Unfortunately, the car manufacturers of the world haven’t decided to bring every single vehicle they’ve ever made to the United States. That leaves several cars out there as “forbidden fruit” that we’re unable to own legally. Nissan Skylines and Silvias, Land Rover Defenders, and Japanese Kei cars are popular choices for importers — and you may actually see them around occasionally. Essentially, as long as a car is older than 25 years, it’s fair game — you can bring it to the States if you’re brave enough. Doug has done it twice!
So, if you were going to do it … what would you import?
For me, it would have to be a Lancia Delta Integrale. Yes, a fast Italian hatchback rally car from the 1980s is exactly what this country needs more of.
Essentially, the Lancia Delta Integrale was like the Ford Focus RS of its day. It was based on the more pedestrian Delta family hatchback, but with some serious changes and additions. It received a 4-wheel drive system with three differentials, including a Torsen rear differential that was able to send torque wherever it was needed the most. It also received a larger 8-valve, 2.0-liter engine with a big turbo that put out 185 horsepower and 220 lb-ft of torque.
In 1989, Lancia wanted to be even more competitive in rally races, so they gave the Delta Integrale an even more powerful 16-valve engine and an updated turbo that produced 200 hp, allowing it to hit 60 miles per hour in less than six seconds. They also gave it wider tires and some crazy flared wheel arches. It did well, too — at its debut, the Integrale 16v won the 1989 San Remo Rally.
That wasn’t crazy enough for Lancia, though. They went on to make the Delta Integrale Evoluzione, which was a full-on homologation special. It was wider, more powerful, and even featured an adjustable rear spoiler. Like a 911 GT3, air conditioning was offered as an option. This was pretty much a race car for the road.
Finally, in 1993 Lancia released the Delta Integrale Evoluzione II. Unlike the previous edition, the Evoluzione II was not built for homologation, but rather as a special edition. They managed to squeeze another five hp out of the engine through the addition of a pretty complicated engine control system.
The four editions of the Lancia Delta Integrale line ended up winning 46 World Rally Championship events, and they helped Lancia win six manufacturer titles in six years of competition. It was an awesome car, and I think more of them need to find their way to America. So, that’s me — what about you? Find a car for sale
Will Kinton likes cars, so he writes about them on the internet. He also tweets about them on Twitter, and frequently takes pictures of them on Instagram. He’s based in Virginia, and currently drives a 2013 VW GTI. It’s a good car.
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