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.:: EXPERIMENTAL COMPOSITE VEHICLE ::.


.:: LANCIA DELTA ECV EVO 87 ::.

Edited by :
.:: CESARE FIORIO - Abarth Sport Team and then General Manager 1978 to 1988 .::
.:: CLAUDIO LOMBARDI - Abarth Technical Director 1982 to 1991 .::
.:: GIUSEPPE VOLTA - Fiat/Lancia/Abarth competition vehicle preparation from 1969 .::
.:: INTRODUCTION ::.

This site details the history and restoration of the unique Lancia DELTA ECV1 prototype.This vehicle was equipped with an innovative patented engine named "TRIFLUX" and built on a modified Delta S4 Chassis, and was conceived as the evolution of the S4 to be used in the 1987 World Rally Championship, after development and testing. The competition debut never occurred due to motives that are explained later in this document.
The EVC1 (experimental composite vehicle) name derives from the vehicle construction, which was entirely in Carbon Fibre composite, and was a mobile laboratory for this new technology. The objective was to evaluate the performance of this material, in the harsh Rally environment.
The original ECV1 mock-up was presented at the Bologna Motorshow in 1986 and again at the Geneva 1987 show.
The ECV, when it was first presented would have made a revolutionary rally-car, capable of continuing the successes of the Lancia Team in their 20 year rallying history.
Unfortunately, in 1986, the FIA decided to abolish the Group B category for which the ECV was designed, and therefore the car, with its potential incredible performance, were left untested by Drivers and Technicians, who moved on to develop the Group A rally-car, the Lancia Delta, which dominated the successive 7 World Rally Championships.
Giuseppe Volta, a Rally car preparation expert, purchased most of the parts of this rallying icon several years ago. At the end of 2009, he decided to recreate the ECV1 but with the ambitious objective of building a running vehicle. With the help of ex-colleagues from the Abarth/Lancia rally-team in Torino, he restored the vehicle to its former glory and presented it as a drivable vehicle at the 2010 edition of the Annual Rally Legend @ San Marino, with Miki Biasion at the wheel.
This vehicle restoration project is the culmination of over 20 years rally-car preparation and competition experience at world-class level.
Thanks to the excellent restoration by Giuseppe Volta, Rally-fans can now admire, once again, what would have been the winning vehicle in the hands of the expert Lancia Martini team.

.:: LANCIA DELTA S4 EVOLUTIONS (PROGETTO SE038/SE040) ORIGINS OF THE ECV1 ::.

The Group-B rally era (1982-86) saw the birth of rally supercars.
Lancia started a 4WD SE038 project "Lancia S4 Corse" in 1983 as the successor to the victorious 2WD Lancia 037 Rally, and continuously developed the vehicle using variants and options (VO/VF), as was permitted then by the FIA Group-B regulations.
The S4 development was an enormous effort for the Lancia Rally Team, based then in the famous Abarth workshops in Cso Marche, Torino, as it was the first high performance 4WD vehicle developed by Fiat. The objective set by Ing. Ghidella (Fiat Managing Director) to the Lancia/Abarth technicians was to create a world-rally championship winning car,and also transfer knowledge of 4WD and Turbo-charged engines into the Fiat production car designs. For this mission, Cesare Fiorio selected Ing. Claudio Lombardi as the head of engineering.
Within an intense 30 month development cycle, from Jan-1983 to Nov-1985, these objectives were met. The Engineering team, composed of passionate experts such as Paolo Ferrero, Giovanni Roffina, Enrico Alviano and their colleagues gained precious knowledge of the vehicle systems, and the S4, in its EVO1 version proved its competitivity, with an outright win on its debut World Championship event, the 1985 UK RAC Rally (1st and 2nd overall).
Eye-witnesses report that the vehicle was so quick in acceleration, that in the time it took to disappear behind a tree, the body of the car appeared to stretch, since the nose appeared to be quicker than the rear ! The human eye could not track its acceleration, even on gravel.
This phenomenal acceleration was due to the two stage engine boosting system; The patented use of a combined Volumetric Compressor (supercharger), and a Turbo-Charger.
Incidentally, 20 years on, the VW Golf GTI also adopted this system.


.:: Motore Delta S4 - Schema di sovralimentazione ::.

