Many enthusiasts dream of driving a Lancia Stratos, but few have been lucky enough to do it. One man is not only fortunate enough to own and race a '70s rally super car, but has the means to also recreate his dream car to his own vision.
Michael Stoschek wasn't satisfied owning and racing a classic Stratos. He and his son Maximilion wanted a recreation of the 1970s rally icon but built to their specifications using modern technology and construction methods. After participating in the building of a design project known as Fenomenon, the duo commissioned legendary design house and coachbuilder Pininfarina to take the project to completion.
The original Lancia Stratos HF was a design and racing legend, winning three consecutive rally championships from 1975 to 1977. It was powered by a 2.4-liter DOHC V-6 normally found in the Ferrari Dino, mounted transversely and mid-ship right behind the passenger compartment. It was quick even by today's standards, sprinting from 0-60 mph in just under 5 seconds. The design was also revolutionary. Originally penned by Bertone, the wedge-shaped body looked more like a spacecraft than the boxy rally cars of the day.
Stoschek felt it necessary to capture the magic of the Stratos, but not necessarily hold firm to all the technical details. His modern Stratos is based on a Ferrari 430 Scuderia platform and drivetrain. The extruded aluminum frame has been shortened, decreasing the 430's wheelbase almost 8 inches. The original roof structure has been removed and replaced with a FIA-Certified rollcage made from inch-and-a-half steel tubing. The rollcage is also bonded to the carbon fiber roof panel, using it as a stress skin to further increase rigidity. The end result is a car that is significantly stiffer and safer than the base 430.
The body of the car keeps the same distinctive shape of straight lines and bulging arcs of the original Stratos. It resembles a wedge stretched over a car chassis that blisters out over tires, passengers, and air intakes. It beautifully mixes exotic and functional elements, staying true to the original. All the exterior components are a high-strength sandwich structure of carbon fiber laid over low-density foam core. The car was tested in Pininfarina's own rolling-road wind tunnel using the aerodynamic balance of the 430 as a development baseline. Different front and rear spoilers were tested in conjunction with different ride heights to find not only handling balance, but the tradeoff between drag and downforce. The final step was to create enough airflow for the heat exchange package as well as brake cooling and feeding the engine. All that testing resulted in the majority of the heat exchangers being located in the front of the car, with engine intake air pulled in from the sides of the roof spoiler.