Home Lamborghini Miura ex-Grifone 1984 Italian Gr.B Championship winning Lancia 037 Rally Evoluzione 2 — Supercar Nostalgia

ex-Grifone 1984 Italian Gr.B Championship winning Lancia 037 Rally Evoluzione 2 — Supercar Nostalgia

ex-Grifone 1984 Italian Gr.B Championship winning Lancia 037 Rally Evoluzione 2 — Supercar Nostalgia


Reprinted below is Bonhams’ description for this fabulous championship-winning 037 Evoluzione 2:

  • Estimate: £750,000 – £950,000

  • Registration no. A868 TPO

  • Chassis no. ZLA 151ARO 0000412

  • First registered to FIAT Auto SPA as ‘TO W67781’

  • Works entry for 1984 Italian Rally Championship (CIR)

  • Jolly Club entry for 1986 European Rally Championship

  • One of only 20 Lancia 037 Evoluzione 2 cars manufactured – the ultimate 037 specification

  • Winner of Group B division 1984 CIR driven by Fabrizio Tabaton and Luciano Tedeschini

  • Driven in the 1986 European Rally Championship by 3-time Italian champion Gianfranco Cunico.

  • With nine victories during the Group B era, the most successful of any Lancia 037 Evo 2

  • Subsequently guest driven by three World Rally Champions

  • Correctly presented in its original and unique 1984 VS Olio Fiat/Hertz livery

  • Only three owners since 1985, current owner for 17 years

  • Recent full mechanical restoration

Group B regulations were introduced for 1982 by the FIA for the World, European and National Rally Championships, requiring the manufacture of a minimum of 200 road-going vehicles for homologation. Homologation could be extended with the production of 20 highly developed ‘evolution’ rally cars. These flexible rules resulted in Group B ‘homologation specials’; cars that were produced to win fast, long and arduous rallies and had little in common with their road-going progenitors.

Group B fostered some of the fastest, most powerful and most sophisticated rally cars ever built and that period is commonly referred to as the ‘Golden Era’ of rallying. 13 major manufacturers homologated and competed in Group B including Audi, Lancia, Peugeot, Porsche, Ferrari, Ford, BMW, MG, Mazda, Renault, Opel and Nissan, resulting in multi-million dollar sponsor packages, intense season-long rivalries, and worldwide press and TV coverage that made household names of the cars and their multi-national star drivers.

However, a series of serious accidents, blamed on the cars’ outright speed and coupled with a lack of crowd control, resulted in the FIA banning Group B cars from competing in the WRC from the end of 1986, to be replaced by lower-powered and heavier production-based Group A cars. (Some cars, including the Lancia 037, remained eligible for National championships.)

In 1980 Lancia began the development of what was the first purpose-built Group B car, the Lancia 037 (Tipo 151, also known as the Lancia Rally or Lancia-Abarth 037 from its Abarth project code SE037). Abarth, a part of the Lancia-FIAT family, undertook the development, design and engineering work in collaboration with Pininfarina and specialist race-car manufacturer Dallara, the project overseen by legendary engineer Sergio Limone. The car was spectacular but practical: mid-engined with front and rear subframes for ease of work, and powered by a 2-litre 16-valve longitudinally mounted and supercharged Abarth 232 AR4 engine coupled to a robust ZF five-speed gearbox, similar to that of the Ford GT40, with rear-wheel drive.

The 037 made its competition debut at the 1982 Rally Costa Smerelda in Italy, where two cars were entered but both retired. The 1982 season was plagued with retirements but the new car did manage to achieve its first victory in November in the UK’s Pace Petroleum Rally, driven by Finnish ace Markku Alen.

The 1983 rally season was considerably more successful for the 037 after Lancia introduced 20 ‘Evoluzione 1′ cars with fuel injection and more power. As a result, Lancia took the 1983 World Rally Manufacturers’ Championship title (their fifth out of an eventual 10) with drivers Alen and Germany’s Walter Röhrl, despite serious competition from the 4WD Audi Quattro and making it the last two-wheel drive car to win the World Championship.

