Some of the more enjoyable stories that I’ve had the privilege to work on for Speedhunters are the ones that are relatable, motivational, and a bit out of left field.
Relatable and motivational are pretty easy concepts to understand. Those kinds of stories leave you feeling energized to tackle your own problems, or get the creative juices going to try a new approach. But when you look at something as extreme as this 1993 Lancia Delta Integrale, you’re probably wondering how it could ever fall into the category.
Our first meeting with the ‘Fenice 105′ was inside the Makuhari Messe at the 2019 Tokyo Auto Salon. Back then it looked like the Lancia’s owner, Masato Hatano of Cars Hatano, had thrown everything at it in order to achieve his goals of being the fastest at his local track and also able to embarrass Lancia’s Italian exotic rivals, Ferrari and Lamborghini.
To be fair, he has thrown the kitchen sink and more at the Delta, but it’s the way that Masato has done so that makes this story more than it seems at face value. Allow me to explain…
Out of Left Field
When it comes to his Delta, Masato is a man of passion. It’s been in his possession for over 15 years, and during that time he has played around with different setups and drawn sketches of his ultimate vision for the car.
One day, a Cars Hatano customer named Masashi Matsumoto stopped by the shop to chat and see what new cars Masato had in stock. Masashi is a designer, and he has a long history of working with top design houses in Italy. His graduation thesis project at the Scuola Politecnica di Design in Milan was a Lamborghini concept.
Interested in what Masashi would think of his ideas, Masato introduced him to his Delta project, sharing some of his rough sketches.
Fully intrigued by the idea, Masashi offered his expertise and rendered a few drawings for Masato.
The concept was to add muscle and volume (volume being 105mm to each side of the car, hence where the ‘105’ comes from in the project’s name) to the Lancia without completely ruining the proportions. Masato wanted to stay true to Giorgetto Giugiaro’s original design.
Masashi knew that in order to make his design visions come to life, they were going to need help from an expert modeler. Sano of Sano Design was the man for the job.
Having worked on projects with Masashi in the past, Sano’s background dates back to Ataka Engineering, building replica Lancias in Japan, and a stint at Mitsuoka before starting his own company.
Unbeknownst to Masashi at the time, Sano had entered a car in the 2018 Tokyo Auto Salon and had won ‘Outright Champion’ of the show for that year. This meant Sano had a free entry pass for a car in 2019, but didn’t have a car to enter. Masato’s Lancia was the perfect candidate, and so the wheels were finally set in motion.
Not Your Ordinary TAS Build
Even though there was a deadline for the Fenice 105, getting into TAS was never a goal for Masato. His objective was always the same, hence why there is more detail in this build than you’d ever normally find at the Makuhari Messe come Tokyo Auto Salon time.
Yes, bringing the overall design that Masashi had created was paramount, but everything needed to be functional, while looking stunning.
And I do mean everything. Those stripes on the rear fenders? They’re actually stickers that protect the paint from stone chips. They also match the angle of the stripes on the rear wing’s end plates.
But that’s just a little detail. The obsession with striking a perfect balance of form and function can be found everywhere. All of the bodywork additions in black are carbon fiber and have undergone various computational analysis to ensure the air flow is being channeled in an advantageous way. Masashi along with other industry experts tackled this important aspect of the project.
Vents and aero flicks not only guide the air, but also create vortices to help extract hot air, such as that found in the engine bay.
Various case studies were run on the swan-neck GT wing, and the blade angle can be adjusted from -5 to +17 degrees. In its most effective configuration the wing can generate up to 1,100kg of downforce at 260km/h.
The wing stays needed to be able to not only transfer that force directly to the rear tires, but be strong as well.
The first few iterations, though effective, were a bit on the chubby side. The version we saw at TAS weighed almost 40kg for the set, and that was just unacceptable. A friend who worked at DOME was called on to help put the wing and front bumper on a diet.
To ensure the wing would not to deform with 1,000+kg of force and be lightweight, DOME created dry carbon pieces with a special layer pattern. To protect and add more rigidity to the front bumper, DOME added a layer of carbon-Kevlar.
While the aero was being sorted, more industry friends were brought in to look after the mechanical aspects of the car. A quick look underneath (or through one of the many vents) reveals that bespoke anodized billet suspension components have replaced the original hardware to allow for fully adjustable geometry.
What’s under the vented hood remains pretty similar to what Dino shot in his 2019 TAS spotlight. A few changes have been made to iron out all of the kinks, but the star of the show remains the engine. The displacement has increased from 2.0L to 2.3L thanks to a custom full-counter stroker crankshaft attached to OS Giken forged pistons and connecting rods. With the boost wound up and the engine tuned through a MoTeC 800 ECU, the result is around 600hp.
Thanks to the fenders, wide Enkei NT03RR wheels wrapped in Yokohama Advan A050 rubber provide an increase in grip and functional stance.
Like the exterior, the interior needed to strike a balance of form and function. Most of the creature comforts had to be removed or replaced with carbon for weight savings, but the factory dashboard remains.
Note: As the day was used for aerodynamic testing and running in the engine, the interior was more of a mess than it would be otherwise.
The top of the custom roll cage couldn’t be fully welded in the car, so the roof was removed and refitted with a carbon fiber upgrade.
With the original dashboard in use, the team were able to neatly integrate a MoTeC C1212 LCD display screen.
Masashi then created custom displays that cycle through Group A Evo and Group A 16V-style instruments and a diagnostic screen. He even hid Easter eggs within the program, such as ‘Abarth’ lighting up when you hit redline. Because details matter.
I could go on for hours just talking about the small details that almost no one would ever realize exist – like the blacked-out radiator grill, machined from a single piece of billet aluminum.
But it’s not the attention to detail that makes the story relatable. It’s the fact that this was and still is a passion project. It began with Masato’s vision, and drew in friends and people from all walks of life and industries.
The idea of doing something entirely by yourself because it’s better to do so has always confused me. Perhaps your friends might not be industry experts, but they can still provide different perspectives on your project ideas, and vice versa.
The Fenice 105 is a perfect example of the saying ‘teamwork makes for dream work’.
‘But Ron, how does it sound on the track?’ Ah, I’m glad you asked… Enjoy.
The Cutting Room Floor