Ferrari blocks the revival of the Lancia Stratos

Article by Christian Andrei, on July 13, 2011

The modern production version of the Lancia Stratos will not be a copy of the one-off model. Over 40 people from Europe and other countries have expressed interest in the 25 samples of the New Stratos being planned for a limited production run.

Italy-based car design company and coachbuilder Pininfarina had built a one-off running example based on the Ferrari 430 Scuderia running gear in 2010 to serve as a follow-up to a concept that came out in 2005.

At the New Stratos Web site, a statement reads that Pininfarina, together with “any other Ferrari-dependent suppliers,” was prevented from building a limited run of the cars by Ferrari.

The statement says further that even with the “excellent assessment” of the New Stratos by Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo after a test drive at Fiorano, Ferrari isn’t consenting to a limited run of the model by either Pininfarina or other Ferrari-dependent suppliers.

Collaborating on the New Stratos are freelance car designer Chris Hrabalek and Michael Stoschek who is the chairman of a German automotive components supplier.

The statement also asserts that a Ferrari 360 may serve as a base for the New Stratos. But then, the company now claims that it will look somewhere else for this car’s base.

It stated that building more vehicles appears to only be possible through companies that don’t rely on Ferrari. Traditionally, Ferrari has only shared hardware with other companies in the Fiat group. Ferrari has yet to comment on this report.

Considered as a non-commercial project, the current New Stratos is an endeavour started by Michael Stoschek and his son, Maximilian Stoschek. Michael Stoschek is the present chairman of the family-owned company Brose Group, the fifth largest when it comes to auto suppliers worldwide. The decision to develop and then build the Stratos stemmed from the elder Stoschek meeting with Chris Hrabalek. Michael Stoschek had met Hrabalek during the 1986 World Stratos gathering organized by Stoschek himself in Alta Badia.

First presented during the 2005 Geneva Show, this was not the only reason why Stoschek became part of the Fenomenon Stratos project as he was also the partner who acquired the trademark rights of Stratos. Stoschek himself is a sportsman as he won the 2006 FIA European Rally Championship while driving a 1971 Porsche 911. This is the same car he was in when he won the Carrera Panamericana three times, in 1999, 2001, and then 2004. In fact, the Lancia Stratos Group 4 has its own place when it comes to historic rally cars and these are the same ones Stoschek uses for hill climbing or rallies.

With a Marlboro design, it took more than 10 years to restore this vehicle to meet the original 1974 Tour de Corse Andruet/Biche specifications. In developing this one-off vehicle, the father and son duo played a huge role in coming up with the technical concept and the design. By September 2008, Pininfarina, based in Turin, Italy, was contracted to build this car and construction has in fact started by autumn 2008. Production was done under a limited run and is exclusive, making this Stratos truly a one of a kind vehicle.

This exclusivity is due to the fact that Michael and Maximilian Stoschek not only have the rights to this vehicle, but owns the tools as well. One thing to remember about classic products is that they will forever be style icons. Take for example Bertone's Lancia Stratos. With its avant-garde design, it is truly a unique vehicle. As such, for many designers, the main challenge will always be on coming up with a contemporary interpretation to a classic design.

This is because it is difficult to find the correct balance of using too much from the original version or going too far from the original concept. It was Stoschek himself who said that since the Lancia Stratos was distinct in its contrast of rectilinear and round elements, he wanted that same feel on the new Stratos. As such, to come up with the design, for both the interior and the exterior, consultation was conducted with the Chris Hrabalek and his team, the clients, and celebrated car designers like Pininfarina’s Luca Borgogno.

The main objective was thus to find a modern interpretation of the classic design qualities seen in the Lancia Stratos. Some of the unique features include the stunning front end with its central radiator and the rear portion with the round tail lights. The five-star trims, rear spoiler, and roof are distinct features as well. Then there is the semi-circular windshield and the wedge-shape of the body. Once the design was finally decided, the next stages involved making the Stratos both road-ready and fully-functioning.

This not only meant producing an actual prototype, which by itself is a comprehensive and complex procedure, it also meant coming up with the mathematical models, implementing the design, verifying each of the parts, and going all the way to the wind tunnel test. The wind tunnel tests were conducted by Pininfarina and this was an important stage as in the first part, it validated the car’s basic shape while the last testing stage was to improve the aerodynamic features.

One of the things that needed to be done was to put together the body using various pitches and height values. The goal was to get the perfect balance with regards to the contact pressure between the axles in the front and those in the rear. This was tested using the rolling road at the wind tunnel at speeds as low as 140 km/h to as high as 200 km/h. Extensive analysis was also done when it came to designing the front, its roof, and the rear spoilers, and how they would affect the downforce in the front and the rear.

In addition, different spoiler lips were also assessed to determine which one would help increase the downforce experienced by the front axle. Application of pressure measurements and flow visualization techniques allowed for the optimization of the efficiency of the brakes, the cooling system in front of the engine, air intakes, and air outlets.

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