For enthusiasts not in the know, a new (Lancia) Stratos is coming to the 2018 Geneva Motor Show. The car will have more than 550 horsepower and a design that harks back to the iconic model that was built from 1973 to 1978. If there’s one thing we’d like to see from the new Stratos, it’s that it looks like the Bertone Lancia Stratos HF Zero Concept from 1970.
Cars from the ‘70s all shared a singular design cue – they looked like wedges that belonged in space and not on tarmac. Look at the Lamborghini Countach, which is probably the most well known wedge-shaped supercar of all time, or the Lotus Esprit. Everything exotic and good-looking from that period could’ve started off as a doorstop.
The Bertone Lancia Stratos HF Zero Concept is one of the most absurd looking vehicles from the ‘70s and has an interesting story, as well. And we’d love to see the new Stratos share it’s design with the concept, even though that’s extremely unlikely.
As Autoweek reported back in 2011, the HF Zero Concept came to light because of a rivalry between two of some of the best design houses in the automotive industry – Bertone and Pininfarina. The coachbuilders were going back and forth, trading punches with gorgeous designs of their own. Bertone’s HF Zero Concept was supposed to be the car that brought the feud to an end, the machine that would have Pininfarina claiming that nothing prettier could be made.
While that’s certainly not the case, as Pininfarina has gone on to make some more stunning vehicles, the HF Zero Concept is a piece of art. It was unveiled at the 1970 Turin Motor Show and was originally called the Stratoslimite – “limit of the stratosphere.” Jeez, what an awesome name.
Interestingly, the outlet claims that the wedge-shaped design served an actual purpose. Before the HF Zero Concept’s debut, Pininfarina came out with the Modulo, which was just 36.8 inches tall. Not to be outdone, the HF Zero Concept was measured to be 33 inches tall.
While modern concepts are just design exercises, the HF Zero Concept was actually a usable car. It utilized the 1.6-liter V4 engine from the Lancia Fulvia HF. The engine wasn’t exactly monstrous, it only made 115 horsepower, but it could actually power the car. The concept also had an 11.8-gallon gas tank, disc brakes at all four corners, and an enormous triangular engine cover.
Taking a closer look at the vehicle reveals some items that can easily be overlooked. The thin row of headlights at the front of the vehicle, the massive windshield that also acted as an early version of a panorama roof, and the off-center exhaust system are all examples of features that could cause someone to do a double-take.
The interior is just as futuristic, as the seats are practically horizontal and the instrument panel was placed to the left side of the driver’s seat. If it was in the middle of the interior, it would mimic the design that Tesla has taken with the Model 3.
Unfortunately, Bertone fell apart after Nuccio Bertone’s death. But the HF Zero Concept is a reminder of what the coachbuilder made back in its glory days. And the concept was the inspiration for the Lancia Stratos. Wouldn’t it be great if Lancia, like it did back in the ‘70s, took some inspiration from the concept and incorporate it into the new Stratos?
Unlikely? Yeah. But boy would it be cool.
(pictures are from the RM Auctions of London in 2011)