For the time being, however, Fiat appeared determined to let Lancia not only exist, but also shine. Admittedly, from the day that Brigitte Bardot slipped out of an Aurelia B24, anything that came later on in the Lancia story seemed almost anti-climactic. So the decision was made to follow the Fulvia HF back into the motoring arena. This was where time and place came together, Bertone and the wedge and the whole Stratos phenomenon, all in the heyday of the Italian automobile as far as designers, engine builders and unfettered geniuses are concerned.
The Stratos was stripped of its motor show bling and reduced to something that even ordinary people could imagine driving, though always with a focus on rallying and racing. The car became more practical, and with it: higher, shorter, clunkier. The harmony of the primordial wedge was disturbed through the addition of grafted-on fenders.
The transformation from beauty to functionality resulted in a stocky, powerful, perhaps even wicked car, more bear-like than cat-like. Bears have a short wheelbase. And the decisive factor now was, of course, the 2.4-liter six-cylinder from Ferrari that the old man delivered in person. No small feat.