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Lancia Delta Integrale

Ferrari For Families Published: 15th Jun 2011 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Fast Facts

  • Best model: Evo 2
  • Worst model: Anything that’s been abused
  • Budget buy: 8-valve cars
  • OK for unleaded?: Yes
  • Will it fit in the garage? (mm): L3894 x W1621
  • Spares situation: Generally excellent
  • DIY ease?: In places
  • Club support: Very good
  • Appreciating asset?: In time
  • Good buy or good-bye?: Ferrari for the family
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With its supercar performance, 4x4 grip and hatchback practicality, the Lancia Integrale has it all

Pros & Cons

Performance, handling, versatility, value
Lots of crashed and/or badly upgraded cars out there waiting to catch you out
£2000-20,000

There’s something about Lancias that grab you, despite the fact that very few models from the marque could ever constitute what you’d call a rational purchase. But there’s something about the style and engineering that gets into your soul, and no Lancia qualifi es on that score better than the Integrale. Whether it’s in the original 8-valve form or the most recent 16-valve Evo 2 guise, the Integrale offers a package that’s nigh on impossible to match. This is a car that you can buy with your heart as well as your head – even if it’s invariably the former that shouts the loudest.

Warmed over shopping trolleys were nothing new when the Integrale burst onto the scene in 1988, but this was rather more than a tarted-up hot hatch. At £16,550, not only did it cost the same as a Volvo 740 or Citroen CX25, but it was also capable of dethroning the all-conquering Audi quattro. The Integrale had evolved from the Delta HF 4WD of 1986 – the year in which Lancia won 10 of the 11 races in the World Rally Championship. Which says it all when it comes to how capable the car was – and still is. The arrival of the Delta HF 4WD brought with it the most advanced four-wheel drive system ever engineered for a production car, yet the Lancia’s cost was less than three-quarters of the Quattro’s. 

History

ROWAN ATKINSON WAS A MASSIVE FAN OF THE CAR

The Integrale story started in 1986 with the arrival of the Delta HF Turbo 4WD, which was fi tted with the Thema’s 2-litre twin-cam ‘four’. However, it wasn’t until 1988 that the Delta Integrale arrived, with aggressive boxy wheelarches housing bigger wheels and brakes. There was a bigger turbocharger and intercooler, so there were bonnet louvres to keep it all cool. With 185bhp and 224lb ft of torque, it could do 135mph and 0-60mph in 6.2 seconds; 9841 were made. 

From 1989 the Integrale was fi tted with a 16-valve engine and the car sat closer to the ground. ABS became optional and the fixed torque split was now 47:53 front:rear. Meanwhile, power climbed to 200bhp to give a top speed of 137mph and a 5.7-second 0-60mph time. 12,860 were produced.

In 1991 the Delta HF Integrale 16v Evoluzione appears, otherwise known as the Evo 1. The blistered wheelarches were even bigger and the track consequently wider. There were also stronger brakes with standard ABS and the rear wing was adjustable. There was now 210bhp on tap, but the available performance was the same as for the previous 16-valve model.

A special series of 400 Delta HF Integrales were made in 1992, each featuring white wheel rims, Martini-Racing colours adorning the sides, black bonnet grilles and a black rear spoiler. Inside were Recaro seats, black Alcantara upholstery with red stitching and red seat belts. 

Each car in this series was numbered on a siver plate on the centre console. Later that year there was another series of 310 special editions. They featured white paintwork with a Martini-Racing strip along the sides. Inside, there were turquoise Alcantara Recaro seats with red stitching, and the HF logo on the head restraints. Each car had a numbered plate on the centre console.

The final Integrale went on sale in 1993 in the form of the Evoluzione 2. Wheels are now 16 inches across, the tyres are wider and air-con is standard. The turbo is smaller to reduce lag while power rises to 215bhp. This was to be the last of the range with a number of Special Edition cars to celebrate the success of the vehicle; Giallo, Blue Lagos, Pearl White, Dealer Edition and the Final Edition. 

Driving

Find a good Integrale, and unless you’re used to driving supercars, you’ll be blown away by the car’s dynamic abilities. With a typical kerb weight of around 1300kg, and usually with over 200bhp on tap, there’s more than enough performance available. What’s even more impressive though is the way the Integrale can put its power down; the chassis is fantastic, while the four-wheel drive ensures you can carry the speed through the bends as well. The steering is well-weighted, accurate and offers all the feedback you could want, while the brakes are also phenomenally capable with plenty of feel. Even better, this agility doesn’t come at the expense of practicality as there’s room for fi ve (four in comfort) with luggage.

