1986 Lancia Delta

€788,800 ($949,321)
Sale Price
€600,000 - €800,000
Est. Range
5 February 2021
Sold Date
Lot Number
Competition restoration
Auction House
Chassis no. 227. White with Martini graphics over dark blue. 1759-cc turbocharged and supercharged four, 5-speed, all-wheel drive, Sparco seats, Sabelt harnesses.

Evaluation: Finished second at the 1986 Memorial Bettega rally with Miki Biasion, but Group B was banned shortly after. Then bought by Bruno Saby and campaigned in the 1988 French Rallycross Championship. Later restored to its works Lancia Martini livery. Since used sparingly during its time on museum display and will need recommissioning. The interior looks largely original and the engine bay is a bit dirty, but a rally car shouldn’t be too shiny, anyway.

Bottom Line: Lancia’s Delta S4 was perhaps the most extreme and the most clever car of the Group B era. The first Lancia rally car to embrace all-wheel drive with a state-of-the-art three-differential rear-biased system, it also features a twin-charge system for the engine that combines a Volumex supercharger for boost at lower rpms with a KKK turbocharger for boost at higher revs. Legend has it that during testing for the Rallye de Portugal, an S4 lapped Estoril fast enough to qualify in the top 10 for that year’s F1 race. The S4 is also the car that effectively killed Group B, as Henri Toivonen’s fatal crash at the 1986 Tour de Corse was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

On the collector car market, the Delta S4 was the first Group B era car to sell for seven figures, with a like-new road car selling for €1,040,000 ($1,166,000) at the RM Sotheby’s Essen sale in 2019. Otherwise, though, high six figures has been the norm, and this result looks like a very strong number given the car’s limited competition history and all the attention that it needs. For reference, the S4 that won the 1985 RAC Rally sold for £764,375 (about $979,000 at the time) at RM Sotheby’s London in 2019 and the car that won the 1986 Halkidiki Rally sold for €770,000 ($885,115) through an RM “Online Only” auction last year.

by Andrew Newton
12 February 2021
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