to 1977 the Lancia Stratos was the car that dominated the WRC and in 1977 powered Sandro Munari to the inaugural driver’s world title.

Now, the Italians know a thing about style and when it comes to cars, there is no denying the Italians do it the best.

Take the ALFA ROMEO33 STRADALE, the FERRARI 212 TOURING BARCHETTA and even the original Fiat 500 as an example and the Stratos is certainly not out of place in such illustrious company.

The story of how the Stratos received its eye-catching looks involves a certain Giovanni Bertone.

The Italian car stylist became one of the most well-known brands in car design in the world having worked with the likes of Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, Citroen, Ferrari, FIAT, Lamborghini and Mercedes Benz and after getting word that Lancia were looking for a new design to replace the aging Fulvia with a car to take on rallying.

Lancia Fulvia mysupercar
Lancia Fulvia – production ran from 1963 to 1976

The Fulvia was an attractive car in its own right and spent 13 years in production from 1963 to 1976 and was taken rallying and endurance racing by Lancia and won the Italian Rally Championship every year from 1965 to1973.

However, after 13 years, Lancia needed to freshen things up and one day Bertone himself turned up at the Lancia factory gates with a Stratos Zero which was so low he passed it under the barrier to the great applause of the factory workers.

The relationship between Lancia and Bertone was made there and then with the pair getting to work on a new rally car based on the ideas Bertone designer Marcello Gandini.

The very man who designed the Lamborghini Miura and Countach.

Marcello Gandini designed Lamborghini Miura

Lancia were in safe hands then and at the 1971 Turin Motorshow unveiled the Stratos boasting a Dino Ferrari V6 engine to much acclaim.

The rest is history as mentioned above and now the Stratos is a collector’s car of the highest order.

Legendary Stratos Livery

However, as Lancia themselves made only between 260-280 and ceased production in 1978, it was always inevitable that the original Lancia Stratos would be hard to come by.

Fortunately, we met the man who is keeping the Lancia alive today having produced over 600 Stratos replicas for people all over the world.

His name is Gerry Hawkridge and from getting Christmas cards from Adrian Newey to delivering cars to the Singapore Grand Prix in the 1960’s, Gerry has had quite the career.

We caught up with Gerry to discuss why he set up Hawk Cars Ltd and why the Lancia Stratos is such an important car to him.

This is his story, and it is one you will not want to miss.

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply