Professional racing drivers really are jammy. Okay, so they’re catapulted into a kart before they’re old enough to walk and are stuck in a relentless mindset of having to be faster than everyone around them, but there are some huge perks to go along with it. You get to drive cars for a living, travel the world and (if you're really good) get rich (or stay that way if you're not). For the cream of the crop, however, there’s a success bonus that the rest of us can only dream of - prize cars.
For instance, Jenson Button nabbed one of his F1 cars after clinching the championship with Brawn GP in 2009, while Kimi Raikkonen was given his 2018 US GP-winning Ferrari as a parting gift. You may have also seen Colin McRae’s Subaru Impreza 22B (chassis 000, no less) doing the rounds lately, which the rally legend was gifted in the late 1990s. Well, gifted the opportunity to buy, though he wouldn’t have paid anywhere near the crazy sums 22Bs command today. However, double WRC champion Miki Biasion wasn’t as fortunate, having bagged drivers' titles with Lancia in 1988 and ’89. Aside from a chunky pay cheque and all the kudos of being a WRC champion, a gift car wasn’t part of the deal (as far as I can tell, anyway).
Cheesed off and with money to burn, Biasion set about building his own Lancia special edition to mark his achievements. Specifically, the 30th anniversary of his first championship. The result is the car you see here and, clearly, it isn’t just a Delta HF Integrale with some Martini stickers (Lancia had already made one of those anyway). Nope, it’s effectively a road-going version of the 1988 championship-winning car. A restomod, if you like, only with less luxury and more motorsport kit.
Starting out as a regular Delta (presumably an HF Integrale 16V), the car was sent to Biasion’s workshop for a ground-up restoration. Mechanically, it’s closer to the road car than the rally machine, though upgrades include a custom exhaust engraved with Biasion’s signature and adjustable Bilstein suspension that benefits from being set up by someone who knows the Delta rather well. Those Speedline ‘Abarth tarmac’ wheels are bespoke, too, mimicking the look of the rims used on the rally car with minor modifications for road use.
The rest of the upgrades appear to be mostly cosmetic, though it has been pieced together with meticulous detail. The carbon Kevlar Sparco bucket seats look like they’ve come straight from the rally car and even included Biasion’s name embroidered on the driver’s seat, with co-driver Tiziano Siviero’s name marked on the passenger seat. There are also Vitaloni Californian wing mirrors, Group A-spec tow hook and front lip inspired by the rally car’s sump guard. Obviously, it’s hard to ignore the full Martini livery, which is identical to the scheme run at the ’88 Rallye Sanremo, but what’s remarkable is that the red, blue and black stripes are painted on. Those would have been stickers on the rally car!
We’ve seen all sorts of restomods over the years, many of which follow the Singer mould of cramming in as much leather and carbon as possible. This, however, goes about things a little differently, and has one heck of a backstory serving as an official seal. Biasion only made one, and it’s currently for sale at Rally Replay as the ‘Miki Biasion 30th Anniversary Edition’. That said, a red version was produced to celebrate the 1989 car, although that one’s more a direct replica of the championship winner, stripped interior and all. Either way, these are two exceptionally special Lancias that, until a few days ago, I never knew existed. I’ve been consumed by stratospheric levels of want since.
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