LAN­CIA BETA MONTECARLO

If you’re in the mar­ket for this in­creas­ingly sought-af­ter and scarce Ital­ian beauty, look over­seas to boost your chances of bag­ging a bar­gain

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Buying & Selling - Theo Ford- Sagers

Isold a de­cent Montecarlo 18 months ago for £6000, but now it’s worth dou­ble that,’ says a re­gret­ful Mal­colm Steer, pro­pri­etor of Mon­teZone (www.mon­tezone.co.uk).

UK val­ues have been bal­loon­ing and will prob­a­bly rise fur­ther still, con­sid­er­ing there aren’t many mid-en­gined Ital­ian wedges priced be­tween the Montecarlo and much more ex­otic of­fer­ings.

Val­ues have risen out­side the UK too, but Mal­colm reck­ons they’re still less expensive to buy in Italy. He cites the ex­am­ple of an early Se­ries 1 that’s for sale over there for € 14,000 (£12,000). Mal­colm sug­gests that car would be more like £14,000 if it were on sale in the UK.

Italy of­fers the big­gest num­ber of Montes cur­rently avail­able, and it’s a good place to look if you’re af­ter the purest man­i­fes­ta­tions of the de­sign. ‘The Se­ries 1s are much more eas­ily found in Italy be­cause they last bet­ter there. Also in Italy you can find “solid but­tress cars” – it’s how Pin­in­fa­rina de­signed the car orig­i­nally, but they didn’t get ap­proval for this over here. In the UK we had glazed rear but­tresses to im­prove rear­ward vis­i­bil­ity,’ he says.

‘ We had a rea­son­able num­ber of Se­ries 2 cars im­ported to the UK, and lots of the mid­dle-pe­riod 1977-78 cars, but many suf­fered from rust,’ he con­tin­ues. ‘Even so, they’re all so rare now that peo­ple will jump on any ex­am­ple.’

The south­ern hemi­sphere is an­other po­ten­tial source. ‘I know of about four that have been im­ported, and three of these have come from South Africa,’ says Mal­colm.

‘The ones I’ve seen have been mostly Se­ries 2s with low mileage – they seem to be de­cent-qual­ity cars, even if they’ve had a bit of work car­ried out on them.’

That said, we con­ducted some online re­search and could find only one cur­rently for sale in South Africa, so you’ll need to speak to some­one lo­cal who can source a ve­hi­cle for you.

Although Lan­cia made a de­riv­a­tive for the US, called the Scor­pion, there aren’t many rea­sons you’d choose it over a Montecarlo. Scor­pi­ons have a stran­gled 1.8-litre four-cylin­der en­gine in­stead of the orig­i­nal’s 2.0-litre, awk­ward bumpers to meet US safety reg­u­la­tions and a taller ride height. Amus­ingly, ter­ri­ble re­views were the in­evitable re­sult.

It makes more sense to hold out for a de­cent ex­am­ple from the south­ern hemi­sphere… or find a cracker in Italy, load the nose with a few bot­tles of Barolo, and head for home.

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