For the 1984 season, Abarth produced the ultimate development of its 037: 20 ‘Evoluzione 2’ cars (chassis numbers ‘400’-‘419’) with larger 2,111cc engines, water injection, a new exhaust system, plus new and improved inlet and exhaust manifolds to increase airflow to the newly designed supercharger housing, raising maximum power to 335 bhp. With further weight savings through carbon/Kevlar bodywork, the weight was down to 960kg, the permitted minimum. All 20 cars were registered in November 1983 and were retained and serviced by the factory. The rally cars were campaigned in Martini Racing colours for WRC events, alongside other works-supported teams such as Jolly Club/Totip (European Championship) and Scuderia Grifone (Italian championship).

Chassis ‘412’, registered to FIAT SPA as ‘TO W67781’, was supplied to Genova-based Grifone for Italian star Fabrizio Tabaton to compete in the 1984 Italian Rally Championship in Olio FIAT/Hertz livery. The comprehensive file accompanying the car includes the Italian registration document linking the chassis number to the registration, together with the car’s original chassis plate.

Tabaton’s 1984 season did not get off to a great start. He retired from his first event, Rally del Molise in March with a puncture; retired again on his next event, the Rally del Gran Sasso in May; and had a minor accident on the Rally del Carso e dei Colli Orientali later that month. Then things came together with a string of victories: he won the Rally della Lanterna in April, the classic Rally di Limone Piemonte in June, the Coppa Liburna in September, and secured a fourth win in October at the Rally di Sassari. Tabaton had a troubled rally later that month, finishing 6th in the Rally Citta di Messina, but ended the season with a fifth victory at the Rally del Sestriere in December. The CIR Italian Championship was decided on classes and won by a smaller Group A FIAT Ritmo but Tabaton was second overall and won the all-important Group B class. In March 1985, Tabaton was back in the car, which was now in black and gold Esso livery, and won the tough Rally 1000 Miglia, an incredible sixth win from nine starts.

In July 1985, chassis ‘412’ was sold to Garage Centrale, the parent of TAM Auto near Como in northern Italy, a leading preparer of the Lancia 037 for the fabled Jolly Club and various privateers. The car was re-registered as ‘CO 824444’ in accordance with Italian regulations. Repainted red, and with Wurth sponsorship, the car was entrusted to future three-time Italian Rally champion Gianfranco Cunico. His first event was the Rally Citta di Torino in May, which he won with co-driver Pierangelo Scalvini.

This was followed by three European Rally Championship outings for the pairing for the Jolly Club satellite team. Cunico was 4th at the Rallye dell’Isola d’Elba in May 1986; DNF in Spain at the Rally El Corte Ingles in July (Cunico nudged a parked car and the owner insisted the 037 remain there until the insurance was resolved, so it had to be withdrawn!) and 4th again at the Marlboro San Marino Rally in November. For both events the car was in plain white but still with Wurth logos.

In between these events, well-known privateer Enrico Gelpi notched up another win for chassis ‘412’ in the national Trofeo Villa d’Este Rally in October 1986. This was followed up by yet another win for privateers Riccardo and Massimo Trombi in March 1987 in the national Rally del Ciocco e Valle dei Serchio bringing to nine the total Group B victories for chassis ‘412’. The car’s final event was again with Cunico/Scalvini in the 1987 Rally Citta di Torino where it did not finish. A full schedule of events and results is in the accompanying file.

By now TAM Auto was concentrating on running the new Group A Lancia Delta, but ‘412’ remained registered to Centrale. It was refreshed and mechanically rebuilt, repainted in the legendary Martini colours, and remained in a collection in Italy.

In early 1998 chassis ‘412’ was sold to a noted Italian rally car enthusiast and collector in the UK and although the mechanicals were found to be ‘as new’, the car was carefully recommissioned for occasional use. An experienced co-driver, the new owner invited various guest drivers to demonstrate the Martini-liveried car at selected events. These included the 2003 Manx Rally where 1998 British Rally Champion and 2003 World Production Champion Martin Rowe drove as a ‘zero’ car, and the 2005 Eifel Rally Festival in Germany, Europe’s largest and most respected gathering of historic rally cars where 1979 World Rally Champion Bjorn Waldegard drove the Lancia.

