No traffic, no destination
A Long Lunch with the Lancia Delta Integrale
There’s an allure to driving with no purpose, an allure built on twisting backroads, gated shifters and dual exhausts, supplemented by visions of a Miura in the Alps, a Mustang in San Francisco and a Challenger in Colorado and made all the more special by the fact that it so rarely happens. The car is mired in practicality; it’s a tool for going places, literally, much in the way that a suit is a tool for going places, figuratively. There are more expensive ones, there are flashier ones and there’s even a not-so-small group of people who’d call themselves enthusiasts, but at the end of the day cars are an aside in a larger narrative, simply because they’re so ingrained into our daily lives.
But what if there was a way to break those routines, to renew the verve and experience the joys that pure, analog motoring has to offer? If there was ever a worthy catalyst it would be the Lancia Delta Integrale 16v. Born in 1989 from rallying and boasting performance numbers that still impress 26 years later, the Integrale could get to 60 in 5.5 seconds and its rear-biased all-wheel-drive made it one of the best-handling cars made during the grunge era. So that sorts out the car. The route was an easy pick given the limited selection of quality tarmac within a couple hours of New York City: out of Manhattan, up New Jersey’s palisades, around Bear Mountain and culminating on the fantastically named Storm King Highway. On any given fall weekend it would be crowded with leaf peepers and pumpkin spice enthusiasts, so a recent Wednesday afternoon seemed like the perfect time to take a long lunch.
One way to keep the spark between you and the internal combustion engine alive is to dip into the awe-inspiring collection of the Classic Car Club Manhattan, which includes cars like the Ford GT40, Porsche 550 Spyder, Ferrari 458 Italia and even the Lancia. Located in downtown Manhattan, it’s best to think of the CCC as a country club that’s swapped tea cakes and back nines for track days and turbochargers. Or, simply put, heaven on earth.