Bonkers Honda K24-swapped Lancia 037 stretches the definition of “tribute car”
It used to be they were called replicas. People built cars using a mix of parts to replicate something that no longer exists in physical form, or more often, within the budget of the average enthusiast. Now they’re called “tributes” because the skill and admiration baked into the build process is often so respectful of the original. So what do you get when you start with an obscure 1977 Lancia Scorpion, tube-frame it out, fit a turbocharged dry-sump Honda K24, and add a body kit to make it a convincing Lancia 037? One of the most ambitious tributes (if you can even call it that anymore) that one’s imagination could conjure.
First, let’s flesh out some necessary context about how the original Lancia Scorpion became the Group B-winning 037. The Lancia Scorpion was a mid-1970s Italian car with a mid-engine, transverse four-cylinder engine and unibody construction. In 1977, in U.S. spec, its 1756 cc engine produced a malaise-era appropriate 81 hp when fitted with a two-barrel carb. Due to the vagaries of FIA rules and Fiat (Lancia’s parent) politics, the Scorpion became the basis for Fiat’s next assault on the World Rally Championship (WRC). The Lancia Stratos owned the WRC in the mid-1970s, parent Fiat decided its new Fiat 131 sedan should win instead. The 131 did win, but it wouldn’t be competitive under the new FIA rules for Group B. In response, Fiat tasked Abarth (the competition department of Fiat) with developing what would become the 037. Retaining only the Scorpion’s passenger compartment, front and rear tube subframes were attached to it, and the four-cylinder engine was supercharged and turned lengthwise. Initially, it had over 255 hp and weighed just over 2100 pounds in rally spec.
The speed at which Abarth developed the 037 for the 1983 season helped it become the last rear-wheel drive car to win a WRC title. Those competition cars are rare and now highly sought after. However, to meet those FIA regulations, Lancia also produced a little over 200 road-going 037 Stradales. They’re not as rare but still sell for deep into the six-figures these days.
That brings us back to this car. A 1977 Lancia Scorpion has a condition #3 or “Good” value of $12,200, which means using it as a starting point leaves a lot of room in the budget for making it better (and faster). The tube frame isn’t too far removed from the construction of the original 037. The body kit is from Carteroni of New Zealand and appears to provide a solid resemblance to the actual car. With the four standard headlights and an additional four driving lights, the eight forward-facing lights capture the feeling of a night-time stage of the Monte Carlo rally. The engine orientation and location are correct, too.
While sourcing a competition Abarth tuned Fiat/Lancia twin-cam four-cylinder might not be too challenging, the choice of a Honda K24 is something of an inspired choice. Our resident Honda expert, social media manager Matt Lewis, describes it as “basically the four-cylinder equivalent of the Chevrolet small-block V-8, capable of taking abuse even with a decent-sized turbo.” In this build, the K24 has a turbo, dry-sump lubrication, custom pistons, cams, and bearings; all of this points to a likely output north of 500 hp. This car is just begging to be driven, but as it sits for sale on Bring a Trailer with no reserve, it will take the right person to finish the build—in all likelihood a Honda or Lancia diehard.
Bidding ends on June 24. Is this your dream project car to finish? What other unexpected tribute car would you put a Honda K24 into? Comment below.