Jay Leno Is In Love With The Lancia Stratos

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It's absolutely timeless.

If you want something resembling a rally car today, the closest you'll get is a Subaru WRX STI. But once upon a time, eclectic Italian automaker Lancia built a true rally car for the road - the Lancia Stratos HF. As you'll see in the below episode of Jay Leno's Garage, those two letters stand for 'High Fidelity'. Yeah, it was the seventies and Italians are passionate people. There has since been a modern interpretation based on a Ferrari F430 Scuderia, but nothing will ever be quite as raw as the original. And few of the road cars are quite as raw as the one below that has been converted to a true racecar.

Jay Leno's Garage
Jay Leno's Garage
Jay Leno's Garage

It's a 1975 Stratos HF with the two-valve 2.6-liter V6 Ferrari Dino engine. It produces approximately 190 horsepower, but if you think that's an insufficient amount, remember that this is a car that weighs a little over 2,100 pounds. With an engaging five-speed manual gearbox (this the synchromesh version), it's a ridiculously fun car. Interestingly, it seems to have pretty good road manners too, something that is uncommon among racecars. It's even more remarkable because the Stratos was always intended to be a rally car, and little of the design accounted for how a person might use one in the real world.

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Jay Leno's Garage
Jay Leno's Garage
Jay Leno's Garage

Despite this, it has a decently-sized trunk, and although the suspension is described as firm, it isn't crashy. One of just 492 examples produced, this car was owned be John Campion, the man who converted it into a racecar and won rather prolifically with it. Unfortunately, he died of leukemia, and the car is now owned by Stratas Auctions, but his name is still painted on the car. So if you long for the days of mechanical feel, raw noises and feedback, or just iconic design, there's a good chance that this car will go up for sale sometime soon. Whatever happens to it, we hope it continues to get driven and raced.

Jay Leno's Garage
Jay Leno's Garage
Jay Leno's Garage

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