Born in 1977, Hrabalek bought his
first Stratos model at the age of three. Due to his family's Stratos collection, which started in 1980 after the sale of many previous exotic cars, Hrabalek “grew up with Stratos”, with
his father's collection being handed down to him after
graduation from university.
The cars owned in the Hrabalek collection include the original fluorescent red prototype that appeared at the 1971 Turin Motor Show. This was exactly one year after the presentation of the Bertone Stratos Zero concept, a design touted by the
Piedmontese firm as their most striking shape of the ‘70s.
The 1971 prototype was a real one-off, as most of the components were unique from the production cars that
followed. The alloy wheels themselves were designed specifically by Bertone designer Marcello Gandini, whilst the double wishbone rear suspension was lowered as the initial prototype was not intended for rallying use. Even the styling was slightly different to the final production car, with the front being slightly sharper in form. Initially, this show prototype (chassis number 1240) was painted in white and had no engine. It then received a Fulvia unit and then a Beta engine resulting in the chassis number being changed to 1240B. The engine was then replaced with a Dino 206 V6 and the chassis was renumbered
1240C, the car being subsequently repainted in fluorescent red. However, this colour scheme was to be short-lived, as the car received Lancia's Marlboro sponsorship colours when it resided in the Museo Lancia in 1974. Museo Lancia sold the car in 1979 due to lack of space, and it has since received the fluorescent red paint that chassis number 1240C rightly deserves. This particular car from the Hrabalek collection will be presented alongside the 2005 Stratos concept on the stunning Fenomenon stand
Other cars in the Hrabalek collection include an early production example in blue
(hence without a rear spoiler), a green road car and a yellow road car (both with
low odometer readings), a highly original red road car (the first in the Hrabalek collection), a Group 4 rally car in
(non-original) Pirelli works colours, an East African Safari car in Alitalia colours dating from 1977, the 560 bhp KKK turbocharged rally car with Kugelfischer indirect injection from 1976 (brought back to Europe by Hrabalek after
it had spent 23 years in the East), and finally a rallycross car that has been restored. The Hrabi collection also includes the original wooden buck which Bertone used to form the
panels for the production cars. This particular buck was
also used by Lancia for presentation purposes, with a windscreen and wheels fitted
for certain occasions to make it appear like a real car.
The focus now lies on the next generation Stratos, with the concept to be presented at the Geneva Salon within two days. Italiaspeed will show a full-length,
in-depth development report at 0600 Tuesday 1st March. Until then we have disclosed this exclusive sequel to the trailer presented yesterday evening.
By James Granger