If there was ever a time for an automaker to be smug, I’d imagine that’s exactly how Lancia felt between the years 1987 and 1992. That’s because over those six years, Lancia lay waste to the World Rally Championship field, and it did so in one of these—the beloved Delta.
Built from 1979 to 1994, the first generation Delta was at its core a pedestrian, plain-jane driving utensil. A car for everyday life. It also just happened to have been massaged into ravenous, flame-spitting rally car monster. Ahh, the ‘80s. This car—a 1989 Delta Integrale—wasn’t one of those championship-winning race cars. In fact, it wasn’t a race car at all. Nevertheless, the Italian performance car idol is on U.S. shores, and for some that’s enough cause for celebration, go-fast graphics or no. RELATED: Take a Closer Look at the '89 Lancia Delta Integrale
In short, things really started looking up for the compact Delta in 1986. The dangerously fast Group B rally cars were banned at the end of the season, and Lancia made the most of the reshuffle by swapping its supercharged and turbocharged Delta S4 for the all-wheel-drive, turbocharged Delta HF 4WD. Per racing homologation rules, the buying public got to pocket these drifty dirt-slingers, and over the coming years the recipe would get hotter and hotter. For 1986 the road-going HF Turbo 4WD netted two liters of displacement and 165 horsepower. By 1989, that would grow to an even 200 hp thanks to this car’s new 16-valve head. While it may not sound like a lot, it was quite the concoction, especially when paired with the Integrale’s evermore rearward-biased all-wheel drive system. RELATED: Check Out the Hardcore 1978 Lancia Montecarlo Turbo
This car generates even more, however. According to its owner, the ’89 Delta Integrale has undergone a significant amount of engine work and now puts down 230 horsepower and 254 lb.-ft. of torque at the wheels. The modifications certainly didn’t end their either. The pumped-up haunches of the Integrale wear classic sponsorship decals, the car comes shod in Speedline Evo wheels, and looks fresh-faced with racy pod lights. Inside it’s all quite energizing as well. The leather interior is said to be all new, but like the exterior graphics, the interior Martini emblems aren’t original. They are very cool, however. Overall, these cars are becoming less scarce on U.S. shores as the 25-year importation rule ticks along, but until the 1991 Evoluzione versions can legally gain entry in 2016…this is about as hot as they come. RELATED: If the Stratos Returned for 2016, It Would Look Like This