Homologation is the approval process through which a vehicle, a race track, or a standardised part is required to go for certification to race in a given league or series. The regulations and rules that must be met are generally set by the series' sanctioning body. The word is derived from the Greekhomologeo—literally "I say the same"—for "agree."
We owe our exciting Lancia Deltas to the process of homologation. As you'll know this is the proceedure where a manufacturer has to produce a certain amount of vehicles for public sale, before that car can be considered 'homologated', and used in competitive motor sport.
Italian motor sport has always pushed the limits of regulations, testing the authority of the sport's governors. This is true now, it was true when our Deltas were rallying, and it was true in 1964.
Here is an extract from a 1964 Motor Sport magazine article, and I'm reprinting here part of a long, closely typed Continental Notes by D.S.Jenkinson, recounting a Mr.Ferrari's conflicts with the FIA.
"All this summer there has been a bit of a rhubarb in FIA circles over Mr.Ferrari
and his 250LM rear engined Berlinetta GT car, and recently things came to a head,
and there were shouts and screams in all directions. The simple facts are that in
the past Enzo Ferrari has cheated, like all the other GT manufacturers in racing,
now the FIA have called his bluff, and it hurt.
The rules say that before a model can be homologated as a GT car for competitions,
100 examples must have been made and sold, or at least there must be the
intention of making and selling 100 examples. If 50 or 60 cars have been built,
and the rest are under way, then the FIA homologation committee will usually
accept a car for GT racing, without waiting for completion of the full 100.
With the 250LM, application for homologation was made when only a handful
had been built, and it was turned down. Further application was made after
the introduction of the 3.3 litre engine, to replace the original 3 ltr, and it was
still called a 250LM, though in fact it was a 275LM.
Again it was turned down, for the impression was given to the FIA that very nearly 100 cars had been built, which was not true, and the committee looked deeply into the matter and found that double figures had barely been reached. Recently the car was again proffered for homologation, even though some 13 or 14 have been built and another dozen or so are under way, and whichever way you look at it, this is not 100 examples.
At this refusal to the the application there was a fine old rumpus, and threats by Ferrari to move to another country, to give up racing, to stop racing in Italy, and so on. He was grieved, not so much with the refusal to give homologation to the 250LM or 275LM, but because the Italian Auto Club had given him the impression that they could fix it with the FIA to accept the car. They failed to do this, and Ferrari got justifiably angry with them. I say justifiably because they had obviously done a fiddle in getting the 2ltr Abarth and the Alfa Romeo GTZ homologated, just as there had been some jiggery poker in getting the competition E Type Jaguar accepted, when less than a dozen had been built, and the last of the Aston Martin models, of which 2 or 3 were built.
As I said earlier, it was alright when everybody was cheating, and Ferrari got away with the GTO Ferrari, even though he admits to only building 34, but as soon as someone plays honest, and very obviously so, then everyone else must toe the line. Once a particular model has been homologated it is possible to alter it beyond all recognition, providing the specification on paper appears the same, and the alterations can be described as optional extras. In this way the original Europa Ferrari was changed to the 250GT, which was altered from a long to a short chassis, and then to the GTO.
The original E Type Jaguar was changed to a racing version, and then to a lightweight competition model, with 5 speed gearbox and so on. Alfa Romeo obviously pulled this one when they developed the Giulietta Sprint into the Giulia Sprint, and then the tubular space frame TZ model, and Abarth fudged over the changes from his Abarth 1000 to the Abarth-Simca 1300 and then to the Abarth 2000. All this was legitimate cheating, as the parentage of the car did not really change, but when Ferrari set out on the 250LM project there was a radical change, the engine and gearbox being taken from the front of the car and put in the back, and an entirely new layout was used. By no stretch of the imagination could this car new considered a development of the GTO."
The article continues by explaining that it was Porsche introducing the 904 to GT racing, and building 114 cars for homologation, also Carroll Shelby building a good number of his Cobras in the USA, that forced the FIA to clamp down on the Italians.
Jenks continues that a GT car was previously a practical and usable road car that could be raced, the new breed of GT cars were out and out racers. Young men were buying the homologation cars produced for sale, and killing themselves at the high speeds the cars could attain.
The Ferrari GTO is above left, the 250LM is below left.
It would be difficult for Enzo Ferrari to persuade anyone that they were the same car! or even derived from the same car.
The two cars obviously have their engines in different places!
This is the front view of the Lancia Delta as submitted to the FIA with the papers for homologation.
If you click on the FIA logo to the right, it'll take you to the actual application form submitted by Lancia.
LANCIA DELTA HF INTEGRALE
HOMOLOGATION NUMBER: 5448
MODEL: HF INTEGRALE
CYLINDER CAPACITY: 3392
DATE OF HOMOLOGATION: 1992
END OF HOMOLOGATION: DECEMBER 31, 2000
Jenks continues that he doesn't know what Ferrari will do, probably give the season up and build 100 cars for next year's racing approval. Ferrari were testing a new version of the GTO which had independent suspension all round, as opposed to cart springs at the rear. When at the Modena track Parkes, the test driver, had a brake failure and rolled the car, so the whole world could see the new, non homologated suspension layout.
The mechanics ran out to hide it and cover the car with a sheet.
Carroll Shelby said "The old man will probably think of something, you just daren't go to sleep
if you want to beat him!"