20 November 2023
Mini GT Lancia Stratos HF #4 – 1979 Rallye Monte-Carlo winner
The Rallye Monte-Carlo, the official event title given to it by the organisers, the Automobile Club de Monaco, was first held in 1911. In the beginning, it was more of a social meeting than anything else. But, there was a final classification table, and it was headed by Henri Rougier, driving a Turcat-Mery.
The rally soon transformed from a social gathering to a professional sports event and, along the way, it became a very famous and popular occasion. It is the best-known leg of the World Rally Championship series and, for many drivers, it is possibly the most difficult of them all. During the early years, just making it to the finish was a feat in itself. Even today, it can still can surprise many an experienced driver.
Lancia's mighty Stratos is a rear mid-engined sports car that was designed for rallying and racing. Lancia traditionally used the design house Pininfarina but, its rival, Bertone, wanted to create an opportunity for a relationship with the Italian marque. Bertone's designer, Marcello Gandini, had already designed the Lamborghini Miura and was working on the Countach at the time. Lancia presented the Bertone-designed Lancia Stratos HF prototype at the 1971 Turin Motor Show.
The Stratos became a very successful rally car, winning the World Rally Championship in 1974, 1975 and 1976. In terms of individual event victories, a Stratos took the spoils in no less than 18 WRC events spanning the 1974 to 1981 seasons. Among these were four outright wins at the Rallye Monte-Carlo – in 1975, 1976, 1977 and 1979. It is the latter which has been modelled here. Although the final win was not without controversy, as it has been widely reported over the years that some over enthusiastic local fans might have placed some ‘fallen’ rocks in the path of Björn Waldegård’s Ford Escort, necessitating him to stop and move them out of the way. Bernard Darniche’s winning margin in his Stratos? Just six seconds.
This is the latest of MINI GT’s releases of the delightful Stratos casting and this competition version delights, benefitting from some extra attention to detail with the light pods, special wheels and, of course, the car’s livery. The finish is absolutely delightful and the graphics are perfectly replicated – even at this diminutive scale. An absolute bargain and a great addition to any collection.