We anointed Pete Krehbiel the "Real Most Interesting Man In The World" after he managed to legally import a Ford Focus RS. Now an admittedly hungover Krebs emailed us details of his latest conquest: a basketcase Lancia Stratos replica.
It would be easy to break all of the emails from Pete down into one easy-to-digest feature for your consumption, but you'd miss how hilarious an adventure this is. The car may not be an original Stratos, but it's certainly the most Stratosesque car you're going to be able to find and race for under $500K.
The "Most Impractical" Car I Own
Record number of rally wins in the 70's. Awful color, sickenly bad vinyl interior, RHD (Right Hand Drive), unbelievably bad Ricer wheels and tires, not one working electrical system, light or instrument, scary Italian mid-engine Alfa Romeo V6, tiny wheelbase, vague braking, twitchy steering, totally terrifying handling... love it!
Unseats my Focus RS as the newest and unseats my Lotus Exige for the title of "most impractical" car I own by a gigantic margin!
Waking up at 5am with a crippling hangover courtesy of the Shaw's Royster with the Oyster this morning I flew and then drove up 200 miles North of Toronto today to mechanically inspect it, drive it, and as it turned out buy the Stratos... I may live to regret this one!
I'm pretty sure I was still drunk when I bought the car...
FYI, you should know it is not one of the 492 authentic Stratos built between '73 and '75 which go for $450,000-$500,000. It is a Hawk HF3000 kit car, which is a hyper accurate recreation of the original Stratos, to the point where Hawk supplies all the replacement body shell and frame repair parts for all the real Stratos.
I hunted down the guy who owned this one about 200 miles north of Toronto, literally in the middle of nowhere. It was so back in the sticks Google didn't even recognize it as a real location! Anyway, I flew up there today with my mechanic at 5am brutally hungover after a big night of single malt scotch indulgence last night. I'm pretty sure I was still drunk when I bought the car... I mean how else can I explain buying a car with no working electrical system, brakes that are purely decorative, a clutch that most closely resembles the smell of my burnt pancakes, an Alfa Romeo V6 that sounds like your loose change for the tollbooth is rattling around inside it, and steering so twitchy that I almost spun the car at 20 mph?!?!?
I always loved the Stratos and think that the design still looks futuristic 40 years on. The Alitalia livery that it won the '77 Rallye Monte-Carlo in is my absolute favorite. The car is currently set up for right hand drive, which I initially didn't think was a big deal since I used to live in Singapore and got used to driving RHD cars, but after driving it I'm thinking I'll be lucky to keep this thing between the lines with both hands on the wheel let alone just my right hand, so I may switch it. When I get done with it, I think it will be a really stunning tribute to Lancia. The real stumper is who goes for Lancia Stratos and then puts God awful cheap chrome rims and shitty rubber on the thing?! You just have a hard time imagining the guy who like both those looks.... it's a mystery to me, but those wheels will be in the dustbin as soon as it rolls off the transport!
It is nice to see the Stratos back in the limelight, with the 40th birthday of its concept unveiling this year, the Top Gear Episode, and the rumors of a potential revived and reinterpreted limited production production run of 430 or 458 based Stratos swirling it seems to be much the belle of the ball these days. Honestly the guys that take the real Stratos out and punish them and throw 'em around in the dirt of historic ralleys are braver than me. Can you imagine power sliding a half a million dollar car around a kink at 120 mph through the gravel... I'm not sure if I would be more scared if it was my car or someone else's!!
One Amazing Postscript
The speed parts arrived last week from the Pumaspeed in the UK to crank the RS from 300 up to 400 hp over the winter... should be fun!
- Imported apparently in 2005 from the UK to British Colimbia, so probably built 2003-2004
- It is an HF3000 since it is powered by an Alfa Romeo 3.0L V6
- I got an Alpha 164 LS thrown in for free for for parts
- Alfa Romeo 3.0L V6
- Rated at 240 hp (but no real proof of that)
- High lift cams
- Rebuilt heads
- Bosch fuel injection
- K&N air cleaner supposed
- Custom built 4 core radiator with dual cooling fans
- Ceramic coated cast headers
- Race quality stainless steel exhausts system and muffler (to British decibel requirements)
- ZF Alfa Romeo 5 speed transaxle with hydraulic clutch
- Rack and pinion steering
- Front suspension adjustable tubular upper and lower control arms
- Lancia/Alfa vented rotors and calipers
- Leda coil over shocks
- Rear suspension fully adjustable struts, fully adjustable control arms
- Lancia/Alfa rotors and calipers
- Leda gas nitrogen shocks
- Tires: Toyo Proxes - Front 245 35ZR18 - Rear 265 35ZR18
- Wheels: Zenetti triple chrome plated alloy - Front 19x7 - Rear 18x8
- Corbeau buckets seats with originals vinyl
- Smith gauges speedo, tach, temp, fuel oil pressure, oil temp
- Steering is a Fiat X19 column with a Mountney wood grain wheel (cracked) and a chrome plated shifter and handbrakes
Rich 4pt harness (seat belts), has heater/defroster
- Has the glass windows for the doors tinted but not installed yet
We're going to keep on this project going forward because, unlike the New Lancia Stratos, this project was born from ingesting copious amounts of good scotch and is therefore as Jalopnik-worthy as they come.