The Lancia Rally 037, the first-ever championship winner purpose-built for the legendary Group B rule set and last-ever RWD World Rally champion, is a certified legend. It was also the first formally introduced Group B car, meaning that this chassis number 001 development prototype is among the first cars built for rallying’s most storied era.
This particular 037 was never actually run in an official World Rally Championship event, but it was the single most important testing component in the development cycle of what would eventually become the 1983 championship-winning 037 competition cars. As a development car, this particular 037 was used as both a baseline for the final product’s initial design and as a way to test out significant new components.
According to the listing from RM auctions, tests conducted included variations on forced induction options (naturally aspirated, turbocharged, and supercharged), aerodynamic changes (no rear aero, a rear wing, and the rear spoiler that ended up on the final product), and even tires (competition options from both Michelin and Pirelli).
The final product would go on to win the 1983 championship, but, before that, this particular 037 was made useful as part of the Lancia team stable throughout the 1982 season. In January of that season, it was briefly seen testing in the program’s famous Martini livery. In April, it was sent to Greece to perform reconnaissance for the upcoming Acropolis Rally. For the full story, check out this article from Road & Track.