Fitting between the iconic Stratos and wild Delta Integrale in the timeline of Lancia racecars, the 037 generally doesn't get as much attention as its siblings. As latest episode of Jay Leno's Garage shows, the road-going version of the rare model deserves wider recognition because in Leno's view the homologation special drives like a tinier version of the Ferrari F40.
The 037 used the Lancia Scorpion (known as the Montecarlo in Europe) as a starting point, but the two models diverged widely. The Abarth-tuned competition version turned the engine 90 degrees for a longitudinal orientation and added a supercharger. A five-speed manual sent power to the rear wheels. It also featured a tube frame, rally-ready suspension with dual shocks at the back, and Kevlar-reinforced fiberglass body.
Competition rules at the time required Lancia to build at least 200 road cars. For the 037 Stradale (gallery of another example above), the company detuned the supercharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder to 205 horsepower (153 kilowatts) rather than around 265 hp (198 kW) in the original racing trim. The later Evo version pushed output closer to 300 hp (224 kW), and the Evo 2 packed 350 hp (261 kW)
While the model was most recognized as a rally machine, the 037 started its competition life on circuits. In 1979, '80, and '81, the model raced in the FIA Group 5 class, including scoring a championship in Germany's Rennsport Meisterschaft in 1980. It began rallying in 1982 and won the 1983 World Rally Championship to beat the all-wheel-drive Audi Quattro.
Lancia never sold the 037 Stradale in the United States, but they are now over 25 years old, so the coupes like this one can be imported into the country without needing to make modifications to match modern regulations. While Leno maligns it in this video, the more basic Lancia Scorpion is far more affordable and still an interesting vehicle. There aren't many other Pininfarina-designed, mid-engined Italian sports cars that are available for a few thousand dollars.
Source: Jay Leno's Garage via YouTube