Now Reading
Reviving ‘The Duck’. Part 1: as it was
Festival of Speed Down Under
Ever seen a Dakar Porsche 959 strip?
Goodwood remembers Carroll Shelby
King of Gymkhana Ken Block (55) dies
In Tazio 6: Jimmie Johnson opens up
The first Tazio slipcase has arrived
Goodwood Members’ Meeting goes GT1
Masters Historic opens up to GT4 racers
And so, we bid farewell to Padova
Michael Andretti: like father, like son
When Mario saw Indy slip away again
One man, one car, one championship
Alfa Romeo celebrates 100 years of Monza
Bernina Gran Turismo shakes up the Alps
Get ready for Goodwood Revival
When the runway is not for taking off
On losing Chánh
Porsche Group C parade at Silverstone
Pebble Beach Concours on the move
Oldtimer GP is back in full force
Smokin’ the Festival of Speed
Impressions from the Mille Miglia
In Tazio 4: Walter by Christian
BRMs (and more) fly at Blyton Park
Retromobile 2022 is McLaren heaven
The Amelia praises Chip Ganassi
Now in Issue 2: Tazio’s hardest fight
Now in Issue 2: how Zagato met Ferrari
Keep it cool
Tazio 2, the limited one
Fuori Concorso: Stealing the light
See racing cars at the sea
Spa Six Hours: Thunder in the forest
Arriva Tazio: We drive the MG Metro 6R4
Group C roars at Jim Clark Memorial

Reviving ‘The Duck’. Part 1: as it was

View Gallery

In this series, we will follow the restoration process of the 1977 Lancia HF Stratos ‘Toly’ Artunoff raced in the United States. Our friends at Girardo & Co. bought the car and they are currently having it inspected in Italy. At regular intervals, we will show you how work is progressing.

We all know the Lancia Stratos as a rally car. The more educated among us will even be familiar with the outrageous and turbocharged Group 5 silhouette racers, as raced in the Giro d’Italia Automobilistico by the likes of Gilles Villeneuve and Walter Röhrl. But both in the Targa Florio (a Stratos won in 1974), Le Mans and the Giro d’Italia, we also saw Stratos’ appear in Group 5. And then there was this one as well.

Photo The Girardo & Co. Archive

Bought in Turin

In 1976, Anatoly ‘Toly’ Arutunoff embarked on an adventure that would see him compete in IMSA in the USA with a Lancia Stratos. The first hurdle was getting his hands on a Stratos, as Lancia was not present in the US market. No problem for Arutunoff, who set off to Italy to buy one of the road Stratos Stradale models (chassis #1559). Arutunoff drove his Stratos from the Lancia SVAT dealership in Turin, Italy to the UK. With Lancia less than enthusiastic about the project, Arutunoff turned to UK-based team Chequered Flag to assist him. He would ship the Stratos from Southampton to the USA, and drive it himself from Boston to his base in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Photo RM Sotheby’s

No louvres

IMSA asked him to remove the characteristic louvres at the back. Arutunoff created slightly wider wheelarches to accommodate wider wheels. Early in February 1977, he had the Stratos ready for its race debut in the Daytona 24 Hours. In characteristic yellow, featuring start number 7, the Stratos was quickly nicknamed ‘The Duck’. Arutunoff had high hopes, considering the Stratos to be a challenger for the Porsches in the 2.5-litre class. The Stratos started from 54th place on the grid (out of 59 starters), but after 99 laps the adventure was over for Arutunoff, Jose Marina and Brian Goellnicht. The car was retired with a mechanical issue.

Photo RM Sotheby’s

Danny Sullivan

Anyone thinking this setback would demoralize Toly Arutunoff would have to reconsider. Arutunoff would race the Stratos right up until 1984. He was back at Daytona in 1978 and this time the Stratos made it to the finish, albeit in 26th place and ninth in the GTU class. Later in 1978, the Stratos appeared with revised bodywork and in white and blue. With Danny Sullivan in place instead of Goellnicht, the Stratos placed 25th at Daytona.

Photo Girardo & Co.

Arutunoff raced his Stratos extensively – it would show up at Daytona three more times and has an impressive finishing record at Sebring as well – and only let go of the car reluctantly in 1986. The new Texas owner kept it as he bought it.

See Also