Lancia Delta HF Integrale
In western Canada, the big car shows are easy to bet on what you will see; American muscle and 50's classics. And I appreciate them, but I have seen them. So you can imagine how surprised I was back in May when I am walking through a car show on a field, and in the corner of my eye I see the back end of a red car with a spoiler that says Martini on it. I didn't even tell my family I was with, I just started walking another direction unable to believe what was actually in front of me. A proper rally car, a 1991 Lancia Delta HF Integrale.
I kept coming back throughout the day. The owner, Paul, thought it was funny the third time he saw me staring at it. While talking to him, I brought up this website and asked if he would be interested in doing a photo shoot and interview. I was actually surprised when he said yes. Unfortunately, when we had planned to do the interview the car was garaged due to needing a new steering column. Most parts for the car aren't too difficult to find, Paul has contacts with Fiat specialty shops in the US he calls first. But unfortunately this was a direct from Italy part.It wasn't until early August that I got an email saying the Delta is back on the road, Shipping the part had not taken as long as he feared, and after a weekend the car was safe to drive again.
Our team met up with the owner at a smaller car show, made plans with him for highway rollers afterwards, hand signals were discussed and as the car show ended we left for photos. It was obvious what we were doing with a very special car, and yet I was still having people giving me very rude hand gestures to get out of the way. Honestly, with a car like that to photograph, you can wait.
We left the highway, found a spot to pull over on the beach, finally a chance to talk about the car. 1991, 2.0 litre turbo, 16 valve, about 200 horsepower. Paul had found the car in England in a city not far from where he is from, had his father and brother look at the car at the dealership and inspect it, it was as clean as he had hoped and sent the funds to secure the car, where it then sat at his father's house for about a year while the plans for importing to Canada were put into place. I asked if he had it take the train across the country or if he drove it from Newfoundland (hoping he said cross country road trip, that would be one hell of a drive in a car like this), but the company he shipped with brought it through Panama and up to Vancouver where it then got trucked to his door. That was four years ago.
The front rims have fans installed as a performance brake cooler. Since it is mainly meant as a race add on, paired with the very loud livery, I asked him if he has ever taken it to a track. The answer is simply no; it is too fragile. The only other Delta Integrale he has seen in Canada was an older 8 valve, it was at a popular hill climb race and while going all out he went into the wall. Yes, the car has race heritage, and this particular model screams rally car with the Martini Livery and the rim fans. But a collector car of this stature, it needs to be protected and appreciated. Short answer is that this car will only ever be a street driven show piece. And I am okay with that.
From here, Shane rode in the Delta to our next photography point, and as I lead the car to the next spot, having 3 mirrors showing the Lancia behind me is quite a distraction if I am honest.
Check back tomorrow for Shane’s take on his ride along and thoughts from Inside the Delta including more photos.