Mr. Bean is also known for his passion for racing cars. He actually raced in the past, but without notorious results. Soon he discovered that he was doing better as a comedian than as a race car driver. And that's how we ended up with Johnny English on the silver screen. But his connection with racing cars didn't end when he hung his gloves. He continued to look for exceptional vehicles that meant something in motorsports, including rally cars.
While rallying didn't find enough enthusiasts in the U.S. to make this sport as famous as NASCAR, it was undoubtedly a hit in the world during the '80s and '90s. But sure, when you hear that rally cars only had turbocharged inline-four engines at that time, you might smile. But once you see a rally stage, you'll find oval-racing boring.
After 1986, when the infamous Group B was axed due to several crashes, Group A emerged as the queen of the pack. The vehicles in this category were modified stock vehicles. Thus, automakers had to build a certain number of units to get the homologation number from the FIA. But, since the best rally cars had to have all-wheel-drive systems and turbocharged, two-liter engines, such vehicles were made on assembly lines and sold to the public.
The Delta entered the automotive world in 1979 as a mundane hatchback at the Frankfurt Motor Show. It tried to grab some customers from the reigning champion of those times, the Golf. Back then, it was powered by a small yet fuel-efficient 1.3-liter engine. But it didn't stay that way. Two facelifts and 12 years later, the Delta received a final update that brought it four round headlights and a turbocharged inline-four. Strangely, Lancia kept producing the HF Integrale (all-wheel-drive) version until 1995, even though the rest of the Delta range was cut in 1993.
The Italian automaker introduced the Delta HF Integrale Evoluzione II in 1993. It was fitted with an improved, longer suspension travel, which meant they had to create a bump on the hood to allow for taller struts. Also, since the Delta was initially made as a mundane compact hatchback, the engineering team had to find solutions to cover the wider tracks, both front, and rear. And that's why it features flared wheel arches. Last but not least, this version also featured an adjustable wing on top of the tailgate, with three positions. On the steepest mode, it is said that it added 60 kg (132 lbs) of downforce at 120 kph (75 mph).
The inline-four powerplant had to be limited to a two-liter displacement and was turbocharged and intercooled. Thus, it provided 215 hp (218 PS) and 314 Nm (232 lb-ft) of torque. It could sprint from naught to 62 mph (100 kph) in 5.7 seconds, which was excellent for those times. And, unlike supercars from those times, it could do that even on wet tarmac.
And this is the car that Rowan Atkinson will sell at Silverstone Auctions on February 25th at the Retro Race Show, Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire, UK. It sports a rare color for the Delta HF Integrale, named Lord Blue. And no, the car was not built for the British market, but was made for a Japanese customer. Later in the car's existence was imported back to the UK and bought in 2021 by Mr. Bean when it showed just 87,000 km (54,059 miles) on the clock.
Considering that the Delta HF Integrale Evoluzione II is a pleasant car to drive and this particular vehicle also has a famous owner in its list, its price has a big chance to grow. In addition, their market value has constantly increased, especially for the Evo II version. Worth noting that in 2021 a similar vehicle found a new owner for almost 90,000 USD, and in December 2022, another Delta HF Integrale Evoluzione II was sold for 150,000 USD. So, you may consider it as an investment and have some fun with it in the process.