Car of 1979: Lan­cia Delta

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - The Way We Were -

Lan­cia had been gen­er­ally thought of as the Ital­ian BMW be­fore the Beta’s rust­ing rep­u­ta­tion put paid to that. In 1979, the Fiat-owned com­pany bounced back with a win­ner, the Delta, which was voted Euro­pean Car of the Year 1980.

De­spite their sim­i­lar­ity to the Strada/Ritmo, Deltas looked and felt rel­a­tively up­mar­ket, with allinde­pen­dent sus­pen­sion and 1.3-litre and 1.5-litre en­gines much breathed on by Lan­cia en­gi­neers with a dif­fer­ent in­let man­i­fold and twin carbs.

All this was of lit­tle con­se­quence be­cause, to most of us, the word ‘Delta’ means one thing: the amaz­ing In­te­grale, with its 2.0-litre tur­bocharged en­gine and per­ma­nent four-wheel drive. The re­sult was a unique blend of per­for­mance and com­mu­nica­tive han­dling.

The In­te­grale didn’t join the range un­til 1987, of course. In 1979, though, all you had was the stan­dard Delta. Mi­nus rust, of course.

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