The big story
Lancias on the cheap
‘The Beta coupé is no Fulvia, but it’s appreciably cheaper to buy’
It’s rather sad to think that one of Italy’s most significant car makers is now reduced to just one small hatchback, but it wasn’t always like that for Lancia. Always sporting, but without the slightly raw edge of an Alfa Romeo, Lancias brought wonderfully understated looks – and, until the late 1970s at least, wonderful engineering – to a more mainstream audience.
That over-engineering was the downfall of the company’s independence. Fiat swallowed it whole in November 1969, though today seems to have no idea what to do with this once justifiably proud marque.
The net result of this is that many Lancias make great buys at auction and – rarefied models such as the Flaminia Spider, Aurelia and Stratos aside – can often be bought for good MGB and Triumph Stag money. And buyers choosing not to follow the crowd do well with these cars: those dating from before the mid-’70s boast a mixture of performance and engineering.
Search the auction lists and Lancias do appear regularly, though in relatively small numbers in monthly terms compared to other marques. A quick look at sales this year shows that only post-war models have sold, and last month a solitary Lancia, a 1993 Delta Integrale Evo 2, was sold by Silverstone Auctions for £41,063.
Brightwells’ sold a 1989 Integrale 8v in reasonable order for £8690 in March, but Silverstone achieved top auction Integrale price at February’s Race Retro sale, when a 1994 Evo II in 2+ condition made a huge £53,100. Anyone wanting to put a Lancia in their garage on a limited budget really ought to consider a targa-top Beta Spider, while the Beta coupé offers low-key understatement; it’s no Fulvia coupé, but appreciably cheaper to buy. Not convinced? Look no further than the 1981 coupé sold at ACA’s January sale for a reasonable £3465, and a 1979 Beta Spyder 2000 was off at £2835 at King’s Lynn back in April. Not to be outdone, Barons’ April sale saw another Beta Spider 2000 off, this time for £4840.
Those with more of a purist air would probably try to track down a Fulvia. ACA was at it again in January, with two 1972 examples. A Fulvia Berlina in Condition 2 sold for £5775, while its wilder cousin – in this case a 1.3S Fulvia Sport Zagato – charmed buyers enough to make £17,040. It sounds a lot, but it was a relatively small price to pay for a sporting Italian car carrying such a prestigious badge.
It is one of the world’s greatest car makers, and one whose future is very much in the Fiat balance at the moment: it’s a depressingly grim situation for Lancia, but that shouldn’t stop today’s classic enthusiasts enjoying the company’s previous products, many of which offer first-class all-round value.