The Lancia Stratos HF Zero - The stuff of legends, Part 1
February 26 2012, 1:34 PM
"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.
We arrived early in the morning to welcome the '7' Automotive transport team. There were several cars being transported to the Los Angeles area.
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?
A mint condition Porsche 911 Carrera following the Sunbeam Tiger being offloaded from the trailer:
And finally we get to the Lancia Stratos HF Zero:
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.
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!
The Lancia Stratos HF Zero - The stuff of legends, Part 2
February 26 2012, 3:16 PM
Not only was the Lancia Stratos HF Zero a design exercise for Bertone but it was also a fully functioning prototype. At only 33 inches high there was a need to incorporate a compact engine that would fit into the mid-engine layout and blend in with the low flat lines of the Zero. The 1.6 liter Lancia V4 engine from the Lancia Fulvia HF was used and provided 115 BHP with a top estimated speed of 120mph. A 12 gallon (45 liter) gas tank is situated right side of the engine bay with twin fans to assist with radiator cooling.
Adding to the space age design of the Zero is the aluminum triangular shaped engine cover that included slats that not only added a matching angular shape but was also a fully functional design that aided in directing air towards the radiator for cooling. I was a bit surprised at how heavy the silver colored aluminum engine cover felt when I lifted it to close the engine bay. It used a simple hinged system without any hydraulics and felt as though it was machined out of a solid piece of aluminum.
Now on to the fun part of moving the car out of the transport trailer. We get to start up the engine and hear it fire up. Here's a video of the start up and driving it carefully into the parking structure of the Petersen Auto Museum as we head towards the gallery area:
Next up is part 3 where we watch the '7' Transportation team and the tech staff at the Petersen Auto Museum position the car into the exhibit area.
SCULPTURE IN MOTION: MASTERPIECES OF ITALIAN DESIGN OPENS FEB 25@ THE PETERSEN AUTO MUSEUM
February 26 2012, 4:41 PM
SCULPTURE IN MOTION: MASTERPIECES OF ITALIAN DESIGN
OPENS FEBRUARY 25, 2012 AT THE PETERSEN AUTOMOTIVE MUSEUM
(LOS ANGELES, December 14, 2011) From the grand classics of the 1930s to modern supercars of today, Italian designers have influenced the look of automobiles on a global scale. Sculpture in Motion: Masterpieces of Italian Design will explore the many ways in which Italian coachbuilders and manufacturers have contributed to the evolution of the automobile from a collection of disorganized parts to a single, visually appealing unit. Already well aware of the Italian contribution in the look of clothing, art, and architecture, museum visitors will be fascinated to learn that the country that gave the world Michelangelo and Botticelli also gave it the designers responsible for the exotic and inspired automobiles we have now come to expect from Italy.
Italian designers have influenced the look of automobiles for decades, said Petersen Curator Leslie Kendall, We felt it was time to speak of their importance and to display their designs as the works of art that they are. With so many great cars to choose from, the museum is taking an innovative approach to this exhibit. Some of the vehicles in the exhibition will change over the course of the year to allow the Museum to tell even more of the story while simultaneously encouraging visitors to come back for more.
Typical of the vehicles on display, the 1947 Cisitalia was so highly regarded in its day that it became the first automobile to become part of the collection of New Yorks Museum Of Modern Art because of its beauty. In contrast with its curvaceous, clean lines is the 1970 Lancia Stratos concept car that changed the shape of mid-engined exotic cars to the now familiar wedge. Both of these vehicles will be on display throughout the duration of the exhibition along with sixteen others in the museums Grand Salon.
Sculpture in Motion: Masterpieces of Italian Design opens February 25, 2012, and will run through February 3, 2013. Petersen Curator, Leslie Kendall will guide guests through these Italian Masterpieces and explain what makes Italian automobiles so appealing during his Curators Tour on April 24, 2012 at 7:30 p.m. Follow us on Facebook or check our online calendar at www.petersen.org for other associated exhibits throughout the year.
