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Lancia Delta HF Integrale: the buying guide

THE PRICE OF SUCCESS – Beyond any flag, beyond any automotive creed, it is loved and respected by all, because the grades of regina dei rally he won them on the field. Protagonist of a season of unforgettable successes between the 80s and 90s, the Lancia Delta HF Integral is one of the most successful cars in motorsport history and is surrounded by an aura of legend which, over time, has also ended up mythologizing the road versions. Which, which have always been greatly appreciated by lovers of beautiful driving for their safe and brilliant behavior on all surfaces, guaranteed by the winning combination of the turbo engine and the four-wheel drive, today are appearing at dizzying prices on the vintage car market and collectible. The result is that the Lancia Delta HF Integrale has become a car for a few, carving out an increasingly affluent public for itself, but sometimes not “prepared” enough to cope with all that entails owning such a particular and unique car. So here’s a short one Buying Guidededicated primarily to those who a “Deltona” are considering buying it, but also to all those who, more simply, have a great passion for this model but do not fully understand its strengths and weaknesses.

8V, 16V OR “EVOLUTION”: THIS IS THE DILEMMA – The Lancia Delta HF Integral debuts at the beginning of 1988 (in the photo above) as a natural sporty evolution of the 1986 HF 4WD version, the first Delta equipped with four-wheel drive. From the car from which it derives it inherits the 2.0 turbo petrol engine with eight-valve cylinder head, which benefits from an increase in power from 165 to 185 CV. At the end of the following year, a version powered by an a sixteen valves that provides 200 CV: can be recognized at a glance for the rounded front bonnet, a detail that many, at the time, also mounted on the 8v at a later time to give it the same look as its more “muscular” sister. In the 1991 it’s the turn of the Lancia Delta HF Integrale”Evolution”: known by fans with the nickname of “Deltona”, under the increased bodywork it retains the same engine as the 16v, increased to 205 HP. The Evo2, which made its debut in 1993, has five more horsepower, for a total of 210. Which one to choose? As we will see in the final paragraph, dedicated to quotations, it is first and foremost a question of wallet. But it should be stressed right now that the less expensive 8v and 16v are by no means to be considered a fallback choice: in fact, they offer performances that in almost all driving conditions are not so far from those of the more famous “Evo” .

IT MAY CRACK IN SOME POINTS – Having made this brief overview of the various versions of the Lancia Delta HF Integral, let’s analyze the most important characteristics, naturally with a view to a possible purchase. The first thing to check is the shell: it certainly doesn’t shine in terms of stiffness and, not being reinforced like that of the racing versions, it tends to get damaged in some points due to the stresses typical of sporty driving. The areas to be examined carefully, making sure there are no cracks or crepe, are mainly the connection between the A-pillar and the roof, the front domes and the corners at the base of the windscreen. Here could also lurk there rusta problem which can sometimes also affect the connection between the tailgate and the roof (it is better to lift the rubber gasket to make sure everything is completely dry), the lower parts of the front doors and the inside of the rear wheel arches. Also watch out for non-original set-ups: the stiffer ones put the chassis even more to the test. Finally, also check the wear of the tires: if it is not uniform, the car may have suffered a strong blow and not been straightened correctly.

BEWARE OF THE DISTRIBUTION – Having analyzed the bodywork and having said that the passenger compartment, being built with sturdy materials and designed to last over time, shouldn’t reserve any nasty surprises, let’s move on to everything that needs to be checked under the bonnet. The motor from the Lancia Delta HF Integral it is robust, but requires careful and scrupulous maintenance to remain in perfect working order. An indication of good health, just set in motion, is theabsence of squeaks and suspicious noises in general, while when hot, at idle, the oil pressure must remain at 1 bar, to rise by two units when the 3000 rpm are exceeded. Beware of distribution: Most diligent owners replace the entire kit, including the water pump and front balance shaft belt, every couple of years. But there are also those who postpone this deadline by a year, unless they have already traveled 40,000 kilometres. In any case, it’s better to be aware of this operation and be prepared to have it done, if necessary, by an expert mechanic: you could even spend more than 2,000 euros, but at least worse troubles are avoided.

IF THE TURBO HAS PROBLEMS… – It is also important to check well that from the discharge of your possible future Lancia Delta HF Integral does not come out bluish smoke in the acceleration and gas release phases. If not, a malfunction could be to blame turbocharger: the overhauled spare part costs around 450 euros, while for a new and original turbo you spend at least 1000 more. Oil leaks just below the front bumper suggest a possible oil cooler problem – damage that can cost up to a few hundred euros. There are no particular critical issues regarding the gearbox and differentials, so if the transmission is noisy or the clutch doesn’t engage smoothly, be suspicious.

AND FINALLY, THE PRICES… – Based on the advertisements published on the main online car trading platforms, it is noted how the quotations have undergone a marked increase compared to even just a few years ago. The times when it was possible to take home a beautiful one Lancia Delta HF Integral 8 valves for figures around 20,000 are now a thing of the past: today they could even need double that. The growth trend concerns even more evidently the most powerful 16-valve, for which requests by now hardly start from less than 50.000 euro. Even more expensive are the “Evos”: for a version of normal production it is necessary to estimate an expense of at least 70.000 eurowhile the prices of the special series, such as the Blu Lagos, the Verde York or the Club Italia, fluctuate according to the number of specimens produced, the mileage and the state of conservation between 100,000 and 300,000 euros. More than a brand new Ferrari 296 GTB.

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