It’s a shame when pioneering companies are left to rot and die. Remember Kodak, Polaroid, and Blockbuster? It happens in the car industry plenty of times— MG, Saab, DeLorean, and Pontiac all come to mind. But perhaps the most tragic of all is Lancia. While still technically around, gone are the days of World Rally Championship victories and charismatic road cars. Instead it’s now stuck making tarted up Fiats and rebadged Chryslers, a shadow of what it used to be.
One man in the outskirts of Milan wants to change all that.
Meet Eugenio “Genio” Amos, a man on a mission to make Lancia not suck anymore. It’s by no means a small feat, but Genio’s knowhow and passion for Lancia is a good indication that he’s the man for the job. His company, Automobili Amos, have a very special project in the works that might just bring life back into Lancia.
It’s all very easy for keyboard warriors on the internet to cry about the loss of certain brands, cars, or engines but not actually doing anything proactive about it. We all want to save naturally aspirated engines and manual transmissions, but we can’t go out and buy them all. Automobili Amos, however, actually has a plan and are setting out to accomplish it.
Before talking to me about his Lancia Delta project, Genio showed me around his incredible garage. This is where he’ll be showing customers and potential customers the final product. A quick look around you can immediately tell this is a man who has petrol running through his veins.
From a jaw-dropping supercar collection to trophies from his racing days including an overall win at Lamborghini Super Trofeo, helmets, books, model cars, and art scattered around the place, Genio’s garage is the man cave of dreams.
It’s hard to know where to begin to look with all these incredible things around you but I’ll start with my favorite, the CLK GTR. If you haven’t noticed already, Genio loves him a good homologation special, and the CLK GTR has to be one of the ultimate Benzes. Only 25 of these were made, 19 coupes and six roadsters. This one is car eight.
It was originally owned by a Japanese collector before being bought by a French lawyer who didn’t even drive it a meter. But Genio proudly states none of his cars are garage queens. The CLK GTR gets driven the least simply because it’s the most difficult but he takes it out around five to six times a year, which isn’t too bad considering three to four months a year are cold wintery months.
When he does take his cars out he’s not afraid to use them properly.
“I like driving fast,” he said. “And I’ll continue to drive fast for the rest of my life.”
This Bentley Continental was commissioned by Carlo Talamo, the Harley-Davidson distributor in Italy back in the ‘80s. Thirty years ago, commissioning a one-off car like this was all but unheard of. Nowadays, throw a bit of money around and any manufacturer will happily build you a ‘one-of-one’.
All the work was done by Mulliner Park Lane but imagine their reaction when they were asked to remove two headlights and replace them with grilles, paint the fans yellow, remove the back seats and install a roll cage, have the engine tuned by Cosworth, and line the trunk with quilted leather.
It was also the first time a Bentley badge was painted in a color other than red or black. The whole order cost around 1 billion Lira in 1996. “I believe this car should never leave Italy,” Genio says unequivocally.
Clearly, Talamo was a man Genio looked up to, and keeping this car alive is a way he can honor his memory.
Then we get to the two green supercars. It’s no secret Genio loves green. The whole garage is basically a shrine to color. His 997 GT2 RS in British Racing Green and F40 in Verde Abetone were done by Automobili Amos and are “statements” of what is possible.
Both cars were repainted and reupholstered “with respect”. The quality of the painty is exceptional, perhaps even beyond that from OEM. The attention to detail is just as impressive, take the GT2 RS as an example. The interior was redone in green and purple tartan, while the red door pull was replaced with a black one as the red didn’t match. Sourcing the door pull took some time but got it in the end.
The F40 was originally red, and is Genio’s second F40. After selling his first one for a nice profit he got this 5,000 km example. And it’s a legit Ferrari color, too—Verde Abetone was a popular chouce in the ‘70s and ‘80s.
Unlike other F40s, the carbon weave can’t be seen through the paint, something Genio points out proudly. The interior is done in brown Alcantara from Schedoni, an official Ferrari supplier. All the work on this car took about 4 months to do.
