Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Lancia shares its name with the first Roman Woman to appear on a coin. Let’s see if this Italian classic also seems to be worth spending any of your coin.
You know, I’ve seen people race just about everything, from barstools to bathtubs, so a FWD race car doesn’t phase me in the least. Yesterday’s tidy, and apparently cheap, 1996 Ford Probe racer didn’t phase many of you either, and with its pocket change price that turn-key track shoe came away with a solid 86% Nice Price win.
Four cylinders, FWD, racing heritage… that’s the Probe again, right? Well, that also could describe this 1972 Lancia Fulvia, as it represents a high point in the Italian company’s venerable rally racing career. Now, I should note that I generally despise classified ads where the seller shows you a photo of another car as an example of what the bucket of bolts he’s selling might possibly turn out to be.
That’s what we have here, but I’ll give this seller a pass because while he does show a rally-ready Fulvia as his top pic, the real car in the rest of the shots looks to be a lovely and desirable thing all on its own.
Let’s remember that Lancia was like the Italian BMW back in the day. They produced sedans and coupes with a sporting flair and that had a high level of engineering and decent build quality. Unfortunately, Lancia lacked the German’s acute financial sensibilities and by the late sixties had found themselves nearly insolvent.
Fiat came to Lancia’s rescue - as they do - but instead of shuttering the company and letting history remember it for cars like the Fulvia, Lancia was forced to limp along for decades so that it would actually be remembered for cars like the Beta and re-badged Chrysler 300s. Eww.
This car was designed before the Fiat takeover, so it’s still all Lancia, all the time. That means an amazing little 1.3-litre narrow-angle (12°) V4 engine canted over at a 45° angle ahead of a five-speed transaxle. In the S with its twin Solex sidedaughts that mill should be good for 90-bhp and some excellent noise.
The rest of the car is just as awesome as that engine. Brakes are discs all the way around and the car rides on some remarkably modern-looking (but correct for the car) Cromodoras.
The paint here is Italian national Red which the seller says is a respray, while all the chrome and trim appears to be intact. This is of course the Piero Castagnero-designed factory coupe, and not the Zagato-bodied edition. I happen to find this one to be the more attractive of the two.
On to the inside and things look equally tidy, however you will note that while Lancia and BMW both were engineering powerhouses, the Italians didn’t compete with the Germans for ergonomics. The dash, which appears to be complete and with a crack-free pad, is lovely to look at, but switch placement and driving position will both be something you’d need to get used to. Fat seats will cosset your fat ass and while there is a back seat, don’t plan on putting actual people back there, at least not ones with legs.
Mileage is claimed to show 58,000 kilometers, which is about 14 hectaresto the hog’s head as the crow flies if I remember correctly. The car is said to have been recently imported from Europe and other than that the seller doesn’t seem to know all that much about its history. At least that’s the impression given in the ad.
That’s okay though because what we want is not so much its history as its future, as in with a new owner. To that end we’ll need to decide whether the seller knows enough about the car - he does have the rally decals and gold paint for the Cromodoras after all - to have set a fair price.
The asking is $23,500, and if you scan Hemmings you’ll see that price is good bit higher than the other Fulvia coupes advertised there - which are all still in Europe. This one is here, and has had its immigration papers apparently approved. It’s also old enough that it cold even take up residence in California, much of which it should be noted has a Mediterranean climate just like in Italy!
What do you think, is this Fulvia worth $23,500? Or, is this a Lancia that’s priced like it’s full of itself?
H/T to JP for the hookup!
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