If you want a good deal, it always helps to wait for a sale. Today, Today, Nice Price or Crack Pipe has a Lancia seller who's offering a 2-for-1 special on Zagatos, but it doesn't look like they're going fast.
In 1969 Fiat bought faltering car maker, Lancia. Until that time, Lancia had a rich history of building technologically advanced, and decidedly athletic automobiles. The Beta line (Berlina, Coupe, HPE, Monte Carlo and Spyder/Zagato) were the first Lancias designed following the Fiat purchase, and carried a close relation of the Fiat 1995-cc DOHC four. Modern for the time, stylish in their Pininfarina clothes, and positioned up-market from the mother brand, Lancia seemed to have a lot going for them. By the time of the Beta's launch, in the waning days of the Nixon era, Fiat was already known as "Fix It Again Tony." Lancia never received their own appellation, but the combination of a higher price tags applied to Fiat quality made for limited appeal, especially as Alfa was already struggling to command the same niche. Lancia's of the era tended to turn brown faster than day-old bananas attributable to the use of poor quality steel, and it was because of this that warranty claims forced the UK importer to fold faster than superman on laundry day.
Lancia still pops out cars to this day, and may rear its quirky head on these shores again now that Fiat has bought Chrysler. Until then, your only way to satisfy your Lancia urges is to buy one of the few survivors left in the States - before they rust into oblivion. One of the more interesting Beta derivatives- and one of 9,630 built -is the Zagato. Based on the coupe, the targa roof and fold-down rear convertible was designed, not by Zagato, but by the Beta's originator- Pininfarina.
Today we have a 1982 Lancia Beta Zagato, in red, and with the asking price of $5,000. And, in the parlance of TV infomercials, this seller has a But wait, there's more! clincher - act now and you'll get another 1982 red Zagato thrown in for FREE!
The first one actually runs, although the second one is more Lancia-like in being unable to move under its own power. The good one has a new top, and they both have tires that roll, so conceivably you could hitch the dead one up to the sick one and freight train them both home. Neither car appears to be transparent, so the tin worm has yet to feast upon either's carcass, and having the pair will ensure a ready supply of body parts should you come out one day and discover the good one has come down with the big C.
The interior on the Betas, specifically the dash, was designed to have as many discordant angles and non-aligning intersections as possible, so don't think it has fallen apart from the pictures, it looked like that when it left the factory. The seller claims that the seats in both could use some work, but at least the insides seem to be complete. That's good as trim parts are always the hardest things to find on cars like this. The 2-litre engines by '82 had fuel injection, and both of these cars sport the five speed manual with a massively phallic shift lever. Each car rocks about 60K on the clock, and the faded paint stands testament to those miles.
Despite all the jokes about rusting in peace, the relative obscurity of the brand here in the U.S., and the grief of ownership befitting a Bukowski poem, these are sweet handing, good looking cars that, if taken care of, should provide a fun weekend ride. If you're looking for a daily driver? Well, there's probably nothing to see here, but then what nearly 30-year old Italian car would you trust to get you to the church on time? Also, despite the Fiat adulteration, these cars are part of a historic lineage from a company decreed by none other than Jeremy Clarkson to be the greatest automotive maker ever.
So, how about that $5,000 for this pair of Zagatos? Does that 2-for-1 deal enflame your Lancia lust? Or, for that price, do these Italian twins just zagato go?