Then, finally, we get to the Lancias. The Delta Integrale Martini 6 was the car that started it all for him. But as much of a fan as of the Delta, even he admits it’s not perfect. He points out the panel gaps, the strange layout of the spare tire in the trunk, and the interior is “so ugly it’s beautiful.”
He’s also got a Delta S4, another homologation special. To look like it was meeting homologation rules, Lancia used that infamous trick of showing the cars at one factory then moving the same cars to another location.
Genio’s S4 currently needs some suspension work, but one thing to note about this particular car is it’s still wearing the original Abarth plates.
Which brings us to his Automobili Amos passion project: the Delta Futurista. Basically, it’s a restomod, like the Eagle E-Type and what Singer does with 911s, but with the Lancia Delta.
There are three targets for this project; to make the Delta a modern supercar, increase power and and spread the power curve, reduce weight and up the quality to modern standards. But don’t ask about the total power or overall weight, that’s not the point of this car.
It doesn’t actually have a real purpose—it’s not meant to be the fastest or most luxurious. It’s just something cool. Genio points out nothing in his garage makes sense or has a purpose. He simply wanted to give customers something nice to look at in the garage made with style and passion.
Judging from his personality and garage, there’s a lot of style and passion to back up this project. It’s quite rare these days to have a car company follow the singular vision of its founder, perhaps a couple of boutique manufactures such as Pagani and Koenigsegg being the exceptions.
It’s a full on Italian project. The design is done by BorromeodeSilva in Milan, engineering by Podium Advanced Technologies in Turin, and upholstery by Aras in Turin. The brakes are supplied by Brembo, engine internal mechanics by Autotecnica Motori, electrics by Magneti Marelli Motorsport and custom wheels by EvoCorse.
As Genio says, “If they can do it in California and England, we can do it better in Italy. We have something money can’t buy: taste.”
You can either take your Delta or ask Automobili Amos to source one for you. They’ll strip it down to its bare shell and rebuild it from the ground up as a new car with modern materials such as aluminum and carbon fibre.
The MacPhearson front suspension will be replaced with machined double-wishbone front suspension and machined rear suspension. The aim was to make this Delta oversteer more instead of understeer and improve structural performance.
The Futurista will be limited to 20 examples, plus one for Genio himself. Automobili Amos is also a way for Genio to protest against certain supercar and hypercar manufacturers who claim to make a limited number of cars but end up making more than they promised. He also says options will be no-cost, as it doesn’t cost him more to manufacturer a different material or paint job. A direct jab at the Prancing Horse. Automobili Amos is aiming to offer a intimate purchasing process than larger manufactures. That certainly seems to be the trend in bespoke cars these days.
Because the base car is a Delta, essentially a car from the ‘80s-‘90s, it’s already homologated and won’t have any issues being brought in to the United States. Genio said he’d like the 20 customers to be like friends and family with similar interests and tastes in cars. He’s already got three orders and that’s before the car has been shown.
It was supposed to be unveiled at the Villa d’Este Concours but it wasn’t 100 percent ready. Being the perfectionist he is, he didn’t want to show a half-arsed car so he decided to pull out of the concours. Genio describes his approach to the project has having “eclectic Italian style and Japanese precision.”
The first car should be ready to be shown within the next month.
One thing’s for sure: it won’t be launched in the usual way. Genio likes to do things differently, as is evident in his garage. He’s realized the potential of social media with all promotion done through his Instagram page. The first renders of the Futurista were shown on his page as Automobili Amos doesn’t have a physical website. In fact, his first customers only knew about him on Instagram. Since being on Instagram, Genio has been responsible for the uptake in appreciation of both Lancia and green cars.
Genio hopes for Automobili Amos to grow into a full fledged car manufacturer. The restomod approach was a safe first step to this goal. Here’s hoping the Futurista will be a great start to what I believe is a great movement. Genio and Automobili Amos are a force to be reckoned with and one to keep a close eye on in the future.