The Second Version

29/07/08

Bring Your Muslce Cars On

Can you do this with a Ford Mustang or Dodge Challenger?



The car in the video is a Lancia Delta S4 - in this case, specifically tuned for uphill races. The S4 is similar in size and shape to the very ordinary Lancia Delta, a family car produced in Italy from the late 70's to mid 90's (the second and third generations are not Delta, no way).

But under the skin, the S4 is all but ordinary. It features a tubular frame and composite panels bodywork. Its transmission is full-time 4x4 using a central differential and viscous joint for variable torque-splitting; front and rear differentials are self-locking. Brakes are four ventilated disks - with two additional calipers at the rear wheels for hand-braking. Advanced stuff for 1986, when the car appeared, but still not its most impressive quality.

The most awesome part in fact is the engine. Mounted center-rear, it's a 4-in-line engine of 1.8 liters, built of aluminium and magnesium alloys - and it can produce from 400 to 550 hp. The engine uses a sophisticated system to achieve that performance: a supercharger at low RPM for quick response and a turbocharger at high RPM for maximum power. The max horsepower can be altered changing air inlet pressure setting, and it's told that tuned-up engines can exceed 600 hp.

That, and the extreme lightweight construction, made the S4 a fearsome beast. It clocked 0 to 100 km/h in 2.9 seconds; 190 km/h in 8 seconds and 400 m (roughly, a quarter mile) in 10.4 seconds.

This extreme car claimed at least two victims: during the Rally of Corsica in 1986, pilot Henri Toivonen and copilot Sergio Cresto died in the crash and subsequent fire of their Delta S4. But all Group B cars are difficult to control, and it was a string of deadly accidents that prompted FIA to ban Group B.

But Lancia was ready to dominate also Group A with the mighty Lancia Delta Integrale, but that's a story for another day.

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