The few hours on Friday when car enthusiasts thought the Lancia name was to be killed by act of Fiat was a sad, sad time. No one really knows why, because when was the last time any of us even drove a Lancia? I don't think I've ever been near one in my whole life.
There's one I'm dying to get my hands on, though. The Delta Integrale.
The only way a Delta Integrale could be more up my alley is if the trunk came fully loaded with cashmere sweaters and was featured in some movie by a hot journalist. This is a true pocket rocket, hot hatch, supremely fast machine with rally breeding and a dose of practicality. Small hatch, big turbo. I'm there.
Take a standard, humdrum Delta hatchback and stick it with four-wheel drive and a boosted four-pot. Between 1988 and 1995, it had somewhere between 185 and 215 horsepower and 0-60 times somewhere below the six-second mark. WRX enthusiasts may howl, but this is the four-wheel drive turbo hatch to covet. It won an astonishing 46 championship rally titles.
The Integrale was also the last proper Lanica to many people, even though it shared bits and pieces from the Fiat parts bin. But it wasn't cast in this entry-level luxury role that it is now, especially now that future Lancias are twinned with Chryslers. I don't see a second coming of the Integrale and that's a good thing, because there's no sullying of this turbocharged brute of a hatch I would give a kidney or two to own.
And that's what many of them cost, given a recent look at eBay UK. As the early 8-valve cars reach that important 25-year age soon, I'm thinking of ways I can get one here. At the moment, I'm thinking the best plan is to marry someone who's rich and understands Italian car service manuals.
If you don't believe us, believe Top Gear.
Photo credit Exfordy