7 December 2012
Zagato Lancia Hyena - He Who Laughs Last
One of those cars that should have been offered by Lancia but wasn't, but that's probably down to the fact that the factory had little to do with it.
The Lancia Hyena was the brainchild of Dutch classic car restorer and dealer Paul Koot in collaboration with Zagato; the Marco Pedracini design certainly has the Zagato touch about it, with hints of the Alfa SZ and Fulvia Sport Zagato permeating it's DNA. the car was introduced at the Brussels Motor Show in January 1992.
With it's rally-bred Delta skeleton and seductive Zagato body, Fiat were clamouring to put it into series production. Amazingly, no they weren't. Zagato and Coot initially agreed with Lancia to produce around 500 Hyena, but the Italian automaker pulled out of the deal and only 24 were built init's production run between 1992-1996. To rub salt into to wound, Fiat also flatly refused to offer any assistance in the project, which complicated the production process. Integrales had to be purchased in Italy, stripped down in Holland and then air freighted back to Italy to Zagato's factory for body fitment and final assembly.
All of this performance made the Hyena very expensive to build; sticker price was about USD$75,000, a price that landed it straight Porsche 911 Carrera territory. But for that money, you had a car that weighed 440lb less than original Delta HF Integrale and had 250bhp. The 4 metre long coupé is said to accelerate from 0-60mph in just 5.4 seconds and is apparently more nimble due to the weight reduction.
Zagato at its best and pulling out the same emotions that most Zagato creations usually do; just like it's Alfa Romeo SZ stablemate (a car it shares glass and roof components with) the Hyena is one of those controversially styled cars that you're drawn to even though you feel like that you're not supposed to be.
This example, that was auctioned in May this year is a little different than other Hyena from the cackle; it was ordered new from Walkers Garage, the official factory-appointed Lancia importer in the UK and has several additional modifications specified by its first owner. Power has been boosted to 300bhp, bigger brakes and a large, competition-spec fuel tank fitted. When the car returned to Zagato in 2004 for a full restoration it was repainted black, a colour which suits it immensely. Together with a host of details improvements (better sound proofing for example), make this Hyena a touch apart from an already exclusive species.