Driving the new Stratos is a singular experience

The new Stratos shouldn’t really exist. The original Lancia Stratos dominated the rally stages of the 1970s thanks to its design, which was born with racing in mind from the get-go, rather than being a production car adapted to racing. The outlandish design spilled forth from the mind of designer Marcello Gandini, and it was a winner. So when a few wild folks with a dream decided to revive the Stratos shape with the underpinning from a road car, there was plenty of chance for things to go the wrong kind of sideways.

As automotive journalist Jason Cammisa explains in his latest video, the hurdle the new Stratos had to clear was both tall and Italian. The underpinnings for the new Stratos were borrowed from the Ferrari 430 Scuderia—a very good foundation. Too good. Cammisa says that Ferrari felt threatened by the car and did everything in its power to kill the project.

Ferrari failed, although the 430 Scuderia is by now old enough that it is far from the minds of modern goings-on in Maranello. Now the new Stratos exists, albeit later than intended and on used 430 chassis as it was intended to be. All you need to create the Stratos is a used 430 Scuderia and big bankroll. Like $750,000 or thereabouts.

Does it drive and have the cachet that a car of that price tag should? Cammisa thinks so. He jokes that it is so hot inside the cabin he had to remove his pants to drive it, even a contortionist would need to warm up to climb behind the wheel, and he has to shift lightning fast to keep the engine happy between gears.

Yet once driving, Cammisa is nothing but complimentary of the experience. He calls the new Stratos a “Ferrari with the fat trimmed out.” All the best of the Maranello chassis with a unique flavor. You don’t want to live with it day-to-day, but that is not what this car is about. Like the original Stratos, it’s the right kind of crazy.