On tour in the Lancia Delta Integrale: a dream comes true

Shortly after seven on Saturday morning, the boys are still in bed, their message of the night stuck behind the windshield wipers. Driving instructor Matze and neighbor Ede ask for a test drive.
Her object of lust is parked in front of the front door, giving the impression that it’s time to let the turbocharger whistle loudly. Lancia Delta Integrale Evo 2, the cult-compact speedster with 215 hp and all-wheel drive and rough edges: this weekend it’s all ours! (Lancia wants to revive the Delta – as an electric car!)


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The fact that we spend quality time together has to do with Luca Napolitano, the Lancia boss. He just announced the comeback of the Italo brand on the European market and presented his schedule: 2024 new Ypsilon in the four-meter class, from 2026 only electric drives and a 4.60-meter crossover, 2028 a new Delta. And then his decisive words: “Our designers have been briefed on the original delta, we all dream of a new HF.”

Lancia Delta Integrale HF

Sedici stands on the Evo 2, the last development stage of the Delta 1993/94.

HF stands for “High Fidelity”; this guy from the Fiat fleet jumps up, he’s awake in a second. Saturday is ahead of us. And the country road.

Signs point to the beginning

The great time is back! And while we’re warming up, me with the Lancia, the Lancia with the road, while we’re slowly rolling along at 2000 revs, the Lancia’s are turning in circles in our heads. 1957 the Flaminia, 1973 the Stratos, the Rally 037, the Fulvia, whose follow-up study in 2003 was the most beautiful car at the IAA, of course the first Delta in 1979.
And the decline of a brand that began in the mid-90s with the inconsequential second Delta, continued in 2008 with the third generation in the form of a bloated, far too fat tin castle and experienced the sad low point in 2011 when they launched the van for seven named Chrysler Voyager stuck the Lancia logo.
Lancia Delta Integrale HF

Two-liter four-cylinder in front with 215 hp and Garrett T3 turbocharger. The little friend dashes to 100 km/h in 5.7 seconds and reaches a top speed of 220 km/h.

Now the signs are pointing to the beginning, the Stellantis group (Peugeot, Citroën, DS, Opel, Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Jeep, RAM, Maserati) is giving money.

Between the speedometer (up to 240!) and the tachometer (up to 9000!), the Integrale has displays for the boost pressure of the turbo, the water temperature of the cooling circuit, oil pressure and temperature above the radio (Blaupunkt Freiburg with keycard). Everything ready, we let it rip.

Father and son ride Delta

Under 3000 tours the Delta is a normal car, from 4000 it becomes a cornering thunderbolt. How he gives in jaggedly, how he waves smoothly around the corner, how this dwarf (1300 kilos, spread over 3.90 meters) stays on track, as if his 205/45-16 rubbers were from Pattex and not from Pirelli. So that’s how joy used to be.

Lancia Delta Integrale HF

The Delta Integrale with 215 hp and four-wheel drive was an announcement in 1994.

At some point we stand in front of Werner Blättel’s (58) garage, parked in front of a white “Martini 5” and son Luca’s (26) blue Delta. The Blättels are actually the Lancia family, dad wrote a book about the Integrale in 2005, almost the standard work, anyone who reads it knows everything.

And Luca was there from the start. In 1995, Papa had bought his “Martini 5” with 13,000 kilometers for the equivalent of 20,000 euros, in 1997, when Luca sat in the back of his baby seat with a pacifier in his mouth, they drove to the “Delta Days” in the Aosta Valley (Italy). When a woman from the marshal staff looked into the car, she said: “Un Bambino come un angelo” – a baby like an angel. Luca must have been deeply impressed by that.

The Lancia doubled in value today

Like mum and dad, he’s an architect, and like them both, he really wanted to drive a Delta Integrale. In 1994, at the age of 18, the Filius had saved 15,000 euros. Lancia specialist Ralph Sauer from Goldbach (Bavaria), whom the family has known since the beginning of their Lancia passion, offered a 92er Evo for only 25,000 euros instead of 29,000. “My wife and I looked deep into each other’s eyes,” says Papa Blättel, “then we did the rest.”

Lancia Delta Integrale HF

Three times thunderbolt with four-wheel drive: small Lancia Delta race in the closed quarry.

When Blättel and his wife Simone look into each other’s eyes today, they can only smile at the price development of the Delta Integrale. The value of the martini, which they rarely get out with 45,000 kilometers, has increased tenfold, the blue one with the smoky exhaust sound would cost 70,000 euros today. And what does the “Lancia Lexicon” say about the comeback as a Stromer?

“Well, yes,” Werner Blättel has to laugh, “we just have to surrender to the subject of electronics.” But the rebirth can only work if the original model is the godfather in the design studio, if the new Delta gets the rough edges that the master hammered into the sheet metal back then.

Delta HF wins the World Rally Championship six times in a row

Giorgetto Giugiaro created Delta (1979) as well as VW Scirocco (1974) in the 70s, both had two successors, both would have been better off if they had let the master do the work again.

Then we still have to drive a bit on the country road, the red one, the white one, the blue one; the Blättels live between Limburg and the Westerwald, where a delta likes to bang around the bend.

Between 1987 and 1992, Lancia won the World Rally Championship six times in a row with the Delta HF, and over the years the other participants felt like seven of spades when diamonds were trumps. You can still see the talent of the Delta Integrale after 28 years.

Lancia Delta Integrale HF

Dad, son and their dreams. Werner Blättel (58) has the white Martini 5, Luca (26) has a blue Delta with Röhrl’s autograph.

There are youngtimers, you should keep them in good memory and don’t drive them anymore, otherwise your enthusiasm will be dampened. It’s different with the Delta Integrale. If you get it up to speed, that is, if you keep it in a good mood and its turbo whistle, then you wave over the asphalt as if it were the prologue to the San Remo Rally and not the L 315 between Wallmerod and Meudt.
Bang! Boom! Bang!

Evo 2 estimated to be worth 100,000 euros

There is still one question, dear Lancia lover: What would I have to invest for such a vehicle? Blättel, who is organizing the “Lancia Legends” for the third time in Montafon (Austria) in September, knows the numbers, prices and cars.

He says: “The market is very static. There are 300 integrals, what is new is rare, what is longer, mostly botched.” He estimates the value of our Evo 2 at 100,000 euros: “Only 60,000 kilometers, top maintenance condition, top overall picture.”

At this point we have to say that we added 451 kilometers to the 60,000. And when we were standing at the gas station, filling up with 46.5 liters of Super 102 for 101 euros and 37 cents, a man in his mid-forties approached us, very excited: “I saw a lot of cars at the weekend, but this is the nicest one.”

A connoisseur. Just like driving instructor Matze and neighbor Ede.

Specifications and price: Lancia Delta Integrale Evo 2

• Engine Four-cylinder, turbo, front transverse
• Displacement 1995 cm3
• Perfomance 158 kW (215 hp) at 5750 rpm
• Max. Torque 308 Nm at 2500 rpm
• Drive All-wheel drive / five-speed gearbox
• Force distribution v./h. 47/53%
• L/W/H 3900/1770/1365mm
• curb weight 1340kg
• 0-100km/h 5.7s
• Top speed 220km/h
• Consumption 10.3 l S (on the 451 km test drive)
• used price about 100,000 euros

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