Zagato’s take on the Lancia Delta Integrale was novel, though the Hyena project was ultimately ill-fated. In light of the burgeoning interest in younger classics, we’ve taken a closer look at this ultra-rare ‘might-have-been’ of the mid-1990s, which will soon cross the block in Paris…
Zagato Green – it’s a lurid shade, but somehow apt on such a curious car. The regular Lancia Delta Integrale’s styling was deemed too commonplace by Zagato designer Marco Pedracini in the early 1990s, and not befitting of its incredible rally pedigree. So he decided to draw a more sporting – and quintessentially Zagato – shape to sit atop the hatchback’s mechanicals, taking cues from older Lancias and Alfa Romeos bodied by the Milanese design house.
The Lancia Hyena was one of the great ‘might-have-beens’ of the mid-1990s. Zagato mooted proposals for 500 examples to be produced, but the Fiat Group was put off by the complicated and logistically difficult build process. Ultimately, only 24 Hyenas reached completion, thanks to the investment of both labour and finance from Dutch Lancia importer Paul Koot.
Poised and purposeful
With a body made entirely from aluminium and a revised interior littered with carbonfibre, the Hyena was some 200kg lighter than the Integrale, helping it reach 62mph in just 5.4sec. The design itself will inevitably split opinion but we think the shrink-wrapped coupé body’s proportions look spot on. It’s sleek, poised and purposeful (a bit like a real Hyena, though less savage), with echoes of its mighty forebear the Stratos. We wonder how the Hyena would have fared out on the special stages.
At $75,000 new, the Hyena was by no means a cheap car. But for those who took the plunge and managed to retain their cars to this day, the £220,000-260,000 pre-sale estimate Artcurial has attached to this, the 15th car built, should come as welcome news. The only Hyena finished in ‘Zagato Green’ and showing just 7,000km on the clock, it’ll cross the block at Artcurial’s Rétromobile Sale on 5-6 February.