The automotive world loves concept cars, whether they are the car alternative to Marmite or make you drool like Homer Simpson, they have that certain something. None more so than those from Italy, over the years we have had some jaw dropping designs from Pininfarina, Zagato, as well as some of the Italian carmakers. Step forward the Stratos Zero, Marcello Gandini’s masterpiece from 1970 and one of Bertone’s best.
Designed some 48 years ago, the wedge-shaped concept was developed from day one to be more than just a fashion statement as the idea was to design and engineer a fully functional prototype. The car’s name was Stratos HF, although Nuccio Bertone wanted to call it Stratolimite – as in “limit of the stratosphere,” due to its design inspired by the space age – while Zero comes from the project’s internal codename.
This Stratos concept was fully restored in 2000 and made a special appearance last weekend at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, the Stratos HF Zero had previously been at the Concorso d’eleglnza in 2011 when it was sold by RM Sotheby €761,600.
Not surprisingly the Stratos HF Zero was assembled using existing Lancia parts, including a 115 hp 1.6-litre, narrow-angle V4 engine taken from the Fulvia HF underneath that spectacular engine cover shaped like a triangle. Connected to it was a five-speed manual gearbox but the car also featured independent front and rear suspension and four-wheel disc brakes. As for interior space, it’s fair to say it was cosy at best, the concept most definitely not a Grand Tourer…