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Lancia Company History

Published: 24th Mar 2011 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!


Lancia Archive

  • Lancia Beta

    Lancia Beta

    Rating: 7 / 10

    Price: Saloon: Rough, £250. Good, £750. A1, £1500
    Coupé/HPE: Rough, £500+. Good, £1200+. A1, £2500
    Spider/Volumex Coupé: Rough, £1000+. Good, £2500. A1, £3500

    Read more »
  • Lancia Delta HF Integrale

    Lancia Delta HF Integrale

    Rating: 9 / 10

    Price: Integrale 8v: Rough, £1500. Good, £3000+. A1, £6000+
    Integrale 16v: Rough, £2000. Good, £4000. A1, £7000

    Read more »
  • Lancia Fulvia

    Lancia Fulvia

    Rating: 6 / 10

    Price: Saloon: Rough, £500+. Good, £1500 A1, £3000+
    Coupé: Rough, £1000. Good, £3000 A1, £5000+
    HF 1600 Lusso: Rough, £1500+. Good, £4000. A1, £7000

    Read more »
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Born in 1881,Vincenzo Lancia became book keeper for Giovanni Ceirano, who imported Rudge bicycles, then built his own cycles and moved into car building.Vincenzo was fascinated by the workings of the vehicles, and when F.I.A.T. took over Ceirano in 1900, he became chief inspector for the company.

F.I.A.T. was keen to use motor sport to promote its cars, and in the summer of 1900 Vincenzo Lancia had the opportunity of driving a 6hp model in a race at Padua.

A string of successes followed, with high placings achieved in the Gordon Bennett Cup, Vanderbilt Cup and Targa Florio (among many other famous events).

However in 1906 Lancia set up his own car manufacturing firm, the company’s first model being the 2.5- litre, four-cylinder Alfa, which featured a four -speed gearbox. The Alfa started the trend by Lancia for the use of Greek letters for unique model designations.

Other early Lancias included the 3.1-litre Beta, the 3.5-litre Gamma, the 3.8 litre, six-cylinder Dialpha, the 4.1-litre Delta and the overhead cam, five-litre Eta.

After the War, Lancia produced V8 and V12 designs, also (from 1922) the V4 Lambda, which had a narrow angle, overhead cam unit, independent front suspension, also – significantly – unitary construction bodywork.The Lambda was fast for its time (being capable of nearly 70mph), and spacious; it also handled well, too.

Further important Lancias produced before the Second World War included the four-litre, V8 Dilambda (1929), and the highly successful, unitary construction, 1.2-litre, V4 Augusta of 1932 – a more ‘affordable’ model which featured hydraulic brakes and a hypoid type final drive.

An advanced machine – and the last car designed by Vincenzo before his death at just 55 – was the 1937 Aprilia.With its lightweight,streamlined,unitary construction bodywork, an eager, 1.4 V4 engine, and all-round independent suspension (torsion bar type at the rear), it was years ahead of its time, and an excellent performer. The top speed was around 80 mph,and the car’s cornering prowess was impressive too.

After the War, the Aprilia and Ardea were re-introduced, the latter being fitted with a five-speed gearbox from 1948. A new Lancia appeared in 1953, the 1.8 V6 powered, unitary construction Aurelia. The driving forces behind this model were Vincenzo Lancia’s son, Gianni, and Vittorio Jano (previously of Alfa Romeo).

The gearbox was incorporated into the rear axle; semi- trailing arm type independent rear suspension was also employed.

The cars were also available with platform chassis, enabling coachbuilt bodies to be fitted. Sleek GT and Pininfarina Spyder versions were especially attractive. Aurelias proved to be highly competitive in motorsport.

The new, 1100cc Appia of 1953 replaced the Ardea; in effect the newcomer was a miniature version of the Aurelia. Lancia was seeing much success in racing, and became involved with Formula One in 1954. However, the Lancia designs were taken up by Ferrari. At this time the Lancia family lost control of the company bearing their name…

The new Flaminia of 1956 was an opulent, V6- powered saloon, but it was not a commercial success.

With front-wheel drive, superb ‘flat four’ engines, excellent performance and good dynamic behaviour, the Flavia of 1961 was much more successful.

Designed by Doctor Fessia (of Fiat Topolino and C.E.M.S.A.-Caproni fame), the car was sold with a range of engine capacities and a variety of body styles.

In 1964 the Appia was replaced by the new, Flavia-inspired Fulvia (please also see our separate section on this model). The newcomer featured advanced front-wheel drive and narrow angle V4 engines, and provided superb performance and handling for two decades. As with so many Lancias, the Fulvia was very successful in rallying.

Due to financial problems, Lancia came under the wing of Fiat in 1969. The amazing Stratos rally car made its debut in 1972, and swept the board in international rallying (winning the World Rally Championship in each of three successive years from 1974).

This masterpiece of design was originally fitted with a 1.6-litre motor (mounted amidships), and later powered by a 2.4 Ferrari Dino V6 engine, providing truly blistering performance.

Attractively styled and offering lively performance, the Beta also made its debut in 1972, but sadly within1 a few years the model had been plagued by serious rust problems, which severely dented Lancia’s reputation and virtually killed off the brand the UK.

The sleek Beta Monte Carlo variant (1975) was a two-litre, mid-engined machine. Introduced in the same year, the 2.5-litre Gamma was quite an advanced luxury cruiser in the BMW mould, with a flat four-cylinder engine.

Produced by Fiat but bearing the Lancia name was the five-door, Giugiaro-styled Delta hatchback, introduced in 1980 (and named ‘Car of the Year’).

The sophisticated and ultra-rapid four wheel drive HF Integrale versions are especially sought-after today. These superb machines were intended to rival the Audi Quattro in rallying – and were highly successful at it, dominating the World Rally Championship during the late 1980s.

Further significant Lancias of the mid-1980s were the oddly named and styled Trevi, the Prisma and the two-litre Thema – also sold in turbocharged, 2.8-litre V6 and (Ferrari-powered) 3.0-litre V8 forms. The Dedra saloon arrived in Britain in 1990, with a choice of power units; the turbocharged two litre versions developed 165bhp.

Lancias have not been imported into the U.K. since 1991 and sadly, lack of space only allows us to cherry pick some of the cars that have been made since the last War.

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