Exotic Lancia rally racers star at Amelia Island Concours

Bob Golfen, ClassicCars.com February 19

A group of four significant Lancia rally cars that raced in the grueling World Rally Championship will headline a featured class at the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance in March.

The exotic Italian racers, all from the Campion Collection in Jacksonville, Florida, exemplify the extreme WRC creations from the 1970s through the 1990s. Such cars competed in high-speed runs against the clock in any kind of weather, on paved and unpaved public roads, and during the day and night.

The Lancia Rally Cars Class at the 20th annual Amelia Island Concours will be featured among more than 300 classic cars at the event March 15 at The Golf Club of Amelia Island at the Ritz-Carlton. The concours weekend starts March 13 with special events, shows and collector-car auctions.

"Rallying is extraordinarily popular across Europe," said Bill Warner, founder and chairman of the concours. "Today, American motorsport fans are seeing the appeal of rallying. A big part of that is because rally cars are spectacular. They're the triathletes of motorsport."

The four WRC cars being showcased from the Campion Collection are:

An elegant 1969 Lancia Fulvia, which launched Lancia's reign of WRC domination during the final decades of the 20th Century.

A 1975 Lancia Stratos, a top competitor from the group of 1970s rally cars specially designed to win World Rally Championships, which Stratos racers accomplished three times.

A 1983 Lancia 037, a multiple rally-winning example of the supercharged champions from the infamous, flame-spitting Group B era of the 1980s. A 037 was the last rear-wheel-drive car to win the World Rally Championship.

A 1988 Lancia Delta Integrale, designed after Group B was outlawed to become the Italian marque's most-successful WRC cars, winning six manufacturers championships and 46 rally victories, a record that still stands.

In true World Rally tradition, the four eye-catching Lancia race cars will be driven in convoy March 12 from John Campion's Jacksonville collection to Amelia Island, where they will be on display before and during the concours d'elegance.

Stirling Moss, who was the first honored guest for the inaugural Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance in 1996, returns as honored guest for the 20th anniversary concours, which includes a class titled Sir Stirling Moss' Famous Racers. His history of rally racing also will be highlighted: Moss finished second in the 1952 Monte Carlo Rally, his international rally debut, and he won a coveted Coupe des Alpes that summer with a perfect score in the 2,057-mile Alpine Rally.

The Florida concours is famous for its creative featured classes. This year, beside the classes for Lancia rally cars and cars raced by Moss, it will include classes for Cars of the Cowboys, with custom cars once owned by well-known classic Western film stars; Orphan Concept Cars from now-defunct marques; prewar BMW 328 sports cars; Chrysler Town and Country woodies; Porsche 914 and its variations; Hot Rods – East Meets West; and Mercedes-Benz SL 500 Rally, featuring one of the cars prepared by the German automaker for WRC but which never ran in competition.

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