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Lancia Fulvia

Published: 23rd Jun 2011 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Fab Fulvia was great rally car and a good bet for historics. It’s easier to run than you’d first credit Fab Fulvia was great rally car and a good bet for historics. It’s easier to run than you’d first credit
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Fancy owning a motorsport legend for road and track use? Paul Davies looks at true classics that made their names on stages and circuits, and still provide fine drives today

Sixties and seventies front-wheel-drive rally winner, and a real Italian Job into the bargain? Must be the Mini surely? Hang on ‘though, this one’s got bigger wheels, a V4 engine, five gears, four wheel disc brakes and a solid beam rear axle. In fact we’re talking about the Lancia Fulvia Coupe, undoubted star of European rallying for almost a decade. By the time the Mini’s success on the International stage was beginning to fade, the little Lancia was just getting into its stride. Never a popular car in Britain (although it would win the RAC Rally two years running) the Fulvia was most at home on European events. Sweden’s Ove Andersson was the first star for the Italian team, bagging second on both the Monte Carlo and Acropolis rallies in 1967 against strong Porsche 911 and Ford Escort opposition. Taking 1-2-3 placings on the 1969 San Remo Rally, and a win on the tough Marathon de la Route the same year, were early high spots, but it was also a dramatic one for the most successful British driver in the car, the late Tony Fall. After winning the ’68 TAP Rally of Portugal, he went back to finish first the followingyear – only giving his wife a lift in the car between the final control and the finish ramp saw him disqualified! The Fulvia’s finest hour came in 1972 when drivers Sandro Munari, Simo Lampinen, and Harry Kallstrom, beat arch rivals Fiat to the International Rally Championship title. From then on it was down hill really, as first the Fiat 124 Abarth and then the Lancia Stratos took over. More power and a supercar ended the Fulvia’s fling but the point was made. Technically advanced – the V4 was a narrow degree configuration, which allowed the use of just one cylinder head topped by two, chain driven, overhead camshafts – the Coupe was a short-wheelbase version of its Berlina (saloon) brother. First cars had just 1091cc, but this was systematically increased to 1584cc. Power wentfrom 59bhp to 130bhp in the Variante ‘works’ replicas. HF cars were lightweight, and more powerful, as the base for the rally cars. Whilst the Mini – even in Cooper S form – was quite crude, the Fulvia was an advanced bit of kit. They’re still around today, mostly left-hand drive with for some reason Holland being the source of many fine examples nowadays, and a good buy, if you get a good one. And spares, and body parts, are still available. But despite the obvious advantage over the Mini (those big 14ins wheels) the car hasn’t made much of an impact on historic rallying in the UK. OK, it’s a bit on an oddball but someone really should have a go!

Lancia Fulvia Summary

Production

All models 1965-74: 220,000 (approx)

Technical

Engine: Narrow angle (12 deg) V4. Single cylinder head with hemispherical combustion chambers and two, chain driven, overhead camshafts. 2 x Solex carbs.
Power: 59bhp (1091cc); 80bhp (1216cc); 100bhp (1298cc); 115bhp (1584cc); 130bhp (HF works rally).
Gearbox: Five speed from 1971.
Drive: Front wheels.
Suspension: Front wishbones with leaf spring, rear beam axle with leaf springs and Panhard rod.
Brakes: Discs on all wheels.
Steering: Worm and roller.

Claim to fame

Winner 1972 International Rally Championship; 1st-2nd-3rd 1969 San Remo; 1st 1969 Marathon de la Route; 1st TAP Rally 1968, ’69; 1st RAC Rally 1969, ’70; 1st 1972 Monte Carlo. Numerous other International rally victories.

Famous names

A Who’s Who of ‘60’s and ‘70’s rallying, including: Ove Andersson, Tony Fall, Vic Elford, Sandro Munari, Amilcare Ballestrieri, Simo Lampinen, Harry Kallstrom, Rauno Aaltonen, Pauli Toivonen, Mauro Pregliasco, Rene Trautmann, Rafaele Pinto, etc.

Where to buy

Classic car mags (including Classic Cars For Sale of course!) plus specialist clubs and Lancia/Italian car independents.

What to look for

Few genuine HF cars appear, and only 250 Variante homologation specials were made, so check details carefully with the aid of an expert. Bodies rust mainly around the wheel arches but are repairable, although subframe and floor rot are far more serious. Mechanicals fairly robust - Fiat Uno Turbo clutch is worthy a straight fit mod. Brakes dear to renovate (Dunlop initially) and lack of use leads to seizure.

What to pay

Around £7000 will net you a good, left-hand drive, late model, 1.3S. Expect to pay a premium for an RHD car in the UK although we’ve seen them for around £8000. Recently modded 1.6HF replicas sell for around £15,000, a genuine ex-works factory competition car was recently advertised at £40k!

Clubs

Lancia Motor Club: http://www.lanciamotorclub.co.uk; Club Lancia Sport: http://www.lanciasport.com

Maintenance, tuning and sport

Spares and servicing available from Omicron (http://www.omicron.uk.com), Tanc Barratt (http://www.tancbarratt.co.uk), Gonnella Brothers (http://www.gonellabrothers.co.uk), and Richard Thorne (http://www.rtcc.co.uk). New Road Garage (01594 510517) carry out restoration work, Neil Smith of NJS Services (http://www.njsalfaromeo.co.uk) is a former Lancia service manager so knows his stuff.

Competitive Rating: 8



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