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The Lancia Stratos HF Zero - The stuff of legends, Part 1

February 26 2012 at 1:34 PM
ED-209  (Login EDW209)
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Response to Sculpture in Motion: Masterpieces of Italian Designs, Petersen Auto Museum

"The Lancia Stratos HF Zero - the stuff of legends"

This futuristic prototype by Bertone was unveiled at the 1970 Turin Motor Show and would become the inspiration and define the styling for supercars in the following decades. The car was officially named the Stratos HF as in 'stratosphere' in reference to it's space age design but has become well known by it's internal nickname: ZERO. The Stratos HF Zero had a futuristic look, and still does, with a chiseled and angular shape including a row of thin strip of headlights in the front of the car to the mesh grille and ribbon outlined taillights in the rear. The Stratos is a mere 33 inches from the ground. The interior cabin was so far up front that access was made by a front opening flip up windscreen. What made this even more impressive was that this car was a fully functioning prototype with a metal body. To match the sleek profile a 1.6 liter Lancia V-4 engine from the Fulvia HF was chosen as the powerplant for the Zero.

In 2000 the Lancia Stratos HF Zero was put through an complete full restoration by Stile Bertone in Capri, Italy. During this restoration process the Zero was refinished back to it's original bronze-orange color.

The Lancia Stratos HF Zero prototype car had resided in the Bertone Museum for a lengthy period until it was recently transitioned to a new home in The Purists Collection. So we were all excited to hear that the ZERO would be on display here in Southern California with several other historic Italian car designs.

ThePuristS team joined Leslie Kendall, Curator for the Petersen Automotive Museum, for an exclusive look at the new exhibition to showcase the influence of Italian automotive designers over the past few decades. "Sculpture in Motion: Masterpieces of Italian Design" in the museum's Grand Salon officially opens today but we had an early preview with a special debut of a legendary prototype car: The Lancia Stratos HF Zero.

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We arrived early in the morning to welcome the '7' Automotive transport team. There were several cars being transported to the Los Angeles area.

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Here's a few interesting cars, the Sunbeam Tiger on the top and a Porsche 914 on the bottom. Didn't Agent 86 Maxwell Smart drive one of the Tiger convertibles?

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A mint condition Porsche 911 Carrera following the Sunbeam Tiger being offloaded from the trailer:
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And finally we get to the Lancia Stratos HF Zero:
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While inside the trailing preparing the Zero for moving into the museum I noticed a really neat detail about the car. The Dunlop tires had a cool tread pattern that forms an 'S' that is similar in shape to the 'Stratos' S logo. Interestingly enough the Petersen Auto Museum technical staff mentioned that Dunlop may still be producing tires with this pattern and size. The actual wheel diameter is small for today's standards but the width of the tire is still impressive.

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Here's a video of us going up the ramp of the trailer and walking in towards the Lancia Stratos HF Zero:

Pininfarina had debuted the Ferrari 512 S Modulo at the 1970 Geneva Motor Show a few months earlier than Bertone. The Modulo was already amazing low at 37 inches off the ground. But Bertone responded with the Lancia Stratos HF Zero with a smurf sized 33 inches! This was the first time I've seen the Zero in person and was much lower than I expected.
The angles of the exterior and the triangular rear hood in aluminum plus the width of car was impressive. Here's a video of my first closeup to the Zero:

One of the things I've noticed was the attention to detail and carefulness of both the '7' transportation team and the tech team with the Petersen Auto Museum. I think these guys are PuristS at heart. You can hear the passion that they have when talking to them about cars and how much thought they all put in to carefully move the car. Not only just moving but the whole process from the trailer to the exhibit hall with positioning, lighting and polishing of the car to make it look it's best. Most of the time when I attend an exhibit like this I only see the final results. Having experienced this process in the background makes me appreciate all the hard work that's done.

Next up in Part 2, we fire up the engine and prepare to move the Lancia Stratos HF Zero into the gallery. Hope you all enjoy the pics and video!


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