It is said that, in conflict, to the victor goes the spoils. Italy may have lost the war, but today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe Lancia can not only be considered the spoils thereof, but is also be-spoliered, its price however, might just spoil it for you.
Some might claim that Porsche spoiled the iconic 944 when they turned it into the more capable, but arguably less memorable 968. That may be fodder for debate class, but there were 61% of you willing to take the pro side for the price of yesterday's 1993 968 Cabriolet.
There may have been something hinkey about that 968, its dealer-set price being so far below what one might expect. Similarly, today's 1976 Lancia Scorpion also looks a little hinkey- but for a very different reason - its restoration taking both a claimed $11,200, and a very personal interpretation of the Italian car's national pride. That's not to say someone else won't appreciate the unique vision it embodies, it's just that ,like yesterday's car, it may not be for everybody.
You all know the story of the Lancia coupe - it was originally intended to replace Fiat's 124 Sport Spider in the mid-seventies, and as such to be anointed X1/20, serving as bigger brother to the X1/9. Recent acquisition Lancia put on such a hang dog face that Fiat relented to give the model to them and rename it Monte Carlo in honor of the company's rally victories. The mid-engine two-seater arrived in the U.S. just as American buyers began to get a taste for Japanese quality, and suddenly cars with parts falling off them in the dealership held lesser appeal. Lancia was forced to rebrand the Monte here as the Scorpion due to Chevy's assertion buyers would confuse the Pininfarina-designed Italian for the baroque luxo-barge they offered. Eventually, a number of conspiring factors would doom both the Scorpion and Lancia - and eventually parent Fiat - from selling cars here for a long, long, long time.
But before that happened, the Italians dropped this '76 ragtop Scorpion on a wary U.S., and it managed to eventually find a home with someone who would love its quirks enough to spend nearly twelve large
painting damn near every surface red restoring it. One way the Scorpion differs from its Monte Carlo siblings back home is in the plastic fantastic nose. The cars over in Yurrup have flush rectangular lenses while Americans got DOT-approved round sealed beams that subtly pop up from their turned-off shoegazer positions. Both cars surrounded the headlights in black plastic that also formed the bumper on the home-market editions. The present owner has had that section here -save for the grille painted gaurds red, giving this car a distictly different look. The park bench bumper remains, and in fact stands out more so than when it shared a color scheme with the rest of the nose. The back one, however has been tucked in making it a little less obvious. Overall, there's a lot of red paint here, although it doesn't seem to be masking any of that slayer of Lancias, feller of Fiats, and general master of metal mayhem - rust.
Perhaps because of the inherent and surprising strength evidenced in this unibody, the owner felt it appropriate to mount a massive tricolore-painted wing on the side-ways opening engine cover. These things never added to the appearance of the Countaches and Panteras they typically adorn, but I'll leave it up to you as to its value-add quotient here.
Inside, things are just as red, along with black, and there's a set of heavily bolstered aftermarket seats, 4-point harnesses and. . . whoa, that's one fat wiener dog! The Scorpion typically came with interiors awash in rossa, so this one's two-tone black over red look is at least a little toned down. Also toned down was the engine on the Scorpion - the Euro cars getting a 1,995-cc, 120-bhp four while the U.S. cars had to make due with an 81-horse, 1,756-cc version.
Other problems potentially still afflicting this well-presented Scorpion are the handling characteristics caused by jacking the car up to meet U.S. Headlight height standards, over-boosted brakes that can lock up just by looking at them, and the fact that weezy the engine just isn't all that nice to listen too, right over your shoulder. That last issue is exacerbated by the fact that this Scorpion has the otherwise desirable feature of a roll-back fabric roof, which gives you a large opening for the sun, but also provides a convertible's level of cut and run thieveability.
Scorpions these days can be found in conditions ranging from respectably drivable to coprolitic rust buckets masquerading as vehicular transportation, but rarely do the uber-restored editions find their way to market. This one is nicer than most - and sports but a claimed 16,000 miles under its tires - however some of what makes it new and improved may be seen as detriments to its saleability.
Another potential hurdle for the seller - who has posted the ad on eBay for his friend who is the owner - is the asking price, which, at $10,500, is almost as eye watering as all that red. What do you think of this Scorpion's price, does it make this a Lancia to love? Or, does it just sting?
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