The top 8 most forgotten Lancias
A collection of greats of which few remember
Quite a lot of you seemed to like my article on the forgotten Alfas. I was chuffed at how well it did and the feedback was generally lovely, so thank you all so much for that!
As a follow-up, I've decided to compile a list of forgotten greats from another iconic Italian brand: Lancia. Fabled for their ingenious experiments in engineering, rally pedigree and outright beauty, it's hardly a surprise that Lancia is a highly favoured brand by petrolheads.
But while some are greatly remembered such as the Stratos, Delta Integrale and S4. Others have come along and overtime, slipped under nearly everyone's radar. Coming up now are 8 examples of such things.
The Astura itself was a fine saloon car equipped with a couple of fine 2.6 and 3.0 litre V8 engines capable of up to 82bhp. But it wasn't the engineering side of things that made these special: like a lot of other cars of the time, customers had a vast array of coachbuilders to turn their Astura saloon into the stuff of dreams.
The car pictured above was bodied by French coachbuilder, Pourtout. It was based on a later 1938 Astura and strongly reminds me a Bentley Embiricos and a Bugatti Type-57 Atlante.
Even Eric Clapton got his hands on a Pininfarina-bodied Astura; and if that doesn't provide a bit of cool factor, then I don't know what does.
The Fulvia coupe was an undeniably pretty thing: its gorgeous body was married to a gem of a chassis and a couple of throaty V4 engines. It was the first Lancia to ever win a world rally championship.
What people seem to forget though, is those same wonderful ingredients underneath were also available in a more humble 4-door saloon.
The Berlina drove just as well as the coupe, but the twist is, there was more room for your mates to enjoy the experience as well.
This was possibly Lancia's best shot at competing against the likes of Mercedes, Jaguar and BMW. Just over 4,000 were ever made and was designed by Pininfarina.
The luxurious barge could be had with either a 2.5 or 2.8 litre V6 engines and represented Italian luxury on a marvellous level - even before the Maserati Quattroporte came along.
It was so plush, that the Italian president ordered a fleet of them in 1960. Some of which are still used to this day!
Image credit: Favcars.com
Of course, I enjoyed watching the fabulous film, 'Rush' because of the intense rivalry between James Hunt and Niki Lauda. But there was one particular scene that caught my eye: and it involved one of these.
I fell instantly in awe.
The 2000 succeeded the competitive Flavia and carried over the same boxer 4-cylinder engines and FWD system. It was essentially a name change, yet I've virtually never heard anyone mention it. Which is a shame because the 2000 - in either saloon or coupe form - was the last hurrah of a great platform.
Directly replacing the 2000 was this: the Gamma was built to compete against the likes of the Ford Grenada and Rover SD1. With Lancia now acquired by Fiat, it was their time to fight in the executive marketplace.
Like the Fulvia, many seem to remember the coupe with its lovely sleek lines. But the Berlina with the distinct fastback rear is one I've rarely seen be acknowledged. Despite its beauty however, the execution of the Gamma wasn't quite as pretty.
The Gamma - like other Lancias of the time - plagued by rust issues. This became rather prominent right up until the late 80s. Another flaw was that the steering pump was connected to the left timing belt, and under full lock, the pressure sometimes became too much and the belt would snap...
Based on the Beta and only produced for a mere 4-years, the Trevi was Lancia's attempt at capturing the audience of the increasingly-popular notchback saloons.
It was available with a set of inline 4-cylinder engines as opposed to the boxer units and was critically acclaimed for its pleasing driving experience. There was even a 133bhp supercharged version called the Volumex which could get to 60 in just under 9 seconds!
Journalists at the time were strongly opposed to the 'Swiss cheese' dashboard. But I've always rather liked it - do you?
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Yep, you read that correctly: Lancia merged with Saab to re-badge the Delta for the Scandinavian market.
Saab didn't enough money to make their own entry-level compact car, so they struck a deal with Lancia to replace the ageing 96.
There were no HF or Integrale variants to be seen here: just a humble 1.5 litre inline-4 with 85hp. They never sold a tonne of these and naturally remain a rarer sight on the road than a diamond unicorn.
Image credit: Favcars.com
The Prisma was based on the Delta and sold throughout the 80s as a notchback saloon alternative to the famous hatch. It managed to win the Prestigious Car of the Year award in 1982, despite competition i.e the VW Jetta.
Many were sold throughout its life. But sadly, it became another victim of rust and by the time the Prisma went out of production, Lancia's reputation was shattered. Many of these cars just simply disappeared from the roads and became a forgotten relic.
Thanks for reading
The 2000 Coupe - Image credit: Favcars.com
Well, there we have it. Those are 8 Lancias that I believe quite a lot of people have forgotten about.
If you want to throw in any more suggestions or say anything, don't hesitate to leave a comment. But I hope you enjoyed reading nevertheless.