1974 Lancia Stratos HF Stradale
Few cars capture the imagination quite like the Lancia Stratos. No one-trick pony, the Stratos is famous for both its wild Bertone-designed exterior and also for being the very first rally car built from scratch to compete, rather than being a converted road car. Not to say that all Stratos competed—at least 400 were built as road-going homologation versions, running a slightly detuned Ferrari “Dino” V6. These Stradale (“road”) versions were only a few tweaks away from their wilder competition cousins, who dominated World Rally Championship racing from 1974-1976. Regardless of their success, the exciting combination of the short wheelbase, mid-mounted high-performance V6, and the distinctive fiberglass bodywork would have ensured the Stratos a place in the imagination of car enthusiasts. Best of all, the Stratos directly inspired the Group B racers of the next era of rally, which became some of the most exciting and hair-raising cars ever to rally. Nonetheless, the sweet-handling and very quick Stratos is as fun to drive as it is to look at, even decades later.