|1994 Lancia Delta HF Integrale Evoluzione II
|1993–94 (Evo II)
|2,481 (365 Bianco Perlato Special Edition in 1994)
|Original List Price:
|Tune Up Cost:
|Chassis Number Location:
|Right-hand-side radiator core support
|Engine Number Location:
|Stamped on block behind oil filter
|American Lancia Club
|1993–2000 Subaru WRX STi, 1992–2007 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, 1980–86 Renault 5 Turbo
This car, Lot 199, sold for $137,500, including buyer’s premium, at RM Sotheby’s Online Only: Open Roads, North America auction, July 23–30, 2020.
The Lancia Delta started off in 1979 as a basic hatchback economy car that looked like an ungainly knock-off of the Volkswagen Rabbit. Both vehicles had been penned at Design Giugiaro, so a bit of family resemblance is not surprising. But unlike Volkswagen, Lancia developed the Delta platform for FIA Rally competition, ultimately creating what is arguably the winningest WRC car in history.
Successive iterations of the Delta with all-wheel drive brought Lancia the aforementioned six consecutive manufacturer’s titles, which remains a world record. The Delta also delivered four driver’s championships and racked up a total of 46 WRC victories in its era.
Homologation and capitalization
Like any automaker, Lancia wasn’t in rally racing for fun. Riffing on their successful rally cars increased home-market Delta sales by 42% in the first year of its championship. Lancia continued to capitalize on the Delta’s success by releasing street versions of the Delta HF 4WD and later Integrale models. These served two purposes: FIA homologation to keep the car eligible for competition through the required public sales, as well as serving as the brand’s halo.
It didn’t hurt that the Delta HF line was also fantastic to drive, in contrast to its Audi Sport Quattro rival, which is said to be quite a handful. From the beginning of the homologation models in 1987 to the end of the line in 1994, Lancia sold 44,296 units of the Delta HF Integrale, far in excess of the number required to qualify for competition.
The theory of Evoluzione
The Delta’s storied rally career came to an end in 1992. Competition from Europe and Asia overtook the older platform, and Lancia retired with its laurels after the 1993 WRC season. The company had already released the Delta HF Integrale Evoluzione I in late 1991 for the 1992 model year. This was the last model used to homologate a rally car, and included a host of mundane but collectively important engine, brake, suspension and steering upgrades from the older Integrales.
The final and greatest iteration of the Delta platform was released in 1993 and produced through the 1994 model year. The Evoluzione II featured a 2.0-liter Fiat-derived engine making 215 horsepower and 232 foot-pounds of torque courtesy of an updated engine-management system that also included advanced knock control and a water-cooled turbocharger. The engine was mounted transversely at the front of the car, with a 5-speed manual transmission and the same AWD system Lancia had been using previously. The front differential was open and the rear included a Torsen limited slip, with the torque split of the center diff slightly biased to the rear.
Visible updates included new Recaro sport seats, a MOMO steering wheel and snappy red crinkle finish on the engine’s cam covers. The Evo II, as it was shortly called, would hit 60 miles per hour in 5.7 seconds on its way to a governed top speed of 137 mph.
The price delta on the Delta
As a generation raised on hot hatches have made them more popular in the collector world, the Lancia Delta Evo and Evo II have seen a smart rise in prices, with some interesting trends. Back in September 2017, we covered a 1993 Evo II that sold for $52,797 (SCM# 6836149), which was in line with comparable sales at the time. Prices have taken a big jump since then, with one particular street example hitting $170,000 later in 2017 (SCM# 6853713) and then fetching $162,000 in 2019 (SCM# 6909670). Actual Group A rally cars sell for much higher prices.
That’s the high end. However, most Lancia Delta Evos are still selling in the mid five figures. Earlier Integrales tend to go for less yet, offering some affordable buying opportunities on still-great sports cars.
This May, RM Sotheby’s Online Only: Driving Into Summer auction saw a nice Evo II attract a high bid of only $70,000, failing to sell at that price (SCM# 6933107). On the other hand, RM Sotheby’s June auction in Europe had a stunning yellow Evo II that sold for $101,111. (SCM# 6933696) Over on Bring a Trailer, a 1994 Bianco Perlato (Lot 21580) sold for $101,101 in August 2019. Those auctions establish a good baseline for this sale.
Restored, with provenance
Conventional wisdom in modern collecting is that “original” is greater than “restored.” However, many Lancia Deltas have seen multiple owners who loved them nearly to death. Unlike rare vehicles that were clearly always going to pass from collector to collector, it’s not uncommon to see some miles on a Delta, and evidence of enthusiastic driving. Naturally we’re seeing those cars undergo restoration before crossing the block. This is one such example.
According to the auction listing, this Bianco Perlato special edition received a full restoration courtesy of former rally champion Massimo “Miki” Biasion, who won his pair of driver’s championships behind the wheel of a Works Delta. Biasion’s personal grille badge still adorns the front end. The car is presented in as-new condition, with the odometer reset and showing 237 km. The auction listing doesn’t mention the actual mileage on the chassis, though it might be discernable to the new owner from the restoration photos included with the sale.
Famous prior ownership does confer some value, and if you wanted a fresh Evo II to drive, this one was a great choice. Further, restoration doesn’t seem to knock the value of these cars at all. RM Sotheby’s failed sale in May was an original car, while the successful European sale in June was a restoration. For the Lancia Delta HF Integrale Evoluzione II, at least right now, originality isn’t nearly as important as getting your hands on the best car that can be had. ♦
(Introductory description courtesy of RM Sotheby’s.)