The Lancia Delta became a legend on rally stages, only to gradually fade away. Now the Delta could return as an electric car, Lancia CEO Luca Napolitano said in a recent interview with the Italian publication Corriere della Serra (via Motor1).
“Everyone wants Delta and it can't be missing from our plans" Napolitano said, promising that the new electric Delta will be "a manifesto of progress and technology."
Napolitano didn't discuss specific timing, but said a new Lancia Ypslion will arrive first, in 2024. He noted that Lancia will only launch zero-emission vehicles beginning in 2026, in keeping with parent Stellantis' electrification plans.
Designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, the original Delta racked up a number of World Rally Championship (WRC) victories during the fearsome Group B era of the 1980s, as well as the subsequent Group A era. Homologation requirements led to the development of the Delta Integrale road car.
Subsequent versions never recaptured the magic of the original. Based on a Fiat platform, the final Delta had questionable styling and no performance credentials. Production ended in 2014.
Lancia will coordinate with fellow Stellantis brands Alfa Romeo and DS for its European dealer network going forward, but it's unclear if the brand will return to the U.S. Stellantis predecessor Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) once considered bringing the Delta to the U.S. as a Chrysler, and the U.S. firm's Mopar division began offering Delta Integrale parts in 2019.
The first-generation Delta also inspired a Singer-esque treatment from Automobili Amos. The company launched its Lancia Delta Futurista restomod in 2018, boasting carbon-fiber bodywork and a 330-hp version of the original 2.0-liter turbo-4 engine. Production was limited to 20 units, starting at $347,000 each.