Beyond the rally pedigree and the stonking performance that’s still impressive today, a big part of the Lancia Delta Integrale’s appeal is in its boxy lines. With that slab-fronted nose, the individual headlamps, the box arches - they really don’t make ‘em like that any more.
When it was still being sold, though, a chap called Paul Koot, Lancia’s official importer in the Netherlands, reckoned it could do with some curves. He pitched the idea of a curvaceous Integrale-based coupe to Andrea Zagato, setting the wheels of the ‘Hyena’ project in motion.
It was a thorough transformation, with a whole new body made from aluminium and composite materials dropping the weight by nearly 200kg relative to the Integrale. Inside Zagato added a brand new dashboard and door cards crafted from carbon fibre, back when the use of the material in a car’s cabin was actually quite interesting.
To go with the weight drop, the 2.0-litre inline-four turbo engine was given a tickle, bringing the power to around 250bhp. As a result, the Hyena cracks 0-62mph in just 5.4 seconds.
There was a problem, however. Fiat didn’t want to support the project, meaning Zagato wasn’t able to get part-finished Integrales off the production line to finish itself. The absurd workaround involved buying cars new from dealerships, stripping them down, and rebuilding as Hyenas. We’d love to know what happened to the pile of spares this must have resulted in, but Koot’s day job will have made shifting leftovers on a little easier.
This was a hideously expensive and inefficient way to make a car, and it led to a price of $75,000. Back in the early 1990s, that was a huge sum. Plans for a decent-sized production run were canned, and in the end, Zagato only made 24.
Hyenas don’t come up for sale very often, then, and when they do, the price is high. The one you see here, set to be auctioned by RM Sotheby‘s later this month, has an estimate of €160,000 - €200,000. The Verde Zagato-finished Lancia is a little different to most, with the signatures of Elio and Gianni Zagato in place of the Hyena script normally found on the rear three-quarter panels.
Currently residing in Germany, the country it was originally delivered to, the Hyena has a mere 8950 kilometres showing on the clock, and has only three previous owners.