After being dormant for many years, Lancia signaled its rebirth by reskinning a Peugeot 208 for the new Ypsilon and calling it a day. Another Italian company, Kimera Automobili, has a better idea to revitalize the troubled marque. Meet the Evo38, a modern-day tribute to a car that officially never existed – the Lancia 038.

The 038 was supposed to be an evolution of the 037 – the last rear-wheel-drive car to win the WRC title back in 1983. It had been engineered with all-wheel drive and more power in a bid to keep up with the Audi Quattro S1 but it never saw the light of day. The Delta S4 superseded the 037 but there was no 038, despite at least one prototype being made and tested. In an attempt to fix history, Kimera is bringing back the 038.

The new car is a follow-up to the Kimera Evo37 launched in 2021, but now with all-wheel drive and roughly 100 more horsepower courtesy of a bigger turbocharger and other hardware revisions. It routes nearly 600 hp to both axles through a six-speed manual transmission modified with shorter gear ratios. By making extended use of carbon fiber and titanium, the team behind the Evo38 has limited the weight penalty caused by the adoption of AWD. It tips the scales at approximately 1,100 kilograms (2,425 pounds), so it weighs roughly as much as a Mazda MX-5 Miata RF or an Alpine A110S.

This “Integrale” version has been fitted with an electrohydraulic differential controllable from the inside by allowing the driver to choose how much power goes to the wheels. The suspension has been tweaked compared to the 037 and now has electronically controlled shock absorbers along with a lift system.

As a refresher, the Kimera Evo37 had a 2.1-liter engine made by Italtecnica re-engineered under the guidance of Lancia engineer Claudio Lombardi. There are plans to sell the Evo38 with an electronically actuated sequential gearbox.

Kimera intends to bring the Evo38 to the 2024 Geneva Motor Show next week before starting production of the 38 units later this year. Pricing details haven’t been disclosed but the 037 was offered in 37 examples at €480,000 a pop. In today’s money, that’s about $520,000.

Kimera K-39 teaser

Interestingly, the company has set up a dedicated page on its website for a third future model. There’s already a countdown until the K-39 will be unveiled in 120 days, so provided our math is accurate, the debut date is locked in for June 22, 2024.

In an ideal world, Lancia would’ve launched a rally-bred car in 2024 to kick-start its revival. However, there’s a reason why bean counters exist – to crunch the numbers and determine what’s feasible. Ultimately, the Ypsilon made more sense since it’s based on several existing Stellantis products, such as the Peugeot 208 and Opel Corsa.

A dedicated sports car is expensive and time-consuming to develop, not to mention the fact it’s a niche product. Sure, a performance model would boost Lancia’s exposure by harkening back to the glory days of rallying, but Stellantis accountants wouldn’t been so thrilled about it. The Italian firm intends to go purely electric by 2028, so the days of gasoline-fueled performance cars are already behind.

Companies like Kimera are trying to cash in on the heritage by producing what Lancia won’t. However, prepare to pony up some serious money.


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