Nowadays we consider Fulvia's with a 1600 cc engine to be the must-have when you go rallying. In the late sixties they were all prototype. And still had to be tested. No wonder Lancia considered the Safari to be the perfect playground, more so since the East African rally was designated by the FIA to be part of their new scheme.
For the new beasts three well know drivers were sent over: Kallstrom, Lampinen and ofcourse Munari were in the race for the International Constructors championship, their colleges Barbasio and Ballestrieri targeted the European and Italian cup.
With so much potentional one wonders why non of them succeeded. Even including Tony Fall and local hero Lofty Drews - next to Munari - didn't help.
Actually, one now wonders why no attempt was made to strengthen the standard body just a little, let's say, with fewer changes than needed to convert a first series into a second. Just to help her win.
The Fulvia's bodies used for the rally team had been strenghtened over the previous years based on the experience gathered while rallying the 1300's. Having seen so many Coupe's on the ramp though, showing all their cracking faults, there were amazingly few strenghtening plates added to the rally cars. The claimed 150bhp pulling the 920 kg through mud and dust weren't guarded well either: smashed sumps could have been avoided. Not so the oncomming local, crashed by Lampinen. Nor the crash by Munari skidding over mud into that ditch.
When we started replica-ting her, we had to make use of the parts available now. But I think we did well on the spot-light as well as on the fuel cap. Those insane handles on the rear wings will follow soon. Were they meant for pulling her out of a ditch - like if somebody knew? - or are they mimicing the rear wheel drive asseccoiries. Can you imagine Lofty standing on the rear bar and shouting to Munari:"Now get her out of this shit, you f***g spagh....!
The car pictured has been created out of a 1969 first series body just like the Squadra Corse used, with aluminium hoods and doors coming from different donors. It now has strenghtened sills, a 6 point roll-over-cage, bolted, a re-inforced frontal structure, an aluminium fire wall as well as all carefully copied external visual bonusses like the 70's bull-bar, the attractive spotlight and the screw/unscrew fuelcap.
You could read a lot more about Lancia's attempt to gain victory in Africa:
Nigel Throw's Lancia Racing - ISBN 0-85045-672-X - although published in 87 looking like coming from the seventies. And all Reinhard Klein's books - most favourable:
Safari Rally - ISBN 3-927458-08-2 with the dramatic pictures and text by John Davenport and Helmut Deimel.