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.
While the original Stratos made good use of its mid-mounted 190-horsepower V-6, the new version uses the same 510-horsepower 4.3-liter DOHC V-8 from the 430 Scuderia. It's slightly reworked with new engine management, exhaust manifolds, and high-flow catalytic convertors. The builders haven't given a definitive power or torque rating yet, but acceleration from 0-200 kph is claimed in less than 10 seconds, which puts it in a class above most supercars. The Nissan GT-R does 0-200 kph in 11.3 seconds, for comparison.
Given the car's rally pedigree, handling and braking were as much -- if not a greater -- concern as acceleration. Former F1 driver Tiago Monteiro was brought in as a test driver to do final tuning on the Stratos. With the shortened wheelbase and 175-pound-lower curb weight, every aspect of the suspension geometry had to be addressed. New spring rates were selected and the electro-hydraulic dampers were recalibrated. Different suspension modes are selectable from a steering wheel-mounted control, allowing the driver to dial in the car based on the type of driving they are doing. Even a dream car has to be able to perform multiple duties.
The braking package on the Stratos also puts the classic car to shame. The Brembo system consists of 15.7-inch front rotors with six-piston calipers and 13.8-inch rotors with four-piston calipers at the rear. After testing a large selection of tire and wheel sizes, along with different brands and models, it was decided that 19-inch wheels in 9- and 11-inch widths would perform best. Dunlop Sport Maxx tires in 265/30/19 in front and a largish 315/30/19 in the rear were selected for multi-surface performance. Again, no actual performance numbers are given, but numbers better than that of the 430 Scuderia (we recorded a 60-to-0 stopping distance of 93 feet during our test of the Ferrari) is not an unreasonable assumption.
Right now, the Stoscheks' Stratos is a one-off, but with the cult following of the original Stratos, it may not stay that way for long. During the development phase of the project, all bespoke parts were designed and drafted to standards that would allow for easy production tooling later on. With the 430 now out of production, it would probably come down to modifying existing cars, unless Ferrari has something up its sleeve. Either way, it would be hard to even begin to estimate a price point or a production number. One thing that's not hard to estimate is the enthusiasm and interest in the re-imagined Stratos, which has become an Internet sensation. We're betting photos of it already adorn more than a few bedroom walls.