On that recent great visit to Whitmore hall, we parked our Delta next to Hugh Walker's blue Evo 1, wrongly describe by me as green!
This Evo 1 is a good looking car, sympathetically prepared for motor sport. The car retains its distinctive Delta features, but it looks really tough, showing its sporting potential. I got talking to Hugh about his well known car, and it has an interesting history. Hugh agreed to fill me in on the details.
A lighthearted look at what must have been a very upsetting situation
Hugh had successfully raced a 16v for some time, he checked this car into his local MOT station for its test, the staff there wrote the car off 'testing' it. Hugh wasn't disappointed for long, taking the opportunity of a good insurance payout to start building a racing Lancia Delta from scratch, rather than modifying an existing road car.
An Evo1 shell was found at NW Integrales in Chester. Jim had a sound but damaged shell in stock, Jim's yard facility isn't big! his buildings and yard are tightly packed with all things Delta related.
Prestocar in Lancashire built and rallied Lancia Deltas, John Morton being a competitive driver. John and Prestocar had retired from racing when Hugh's project was starting, and they had some useful and valuable racing parts available. Hugh took his Evo1 shell up to Prestocar, where John and Sparky used their knowledge of Deltas and their parts store to prepare Hugh's shell.
The original engine for Hugh's car was built by Nick Bartlett. Gaz, who's yellow car it was that we celebrated at Whitmore hall, helped prepare the block, and fitted the balancer shaft delete kit.
Prestocar rally prepared Evo1
With the basics completed Hugh decided to upgrade the Evo's shell with reinforcements, and weld in the roll cage. Hugh used what is now Parkway Prestige in Manchester. Parkway are a very skilled bodyshop who work to the highest standards, they added Abarth type reinforcements, checked the shell's alignment, then repainted the car inside and out in the Fiat shade of blue the the car still wears.
At that time the Parkway owners had a pair of Integrales they were rebuilding, which showed Hugh that the operatives were familiar with
such a special car.
I once sold some parts to a gentleman who owned a Fiat Strada sport, it was a lovely red car, and it too had Abarth style strengthening. He told me the twin cam motor was always trying to pull the front end off the car, cracking the pillars, much like an Integrale.
There's a list running down the side of this page detailing the body mods.
Hugh competed in the North West Sprint and Hillclimb championship, which ran at various tracks in the NW, Harewood, Aintree, and Three Sisters in Wigan, that last track is just about big enough for go-kart racing, full size sprint cars are a real handful there!
Hugh and his Delta had many happy race experiences, but family must come first, and so it was that Hugh's Evo became used less, and was parked in his workshop for long periods.
Hugh decided to make a hybrid of his Delta, not electrical! but refitting trim and sound deadening to allow family use of the car. Hugh fitted
softer BC coil overs to make for a slightly(!) softer ride. Firm but fair
would sum it up!
While competing in motor sport, Hugh continually developed his Delta, adopting many upgrades. Big brakes, a Motec ECU, big turbo, fat manifolds and exhaust were fitted. Special coatings and metal treatments of the engine's internal parts, and many tweaks were used to keep the car competitive for sprinting, while allowing the car to be driven on the open highways. I have a list of the improvements Hugh made to this car, and it's astonishing!
Hugh told me he never rallied his Evo, saying that rallying is very hard on a car, and the rough surfaces will damage underneath. Hugh's Evo is a great racing and road car compromise, the body is very solid, the ride is firm but fair, it has standard rear brakes with an MOT standard handbrake, and a special compact and efficient heater.
The internal fire extinguisher and ignition kill switches have been deleted, these proving a bit too tempting for immature fingers!
Parkway Prestige as it is today
Hugh's body mods list
1992 Evo 1 Shell with holmologation water spray kit - bought from North West Integrale in Chester shell was damaged.
Jigged welded and repaired
stripped back to bare metal in 2002 on underside and floorpan all sound deadening and seam sealer removed for rustproofing and for lightening all minor rust repairs required undertaken at this stage
Waxoiled and rust protected cavities for longeviity
Double plated front chassis legs and front bulkhead and A pillars with attention to known weak points and seam welding to increase main structure and front end rigidity
Abarth style internal plates around A pillars for strethening
Continuous seam welded chassis sections across the front section and engine bay
Stitch welded seams for the rest of the interior and rear suspension turrets
OMP bolt in cage FIA spec fitted then welded in using specially built A and B Pillar mounts. Driver and passenger have FIA approved roll cage padding protection
Additional cross bracing added at rear suspension turrets, B Pillar back and forward from A pillar to tie into front turrets
Further triangulation and rear supports added
Removable cage door beams - to assist with fitting of different width seats
A and B Pillar uprights and header rails tied into bodyshell for further integrity
New non sunroof roof skin fitted - rear section of roof base stipped back no rust found so rustproofed with Waxoil - known rustspot
All non essential body parts clips tabs fittings and trim removed for weight saving and access to engine and ancillaries
GP A style carbon fibre wing mirrors to replace standard items
Full body external and internal seam respray in Fiat 339 light Blue
Front grille plastic replaced with wire mesh as per Final Edition models
Retained OE low centre of gravity fuel tank - no need for in car rear bulkheads - standard tank was fine for tarmac sprints
Removal of front wheel arch liners for ease of engine access and the ability to clean and check properly
External electric fire extinguisher button and Ignition battery kill switch apeture - fire switch not connected and battery kill pull not currently fitted - 10 mins to do this
Battery located to rear of car with its own battery box - power relay for fuel pump
Delete of standard heater and fan assembly to reduce weight and aid access to engine ancillaries - heater/coolant re routed - Now has a specially made heater unit with external air duct - water pipes not currently connected
All suspension arms , fittings, brackets etc, stripped and repainted or re plated during rebuild in 2002/3
Rear Diff Carrier stripped and seam welded for additional strength
Removal of all sound deadening material and seam sealer
Headlamp units mounted back 1.5 cm as per group A to allow for further airflow through engine bay
At the close of our conversation, Hugh told me his Delta was in fact now for sale, I bought 2 lottery tickets that weekend! But no result as usual.
Whoever does buy this Evo will get to own a very special and well cared for Integrale.
I'll try again this weekend, you never know!