Owning a Lancia Delta Integrale]
Antonio Damiano, Bedfordshire Antonio runs Auto Sportivo and drives an Integrale Evo I he bought six years ago, ‘I imported the car from Switzerland, where all Integrales featured an eight-valve cylinder head to pass the emissions laws,’ he says. ‘The car was better than described so I got it for a good price, but it needed work. I had to replace the tailgate and driver’s door but the interior was like new and it was in excellent condition underneath. I had to replace the wiper arms at £250 and it took 12 weeks to get a replacement for the cracked windscreen. Mechanically, it just needed a fresh cambelt and full service, which I did myself. Parts are getting scarce and very costly, but if you know the right people you can get most things. A minor service costs £350 and a major is £500-£600; budget £1000 per year if you’re doing 3000 miles annually. The key thing is to change the lubricant every 3000 miles and keep the level topped up – an Integrale engine likes to use oil.’ James Greenwood, Oxon James is another owner who likes to do his own maintenance, although he won’t replace a clutch or any belts because the latter needs a special tool. ‘In 2000 I decided I wanted a car with flared wheelarches – a BMW M3, Porsche 944, Clio Williams or Integrale,’ he recalls. ‘I tried a friend’s Lancia in the rain and was hooked – I went out and bought a 1992 Martini 5. Compared with some modern high-performance cars the Lancia isn’t that quick but it’s still plenty fast enough and you can deploy the power whatever the weather thanks to the four-wheel drive – when the turbo comes in at 2500rpm it’s especially satisfying. It’s small enough to park easily but it’s got a big boot and can easily transport a family of four in comfort. Because I do most of my own maintenance I reckon an annual budget of £300-£500 is all that’s needed, but parts are getting hard to find. I recently needed a new boot lock and couldn’t find one anywhere so I ended up rebuilding the original.’ Phil Charman, Derbyshire As a child and throughout his teenage years, Phil travelled around the UK with his father to watch top-level rallying. Says Phil, ‘By the time I was 18 I’d bought my first Integrale, following in the footsteps of my dad who had recently done the same. I was a student and couldn’t afford an Evo so I bought an eight-valve model instead. That was in 2000 and I’ve still got the car, so it was a good buy.
The eight-valve cars have the power bias towards the front so it’s like an overgrown hot hatch to drive; the 16-valve models have a rear bias. The 8v also has a bigger turbo so there’s more lag but it’s more thrilling to drive.
‘My car was mothballed for a while but in 2017 I rebuilt it and now plan to do around 12,000 miles each year. Potential owners are frightened off by these cars but shouldn’t be because they’re tough and not particularly rust-prone; my car has never been garaged.
‘Running costs are very reasonable and, while some parts are hard to find, availability can be better than is often made out. I’ve budgeted around £2000-£3000 per year for maintenance for covering 12,000 miles, which is a bargain for the performance and fun that’s on offer.’