The Lancia Fulvia, a surprising delight when you go through the Lancia history books. A fantastic yet understated edition that is more than just magnificent to watch. So brew a cup of tea/coffee or maybe even glühwein (if you are feeling festive), and enjoy this short piece on the Lancia Fulvia.
The Lancia Fulvia first set its wheels on this earth during the 1963 Geneva Motor Show, aiming at replacing the smaller Lancia Appia. The Fulvia was mainly based on the larger big brother, Flavia, and adopted the same FWD setup. Lancia wasn't shy about making different models, and I'll save you some time, there were many. Most notably was the Coupé that went on and competed in rallying and the Zagato built Sport model designed by Ercole Spada.
What made the Fulvia famous though was not the stunning looks, but its seriously impressive motorsport history, including winning the International Rally Championship in 1972 (yes winning). It was with the Fulvia that Lancia officially went back into racing after their withdrawal from the Formula 1 scene in 1955. In 1965 Lancia delved into the world of rallying and absorbed the HF Squadra Corse, a racing team founded by Lancia enthusiasts which previously received some factory support, which turned into a works team under the leadership of Cesare Fioro. The same year all of this happened the Fulvia Coupé made its racing debut at the Tour de Corse, placing 8th overall. After this Lancia made a beefed up rally model that they also put on sale for the general public. This model would later be improved on so much so that an entirely new 1.6 V4 engine was developed and installed for the 1967 Rallye 1.6 HF model. The car continued to race as a prototype up until August 1969, when it received the nod from the FIA.
The Fulvia was a great success winning every Italian Rally Championship from 1965 to 1973, except for 1970. But it didn't end there, in 1972 the Lancia Fulvia had reached its peak winning the International Championship for Manufacturers two rounds in advance. Not just winning but stomping the opponent with a 10 minute and 50-second margin over the runner up, Larrousse/Perramond who even drove the much more powerful Porsche 911 S.
The Fulvia also dabbled in endurance racing entering the 1969 12 Hours of Sebring, placing 18th overall, and at the 24 Hours of Daytona, where they scored a remarkable class win in the sports prototype category and 11th place overall.
As the Lancia enthusiasts out there might already know, the Fulvia shared an almost identical engineering design to that of the Flavia with the major exception being the engine. The Flavia having the four cylinders horizontally opposed and the Fulvia rocking a narrow V configuration as featured on most production Lancias from the Lambda. Another addition was the introduction of a brake servo which wasn't too common at the time.
There's quite a lot of variations on the Fulvia engine so I won't nag you to death, but what they all share in common is that they are V4 petrol engines mounted in the front of the car at a steep 45° angle and that they are designed by Zaccone Mina. One of the differences being different engine displacements, the sportier the larger. The Fulvia also came in two different varieties of transmission, a 4-speed manual and a 5-speed manual.
Like most Lancia vehicles the legacy that's left behind is totally epic. Instead of the 0 to hero story of Arnold Schwarzenegger, you got this amazing journey of a car that goes on to win a rally championship and pave way for the extraordinary Lancia Stratos. Stunning design, great sounding engine and somewhat of a hidden gem under the giant Stratos shadow, but it deserves both recognition and praise. There's more to read out there, but I'm keeping it short due to the article length and my attention span. If you are interested there are a few good reads out there that cover everything in minute detail. I'll finish this article by showing you some footage of the Lancia Fulvia being driven as if it were stolen in a rally video: