That seemed to be the end of the story until the Geneva motor show earlier this year, when the very same black Stratos appeared on the Manifattura Automobili Torino (MAT) stand. It was there because this small Turin company decided to restart the project and build 25 examples. Stoschek is still involved, having granted MAT a licence to build the cars, but the project is now led by MAT boss Paolo Garella. The latter is not new to this project, having previously worked for Pininfarina, where he was deeply involved with it, reckoning that it was “one of the best one-offs built at Pininfarina”. He subsequently left, later set up MAT and has since produced track and road cars for Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus and the Apollo Arrow.
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During his career, he’s been involved with more than 50 new car projects, so his knowledge runs deep. In his workshop, we see his first Stratos, a demonstrator, and the creation of a second car is well under way.
It’s not long before we’re reminded that the jet-fighter wrap of a Stratos windscreen is not only a huge part of its visual appeal but also a huge part of the experience when you’re sitting behind it. Although this 21st-century Stratos has thicker pillars, they’re carbonfibre and a lot thinner than those of most modern cars.
And because they’re pulled back well to the car’s sides, you enjoy a panoramic vista into which to unleash a fat 542bhp. Indeed, width is in fairly plentiful supply given that this is a supercar, and it’s most noticeable when you look down at the door trims, which carry huge scoops suitable for crash helmets, just like the original car. They’re great for a lot more than helmets, making this a more practical machine than it looks – if you can live without a boot.
You must also live with instruments often blotted by not only the steering wheel but also a huge pair of carbonfibre paddle shifters and your hands. The aluminium-fronted binnacle references the original car’s, complete with the slightly haphazard dial location common in the 1970s.
Starting the Stratos is guaranteed to interrupt any thoughts you might have about the mixing of the old and new. Thumbing the red starter button on the steering wheel not only ignites the V8 but excites a light cacophony of vibratory sounds to go with it. The source of much of this is an optional Capristo exhaust system that enlivens the experience.
Pulling the right-hand paddle tips you into first gear and a world of yelping, yelling, air-ripping performance. Though not yet. Instead, Garella drives us to the foothills of the Alps near Fenestrelle, where you’ll also find the largest Alpine fortification in Europe. There’ll be no time to admire that, however, because our aim is instead to explore the dynamic habits of this Stratos on the kind of tangled Tarmac frequented by its rallying ancestor. These are tight roads too, making the opportunities to deep- sink the throttle rare and particularly thrilling when they come. Most of the time we’re lucky to even strike 4000rpm, which leaves another 4000rpm to go, but when the full untethering of the V8 occurs, the scene in that windscreen comes at you as if it’s dropping from the sky.