AS I WRITE THIS, the motoring world is abuzz with news of a ‘reimagined’ Lancia Delta Integrale. Called the Lancia Delta Futurista, it’s the brainchild of enthusiast Eugenio Amos and will be built by Automobili Amos in Italy. Amos is undoubtedly a man of good taste; he owns a restored F40 finished in a gorgeous dark green called Verde Abetone, a matching GT2 RS, and some proper oddities like a Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR. Oh, and a road-going Delta S4.
The Futurista adds wider hand-beaten aluminium and carbon-fibre body panels to a donor Integrale 16V to create a three-door shell. The interior, engine and four-wheel drive system are transformed too. Think of it as a Singer-style interpretation of an Integrale.
Sounds great, doesn’t it? Compact, light and simple, using modern materials and a gorgeous S4-style interior dripping in Alcantara, the Futurista highlights the fact that manufacturers are failing to excite the imagination of car enthusiasts, with an endless stream of SUVs and ever faster, grippier but less usable supercars.
Mercedes-Benz summed it up just 24 hours after the unveil of the Futurista by launching the new EQC. Its first full EV is a 2.5-tonne SUV with all the design flair of a park bench. If this is the future of passenger cars it’s no wonder so many are looking to the recent past for excitement.
Now that we’ve seen ‘reimagining’ spread from Porsche to Lancia, where could it go next? I think Automobili Amos has pretty much chosen the perfect car: rare, but not so scarce that messing around with a small run of cars means depleting the pool of original cars too severely; already iconic, so finding a customer base should be easy; and with an engine and chassis that could easily deliver and harness more power.
You could make a similar argument for, say, an E30 M3. Lose 150kg with even more extreme composite bodywork, get that S14 revving to 9000rpm, add DTM-style carbon-fibre wheels and a beautifully crafted interior, and you’d be onto a winner. It might even suit a modern dualclutch ’box for real track focus. But that all seems a bit obvious.
What else? How about the new NSX? As it stands, it’s too weightcompromised by its complicated hybrid drivetrain, but an original NSX with the 3.5-litre, 370kW JGTC engine, NSX-R suspension, carbon ceramic brakes, carbon-fibre panels, seats, wheels and the simple, stripped-back ambience of an NSX-R? Sign me up.
I’d be happy with a Skyline GT-R inspired by the one-off LM too.
There are plenty of more affordable cars that would benefit from reimagining, but the economics of tearing down, restyling and upgrading a car with exotic materials make it a dead-end fantasy. The Futurista is $430,000 plus a donor car, plus local taxes.
With that in mind, my final nomination is the brilliant Lotus Carlton. I want one with a body shell made from bare, perfectly weave-matched carbon fibre infused with Imperial Green. I want 19-inch wheels built in exactly the same style as the original 17s but in magnesium with Michelin Cup 2s. I’d have ceramic brakes from a GT2 RS, motorsport dampers set up for fast road use, quicker steering and a 250kg weight reduction. Under the bonnet, a nice 450kW. The interior would be elegantly executed with two Recaro Pole Positions up front and two in the rear, all trimmed in luxurious chocolate brown leather. There’d be a Pagani-like attention to detail. Let’s call it the Lotus Carlton Sport 600.
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