Thursday, June 1, 2023

Delta Bravo: Juha Kankkunen of the Lancia Delta restomod talks about road and rallying

Text by Greg Potts with images from LAT

“Juha, that time in 1987 when you won the title. What stands out from that year?”

We speak with Juha Kankkunen, a four-time world champion and true legend who, at 63, shows no signs of slowing down.

He won his first WRC title at the wheel of a Peugeot 205 T16 Evo 2 when the terrible Group B era came to an abrupt end in 1986, and a year later he won a second Group A title with a Lancia Delta HF Integrale.

Test: Lancia Delta HF Integrale

“I don’t remember,” he replies in typical Finnish style. “I’ve lived in the UK and I think Olympus is competing in America, but it was a long time ago.

KKK, as Finn is also known, has driven all the gravel and snow in the world, starting with his father’s Ford Escort on ice in the 1970s before his last competition in Rally Finland in 2010. But we are talking about Lancia. from here

Having just won his second title, Juha switched to Toyota for ’88 and ’89, but he wanted to return to drive Delta for three more development seasons, from 1990 to 1992.

“The body B is the most difficult to drive,” says Kankkunen in which they can be less than a year. “The Cas 205 T16 had between 500 and 700bhp and weighed about 960kg. The first Delta I rode was like going from a 500cc bike to a moped. It had no power – maybe 280 or 300bhp – and the ride was rubbish.”

It’s not the best criticism of the car that would bring the Finns another world championship in 1991, but he admits that the Group A cars quickly became true rally machines.

“In the early 1990s, Group A cars were fast. And they became good rally cars. Everything got better: they got more power, the gearboxes got better, the suspensions were developed and the springs were stronger. Compare the car from 1987 to the one. From 1992 it’s like a 1959 Volkswagen To compare the Beetle to the 911 Turbo of today.

And although first impressions were disappointing, he was also very pleased with Delta: “It was very real. It was strong. That was probably the best thing about Delta, and the mechanics and mechanics told me it was also very easy to repair.”

“The suspension wasn’t the best, but then there was nothing better. If they could have put modern suspension on that car, it would have been amazing.”

And well for us, that’s exactly where Kankkunen’s new job comes in, continuing to test and warn about the modern collision of cars (after forays into politics and luxury real estate).

In his last position, he will have the last word on a project that must be close to his heart: on the road Delta restomod known Maturo Stradale that looks a lot to the other that we fell in love with a few years ago. : the Delta Futurista by Automobili Amos.

It is likely that you have heard of the people behind this exciting business. Early Competition Cars was a Dutch company formed by amateur racing driver Mark Geeratz and former mechanic (and the man who used to sell skill cars) Frank van Ganzewinkel.

They’ve been in business for a while, building and restoring cars of all stripes, now focusing on Delta Integral. Want a boxy, four-wheeled, Italian utility that rides like a gun and makes all kinds of thunderous noises in the process? Now you must go to Holland.

Maturo offers three ways to have Delta. There’s the Classic (a mostly restored and slightly upgraded Delta HF Integrale Evo or Evo II), the Partner (built by Delta to meet company standards, but with upgraded parts to increase safety, reliability and performance) and finally the aforementioned Stradale.

Only 10 Stradales will be built, with the main premise of taking the company’s mature racing car and dressing it in carbon fiber bodywork that makes the Evo look thinner and dirtier.

“We’ve changed very little from a car to a Stradale to use as a daily vehicle,” Geeratz explains to TG. “It’s very much a manual car. It has no power steering, no ABS or traction control.

“Our company is a mechanic and we know how to assemble cars inside out. We’ve driven them, broken them and repaired them.

“We started by buying the prototype A car – the car with which Kankkunen won the Olympus Rally – and returned all the parts to the original Abarth. Because these parts are either very expensive or finished and light.

For example, the gearbox housing always breaks at a certain point – we can see this in the original parts because they are always attached. Therefore, without changing the external design, we know that it will be strengthened.

“In recent years, we’ve developed or redesigned about 2,000 pieces.”

Not only does it fit the class of the engine and it’s mounted on a nice interior, but it’s a Delta HF Integral with specifications and collecting license plates.

The engine is the original 2.0-liter four-cylinder but has been completely rebuilt with a revised intake, new camshafts, lighter valves, a new cylinder head and forged pistons.

Then there’s the turbo, which epitomizes the whole car approach installed in its stock Garrett T3 housing, but with all new internals that help it go faster and reduce lag.

As a result, the Lancia Delta is rated at 400bhp by Maturo, sent via a rebuilt five-speed manual and an upgraded differential.

The brakes are FIA ​​homologated, the suspension incorporates adjustable dampers and there is ‘Kankkunen spec’ hydraulic hand grips in case you are forced to cross the car to skid.

Maturo hopes to have the white model you see in the pictures soon, and one of his first destinations will be the KKK door, because who better to step forward to drive the Delta dream?

It may also help that, despite having great experience and a long history in racing with the brand, the Finn is not as passionately attached to Lancia as some of us.

Asked if he was disappointed in his decision to retire quietly in 1992, Kankkunen replied bluntly. “No, not really. That was his plan.”

The following season, Toyota returned to qualifying and won another title at the first opportunity. One day in the office.

Classic: 150,000 euros

It takes the early base offering of the original Evo or Evo II, replaces all the notoriously problematic parts, and gives it a small power boost to 230bhp to give you the drive you’ve always imagined.

They bring back 240,000-300,000 euros

Early’s bread and butter is Delta’s A-spec Partners building for those looking for an old-school look with modernized performance and reliability. With Brembo stock brakes and non-custom clutches, you can spend €240,000.

370,000 are listed on the road

A mature team of 10 engineers will do four of these in just one year. Each will be road legal, will have impressive interiors and the guts of the car collection team, and all of the finished customer cars will be signed by Kankkunen himself.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
Nation World News is the fastest emerging news website covering all the latest news, world’s top stories, science news entertainment sports cricket’s latest discoveries, new technology gadgets, politics news, and more.
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