We're talking about three Monte Winner vehicles that have come to me over the years. The three, Saab 96, Lancia Fulvia and Lancia Delta together have won no less than 9 times the famous Monte Carlo Rally! It's been a long time, but still true.
With me they are, of course not the Winner cars, no, offshoots of them, but at least they still have certain Winner genes in them, I mean at least or imagine, it's like this ... ..
However, when I show up with one of the three at a classic car meeting, the interest is low to zero. The big crowd is looking at 10 a Mercedes Pagoda or a VW Beetle, rather than take a look at this Monte Winner. And they do not know what they miss on their technique and finesse!
Well, let's revive the three again:
In the year 1961, the Saab people tried our Eric Carlsson with a 95er station wagon, because in contrast to the sedan already had the 4 gear transmission to win the Monte Carlo rally. It was not quite enough, another exotic, a Panhard PL17 (who knows the vehicle today?) Was facing the sun.
In the years 1962 and 1963 it worked better then and the fast, intrepid Eric won the rally twice, in front of well-known competitors we Mercedes 220SE or Austin Healy.
We Saab fan of course know, the Eric and Saab won many more rallies, but I think the two Monte profits outshine everything else. My 96er did not win the Rally Monte Carlo, but he is one of the very last, namely a Jubilee or Final Edition from the year 1980 and of which only 300 pieces were supposedly built.
First you have to talk about the fine technique of Fulvia. My Berlina, of course not the Monte Winner car, 1972 had a 5 gearbox and 4-wheel disc brakes. The engine was of the highest construction, an 1300ccm V4 with only 13 degree spread, with 2 overhead camshafts and with two twin carburettors.
The 87 PS unit was well stocked at 6500 RPM. The engine proves to be very reliable and stable. Today I'm still shooting it up to 6000 revolutions, rarely, but he manages that easily. Incidentally, the small V4 from Lancia was also tested by the Saab engineers as a successor to the 2-Tact. He was probably too filigree, or certainly too expensive. It was then the V4 from Ford.
Well, back to the Monte Winner of 1972. There was no Berlina driving there, it was the filigree coupe with the 1600 Hundred HF engine. He had with the fine coupe construction easy game and with Sandro Munari at the wheel, it was 1972 just to victory.
And then came the delta. Yeah, what a Winner guy was that!
When the vehicle 1979 / 80 came on the market (and was car of the year 1980) he looked very similar to the VW Golf. That does not really surprise, because both types were drawn by the master Giugiaro. So it was a very average, even downright vehicle. From a Monte Winner and Rally beast still far away.
That changed in the course of time and the types Delta HF, Delta HF 4WD and then the Integrale came on the market (we are silent about the Rallye Monster S4 here, these were just totally disturbed powerhorses).
The rally successes of the Delta HF 4 WD and Integrale set themselves as of 1985 and were only 1992 ended with the withdrawal of Lancia from Ralley Sport. The success of the deltas is crushing, 6 successive rally world champion (1986 - 1991) and 5 consecutive winner of the Monte (1986 - 1990), with a threefold success 1989.
The forefather of the Integrale, the Delta HF, is standing in my stable with me. It is still a very agile and manoeuvrable car today, 1600ccm DOHC engine with Garett T3 loader yield 132 horsepower which are unleashed onto the front wheels via the 5 gearbox. It's still fun to ride the thing through the narrow streets of the Black Forest.
My Delta HF is built year 1984, so from the first series, which was built only 1983 / 84. Only very few of these vehicles survived. Mine is in good condition. You could improve things everywhere, but the replacement part is difficult and expensive. I say, from the Delta HF 1 series there are no more 20 pieces in the state like mine.
The delta was offered in Sweden for a short time as Saab 600. The success was moderate. The heater proved to be the weak point ... .. Who would have thought that now, an Italian comes to the cold Sweden and brings no real heat in the car. I think you could have known that before.
Anyway. Today, the reality for Saab and Lancia looks very bleak. Saab is dead, so we do not have to fool ourselves and Lancia hangs on some thin Chrysler drip and brings as terrible cars on the market as the Lancia Flavia convertible!
Well, I'm excited about my three nine-time Monte Winner. They are then all mothballed and made fit for hibernation. And in the spring of 2019 it's off to the slopes again.
Until then, always good ride, with whatever and wherever you are on the road!