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THE HOLY GRALE (some text hidden)
BY ANDY ENRIGHT
Introductionword count: 125
If ever a manufacturer could afford to rest on its laurels it was Lancia circa 1996. The Group S and Group B categories of international rallying had just been cancelled and its Delta HF 4WD had just easily beaten all comers to take the 1996 World Rally Championship in its very first season. Few realised what was to come. The Delta HF Integrale would evolve over the next six years into one of the most potent road and rally weapons ever and went on to not only carve a place in automotive history but also acted as a halo model, propping Lancia up through some very thin times. Used Integrales are now getting very collectible indeed. Just make sure you know what you're looking at.
Modelsword count: 17
Models Covered: 5 DOOR HATCHG 2.0-LITRE PETROL (BASE, 16V, EVOLUTION, '5' & '6' SPECIAL EDITIONS, EVOLUTION II)
Historyword count: 279
The Delta HF Integrale owes much of its existence to the HF 4WD model launched in 1986. Fitted with a 165bhp 2.0-litre engine with turbocharger and overboost, this 'narrow body' car was, in many respects a quasi-Integrale and represenst the value pick for those looking to avoid the big mark ups many vendors slap on a 'true' Integrale. The first of these cars was the 185bhp Integrale. Identifiable by its more aggressive blistered wheelarches, this car was fitted with an intercooler, twin balancer shafts and an integrated electronic injection management system. An instant success despite only being offered in left hand drive guise, the Integrale spawned a number of copycats. The most significant change in the Integrale's history camne in May 19889 when it adopted a 16-valve cylinder head. This yielded 200bhp and a hydraulic clutch, an ABS braking system, wider wheels and tyres were fitted. Purists loved this car due to the fact that, for the first time, a majority of torque was directed to the rear wheels. This model was replaced in October 1991 by the Integrale Evolution with wider wheel arches and wider track front and rear. The suspension was revised and the brakes and the steering were also beefed up. With 210bhp on tap, the Integrale Evolution was a genuinely rapid car. Special edition Integrale '5' and '6' cars were launched to celebrate Lancia's success in the 1991 and 1992 World Rally Championships but it wasn't until June 1993 that the next significant change occurred. The Evolution II was launched packing 215bhp with the Final Edition models being sold in November 1994, the Integrale then passing into automotive history with over 44,000 examples sold worldwide.
What You Getword count: 188
Given the strength of its reputation and the many iterations available, it's easy to forget that the Delta HF Integrale was only on sale for six years. The pace of change during these six years was, to say the least, frenetic and the original 'Grale was a very different beast to the last of the line Evolution IIs. Many buyers will prefer the anti-lock brakes fitted optionally to the 16v versions and the added performance and tractability of the multivalve engine won many buyers over. Unless you buy a car that's been converted after sale, the Integrale has its steering wheel on the left hand side. This doubtless deterred many potential customers who relished the opportunity to get out and overtake a bunch of stuff but didn't fancy the tentative peek into the oncoming. The Integrale is rare in offering uncompromised rally-replica thrills with the added practicality of five doors. Yes, it is a little tight in the back but when all's said and done it's a five-door supermini and is as capable of doing the weekly shop as it is blasting around a Forestry Commission gravel track.
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