In the Driver’s Seat: Henry Catchpole on the Lancia Delta S4 Stradale


Henry Catchpole is back on his favorite topic: Rallying!

Of all the WRC Group B rally cars, the Lancia Delta S4 is the wildest, which makes the Stradale, or street version, very special indeed. As of filming, this one was for sale with Girardo & Co. and it should be one of around 200 in existence. But it’s not.

Lancia was meant to build a couple of hundred to satisfy the homologation rules of Group B at the time, but someone was clearly a bit lax with their counting, as it’s thought only around 70 or 80 were ever made. This is chassis number 033.

Lancia-Delta-S4 henry catchpole rear three quarter driving action

So, the Delta S4 Stradale is a rare car. It is also a ground-breaking one, because it is the first road car to use twin charging. As the name suggests, that means it has both a supercharger and a turbocharger on its 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine. The idea is that the supercharger helps with response lower down in the rev range, while the turbocharger takes care of producing the big power once the exhaust gases are flowing. You might remember this type of engine from an earlier film on the Hagerty channel with the Kimera EVO37.

Lancia-Delta-S4 henry catchpole engine

It’s not just the engine that makes this different from a regular Delta, either. In fact, only the grille, windscreen, and rear lights are shared parts. The bodywork is largely made up of two huge, spectacular clamshells, while the chassis underneath is a tubular space frame. Inside, however, the S4 is surprisingly comfortable, with good ergonomics, lots of soft Alcantara, and seats by Zagato. To that extent, it’s a world away from its competition counterpart.

The Group B era of rallying is of course known for its wild cars, big crowds, and tragic accidents, and the S4 Corse was really central to the narrative. As we discuss in this film, the S4 was perhaps the most monstrous car of that period. Henri Toivonen was arguably its greatest exponent, and with Sergio Cresto alongside him they took some famous victories. Very sadly, it was also that crew’s demise on Corsica in 1986 that would ensure the end of Group B.

The motorsport stories and the fascinating engineering all add up to an incredible car, which we hope you enjoy seeing and hearing about here.

Lancia-Delta-S4 henry catchpole opened up body chassis




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