Classifieds Hero: Lancia Delta 2.0 Evo II

You've got £40k to spend on a car – forget trawling the showrooms for contemporary models, it's a Lancia Delta Evo II you really want. Here's why

Let’s face facts. Lancia was once the sexiest brand on the planet. Before the unpleasant sounding and unearthly looking Yspilon presented itself with the aesthetics of a Chrysler PT Cruiser post-liposuction, the legendary Turin marque churned out no end of masterpieces.

From the celebrated Stratos to the Ferrari-powered Thema, Lancia utilised the Italian spirit to craft vehicles that clung to your soul and powered your heart.

Their modern day offerings may boil down as Fiats wearing dinner jackets, but every so often you clock an older sibling that reminds you of Lancia’s engineering innovation and sheer lunacy. Long before Subaru introduced their tarmac-snorting road rally cars or BMW honed their ‘M badge’ dynasty, Lancia had proven that race technology could be gracefully injected into a stylish identity that left lesser vehicles diving for the nearest hedgerow.

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Cars such as the Lancia Delta Integrale; which not only dominated the Group B rally scene but also claimed every enthusiast’s devotion before powersliding into the cultural status chamber as a true automotive icon. However, while this is all well and good for those hailing the Lancia mantra, it means those of us on a budget can only dream.

If you want a good one where tin worm hasn’t yet killed all structural integrity, it will set you back well over £45k – which is one of the main reasons this steroid-canary yellow example caught our eye. You may still baulk at the £39,995 price tag, but this is so much car for the money that you’ll question ever having to purchase a new car again.

For less than a showroom-fresh Audi RS6 Avant or RS7 Sportsback, the Delta provides enough punch to keep drivers of all abilities amused with more grip on tarmac than Donald Trump has on reality. It may not come with a manufacturer warranty, but neither does it arrive devoid of soul and charisma.

Last century’s Italian electronics may develop a life of their own and finetuning the drivetrain can be a task worthy of Saint Peter’s fortitude, but for feeling alive behind the wheel of genuine rally pedigree, very little rivals the chiselled lines of the Lancia Delta.

From a standstill to 60mph takes little over 5.5 seconds, continuing on to a top speed of 137mph. There’s 200bhp under the bonnet and 224ft lb of torque, not to mention the famous four-wheel drive system capable of ripping your face off.

While a recently built Mercedes-Benz AMG could trounce these figures for breakfast, it would do so with the same flair offered by your chemistry teacher during the school sports day. The Lancia, on the other hand, would deal the same adrenaline and brutality served up from a pub crawl with the late Oliver Reed.

This particular example is an Evo II, finished in Ginster Yellow, packed with enough kit to ensure conviviality on road and steely determination off the beaten track. Besides inbuilt satellite navigation and the customary CD player, a full rollcage has been installed alongside strut braces front and rear.

There’s also an upgraded paddle clutch, Twin Sparco Corsa Racing Seats, an HKS Induction Kit, lashings of Samco hoses and a SARD fuel regulator. Not enough? Did we mention that it’s also surprisingly low-mileage? Suddenly the asking price doesn’t seem steep after all…

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