If you’ve always wanted a Ferrari 308 QV, but need something a bit more practical, perhaps the uniquely Italian Lancia Thema 8.32 is the 1980s super sedan for you. With a gloriously sonorous Ferrari-sourced V8 under the hood—mounted transversely—powering the front wheels, the hotted up Thema is so freakin’ rad.
And thanks to this video from Harry Metcalfe, we can get an idea of what it’s like to drive one.
“They did what? They put a V8 engine in a Thema? They sure did!”
While the Ferrari engine is functionally similar to the 308 four-valve unit, it’s detuned a bit to fit more with a sedan’s nature. The flat-plane crank was swapped out for a cross-plane unit, and as such the firing order was a bit different. Instead of the 308's 240 horsepower, the Thema 8.32 produced about 215 horses. That was a good bit of power for a small sedan in the mid 80s, however. It made the Italian a ripper, capable of 0-60 in just under 7 seconds, maybe only a tenth or so off of the Ferrari sports car (and certainly faster than the ridiculously slow tax-beating 208 GTB).
In any event, click the play button to learn a bit about a quirky Italian sedan with a potent V8 under the hood. My goodness, it’s worth clicking just for the three-gear pull from a stop. The exhaust note is hotter than the sun.