Tony O'Kane | Jun 16, 2008

Italian manufacturer Lancia is reportedly considering a return to its high-performance roots with a modern interpretation of its mid-engined Stratos (above) or Beta Montecarlo. Lancia CEO Olivier Francois has said that the brand is seeking to inject some semblance of a sporting image back into the nameplate - whose current lineup could be best described as "non-threatening" - through the introduction of at least one new sports car.

Lancia was once a carmaker that was renowned for its sporting offerings. Even today, cars like the Delta Integrale, Flavia, Fulvia Flaminia and Stratos all command a premium as vintage sportscars, however in more recent times Lancia has concentrated on producing upmarket comfort cars (like the god-awful Thesis below), leaving the performance side of the business to other brands in the Fiat group, like Alfa Romeo, Maserati and Ferrari.

Lancia Thesis - TMR

Lancia's new plans for a sports car revival should change all that, but Francois wouldn't be drawn on what kind of car to expect. He did however refer to the Stratos and Beta Montecarlo as being the primary inspiration for the new car, describing them as, "great models for building and strengthening the Lancia brand".

Francois also said that the new vehicle would be "a sports car, not a racing car,” so don't expect something quite as hardcore as the rally-conquering Stratos. The new Delta is due to launch in Europe over the next few months with a rumoured hi-po Integrale version enroute soon after, however that model is already confirmed for production and Francois wants something newer, something bolder. We'll have to wait and see what, if anything, eventuates from Lancia's performance comeback, but with Lancia's leadership dropping names like Stratos and Montecarlo, it should be a real corker.

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