Vehicles on display:
1932 Ford Cabriolet by Pinin Farina
1934 Lancia Dilambda Tourer by Viotti
1947 Cisitalia 202 Coupe by Pinin Farina
1948 Alfa-Romeo 6C2500 coupe by Touring
1952 Fiat 8V "Supersonic" coupe by Ghia
1953 Nash Healey roadster by Pinin Farina
1953 Stanguellini coupe by Bertone
1953 Cadillac Series 62 coupe by Ghia
1956 Ferrari 250 TR roadster by ScagliettI
1956 Alfa-Romeo 1900 coupe by Zagato
1959 Ferrari coupe by Pinin Farina
1967 Ghia 450SS convertible coupe
1970 Maserati quattroporte by Frua
1970 Lancia Stratos Zero by Bertone
1981 De Lorean gullwing coupe (Italdesign)
1991 Cadillac Allante roadster (Pininfarina)
2006 Alfa-Romeo 8C coupe (Pininfarina)
PETERSEN AUTOMOTIVE MUSEUM
The Petersen Automotive Museum Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) charity. The Museum is located at 6060 Wilshire Boulevard (at Fairfax) in Los Angeles. Admission prices are $10 for general admission adults, $8 for seniors, $5 for active military and students with ID, and $3 for children ages 5 to 12. Museum members and children under five are admitted free. Covered parking is available for $2 per half hour with an $8 maximum for Museum visitors. Museum hours are Tuesday through Sunday from 10am to 6pm. For general Museum information, call 323/930-CARS or visit the Museums Web site at: www.petersen.org
This message has been edited by DRMW on Feb 26, 2012 4:44 PM
The Lancia Stratos HF Zero - The stuff of legends, Part 3
February 26 2012, 5:07 PM
Petersen Automotive Musuem Curator Leslie Kendall at the driver's seat and getting a first hand look at the instrument panel located on the left hand side. Notice that the interior of the Lancia Stratos HF Zero has room for two. The steering column pivots forward to allow the driver to slide into the drivers seat. Another interesting feature is the 'chocolate bar' pattern on the seats. This design element was brought into another futuristic and legendary supercar, the Lamborghini Countach which was unveiled at the 1971 Geneva Motor Show a year after the introduction of the Zero. The center console in between the two passengers had a 5 speed manual shifter mated to the 1.6 liter Lancia V4 engine. There are several mechanical levers which I'll show you a little bit later.
Integrated into the side front fenders behind the wheel arches were two small triangular shaped side-view mirrors to help with the very limited rear view. But who needs a rear view mirror when you have such a wide open front windscreen that provides a panoramic view of the road and the open sky in front?
This was funny, a bunch of sports cars in the parking garage but with a sign for the speed limit of only 5 mph:
Let's take a look at the Interior shot of the offset instrument panel. It was mounted to the driver's left side and behind the front wheel arch. The graphics on the display seemed to be etched into the green tinted Perspex acrylic panel. What was most interesting to me as a watch enthusiast was seeing the label on the speedometer displaying 'Jaeger Italia'. Is this the same brand as Jaeger LeCoultre or bear any relation to the watch manufacturer? I'll have to do more investigation later on this.
There's a mechanical lever on a separate driver's side panel that operates the windshield wiper. Here's a video of the wiper cover popping up and down:
The black colored trapezoidal on the front hood in front of the windscreen is actually a rubberized mat. This design element was intended to allow the driver and passenger to step on the bodywork and make it easier for ingress/egress. The center Lancia badge on the upper center of the rubber mat is actually a pivoting handle that allows for opening the windscreen. It's a very clever design that incorporates the Lancia logo.
Next up we head into the exhibit and take a behind the scenes look at the setup and display of the Zero.
Me too, I used to have posters of all kinds of sports cars like the Lambo Countach on my bedroom wall when I was a kid. It was certainly a special moment to be able to see this car in person.
Thanks for checking out the pics and videos.
