n comparison, the Eagle Lunar Module
looked passé. Clunky even. And if you’d sat
Neil Armstrong’s 1969 machine alongside
Bertone’s 1970 Stratos Zero concept,
only one of them would have been going
to the moon. The one with four wheels.
Just as Armstrong’s small step was a
giant leap for mankind, Lancia’s first ever
purpose-built rally car, the Stratos HF,
was an enormous jump for the sport.
But it might easily not have happened.
Having taken control of loss-making Lancia
in 1969, the Fiat Group was in a position
to dictate motorsport policy, which was
focused on its own 124 Spider. And one
factory rally car coming out of Turin in
northern Italy was enough, thanks.
That’s probably where the matter would
have rested, had it not been for a Turinese
family by the name of Fiorio. Sandro Fiorio
was Lancia’s PR director. His son, Cesare,
worked in motorsport, helping to establish
HF Squadra Corse, a semi-factory operation
which ran Flavias with modest success.
But Cesare wasn’t content with that.
Something of a visionary, he was sure
there was an alternative way to go
rallying, and the Bertone stand at the
1970 Turin Motorshow convinced him.
Based out of a modest factory in the
city’s suburbs, Bertone was all about
cutting-edge automotive design, and the
Stratos Zero showed off his sharpest
thinking and finest lines.
Keen to highlight its engineering abilities,
Stratos Zero was a genuine runner, based
on the engine and internals from a Fulvia.
Thanks to Nuccio Bertone’s
futuristic design, Ferrari V6
power and Lancia’s savvy
and foresight, the Stratos
became a rallying icon.
WORDS David Evans
MAIN IMAGE McKlein
WORLD RALLY GAME CHANGER