Last month’s theme was convertibles, and it just so happened that it was raining on the day of the morning cruise. Actually, rain might be the wrong word. Monsoon, tropical storm, “pissing down” might be more accurate descriptions of the weather at last month’s meet.
Luckily, the weather for this month’s meet was much better. It was hot, sunny, and perfect for convertibles. Somehow the weather got mixed up because this month’s theme was pre-1995 Lancias. And given Lancia’s strong history at rallying, the rain from last month’s meet would’ve been better suited this month. But that’s just how these things are.
Before all the rust-related jokes were invented and before Lancia were reduced to making rebadged version of various Fiat and Chrysler cars, they were top dog in the world of rally. Cars such as the Stratos, Delta Integrale, and Rally 037 won the World Rally Championship for the Italians, the latter being the last rear-wheel drive car to win the title. Suffice to say, Lancia deserves a dedicated meet as much as any other manufacturer out there.
The turn out was nothing to be disappointed about. The cars present perfectly represented the brilliant history of the golden era of a once legendary name. There were many Delta Integrales present (of course). I had only seen a couple prior to this meet and all of a sudden it seemed that every single one produced was gathered here today. My particular favourite was the Integrale with the Martini Racing livery.
Not all Deltas were Integrales, there were a couple of bog-standard ones there too. However a particular treat was the Delta S4, which was one of 200 ever produced. The S4 succeeded the Rally 037 as Lancia’s WRC car from 1988.
Speaking of the Rally 037, the red Stradale had to be the highlight of this month’s meet for me simply for the wow and rarity factor it had. I daren’t imagine how much that thing was worth. It might not have the same exotic Bertone body as its predecessor or a Maranello-derived V6, but my god there was something undeniably cool about being the presence of it.
With only one 037 Stradale there, the two Stratos seemed quite ordinary. No, that’s not true. There’s no world where a Stratos could ever be considered “ordinary”. Both of them had gold wheels, a must-have, and both drew a sizeable crowd. The Stratos, for me personally, remains one of the best designs in the automotive world. I could literally stare at it all day. It’s one of those cars that’ll make my heart race and jaw drop every single time.
It’s hard to get carried away when so many greats are gathered in one place. While the Stratos, 037, and Delta S4 were shock-and-awe cars, the Fulvia was beautifully discreet. Unlike the others it wasn’t painted in bright red but a subtle silver. That didn’t take away from the fact that it was knee-achlyingly pretty. There was an orange Fulvia Sport 1600 present, but the pure and simple Fulvia Coupe was in a class of its own in the looks department. There was even an original Nissan Silvia present, a car that owes much of its styling to the Fulvia.
Another one of Lancia’s greatest hits was the Thema 8.32. In many ways this was the Maserati Quattroporte (or more recently Alfa Giulia) of the 90s. In essence it’s a sensible Italian sedan powered by a not-so-sensible Ferrari engine, in this case a 3.0-litre V8 from the 308 GTB. The 8.32 also boasts the title as being the first car to have an electronic rear spoiler. Yes, an electronic innovation from an Italian marque.
While the main theme was Lancia, that didn’t mean other cars weren’t allowed in. There were two 458 Speciales, both of which were in fantastic spec. The 997 GT3 RS 4.0 was the only other car there, apart from the Stratos/037/Fulvia that I wanted to take home with me. The silver 964 Targa was particularly nice too, as was the original Gallardo. A couple of surprise cars were the Lotus Esprit S1 (unfortunately without the optional 007 equipment), Shelby Cobra, and KTM X-Bow.
And that’s what I like about these meets at the Daikanyama T-Site. The meets may have “themes” but you never know what’ll show up. It’s definitely worth a trip should you find yourself in Tokyo on the second Sunday of the month.