Orange Car of the Day: Lancia Beta Coupe

While surveying the cars parked in the paddock at this weekend’s Classic Race Aarhus I noticed the broad range of colours. Red, yellow, light blue, green and orange were all there along with black and metallic grey plus various shades I could not more precisely determine.

1973-1984 Lancia Beta coupe.
1973-1984 Lancia Beta coupe.

This splendid orange Lancia Beta was not the only orange car but the only Lancia present. The interior featured a cosy light green velour and seating inspired by Italian furniture of the period. Only the cracked brown dashboard let things down a little. “The bodywork was developed in-house by a Lancia team led by Aldo Castagno, with Pietro Castagnero acting as styling consultant. Castagnero had also styled the Beta’s predecessor, the Lancia Fulvia saloon and coupé” says Wikipedia.

Lancia launched the coupe in 1973 and it was still on sale in 1984 (which was a sign of Lancia’s troubles). Yet it was a car rated highly by motor testers. “Aged it may be” wrote Tim Britten for Motor Manual, “but the Lancia Beta coupe still has plenty of charm.” The outright performance remained comparatively  good despite little development. What marks this car out as an Transalpine car is its torque: “What the figures don’t tell  you is that the Lancia has massive torque – partly attributable to its long stroke design – and it will pull strongly from anything over 2000 rpm, climbing hills with ease even in the higher gears.

It’s just the opposite of what you would expect from most of today´s crop of high-geared fuel misers which fade away at the sight of even the slightest uphill gradient”. In 1979 Autosport estimated the Beta’s fuel consumption to be in the 24-28 mph range.

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

16 thoughts on “Orange Car of the Day: Lancia Beta Coupe”

  1. A car with plenty of torque and orange bodywork is pretty much all I want today. Is it too much to ask for? It seems it is for some reason.

    Anyway, is this the start of a ‘Search for an orange car’ series?

  2. No, alas. It was the first silly headline that popped into my head. I need to find some new clichees. Nice colour, isn´t it? The green interior looked super as well, if a little saggy in places.
    This is the first one of these I have seen in about five years. I think the salty roads were hard on Lancias, if there were ever than many here to begin with.
    It´s a very purposeful design yet it is not overtly aggressive. The main angles (bonnet, screen, roof and boot are good and the rest is very simple. Two parallel lines run down the side and manage not to look inert. Honda´s Prelude was a bit like this car, conceptually, though the engine was more highly strung.

  3. Yes it’s sweet little car. I’ve always liked the understated yet purposeful and well resolved looks.
    It’s something I was hoping Nissan would achieve had they decided to put their IDX concept into production.

    But back to orange cars. I found out there is one on offer right now and I’m very excited about it. I’ll post a picture later.

  4. I like a lot of that IDX. One caveat is the pointy bit where the beige body work meets the headlamp. I feel the leading edge of the bonnet should extend to that pointy bit.
    What´s the orange car in question?

    1. That pointy bit would likely be toned down or disappear on the production vehicle, if it ever existed (apparently it is dead and buried).

      As for the new orange car, all be revealed shortly – or not, depending on my work schedule.

  5. Is this actually an ‘orange’ car. To me, it looks closer to the Fiat colour that I have always known as ‘Positano Yellow’.

    Admittedly, it might be yellow viewed by a flaming sunset over the Bay of Naples.

  6. I would call it a yellowy orange if forced. To me it has enough red in it to push it away from pure yellow. If you were mixing that colour with paint you´d use a yellow and a red. The name is not so important as the fact it is a really sympathetic hue.

  7. Speaking from chroma-pedant’s corner, sampling the image on CMYK, there is a ratio of around 4:1, yellow to magenta, so I’d say that, objectively speaking, it falls within the yellow camp (or orangey yellow if you must). Of course I take your meaning about the name not being important, but that’s not really so for many people. Many people don’t trust their instinctive reactions to colour. Show someone a very greeny blue and they’ll like it, until someone else calls it green and they’ll say ‘but I don’t like green’. I’ve always liked that colour myself.

  8. Surely that´s more of a brown shade? But yes, it does seem to go well with it. Orange and light browns are very appetizing. The light reddish browns suggest toast and roasted, savoury food.

  9. Yes, the now fashionable hue generally referred to as ‘burnt orange’ benefits from that tasty title I feel. In particular, the ‘burnt’ part suggest something less sugary, more mature, yet slightly adventurous. Or am I being fanciful?

  10. I’d have ranged that colour under “yellow”, but it’s always hard to tell from photos. Personally, I’m a big fan of everything orange (except oranges), but I rather like the redder, cooler shades of it (so not the “burnt” ones, either). I still regret not having bought that orange Citroën GS with orange upholstery some 15 years ago, just because it was 1000 km away… Hope I will find a replacement for it some day.

  11. Oh my word, look at that beauty of a Toyota Landcruiser with flat bed body behind the orange car….

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