The Lancia Rally (Tipo 151, also known as the Lancia Rally 037, Lancia 037 or Lancia-Abarth #037 from its Abarth project code SE037) was a mid-engine sports car and rally car built by Lancia in the early 1980s to compete in the FIA Group B World Rally Championship. Driven by Markku Alén, Attilio Bettega, and Walter Röhrl, the car won Lancia the manufacturers world championship in the 1983 season. It was the last rear-wheel drive car to win the WRC.
In 1980 Lancia began the development of the 037 to comply with the then new FIA Group B regulations that allowed cars to race with relatively few homologation models being built. As the project name was number 037, this eventually became the name by which the car was known. Abarth, now a part of the Lancia-Fiat family, did most of the design work, even incorporating styling cues from some of its famous race cars of the 1950s and 1960s such as a double bubble roof line. The car was developed in collaboration between Pininfarina, Abarth, Dallara and the project manager, engineer Sergio Limone.
Prior to its first participation in the 1982 World Rally Championship season, 200 road-going models were built to comply with Group B regulations. The car made its competition debut at the 1982 Rally Costa Smeralda in Italy, where two cars were entered but both retired due to gearbox issues. The 1982 season was plagued with retirements for the 037, but the new car did manage to achieve several wins including its first win at the Pace Rally in the UK. The 1983 season was considerably more successful for the 037: Lancia took the 1983 World Rally Championship Constructors’ title with Germany’s Walter Röhrl and Finland’s Markku Alen its principal drivers, despite serious competition from the 4WD Audi Quattro. Both drivers, however, missed the final round of the series, despite Röhrl maintaining a mathematical chance of the drivers’ title: such honours instead went to Audi’s veteran Finn, Hannu Mikkola.
For the 1984 Constructors’ title defence, Lancia introduced an Evolution 2 version of the 037 with improved engine power output, but this was not enough to stem the tide of 4WD competition, losing to Audi in both 1984 championships, and again to the 4WD Peugeot 205 T16 in its final works season in 1985. Indeed, Alen collected the final 037 win, and the sole one for the E2 model, on the 1984 Tour De Corse, before it was finally pensioned off in the Martini sponsored Lancia factory rally car line-up in favour of its successor, the uniquely supercharged and turbocharged 4WD Delta S4, for the season-ending RAC Rally in Great Britain. Driver Attilio Bettega died in a 037 crash in 1985.
António Rodrigues won the 1984 Falperra International Hill Climb in a 037.
Lancia 037 Chassis #305 results
1983 WRC Season Chassis #305
1st place Rally di Montecarlo with Walter Röhrl & Christian Geistdörfer
2nd place Rally Rothmans Acropolis with Alen Markku & Kivimaki Ilkka
5th place Rally Argentina with Alen Markku & Kivimaki Ilkka