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Lancia Fulvia

Lancia Fulvia Published: 19th May 2017 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Lancia Fulvia
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£9000-£30,000+ - Pert compact looks - Delightful to drive - Fast appreciating

With its combination of, sophistication, style, performance, practicality and beautiful engineering, the Fulvia is a class of its own. This lithe Lancia still looks superb more than five decades since launch and earned a fine reputation thanks to its numerous rally successes at all levels.

Driving

Brisk rather than genuinely quick but Fulvias are always fun. With double wishbones at the front and servo assisted, hydraulic Girling disc brakes all round (inferior Dunlops on S1s), the real joy comes from its exceptional front wheel drive handling and security. The original 1216cc V4 is only as quick as a 1.3 Escort but wonderfully alert all the same. Better performers are the later 1300cc version or particularly the 1600 HF which is on par with, say, an Escort XR3 or Golf GTi we feature elsewhere in this issue!

Best models

There’s a choice of four-door saloon and a sweet two-door coupé and whilst having no sporting pretentions, the former retains much of the fun of the coupé and is refined and comfortable – what it lacks in style it makes up for in pure practicality.

Purists will like the original Fulvias for their quality touches. In 1971 Fiat, having bought Lancia in 1969, introduced the Series II Fulvia, with its raised outer headlamps for the UK market, but throughout the car was evidence of sad costcutting measures; gone were the alloy panels and some of the embellishments that made the early Fulvia such a joy to own although a five-speed gearbox is fair compensation.

In 1973, three years before its demise, a special remaining wide-arch limited edition 1.3 Monte Carlo was offered, complete with a black bonnet and a lack of bumpers so it looked like a true rally weapon for the road but, out of the 155,000 made in total, are extremely rare finds.

Values

Values have took off of late and a top Coupé can easily fetch £15,000 – and you can double this for a heavenly HF. Good 1.3s hover around the £9-£10,000 mark and average cars just under £5000; saloons are a fair bit cheaper although condition counts more than style so don’t dismiss a super saloon over a tatty two-door.

Buying advice

Because the Fulvia was well designed and set up by the factory, most don’t bother modifying its brakes or suspension unless they’re going racing so beware of poor so called upgrades – originality will increasingly count as the years roll on.

Rust is the real worry although Fulvias are far better made than later Lancias. At the front, watch the crossmember and sills, the latter which can rot away unseen as the outers can look fine. New ones are available at around £120 the real cost is labour. Rear wheel arches and floor are other target areas but really, check the entire shell…

Mechanically, the V4 is robust but expensive to repair. A professional V4 rebuild costs around £5000, so listen for worn bearings, which rumble and check for decent oil pressure. Fulvias were only fitted with a manual gearbox, the Series I cars with four ratios and others with a close set five. All of them survive well, but the first sign of wear will be weak second-gears (a common ailment of Alfas, too), so check for baulking as you swap ratios. A Fiat Uno Turbo clutch is good fit.

Sturdier Dunlop brakes (similar to Jaguar’s set up) were used on the original Fulvias; from the Series II there were Girling items fitted instead. The biggest hassle (Series II) is their separate handbrake system. This dedicated set-up requires a special tool to remove the dedicated shoes, meaning owners usually leave it alone and don’t carry out any maintenance, which can result in a £200+ bill for replacement linings and a system overhaul but generally parts aren’t overly pricey.

 



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