The Italian Car That Reshaped the Rally World

There are quite a few legendary cars in the automotive industry. Still, only a handful are in the rally world, and the Lancia Delta Integrale deserves a place on the podium. That's why when you find a particular version of it that belonged to a celebrity, you should consider it.
1993 Lancia Delta HF Integrale Evoluzione II 8 photos
Photo: Silverstone Auctions
1993 Lancia Delta HF Integrale Evoluzione II1993 Lancia Delta HF Integrale Evoluzione II1993 Lancia Delta HF Integrale Evoluzione IILancia Delta HF 4WDLancia Delta HF 4WDLancia Delta HF Turbo1993 Lancia Delta HF Integrale Evoluzione II
You might have heard of Mr. Bean, the British actor whose real name is Rowan Atkinson. Besides being a famous comedian, he is also a true petrolhead. You may find one of the most famous pre-WWII racers among his cars, a BMW 328 roadster. As expected, his collection also includes British vehicles such as a Land Rover Defender, a Rolls-Royce Drophead, and a special Aston Martin V8 Zagato. He also had a McLaren F1, but he sold it. But that's not the whole list. It's just a part of it, which shows us that he doesn't own dull cars.

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.

Lancia Delta HF 4WD
Photo: Lancia
First, it was the Audi with the S1. Also, in the early '80s, Lancia launched the Delta hatchback. Just by looking at that mundane, wedged-shaped vehicle, you won't get thrilled at all. And that's understandable. But that boring-looking car didn't stay that way all of its life. It was constantly improved both for the rally and street use. No wonder it won six back-to-back world manufacturer titles and 46 races.

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).

1993 Lancia Delta HF Integrale Evoluzione II
Photo: Silverstone Classics
But one of the car's most essential parts was the all-wheel-drive system. It featured a center differential that sent 53% of the torque to the rear and 47% to the front axle. At the back, Lancia installed a Torsen limited-slip differential that didn't lock completely, thus allowing the vehicle to take sharp turns with ease.

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.

1993 Lancia Delta HF Integrale Evoluzione II
Photo: Silverstone Classics
The comedian enjoyed the car but only drove it a little since there are still less than 90,000 kilometers (56,000 miles) shown on the odometer. But, as expected, he took care of the legendary vehicle and performed everything he could to keep the car in excellent shape.

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.
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About the author: Tudor Serban
Tudor Serban profile photo

Tudor started his automotive career in 1996, writing for a magazine while working on his journalism degree. From Pikes Peaks to the Moroccan desert to the Laguna Seca, he's seen and done it all.
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