Ionos - 1997

Lancia's head of design, Mike Robinson, asked Franco Sbarro to create "a car that pays homage to the Stratos, but more in spirit than in style". Students from Espace Sbarro took on this ambitious project.

Ionos, inspired by the Lancia Stratos, is the fruit of collaboration between the Lancia styling center and Espace Sbarro (photo: Dingo).

Lancia 10-cylinder engine

The name Stratos refers to the stratosphere. With the Ionos, we're going higher, into the ionosphere. And if we're going to surpass the inspiration, we might as well make a splash with an out-of-the-ordinary engine: a Lancia 10-cylinder. Of course, there's no such engine from the Italian manufacturer. So the students had to learn from Franco Sbarro, who had already created this kind of mechanical assembly on the Super Twelve and Royale, how to assemble two Lancia Kappa V5 blocks to create an inverted V10. What Sbarro calls an A10. This architecture frees up space for the five-speed gearbox. Engine power is estimated at 400 hp.

The rest of the powertrain is not to be outdone: Porsche all-wheel drive, Dual Drame chassis, Brembo brakes used in the DTM by Alfa Romeo, Mercedes exhaust.
Two Lancia V5 engines assembled to form a unique 10-cylinder unit (Dingo photo)

Stratos spirit

Although the Ionos features a number of Stratos characteristics, notably the windshield and side windows, the aim was not to copy or evolve Stratos styling. The most striking styling element is the central spine, which runs from the front badge to the base of the windshield, emerging on the roof and finishing on the hood at the rear. The side air intakes are very discreet. The car has no aerodynamic appendages whatsoever.
The Cromodora wheels with anti-theft system were designed by Nexus Design, a company founded by two former Espace Sbarro students, Antonio Latella and Danilo Rottigni. A company they still run today (

After the Issima for Alfa Romeo, the Ionos is the second collaboration between a design center (Lancia) and a Sbarro school. A fine example of serious training.

Extract from Journal du Nord vaudois, February 27, 1997

"With the friendly collaboration of Michael Robinson, the new head of Lancia Stile, and with that of the coordinator of the three styling offices - Flat, Alfa, Lancia - Ermanno Cressoni, this year's Espace Sbarro flight imagined what could be a modern Lancia, designed to win, as the famous Stratos had been (and also did) in its time. This lonos is therefore a particularly compact machine, with a wheelbase of just 227 cm; and compact it is, too, in mechanical terms: its engine is a 10-cylinder A-engine (2 x 5 cylinders from the 2.4-liter Kappa, whose power has been increased to 200 HP each) topping the gearbox, and fitted with a 4-wheel drive borrowed from the Porsche Carrera 4. The chassis is of the dual-frame type, to guarantee a high level of active safety: the engine, transmission and new suspension have become load-bearing. To enhance passive safety, the chassis is served by a composite monocoque with shock-absorbing cells. Access to the passenger compartment is enhanced by a system that allows the doors to open 3/4 forward, tilting to clear the entrance. The driver, initially standing in the vehicle with no obstacles to contend with, can then curl up without difficulty in his or her bucket seat. An ultra-sophisticated GPS satellite communication and navigation system is also included. The result is a muscular, compact vehicle: 360 cm long, 180 cm wide, 110 cm high, with a maximum weight (we hope) of no more than 1100 kg".

In brief
1- Second collaboration between a Sbarro school and a major manufacturer's design center
2- Ionos takes up the spirit of the Lancia Stratos
3- Unique 10-cylinder A-engine