Work has recently recommenced on the Lancia Stratos project, which if you’ve not been keeping up to date with what’s been going on via the Retropower website, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter accounts, is our attempt to pay homage to the one of the finest concept cars of all time, the Stratos Zero. Doing so with any conviction has involved carrying out some serious fabrication work on the shell of the car, a Lister Bell Stratos kit, which is what we’ve opted to detail here – or at least the portion of it we’re set to tackle in the coming weeks.
First up, that ‘clamshell’ rear, an area of the car we were always going to have to work on thanks to the choice of engine – a supercharged version of Alfa Romeo’s famed ‘busso’ V6. Getting this into the back of the car shouldn’t be too much of an issue, not when you consider how popular these engines are within the Stratos community. What will be trickier will be packing its new forced induction system, one of our own design, based around an Eaton M112 supercharger and with a custom charge-cooled inlet manifold, the latter essential for keeping inlet temperatures to a tolerable level. It’s also a means of maximising the amount of power we’re able to wring from the setup as a whole.
Supercharging an engine conceived with natural aspiration in mind is no mean feat in any car, trying to do the same in something as compact as a Stratos is several orders of magnitude more challenging – as we’re now finding. Indeed, finding space to run the crank pulley, counter weighted from the factory, has forced us to get creative, re-fabrciating a section of inner chassis in order to give us a sliver of room to work within. Even this hasn’t solved the issue completely, as we’ll still need to mount an additional pulley before the engine is ready to fire into life for the first time.
Other aspects are more conventional, certainly if you’ve ever set about running boost through an engine not designed with it in mind. Forged pistons and steel con-rods have already been ordered from Italy, while work on preparing the crank for a life spent handling 1BAR are well underway.
There are other things to consider when planning a bespoke installation of this kind, cooling among the most important. This explains the inlets cut into either side of the car’s flanks, both of which will house a radiator, with the exhausts running through specially created cut-outs located above the rear wheels. Both will have unique 3D printed grilles and mountings.
As to projected power figures, well everything is very much in a state of flux at this point in time, and how much the Stratos eventually makes largely depends on how far we (and more importantly, the owner) wants to go with it. That said we are aiming for at least 400bhp, comfortably more than either the ‘real’ road cars or the variants rallied by the Lancia team throughout the ’70s.