Prices

While it’s possible to pick up an 8-valve Integrale for around £2000, unless you’re a qualifi ed mechanic with a hotline (and healthy discount arrangement) to one of the major parts suppliers, you’re better off setting your sights a bit higher. But it needn’t be much higher – add another £1000 or so and you can buy a respectable 8-valve car that shouldn’t need too much TLC to keep it going. While good 8-valve Integrales are worth £3-6000, equivalent 16-valve models are £4-8000. An average Evo I is £6000 with a really nice one being £11,000; if you fancy an Evo II, expect to pay at least £10,000 for anything worthwhile and double this fi gure for a really nice example.

What To Look For

  • The Integrale’s engine takes hard use in its stride – but not neglect. The most important preventative maintenance involves keeping the oil level topped up. If the engine is used hard, oil consumption can go up to as much as a litre every 1000 miles, but allowing the level to drop isn’t just a question of the engine getting hot and/or seizing. The oil pick-up point for the turbocharger is higher than for the sump’s, so the blower is in danger of seizing well before the engine itself suffers from any problems. Also, if the car is cornered hard once the oil level has been allowed to drop, the big end bearings will be starved of lubrication, leading to premature wear. As a result it’s essential that you listen out for rumbling from the bottom end, signifying that it’s time for open-wallet surgery.
  • Look for coolant leaking from the water pump – also listen for screeching noises. It costs £400 to replace the pump so don’t dismiss the warning signs.
  • Because the Integrale’s transmission was designed to cope with high torque levels, unless the car has really been abused, the drivetrain should be in rude health. Expect at least 150,000 miles before the fi ve-speed gearbox gives trouble – seriously abused cars may rack up half this before things start getting noisy however. The best test is to try to beat second and third gear synchromesh – these are always the first thing to go.
  • Make sure the clutch isn’t slipping or making any untoward noises, because replacing it means a bi l l of £450.
  • These cars are driven hard most of the time by owners who sometimes have more enthusiasm than driving talent. If the car has been crashed the wheels could be pointing in different directions relative to each other. Even if the car hasn’t been crashed, it’s worth putting it onto a four-wheel alignment jig to make sure the suspension is properly set up; it makes a big difference to the handling. 
  • Because the suspension is generally worked very hard, it’s worth checking the bushes closely – they can almost be treated as a consumable. There are eight bushes on most Integrales, and it costs £245 to replace them all. On the Evo models there were just six bushes that need replacing; the bill for this is typically £180.
  • There aren’t any inherent weaknesses in the Integrale’s suspension, apart from where the Evo 1 is concerned. If you’re looking at buying one of these, feel for a vibration through your left foot. This gives away the fact that the rose-jointed anti-roll bar drop link bushes need replacing. They typically last around 5000 miles, and replacing them will cost you £135.
  • All Integrales were left-hand drive, and that’s the way they should stay. There were some right-hand drive conversions, which were carried out by Mike Spence Motorsport and John Whalley. They were done on a semiofficial basis, but the steering racks used were Regata items that weren’t really suited to the car because they were too low geared.
  • If the suspension has a hard time when the car is thrashed, it’s nothing compared with what the brakes have to endure. They’re up to the job, but check for juddering under braking that signifies warped discs; upgraded replacements cost between £110 and £260 depending on the variant.

Three Of A Kind

Audi Quattro
Audi Quattro
A signifi cantly older car than the Lancia, but one which has stood the test of time, the Quattro is a true legend. Fast, composed and superbly engineered as well as brilliantly built, this turbocharged masterpiece fl atters any driver. However, parts support from the factory is poor and the car isn’t bomb-proof, so be careful. Broken exhaust manifold studs can be a nightmare to put right.
Ford Sierra RS Cosworth 4x4
Ford Sierra RS Cosworth 4x4
While Cossies have always been desirable, as with all performance cars they reached a point where values allowed boy racers to get their hands on them and thrash them mercilessly. As a result, you need to be careful when looking at any Cosworth Sierra, because crash damage is highly likely, as well as thrashing.
Nissan Sunny/ Pulsar GTi-R
Nissan Sunny/ Pulsar GTi-R
We wanted to include the Mazda 323 4x4 Turbo here, but you’d be so hard-pressed fi nding one it seemed a bit pointless. It’s still worth seeking one out if you can, but this alternative Japanese pocket rocket is more available, better served by clubs and specialists and just as much fun to drive. Prices from £2-7000 but car lacks ‘wow’ factor.


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