It's the time when Ing. Vittorio Ghidella is the head of Fiat, and as a passionate supporter of new automotive technologies, he was interested in all new ideas.
Abarth is rallying with the Delta S4, which has a frame-chassis, of round and square tubes, closed with panels. It is a difficult construction method, and it is decided to test an entirely composite chassis. This decision is also spurred on by the appearance of the Ford RS200, which has a central tub in Composite material.
Fiat management therefore starts a collaboration with IDC (Composite Engineering) led by Ing. Bizzarrini Jr., who undertakes the delivery of a full composite chassis, interchangeable with the Delta S4, by coordinating various specialist suppliers.
Abarth receives the finished Chassis, and completes the installation of all the mechanical components. Wisely, the front section remains in Steel Tubing, allowing easy access to the mechanical components. A complete chassis, including the front section, would have required completely different mechanical components.
For the rear part of the vehicle, a "bath" structure contains the engine, unfortunately creating heat dissipation problems, and therefore highlighting that a Rear Frame, similar to the Front, would be the best solution. A self-supporting engine, with attached suspension would also be a possibility, but the difficulties to service this and make a reliable unit for rally-use precluded this concept.
Body work from the Lancia S4, with new Aerodynamic "gadgets" and a new routing for the cooling air to the intercoolers was used to prepare the ECV in it's first version.
The engine was not that from the SE038, but a new Development called "TRIFLUX".
Ing. Claudio Lombardi had developed a new Cyl-head with two side-mounted opposing turbo-chargers. The intake manifold is vertical, and air enters directly downwards into two staggered (crossed) Inlet valves, whilst the two exhaust valves complete the cross in each cylinder, an exhaust manifold is located on each side of the cyl-head. It is a specific design suited to a racing-application, and had been seen also on other projects, including some BMW engines, developed by Apfelbeck, to get the best possible volumetric efficiency, due to the staggered layout of the inlet valves.
The engine was bench-tested and fitted to the vehicle. Each Turbo had it's separated Intercooler plumbing. A blocking valve was also used on one of the turbos, to improve response.
The ECV1 started with classic Air-Air Intercoolers. The ECV2 prototype was also successively built, using a new more compact Body-panel design fitted around the existing ECV1 carbon-fibre chassis, with new Frt. and Rear Clamshells. The intercoolers were replaced with Air-Water coolers, supplied by SECAN of the Bi-etage type. The engine-cooling water passed through the frt. mounted radiator, and directed to the Air-Water intercoolers located close to the engine. This layout was successfully used by Peugeot on their Group-B 205T16 EVO2, and offered the advantage of a more aerodynamic and compact rear engine installation.
The ECV2 was presented as a concept-car, and finally lives on in the Lancia Museum.