In June 2006 the car was sold to the current owner, a close friend of the UK collector. The car was given a further overhaul and, as a precaution, the engine was fully rebuilt by Terry Hoyle, one of the UK’s leading Cosworth and Ferrari competition engine specialists.

Over the next 17 years, chassis ‘412’ undertook a limited number of demonstration events in the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain (see full list on file). These include the Goodwood Festival of Speed (both hill climb and rally stage), Goodwood Members’ Meeting, Eifel Rally Festival, Rally Legend San Marino, Rally Catalunya WRC, Rally Clasico Mallorca, Trasmeira Rally Festival, Rally Valpantena, and Classic Shelsley Walsh as well as display events at Royal Hospital Chelsea, NEC and O2 Centre. The car has always been professionally prepared, maintained and serviced on events, and is a regular invitee to participate in these events and many more each year. The car is UK registered, has a current MoT and a current MSUK sprint and hill climb logbook.

In 2007, British driver and engineer Andy Dawson, who had driven the Chequered Flag Stratos in period, drove the car at Race Retro and followed up with a complimentary magazine article on the car. In 2008 Lancia 037 legend Markku Alen drove the car at the same event, his first time back in an 037 for 20 years. Alen signed the Kevlar driver’s door (still visible today) and his comments to Motor Sport magazine may be found in the car’s file. Alen also demonstrated the car a second time at Rally Day in 2014.

Chassis ‘412’ has been written up and featured on the cover of Auto Italia magazine; been featured on Goodwood’s GRRC website; and has numerous photographs and period references in Antonio Biasioli’s authoritative 2019 book Lancia Rally 037. UK Italian car author Peter Collin’s book Lancia 037: Development and Rally History of a World Champion contains a section from the current owner on the experience of owning and using a competition 037. Any online search for ‘Lancia 037’ usually brings up a picture of ‘412’.

In early 2022 the car was returned to the Turin workshops of legendary former Abarth engineers and Lancia 037 specialists Elio and Giovanni Baldi, and underwent a complete mechanical revision. The engine received new cylinder liners, pistons, con-rods, valves and valve springs. All bearings and seals as well as head lugs were replaced with the correct items. The Volumex supercharger had seals replaced and was serviced, but was otherwise in excellent condition. A new competition-specification clutch was installed and the flywheel machined smooth. Gear rings and dogs for the straight-cut gearbox were replaced on all five gears and a new first gear was machined and installed. All other gears underwent X-ray checks.

All four brake calipers were serviced with kits; front and rear discs checked and replaced if needed; and master cylinders and handbrake serviced. The front and rear suspension were overhauled with shock absorbers removed, checked, greased and reinstalled, or replaced if required. Older rubber suspension boots were replaced, bearings checked and greased, front wishbones adjusted and a new steering damper installed. Finally, the radiator was flushed and cleaned and new period-correct rear and side under-trays fitted.

Completion of the work coincided with the outbreak of the Covid pandemic so the car remained unused other than testing in Turin by the Baldis. Since then, ‘412’ has seen limited use and has only been driven about 250 miles. Its last appearance was at the Eifel Rally Festival in July 2023 where it was awarded the jury prize for the ‘Best Original’ car out of more than 150 historic rally cars at the event.

The car comes with two sets of new wheels mounted with dry and wet Pirelli P7 Corsa tyres plus a set of period gravel wheels with tyres. A small spares package accompanies the car including period-correct seats from the car (details in the file).

Original Group B ‘evolution’ survivors are rare, especially those with a full and successful competition history and fully documented ownership. To correct mechanical specification and in excellent condition but with nicely patinated and genuine period chassis and bodywork, this 037 is a sure entry ticket to all the great events, from rally demonstrations to the most prestigious concours, and represents a rare opportunity to acquire the one of the most developed and successful rally cars of all time.

For more information visit the Bonhams website at: https://cars.bonhams.com/



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