Evoluzione 2 – Giallo Ginestra
Let’s play a game: think about ‘Italy’ and ‘Rally’. What is the first brand that comes to your mind? Lancia. And I’m pretty sure it would have been the answer even before seeing this article. In 40 years of rally activity Lancia won 11 constructors championsips. Six of these were consecutive ones, from 1987 to 1992, and won by the ‘same’ car: the Delta.
The first Lancia Delta was a five-door hatckback born in 1979 from the pencil of Giorgetto Giugiaro. It wasn’t a very sporty car but, as it happens today, the more spicy variants were introduced later. In those years Lancia was competing in World Rally Championship with their 2WD Group B 037s which was then replaced by the monstrous Delta S4 in 1985, whose life didn’t last long since Group B era came to an end the following year.
In 1987 there was the introduction of the new Group A regulations. In order to have the homologation to run a car in that rally class, a minimum of 2500 road-legal units of the competing model had to be built in one year, out of 25,000 for the entire range of the model. The 1986 Delta HF 4WD, initially conceived only as a sporty 4WD version to be sold to the public, was the right car to be developed for the Group A class.
The car proved to be competitive from its debut by winning, in 1987, both the Constructor and the Drivers Rally World titles. In 1988, after a couple of races it was replaced by the improved Delta HF Integrale ‘8v’, followed by the Delta HF Integrale 16v in 1989. The next major updates will come in 1991 with the Delta HF ‘Evoluzione’ or ‘Evo 1’.
Lancia was able to win the championship with all the different ‘shades’ of Delta introduced during the years. At the end of the 1991 season Lancia announced his retirement from racing, but the Delta domain continued thanks to the technical support of the Jolly Club, the most important Lancia satellite team of the time, which allowed Lancia to win the sixth and last consecutive championship in 1992.
All those winning rally versions had of course their street-legal counterparts, with the ‘Evo 1’ that turned out to be the most iconic one thanks also to some special and rare editions, the Martini 5 and the Martini 6, produced to celebrate respectively the victories of the 5th and 6th world titles.
After the rally withdrawal, Lancia also ends the Delta production by closing the Chivasso plant which was sold to Carrozzeria Maggiora, an Italian coachbuilder formed in 1925 near Turin and associated with Lancia and Fiat brands, but also De Tomaso and Maserati. Maggiora was able to restart the production of the Delta, on behalf of Lancia, and in 1993 they unveiled the ‘Evoluzione 2’ .
It was a car purely built for enthusiasts and public sale till 1995, so there’s not a rally version of the ‘Evo 2’. It’s considered by enthusiasts as the best street-legal Delta of all time even if the purest ones don’t consider the Evoluzione II a “real Lancia”.
In order to push the sales, in addition to the basic colors (Rosso Monza, Bianco and Blu Lord), combined with Alcantara beige interiors, Maggiora decided to produce many special editions mixing different interiors and exteriors combinations.
The ‘Giallo Ginestra’ you see here is one of those. Produced in just 220 examples, the yellow colour is the first thing that stands out. But how do you distinguish an Evo 1 from an Evo 2? First of all, the Evo 2 has body coloured roof mouldings (on the Evo 1 they are of black rubber) and aluminium fuel cap.
Compared to the ‘Evo 1’, some changes were made to the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder 16v turbo engine, increasing the max power to 215 hp at 5,750 rpm and a max torque of 314 Nm at 2,500 rpm. The cylinder head is red-painted.
The rims are new 16″ light alloy ones with 205/45 ZR 16 tyres.
A three-way catalyst and lambda sensor were added in order to comply with Euro 1 anti-pollution legislation and this is another of the features which distinguish Evo 1 from Evo 2. In particular under the passenger’s car mat, there should be a chassis convexity made specifically to give space to the catalyst.
As I mentioned before, the special versions of the Evo 2 were a combination of different exteriors and interiors colours. Starting from the point that all the Evoluzione IIs must feature the high-back Recaro sport seats, on the Giallo Ginestra these are in black Alcantara with yellow seams.
Nowdays both Delta Evo 1 and Delta Evo 2 are highly sought after by collectors and these special editions even more. An example in perfect conditions and a low mileage like this Giallo Ginestra could be sold for more than 100,000€.
I really enjoyed my day with this car and his passionate owner. Even if I had just a passenger ride, I understood that power isn’t what makes you fall in love with this machine, but traction, lateral grip and dynamic qualities. You can really feel how perfectly balanced is the car even from the passenger seat. And I can’t imagine how amazing it should have been to drive the rally queen flatout on a rally stage.