The Lancia Stratos HF Zero - The stuff of legends, Part 4
February 27 2012, 11:42 PM
After being towed through the top level parking structure and into the staging area, the Lancia Stratos HF Zero was manually rolled to the front of the exhibit area. Take a look at this video of the team moving the car into position. At the 1:00 mark of the video you can see the seating position and how the driver lifts up the forward tilting steering wheel to exit the car out the front windshield.
GoJak Faster Caster System vehicle dollies were used on all four wheels to efficiently move the car in precise areas. I think these are one of the most useful tools in a car collectors garage since it allows you to easily move a heavy car into the correct position. I can't imagine using a regular jack to prop up each wheel. These GoJaks makes the task so much easier. Even on inclines (like a spiral parking ramp) the GoJaks provided total control of positioning the car.
Once the Lancia Stratos HF Zero was positioned on the platform there was still plenty of work that needed to be completed to make the car look it's best. For example, the raised platform was covered with protective plastic and paper to keep the ultra white painted color. This was removed and was touched up carefully to remove any final smudges on the paint. The 7 Transportation Team also provides detail services to the Petersen Automotive Museum and carefully polished the car to remove any fingerprints and light dust from the coast to coast transport of the Zero. And finally the art director of the museum positioned the lighting to show off the Zero.
Did you notice the text in the sign for the Lancia Stratos HF Zero? It's part of The PuristS Collection!
And how low is 33 inches? Well let's take a quick look around the neighbors of the Zero. Here's another iconic sports car The DeLorean DMC-12. Even on the platform the Zero is about the same height of a full size DeLorean!
An interesting side note: during the positioning of the Zero the exhibit was closed off to the general public but anyone walking by can peek into the area. So there was one car enthusiast that was watching us move the Zero and then finally asked 'Isn't the DeLorean an American car? Why is it part of an Italian display? And was it considered Italian because this particular model was a limited edition?". Well the answer is that the body design of the DeLorean DMC-12 was made by Giorgetto Giugiaro of Ital Design. And the exhibit was to celebrate the Italian designers influence on automobiles throughout time.
And last but not least I'd like to share a video of the rear of the Lancia Stratos HF Zero. I love the design of the slightly off centered dual exhaust system with the transmission case showing in the centerline of the bottom of the car. And a futuristic tail light system way before it's time that probably influenced the current cars being produced today with LED lighting systems. The rear lights are a strip of 84 small light bulbs laid out along the perimeter of the tail end of the car. When the turn signals are activated the rear is lit up in sequence outwards. It's a little hard to explain so I made this video of the turn signals.
I hope you all enjoy this report on the lengendary Lancia Stratos HF Zero. It was certainly a pleasure for me to have such a close up and personal experience with one of the most influential sports car prototypes ever made. Thanks to everyone at the Petersen Automotive Museum tech team for their time and patience in hosting this event with us, to the '7' Transportation team for their hard work and dedication, and Mr. Leslie Kendall and his assistant for leading us around the museum. And of course to the elusive Wandering PuristS for inviting me to attend this special event.
Let me know if you have a chance to see the exhibit because the Zero is an amazing car that you have to see in person.
Thanks for reading the report on the Lancia Stratos HF Zero. Interesting coincidence, can you believe that we were talking about your recent photo report in PuristSPro's TimeOut forum? Leslie Kendall and his team just got back from a trip to Kuwait and the UAE, and they were raving about how much fun they had during their visit (sounds familiar huh? LOL). I think you might have seen him walking around the Concourse event
A masterpiece of Italian design. A true example of art on four wheels.
A true pleasure to see such an amazing piece of design history, a Wedge, and a most unique design.
There's so much history in this vehicle, and thank you ED0209 for pointing all of them out - this vehicle was so ahead of its time (design-wise) that even today, cars are becoming more wedge-like, LED lighting concepts are now appearing on modern vehicles, and it looks so modern even in today's world. Do all things from the 1970s look so prevalent in the world today (Gerald Genta's Royal Oak and Nautilus designs come to mind).
Thank you for the exciting report. Now I've just got to make it down to the exhibit!