Monday, August 16, 2010

Stratos: Part Due

Usually, I strongly dislike retro-styled cars. It shows an approach to the design process which is a bit hacked and could be perceived as a bit of a weak attempt to cash in on a brand icon well passed its years. However, there are a few choice vehicles that have managed to not jump the shark in their styling. Cars like the Z8, Ford GT and the one-off Glickenhaus P4/5 - throw a Fiat 500 or MINI Cooper in for good measure. In my mind - these cars have managed to take design cues from historic models added the right mix of modern style to strike a balance of the old and new.

Lancia, maker of all things boring these days from Italy, has delved into their own history books to pull out a little mid-engined gem that won the World Rally Championship 3 years in a row during the mid-1970's. The little Italian car maker has dug into its bag of few remaining tricks to pull out a throw-back model to the amazing Bertone-designed Stratos. Originally, the Statos was a giant leap forward in car design with a very open front windscreen, mid-mounted V6 from the Dino(read first Ferrari V6) and a particularly stumpy wheelbase.

In looking at the modern one - I love it. It's literally just a reinterpretation of the original Stratos. It's a completely hacked design but I love it - perhaps that speaks to the original design of the 1970's Stratos but its a very moving car. What's even better is that it will be built on the now extinct Ferrari F430 chassis with the rumor circulating that the V8 of the 430 finding it's way into the middle of the body of the new Lancia. So, you have nearly 500HP, a very short wheelbase and achingly beautiful design? Kudos to Lancia for building this kind of car in a down economy at a point in which their remaining product line suffers from the lack of personality the Stratos naturally exudes. That takes some serious balls!

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