Further development vehicles, such as special vehicle project code SE040, were used to test the following concepts :

  • Triflux engine with Novel Cyl-head Intake/Exhaust arrangement and twin turbo-chargers/intercoolers.
  • CVT transmission and/or other transmission innovations.
  • New Aerodynamic Package.
  • Carbon-Fibre Components.


  • .:: Lancia Delta S4 - ghost view ::.
    .:: NOTE ON THE ORIGINAL MOTIVATIONS FOR THE TRIFLUX ENGINE DEVELOPMENT : ::.

    Lancia-Martini drivers needed a more powerful engine to ensure domination over the competing Peugeot 205T16 which had a single Turbo-charger.
    As has been stated, the S4 had a twin series system of Turbo+Supercharger, but this was still judged insufficient.
    Ing. Lampredi had just left the position of Head of Engine Development, and the new Head of Engineering Claudio Lombardi developed a radical solution of a twin turbo engine to allow an increased power output over the already class-leading S4.
    The new TRIFLUX 1759cc twin turbo (two KKK units) engine (shown in the figure) produced 450kW @ 8,000rpm using a new design where two turbochargers were used in parallel, but activated depending on the engine speed.


    .:: TRIFLUX engine for the 1987 World Rally Championship ::.

    The cyl-head had crossed exhaust and inlet valves, with an exhaust manifolds on each side of the cylinder-head, each feeding a single turbocharger. The use of two relatively smaller turbochargers reduced their inertia, hence spin-up and turbo-lag were reduced. The engine also had sequential activation of the turbos; at low engine speeds one turbocharger exhaust was shut-off, forcing all the exhaust gases through the other turbo and thus providing good low speed pick-up performance. As the engine speed rose, the second turbocharger was gradually introduced, until at high engine speeds both turbochargers ran in parallel offering the best top-end power. Pneumatic "throttle" valves were used to control these exhaust flows.
    (Note from Ing. Lombardi; a modern engine would use electro-hydraulic or electronic valves with ECU management, giving even quicker response times).
    Another advantage of the symmetrical Turbo layout was that the heat distribution across the cyl-head was uniform, so the thermal expansion did not distort the cyl-head.
    The Intake air flowed vertically downwards into the cylinders.
    Five triflux cyl-heads were originally made, 2 were bought by Mr Tamburini, 2 where bought by Giuseppe Volta (one of these is fitted to the restored ECV1), and 1 remained with Fiat (fitted to the ECV2, currently in the Lancia Museum).
    The technological race between Lancia and Peugeot came to tragic end during the Corsica Rally crash which caused the untimely and tragic death of the Lancia-Martini Crew and championship leaders, Henri Toivonen/Sergio Cresto in May-1986, and FIA made it clear that Group-B was to be cancelled at the end of 1986, judging the cars too fast and hence dangerous. The main Lancia rally-team, in mid-1986, therefore transferred to work on the new Group A Lancia Delta (Abarth project SE043) for the 1987 season, a small team remained to continue development of a successor to the S4, developing the triflux engine and other ideas on the ECV.

    .:: SE041 (ECV1/ECV2) ::.

    Presented to the public at the end of 1986 at the Bologna Motorshow as a concept car, "ECV1", although having the correct mechancial components, was an untested mock-up. It was revealed to demonstrate the outstanding innovation of the Abarth team, at that time the world leader in Rally cars.
    The basic vehicle shape, and mechanical layout were identified correctly as an evolution of the Delta S4 EVO2, with many carry-over mechanical parts and the Triflux engine, but the vehicle featured an updated aerodynamic package developed by Chief Aerodynamicist, Sergio Beccio, and its agressive "brutal" look finished in the new Bold Red "Lancia-Martini" sponsorship colours has made it an icon, almost "Holy Grail"for Rally-Car lovers all over the world with a fanatic following which remains even 24 years after it's first public appearance.
    The chassis of this vehicle was revolutionary, for a vehicle of its size, in that the central section was completely in Carbon-Fibre and Honeycomb Composite used for the load bearing structure and chassis.
    At the time, Fiat were interested in developing Carbon-Fibre, for their Ferrari F1 racing programme, and also for their GT sports cars (F40 and F50) and several companies were approached to find the suitable construction partner. The final chosen partner was IdC (run by Bizzarrini Jr.).
    The ECV1 also had wheel rims from carbon fabric, The supplier SPEEDLINE (8x16") manufactured a set of wheels weighing only 6kg !. There was also a composite propshaft. An overall weight of 930kg was achieved for the ECV1.


