When the Fiat Group decided that they needed a new rally car in the early 1980s, they already knew that the FIA would bring in the Group B regulations from 1982 with full implementation in 1983. They had several possibilities ranging from a V6 Fiat 131 to a Stratos-like version of their X-19 sports car. Eventually they settled on a sports car, but a new one powered by a supercharged 4-cylinder, 2-litre, 16-valve engine giving 305 bhp. The chassis and some of the bodywork was based on the Lancia Beta Monte Carlo that they had been racing but the 037 was designed as a rally car through and through. It took perhaps a year to get it working really well on gravel rallies and with sufficient reliability to see it through a major rally, but then the results started to come. In 1983, Walter Röhrl won the Monte Carlo Rally with a 037 and, between him and Markku Alén, they won rallies as diverse as the Acropolis and the Tour of Corsica. Lancia won the World Manufacturer’s Championship of 1983 while Miki Biasion was European Champion that year and 037s won that title again in 1984 and 1985.
Lancia made a first evolution on the 037 later in 1982 but brought out their second evolution in 1984 with an engine enlarged to 2.1 litres and 325 bhp. This car is one of those twenty E2 models that was supplied by the factory to Scuderia Grifone and was for Fabrizio Tabaton to run in the 1984 Italian Championship where he won the Group B category. He also finished fourth behind three works 037s on the San Remo Rally. This 037 was later driven by Gianfranco Cunico for the Jolly Club. It came to the UK in 1995 and was restored by Gareth Williams of Sweep Motorsport including its original Olio-Fiat livery. It is owned and driven by Rob Whitehouse, a New Zealander who lives in Mallorca.
Engine : four-cylinder, in-line, longitudinally mounted mid-engine, twin overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder, 305 bhp, 1,995cc (E1), 325 bhp, 2,111cc (E2)
Induction : Bosch injection and Abarth supercharger
Body : spaceframe steel chassis with glassfibre & Kevlar bodywork, titanium roll cage
Suspension front :double wishbone with coil spring, single damper
Suspension rear : double wishbone with coil spring and twin dampers
Transmission : five speed gearbox/transaxle mounted behind engine driving rear wheels
Weight : 965 kg