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.
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.