Don’t lie, you want a Lancia Delta Integrale. Yeah, everyone’s talking about it like it’s a work of art and it’s been getting annoying, but come on, it’s an amazing car. The Delta’s boxy, arrogant look reminds us of times long gone in the car world that will, sadly, never come back. Despite it being full of flaws, delicate and prone to breaking down, every criticism goes silent once the Delta flies off onto the road.
Because having a Delta in our garage to take care of has always been a dream for many of us, today I want to tell you the story of Luana, a known stripper from a (shady) gentlemen’s club outside Bologna, who when choosing a project car didn’t settle for any overdone Japanese jalopy, and instead decided to save a Delta Integrale 16V from the junkyard, restoring it from the bottom up and turning it into one of the cleanest, most beautiful builds that I’ve ever laid my eyes on.
From the junkyard with love.
Yeah, from the junkyard. This Lancia Delta Integrale you’re looking at comes from a junkyard, abandoned like any other piece of scrap metal without any history. It was pretty much a rust bucket, something you wouldn’t even pay money for. Then she met Luana, who took her in, spent an amount of money I don’t even want to know, and returned her to her former glory.
Come on, you wouldn’t do the same?
SWAIP 4 MOAR
So, the white Delta was completely torn apart piece by piece, cleaned, fixed, and strengthened. Everything has been rebuilt, the frame has been taken out, checked for any imperfections, cleaned in every rust spot and reinforced wherever needed (especially near the A pillars). The engine has been rebuilt from the bottom up with new pistons and rods, and every screw on this Delta has been replaced.
To this, add a tuned ECU, a front limited slip differential, front and back strut bars, upgraded brake lines and a reinforcement cage in the back, welded to the frame. Rebuilt suspension with Eibach springs complete the build of this, if i may say so, jaw dropping machine.
An incredible work, definitely expensive, but the result is definitely worth it. I mean, look at it, a glorious machine that completely drives me crazy. And those replica Sanremo wheels? Do we have to talk about it or are these pictures enough?
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Back on the streets.
Reborn from the ashes like a phoenix, this Delta drives like it should: very, very fast. I’ve rarely seen cars, especially not too heavily modified ones, drive as hard as this one. The speed is surreal, and the handling, helped by the semi slick tires, is just as crazy. At low RPM it has its characteristic Delta rumbling noise, and as much as i love the rumble, it’s at full gas that the engine’s scream really shines.
Once at full speed, it will keep going, regardless of anything. With a hint of anger, the Delta just goes, devouring the asphalt, it just doesn’t want to stop.
Nothing, not a pinch of grip or any horsepower goes to waste in this car. With all kinds of suspension and frame upgrades, sticky tires and an engine that seems like it’s about to rip itself off the motor mounts at every rev, driving the Delta up this mountain pass is something out of this world. The frame doesn’t flex an inch, and the limit for this car is so high, it’s impossible to reach it driving on a public road.
The turbine doesn’t run that high, around 15 PSI, but you can feel the 230 horsepower all the way from 3000 rpm all the way to 5500. 2500 RPM in which you feel like you’re at the helm of a cannonball. Just keep the gas down and you’ll feel a push you won’t believe.
Now, you may think “all of this, just for 230HP?”. Now, I get you. It may not seem like a crazy amount, especially since we’re all used to the crazy power figures of those “1000HP BRO” cars we see on Instagram or at SEMA show, but these 230HP kick like crazy, like a wild, untamed horse that just wants to run. Words can’t describe the feeling it gives you when the power hits the wheels, the brute force, and the pleasure it gives when you bend them to your will. It will clench your ass cheeks, what a car!
RollingSteel’s score for this Delta: 7/10, because even though it goes hard and it’s beautiful, I don’t think it’s worth it.
You see, there’s an underlying problem, and that’s what I want to talk about with you guys. And this problem is there for every Delta Integrale, whether it’s a 8v, a 16v or an Evoluzione, whether it’s a race car or a shitbox with more rust than healthy metal: it’s a Lancia Delta Integrale.
What’s the best part about owning a mean, fast car? Using it, driving it around, sending it hard, scaring Karen in her CH-R and enjoying every minute of it. And if that car isn’t perfect, even better. A scratch or battle scar won’t hurt, and there’s nothing you can do if a pigeon shits on your windshield.
With Deltas however, it’s different. These cars have become, especially here in Italy, so famous that their market value has reached the stars, making every owner of a Delta Integrale feel as if they had the Holy Grail in their garage. Every scratch will mean you will get looked down upon for ruining a collection piece, and for every little thing that you break on this car, the spare part will come with a hefty price tag. Even any small interior trim piece for a Delta, maybe even one off a 1.3 base model, will cost you upwards of a thousand euros, and that’s just wrong.
This, I think, kills the enjoyment of owning a car. Why own a performance car like this one, especially with all the work done to it to make it faster, if you can’t drive it around without spending a fortune when the smallest thing breaks down? It’s like karting: do you know what the most expensive thing about karting is? It’s not buying the kart, it’s the maintenance. Every time you take your kart to the track could be the last one, especially if you drive a 100cc single gear like me, as every lap with your 20 thousand RPM engine could very well be its last. With a kart like that, you risk spending more in a year in pistons than it would cost you to buy two new go-karts.
In Italy we say: women and engines, joys and sorrows
If any one time you use your dream car you have to worry about the frame bending in the slightest, the engine becoming closer to its death, the rain damaging the paintjob… Is it even worth it? You risk giving up and just keeping your car locked in the garage, like those annoying “enthusiasts” that treat cars like collection pieces.
Sadly, more times than not the real issue with these cars isn’t the car itself, but the owner: everyone’s too distracted by the sacrifices they put in their own cars to appreciate being in a community and accept enthusiasts with different ideas. Everyone’s too busy thinking about themselves and trying to boost their ego, usually ending up in toxic arguments on social media and bar fights over who has the best car.
We love cars. And even though we say that sometimes we wish we liked soccer instead because it would have been cheaper, let’s not turn into the kinds of soccer fans that turn stadiums into warzones.
Then there is only one thing that matters:
Luckily, we encountered Luana (that’s not her real name, she doesn’t work as a stripper and isn’t even a she, it’s just a guy who cares about his privacy), who doesn’t keep this Delta to rot in a garage. Instead, he enjoys it like every driver’s car ought to be enjoyed. He and his group of friends around Bologna are often seen driving up to the Raticosa pass, each with their Delta, thankfully not giving a shit about the market bubble or the collector’s value. They just love to drive them, and that’s the best thing.
PS. If after reading this you’re feeling offended, that’s good because I’m talking about you. Relax, your cars are still gorgeous, it’s just that everyone has their own taste and it’s not up to you to judge them. We just want to drive hard and burn rubber.