London

Marlborough House
5 November 2022
Lot 131

1982 Lancia 037 Group B Works Evolution 1

Offered from The Gran Turismo Collection

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£1,045,625 GBP | Sold

United Kingdom | London, United Kingdom

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Chassis No.
ZLA151AR000000319
Documents
UK V5
  • Part of The Gran Turismo Collection
  • One of the most significant Group B models; the last rear-wheel-drive World Rally Champion
  • One of the earliest Works 037s, rallied by Markku Alén at the model’s debut
  • Winner of the 1983 ADAC Rallye Deutschland with Walter Röhrl
  • Rallied with three of the best 037 liveries in period, including Works Martini colours
  • The first 037 to rally in Evo 1 specification
  • A highly original example with a wonderful patina

“I have so many favourite rally cars, but the one that sticks out above the rest is the Lancia 037. It was such a beautiful car but in a way it was like a racing car made to a formula.” These are rally legend Markku Alén’s thoughts on the 037, and the first time he met the rallying love of his life was with chassis 319 at the 1982 Rally Costa Smeralda.

With the introduction of Group B, Lancia immediately planned a new model, loosely based on a proper production car. Utilising a stiffened Beta Montecarlo monocoque, with completely re-engineered subframes, the Lancia ‘Rally’ project was given the Abarth designation SE037. Using Fiat/Abarth’s well-developed four-cylinder twin-cam engine, fitted with a Volumex supercharger, the 037 had well over 300 horsepower, which made it a serious contender. An excellent design weighing a regulation minimum of 960 kilograms and paired with a beautiful body developed using the latest aerodynamic understanding, the 037 was an extremely quick car.

The 1982 season was a steep learning curve, not helped by Audi’s dominant demonstration of the benefits of four-wheel-drive technology. The following year would be the pinnacle for the 037, with five WRC victories and the World Championship. The success required some extraordinary tactics and brilliant development, but it was a wonderful swansong for rear-wheel-drive rallying. In total, the 037 garnered 13 international and national Group B Championships.

Chassis 319 is one of a trio of Works cars, adorned in legendary Martini sponsorship, to debut at the 1982 Rally Costa Smeralda. Markku Alén and co-driver Ilkka Kivimäki ran with number “1” and won three of the first five stages. Unfortunately, a gear selector failure spelled the end of chassis 319’s challenge.

This Martini-liveried 037’s next event was three weeks later at the Rallye dell’Isola D’Elba, where Adartico Vudafieri achieved the 037’s first success with a class win, and thirteen stage victories. Andrea Zanussi continued chassis 319’s success with another class win at May’s Rally 4 Regioni, this time competing in iconic Totip colours as a Jolly Club entry. Despite chassis 319’s success in the first half of 1982, the remainder of the season brought three retirements between Vudafieri and Zanussi, the most frustrating being the Rali Vinho da Madeira, which saw Zanussi utterly dominate the early stages thanks to Lancia debuting Evolution 1 specification with this 037. Vudafieri was reunited with chassis 319 for the WRC round Rallye Côte d’Ivoire, but engine overheating forced a retirement.

Signing Walter Röhrl for 1983 was a major coup for Lancia. Part of his contract required him to compete in select German national rallies. His first German round with chassis 319, now in Würth colours, was the ADAC Saarland Rallye. Röhrl, partnered with co-driver Christian Geistdörfer, finished 2nd overall but amazingly, during practice, they took this 037 for a lap of the Nürburgring Nordschleife and achieved an 8-minute lap—a time he couldn’t beat two years later in his Quattro.

Chassis 319 returned to Works Martini colours for the Tour de Corse and Rally Argentina rounds of the WRC with Attilio Bettega and Francisco Mayorga, before returning to Röhrl’s hands for the 1983 ADAC Rallye Deutschland. Maintaining his searing form, he finished over 14 minutes ahead of his nearest rival, winning every stage. This extraordinary win would spell the end of chassis 319’s Works career.

In 1986 this 037 passed into the hands Tre Gazzelle Srl, and Jean-Michel Blanchi drove successfully in French rallies. It would go on to record two overall victories and a class win before chassis 319 was retired at the end of the 1987 season. During March 1988, this 037 was exported to France, where it is known to have joined the prominent collection of Guy Domet. It is believed to have passed through the hands of a further three French owners before being inspected and sympathetically restored to running condition by the respected Baldi brothers. In 2019 it joined The Gran Turismo Collection and has been admired on static display since then.

Few 037s played such an important role in the model’s competition success as chassis 319. Present at the model’s debut, where it was driven by Markku Alén, it was also the first Evo 1 to rally, and driven to victory by Walter Röhrl. On top of that, it wore some of Lancia’s most iconic liveries. Today, it is a wonderfully patinated Group B car that feels like it could tell a hundred stories of its illustrious past. The fortunate new owner could either use it on the road, in some of world’s greatest events, or even just admire it in their garage.