Those were the days: Lybra (saloon and wagon), Z multipurpose vehicle, Kappa (coupe, saloon and wagon) and the Ypsilon. It’s 1998.
Lancia had a full line-up of vehicles, offering in most cases something distinctively different to what Fiat was selling. The Lybra had its basis in the Alfa 156 but you’d be hard pressed to tell. With the passage of time you can see a robust-looking car with a distinctive form language. Maybe it could have used some brightwork around the windows. Enrico Fumia started the development of the design in 1992 and Peter Robinson completed it. Where is he now? The rather pleasant interior is the work of Flavio Manzoni who is now at Ferrari, with a string of cars to his name. Some of them include the later Musa (not so good) and Ypsilon (treasurable).
While most Lybra interiors are quite lovely little kingdoms as standard, two special editions featured Poltrona Frau leather facings and were simply regal. Here is the 2002 Emblema interior with “tobacco” leather. I can only say it looks luscious. Not many people thought so in general about the Lybra which found 165,000 customers over its time on sale. How many were persuaded by the endorsement of none other than carpenter and sometime actor, Harrison Ford:
Nonetheless, even if the Lybra has none of the engineering originality of its forebears, it had a 2.4 litre, five-cylinder engine and plenty of poke (170 PS). For someone in search of discrete comfort and rapid progress, it was a pleasant alternative to a small Benz or large Ford or Opel for similar money.
Here is the rather baffling television advert which features Mr Ford rescuing a nice young lady from some nasty blokes in leather coats.