One Day With The Legendary Lancia Delta Integrale

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A thousand days or only one? How many would you spend with a legendary car if you had the chance? For years I’ve fantasized about this moment and now my day has come. To start, let it be known that I am not an automotive journalist, nor do I own any expensive cars. In the end, I’m just like any other enthusiast with more of a girly twist and a fresh pair of eyes. However, I do love to look at them and like many of us drive them as well – especially ones like this beautiful Lancia Delta Integrale.

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So what happened 19 years ago? Well to put it simply, my mom introduced me to this car. I was a child back then, with one of those swingly-weird ponytails. At the time I didn’t know what the car was represented, but I do have fond memories of being confused every time people would ask her about the car. It was as if people were admiring some rare and mysterious creature… but it was.

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This beautiful red creature that everyone asked about was the first Delta HF Integrale Evoluzione II that came from Modena, Italy. At the time, the car wasn’t offered in Croatia for purchase, so it was more rare than anything else in the country. I wish I had known more about it back then and could drive, let alone drive it. Then again, my mother would probably considered insane for letting me do so.

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Could you imagine seeing a 5 year old child trying to drive a Delta EVO? Yeah, right. Even at such a young age, there was something I felt about this car, something strange that I’ve never felt before. It was emotions that I have never felt in any other car. Even nowadays when I remember that red car I get goosebumps. Okay, so Italian cars aren’t usually seen in good light by people other than design, but little do they know how good this car drove and ultimately the iconic legend it became during the years.

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This photo was taken in Martin Breg, Croatia, 2 years after it was bought – the year was 1996. So I wanted to refresh it in 2015. I asked my dear friend Sebastijan Bertol Seb who actually maintained and tested the real EVO for years. When he heard of the idea (with a smile on his face) he gave me his Integrale. Thank you once again for that Seb. Unfortunately, the real EVO was sold in Kuwait, where it is held in a garage, not driven, waiting for some better times, and raising its value… I can only imagine and wonder how it would be to drive the real EVO again and get to know her years later.

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So after spending a day, I reflect back on the EVO that made my heart tremble. One day I hope, that every petrol head experiences such a thing – it is what we live for, right? Maybe. What I do know is the emotions that these legendary cars evoke within us, as is the case with Tom – the EVO’s first owner – when he say the pictures, ‘Wow… Wow.  I wish I could turn back time, I think of our good old days in Croatia with the Red Lancia Evolution II. Surprise, I couldn’t believe Anamarija is grown up to be a car lover… maybe I spread the bug to her.” You did Tom, you did. One day Lancia we will meet again someday.

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