In 1986 the regulations, for the World Rally Championship were changed, effectively restricting it to Group A cars, of which 5000 had to be produced within a 12 month period. Lancia’s Delta HF 4WD looked to have potential within these new rules, and so it proved. It won the manufactures World Championship in its first year if competition, more than living up to its designers dream’s of success. In the quest for more power, Lancia developed an up rated version of the HF 4WD called the Integrale, which could be identified by its flared wheel arches to accommodate a wider track and fatter tyres. Developing 185 bhp from its 8 valve engine, this car stunned drivers with its uncanny grip and handling, and was in such demand that many more than the 5000 cars required for homologation were built. A 16 valve version identification by its bonnet bulge upped the stakes even further, giving 200 bho and pushing the car’s straight line speed into the realms of the super car. It boasted an impressively fast 6.0 second 0-60 mph (96 km/h) time and a top speed of 135 mph (316 km/h).
There was a final run of Evoluzione I and II Intergrales with 210 bhp and finally 215 bhp, with yet bigger wheels and various skirts and spoilers to help reduce drag. Perhaps the ultimate in hot hatchbacks, the Integrale will be remembered as one of the greatest driver’s cars of all time.