    .:: Lancia ECV1 @ Motorshow Bologna 1986 ::.

    In 1988, Fiat Auto-Abarth stripped the show-car ECV1 Carbon-Fibre chassis, and re-covered it with a new rounder external styling, by Carlo Gaino and renamed it ECV2.The engine remained the Triflux 1759cc with two turbochargers. The intercoolers adopted water cooling and the engine management system was updated with improved turbo-control. Kerb weight was 910kg. The ECV2 show-car was finished in pearlescent white with a hint of Martini sponsorship. The definitive cancellation of the Group B regulations made future vehicle development unnecessary, and the ECV2 mock-up still remains Fiat Property in Torino. Close inspection shows that it is an incredible concept, but not really roadworthy.
    Both the ECV1 & ECV2 succeeded in becoming the iconic "Curtain-Call" for the Group B Rally-era, and showed what might have been, if this formula had continued.

    .:: RESTORATION OF THE ECV1 EVO 87 ::.

    Giuseppe Volta worked directly for Abarth during the 1970's and 1980's using his company Volta Racing as the "Skunk Works", testing concepts and ideas that needed quick parallel development alongside the ultra-competative Lancia-Martini team.
    Due to the absolute top-level services rendered, and mutual trust that came from this highly sucessful collaboration, he was able to purchase the S4 EVO2 development chassis which had been abandoned by Abarth following the cancellation of the Group B rally regulations and also the discarded ECV1 Body parts, excluding the originalcarbon-fibre chassis which, as explained above, became the basis of the ECV2.
    With these parts, Giuseppe Volta has been able to rebuild the ECV1 a steel reinforced carbon-fibre chassis, painstakingly recreated using the S4 EVO2 Chassis, clearly more suitable for Rally-use and probably more in-line with what Abarth would have used in competition, and with all the carbon-fibre original body-panels and wheels.
    The Triflux engine has been updated with modern Engine management, and also the Turbo control is revised to create a more drivable sequential activation. The suspension rates and kinematics have been updated to suit modern tyres and the engine oil-cooling has been uprated with a Laminova Oil-Cooler. All other missing parts were supplied with the kind support of the original suppliers or substituted with modern equivalents where suppliers declined to be involved, or no longer existed. The restoration was performed during 2010 with assistance from several ex-Abarth team members.

    .:: TECHNICAL SPECIFICATION LANCIA DELTA ECV1 EVO 87 mod. 2010 ::.

    Chassis: Original Steel S4 Rally EVO2 (1986), with Carbon Fibre pannelling.
    Body-Panels: Original ECV1 show-car panels.
  • Engine: Original Triflux cyl-head (patented by Ing. Lombardi- Fiat- 1986) fitted with modern Turbo-Chargers, ECU.
  • All other engine components original S4 EVO1 Group-B specification :
  • 4 Cylinders Inline with twin Turbochargers.
  • 1759 cm3
  • Bore/Stroke: 88,5x71,5 mm
  • Compression Ratio: 7,5:1
  • Marelli Motorsport ECU with Port Fuel Injection.
  • First Evo Power output: 600 CV at wheels at 8000 RPM.
  • Suspension: Original S4 EVO1 Group-B with modification as appropriate to suit modern tyres.
  • Wheels: Original Speedline Carbon-Fibre (substituted with S4 Magnesium Rims during events).
  • Tyres: Avon or Pirelli - depending on event.
  • All other components are Original S4 Rally-spec.

    .:: CONCLUSION AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ::.

    In restoring this vehicle, Giuseppe Volta, has been able to re-present a rally car Icon, and to bring it to a greater public. As Giuseppe "Beppe" says: "Now that it's back, don't think that we'll let it decay in some museum, our intention is, for the satisfaction of all the fans, to present it at many events around the world and to show what it can do with the best drivers, such as Miki Biasion who drove it for the first time at Rally Legend 2010!".

    .:: MANY THANKS TO - TECHNICAL SUPPORT AND GENERAL ASSISTANCE ::.

    Dott. Cesare Fiorio
    Ing. Claudio Lombardi
    Ing. Sergio Limone
    Carlo Demichelis
    Mirco Molonato
    Michael "30BF" Arora
    Franco Berry - Engine preparation
    Alessandro "Pop" Bonetto - Chief mechanic ...
    .... and naturally ... BEPPE VOLTA, a true Rally-man !!!
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