Lot 237


1985 Lancia Delta S4 Rally

Offered from The Sportiva Collection


€837,500 EUR | Sold

Monaco | Monaco, Monaco



Chassis No.
Italian Libretto
  • Offered from The Sportiva Collection
  • Driven to 2nd place on its Lancia Martini race debut at the 1985 Lombard RAC Rally in Wales
  • Later race highlights include Fabrizio Tabanton’s 1st place at the 1986 Halkidiki Rally, in the season that the Italian won the European Rally Championship for Grifone Esso
  • Returned to its period-correct Works body and livery configuration
  • Offered with substantial workshop invoices spanning 2010 to 2018
  • Accompanied by Abarth Classiche certification dated November 2016 and its original libretto titled to FIAT Auto S.p.A.
  • Rare opportunity to buy one of the few Delta S4s with WRC podium results
Please note this vehicle is titled as 1986.

Veuillez noter que ce véhicule est immatriculé en 1986.

The unique level of excitement and gusto associated with the height of Group B rally racing might feasibly not be seen again in top-tier motorsport. For what the class offered in drama and sheer spectacle, it was equally fraught with controversy as the hitherto unseen levels of supercar performance on special stages brought a lingering sense of danger for both drivers and racegoers. The formula existed for just four years, though its impact on both the sport and the wider consciousness was disproportionate to its relatively short time in the public eye.

The Delta S4 was Lancia’s proposed solution to the earlier 037 having taken just one win from the 1984 World Rally Championship. By the mid-1980s, the 037 was not an old car but its architecture pegged Lancia behind contemporary rival manufacturers, with its race entrant still built around two-wheel-drive technology. The Delta S4 was introduced for the last race of the 1985 season with an ingenious “twin-charging” system, whereby a supercharger operated in sequence with a turbocharger to reduce turbo lag and improve driveability, while power from the prodigiously powerful 550 brake horsepower engine was transmitted to the road via a sophisticated Hewland-developed four-wheel-drive system. The new car bore a distant resemblance to its road-going counterpart; although, in predictably outlandish Group B fashion, it would replace the standard Delta’s steel monocoque chassis with a carbon fibre-clad tubular spaceframe, in which the engine was relocated to the rear.

Some 28 Group B Delta S4s were constructed, of which the majority were campaigned by the factory Martini Lancia squad and the remainder by the semi-Works Jolly Club and Grifone teams. In addition, 200 road-going Stradale versions were constructed in order to obtain the necessary homologation.

Both this car—chassis number 207—and its sister car, 202, were completed in time for the 1985 RAC Rally in Wales, in which they were entered under the Martini Racing banner and piloted by Henri Toivonen with Neil Wilson and Markku Alen with Ilkka Kivimäki, respectively. From the outset it was clear that Lancia had hit on a winning formula: Alen dominated the first half of the rally before Toivonen fought back bravely to take victory by just under a minute from his more experienced teammate. Toivonen’s win in the car’s maiden event signalled a major statement of intent—no other vehicle that competed in the World Rally Championship in Group B can claim such an achievement.

Following its WRC showing in Wales, chassis 207 assumed Group B action in the European Rally Championship, still in Martini livery but entered by Jolly Club. It first appeared at the 1986 Ypres 24 Hour Rally in Belgium driven by Fabrizio Tabaton and Luciano Tedeschini. Unfortunately, an accident shortened their race and the car did not finish the race. The Lancia next appeared at the Halkidiki Rally in Greece, now with Scuderia Grifone in Esso black-and-gold livery. Again driven by Tabaton and Tedeschini, the Delta S4 finished 1st overall, taking home its first victory. The driver pairing finished up the Lancia’s season at the Rallye d'Antibes in France, where unfortunately they were forced to retire due to mechanical issues.

The Lancia continued its competition career throughout 1987 and 1988, where it was driven by Gian Battista Rosella in the European Autocross Championship before being retired from official competition. In 1995 it was sold by Grifone to EFFEGI Trading S.r.l. who eventually sold it in 1997. Since this time it has had a series of private Italian owners, all logged on its Italian libretto. More recently, it has been restored to its former glory, back to the RAC 1985 configuration and—thanks to the famous NITRO who was in charge of the liveries back in the days—the car got its famous Martini livery perfectly executed. This Delta S4 has remained registered in Italy since new and joined the Sportiva Collection in 2020. With a racing pedigree from the ultimate period of the Group B rally racing, the opportunity to acquire this storied Lancia will surely prove too tempting for any rally enthusiast looking to add to their own collection.