These are the 10 coolest Italian homologation promotions of all time
The governing bodies of motorsport sanction some of their series of races with homologated cars. For those wondering what that is, well, in order for manufacturers to be able to engage a particular series race car, they first need to make a limited number of a road version. These must have similar specifications, and even dimensions, to those of its racing counterpart. These are called homologation specials, or the so-called “race cars for the road”. Some motorsport series, such as GT3 racing, still adopt this rule today.
Of course we all know Italians are really passionate about racing and sports cars. So, once those homologation rules kicked in, Italian manufacturers embraced the formula and produced some of the most iconic cars that would leave a lasting legacy for motorsport and the automotive industry in general. That said, here are some of the coolest homologation specials to ever come to Italy.
Ferrari 250 GTO
The world’s most expensive car ever sold, the Ferrari 250 GTO, was a homologation stage that competed in the FIA Group 3 Grand Touring Car category. Only 36 of them were made between 1962 and 1964, which contributed to its exorbitant price.
But it was not only that, the 250 GTO completely embodied the traits for which Ferrari became known; a race-derived car with a beautifully streamlined body and impeccable performance thanks to the glorious V12 engine.
Lamborghini Huracán STO
Lamborghini’s very first track-focused supercar is a road-approved version of their Super Trofeo Evo and GT3 Evo race cars, and it’s called Lamborghini Huracán STO. The car borrows some design cues found in older Lamborghinis, including the one-piece “Cofango” front panel that was first seen on the Miura.
Unlike the other homologation stages, the Huracan Super Trofeo Omologata will not be limited in number and will remain in production until at least 2024.
The Lancia 037 holds a special place in the rally world, as it is the last two-wheel drive rally car to win the World Rally Championship. In a real David vs. Goliath battle, the 037 defeated the all-wheel-drive Audi Quattro for the 1983 Manufacturers’ Title.
The road version had a 2.0-liter supercharged four-cylinder engine producing 205 hp and weighing only 2,579 lbs. Only 207 road models were built from 1982 to 1984 to comply with Group B racing regulations.
Maserati returned to racing after an absence of 37 years and competed in the GT1 class of the FIA GT Championship in 2004, and manufactured 25 road copies of the MC12 to meet homologation rules. For those who did not know, the MC12 was designed and built from the chassis of the Ferrari Enzo.
In addition, the MC12 also had the running gear of the Ferrari Enzo, including the impressive 6.0-liter V12, which developed 621 horsepower and 481 lb-ft of torque. Basically the car was a longer, wider and taller Ferrari Enzo wearing a Maserati badge.
Lancia Delta HF Integral
Here is another special homologation from Lancia. While the 037 was built for Group B regulations, the Delta HF Integrale carried the torch of the legendary Italian rally team for the Group A era. It did what the 037 was not capable of. to do, and that is to dominate the World Rally Championship.
The two-liter turbocharged four-wheel drive formula matched the body type and layout of the HF Integrale perfectly. Lancia went on to set a record of six consecutive constructors’ titles with the Delta rally car from 1987 to 1992, including four driver titles in 1987, 1988, 1989 and 1991.
Ferrari 288 GTO
Ferrari was supposed to participate in the infamous Group B circuit racing formula when they made the Ferrari 288 GTO, but due to the untimely demise of the racing series the car was never used for competition. . However, 272 units were still made despite this, giving Ferrari enthusiasts a legal car with raw Group B performance levels.
The 288 GTO was fitted with a 2.8-liter twin-turbo V8 engine producing 400 hp, and the car would go from 0 to 60 mph in under 5 seconds and had a rated top speed of 189 mph.
Alfa Romeo 155 Silverstone
During the Super Touring era of the British Touring Car Championship, Alfa Romeo took advantage of a performance flaw that allowed it to gain the advantage over its rivals and win the 1994 BTCC title. All of this was evident in the ‘Alfa Romeo 155 Road Silverstone.
The rules of Super Touring at this time state that manufacturers cannot add aerodynamic parts to their race car if it is not present at its road counterpart, so that’s exactly what the folks at Alfa Romeo did. They added a front air deflector and rear spoiler to a standard 155 which had virtually no effect on the road car, but the downforce generated by those little bits meant it all to the race car.
Lancia had the Stratos built for rallying, and this beautiful car was assembled by legendary Italians. Bertone’s Marcello Gandini was responsible for the design, while the engine was from “Il Commendatore” himself, Enzo Ferrari, as the Lancia Stratos shared the 2.4-liter V6 engine from the Ferrari Dino.
Only 492 examples of the road Stratos were made from 1972 to 1978, while the Stratos rally car essentially established Lancia as a dominant force in the WRC, with the legendary Italian marque winning its first consecutive championships with this car from 1974 to 1976. .
Fiat Abarth 131 Rallye
The Fiat Abarth 131 Rally fought head-to-head against other legendary rally cars such as the Ford Escort RS1800 and even the Lancia Stratos during the 1970s era of the World Rally Championship. She won the constructors’ title in 1977 and 1978, and finally the title double with Walter Rohrl in 1980.
400 copies of the Fiat Abarth 131 Rally road were produced in 1976 and were one of the first cars to have independent rear suspension.
Lancia Delta S4 Stradale
Last but not least, this is the Group B rally car that effectively ended the insanely fast and dangerous era of the WRC – the Lancia Delta S4. This was the replacement for the rear-wheel-drive 037 and made full use of Group B regulations by offering a center-mounted dual-load engine with four-wheel drive.
Its road version, the S4 Stradale, was built from 1985 to 1986, of which only 200 were produced. Like the rally version, the S4 Stradale had a dual-load engine but with less power at 247 hp. It also had a more luxurious interior with Alcantara and suede found inside, thanks to the car built by Italian bodybuilder Savio.
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