Potential Purchase of the Week: 1993 Lancia Delta Integrale Evoluzione II
Although the brand's future is currently in question, there's no denying Lancia has built some impressive road cars over the course of its 104-year history. We're particularly smitten with the Lancia Delta Integrale, a street-legal rally weapon, so it's not that surprising we've picked this 1993 Integrale Evoluzione II as our Potential Purchase of the Week.
The mundane Delta hatchback entered production in 1979, but things went from mild to wild in 1985, when Lancia prepared an extensively-customized version, the Delta S4, for Group B rally racing. Unfortunately, Group B was cancelled in 1986, but that didn't stop Lancia's rallying efforts. In 1987, Lancia entered Group A rallying with an Abarth-prepped Delta HF 4WD in 1987, and ended up winning both the constructor's and drivers' championships that year.
Lancia pushed the Delta's racing development further, but to officiate the car for rally racing, the automaker had to build street-legal versions of the car to sell to the general public. Enter the Delta Integrale, which was developed purely as a homologation car, and thanks to stringent Group A regulations, virtually mirrored the race machine. An updated Integrale, dubbed the Evoluzione, appeared in 1991 with a little more power, but the ultimate Delta came in 1993, when the Evoluzione II model was launched.
Evo II models used a version of the turbocharged, 16-valve, 2.0-liter I-4 introduced back in 1988, but Lancia fitted the engine with a smaller turbocharger to cut turbo lag. Despite the smaller turbo, the engine produced 215 horsepower (up 5 horsepower from the first Evoluzione) and 229 pound-feet of torque. Power was sent to a five-speed manual gearbox to Lancia's permanent four-wheel-drive setup, which usually sent about 53 percent of its power to the rear wheels.
Why would I want one?
The Integrale may not be as wild as a street-legal Group B car, but it's still a remnant from some of rallying's most wild (and enjoyable) days. Although somewhat removed from the actual rally circuit, the Integrale Evoluzione II is a celebration of the car's success on the gravel, snow, mud, and whatever else was thrown underneath the tires. Sure, it may not be quite as powerful as its race-spec brethren, but its revised engine -- and reduced turbo lag -- also means it's a lot easier to drive on the street than previous homologation versions of the Integrale.
Why wouldn't I want one?
Ever have a hard time attempting to register your new purchase at the DMV or the Secretary of State? Attempting to do the same for the Integrale here in the U.S. will prove to be much more difficult, and outright impossible in California. In Canada -- where the car is currently registered -- import regulations are much more lenient. Here, you'd have to jump through an incredible number of hurdles to even attempt to attain a show and display exemption, and then you'd be limited to driving the car a meager 2500 miles per year. Those seeking a street-legal rally machine that can also be used as a daily driver may instead wish to simply seek out Subaru's WRX STI or Mitsubishi's Lancer Evolution X -- not only is it easier to find and service these cars here in the U.S., but buying a new example may be about as expensive as bringing this Delta south of the border...