The Stratos HF, created in association with the Lancia Reparto Corse, was launched on the Bertone stand at the Turin Motor Show at the beginning of November 1971.
The demo car mounted the rear mid-engine of the Ferrari Dino, but it was not until 2 February 1972, after the Lancia Fulvia’s victory at the Montecarlo Rally, that Enzo Ferrari joined forces with Lancia’s General Manager Pierugo Gobbato to sign the agreement for the supply of 500 Ferrari engines for the standard production of the Lancia Stratos.
Born from the genius of Nuccio Bertone and the intuition of Cesare Florio, and supported by the abilities of an outstanding Lancia team, the legendary Lancia Stratos dominated Seventies rallying.
The heart of this highly successful car was its engine: the V6 of the Ferrari Dino 246 “Tasmania”, which the tests performed by the Lancia HF team for the Tour de France had already identified as optimal, given the power and reliability that had propelled the Ferrari single-seater to victory in the Tasman Series, in Australia and New Zealand, with Chris Amon and Graeme Lawrence.
credit – Thesupermat
Mid-mounted in a transverse position in the tight rear compartment, the engine supplied both the rear-wheel drive and made it possible to achieve the weight distribution required by the car’s design. It was the heart of a real racing beast (the French nicknamed it the “bête à gagner”).
Lancia decided to give official support to only two Italian teams, Jolly Club of Milan headed by Roberto Angiolini, and Scuderia Grifone of Genoa, with Luigi Tabaton, to avoid spreading its budget too thinly over the lower-category championships.
To reinforce the teams’ technical preparation, they were provided with solid technical support. As part of this policy, Lancia encouraged partnerships with tuners of proven experience, with Michelotto one of the foremost among them.
Their expertise was one of the keys to the success of the Stratos, the Rally Queen.
credit – Dani Nicola
The Michelotto cars achieved some major victories: five Italian Rally Championships and more than thirty overall wins, an impressive tally that was to prove fundamental in Ferrari’s decision to award the firm the project for the preparation of the 308 rally.
These successes are linked to unforgettable stories and names from the Italian ‘70s rallying scene. Amongst the many drivers who took the wheel of Michelotto cars are two who really fired up the hearts of Italian rallying fans: Adartico Vudafieri and Antonio Fassina.
In 1976 Adartico Vudafieri, aka “Vuda”, then at the beginning of his career, was assigned a Michelotto Lancia Stratos and drove it to victory in the National Rally Championship, winning 4 races: the Rally Colline di Romagna, the Giro della Campania, the Rally 333 Minuti and the Rally del Gargano. This season laid the foundations for the spectacular career that made Vudafieri a household name in Italy.
In 1977 Vuda continued his upward progression and grew his reputation by winning the Rally del Ciocco and achieving coveted placings such as second in the Rally Campagnolo and Rally delle Alpi Orientali and third and fourth respectively in the Rally Colline di Romagna and the Rally di Sicilia, paired on this occasion with Massimo de Antoni.
Also in 1976, the Scuderia del Grifone assigned another Michelotto car to the pairing of Fassina and Mannini. That year, Antonio Fassina, known on the circuit as “Tony”, drove his Michelotto car to victory in the first Italian Rally Championship, giving ample proof of his talent, which he was to consolidate in the following years, becoming the first rally driver not a member of an official team to win prestige victories at the national and international level, some of them in World Championship events.
As well as these two Rallying icons, mention must also be made of Anna Cambiaghi, who, in 1979, drove the Michelotto Team’s Stratos to her second victory in the Coppa CSAI Femminile Rallies Internazionali, one of many splendid achievements in the career of this incredible, eclectic driver, which also included participation at Le Mans and victory in the “Trucks” category of the “Trans-Africa” Rally in 1980.
The Stratos prepared by Michelotto (and others) owed its unique sound to an exhaust system developed in-house, next door to the Ferrari factory at Maranello, by the DueErre firm run by the Ruini family, which was making a name for itself in Italy as the only outfit with the know-how to prepare the fuel tanks and exhausts of racing cars aiming for victory in the domestic and international championships. The seed from which the partnership between Michelotto and Ferrari grew was also the point of origin for the motorsport section of Due Erre’s exhaust system division, Tubi Style.
Tubi Style drew on the technical experience gained on the fantastic, iconic Stratos project to realise a series of specific parts for the Ferrari Dino 246 that deliver unrivalled performances.