Driven To Write’s Top Fifty Best Cars Ever: 5

1982-1986 Lancia Prisma. It needs no introduction.

1984 Lancia Prisma: not a Ritmo.
1984 Lancia Prisma: not a Delta.

The Prisma replaced Lancia’s much-loved Trevi. ItalDesign produced the crisp and timeless bodywork which improved upon the rather coarse and inertly proportioned Delta.

Yours for €1100 from a dealer in Italy.
Yours for €1100 from a dealer in Italy.

The engine range ran from 1300 to 1600. In typical Lancia style, the seats had Zegna upholstery and air conditioning was an option. In truth the Prisma offered all the refinements one could have expected from Lancia. Not only that, the 1600 Twin Cam engine was markedly faster than BMW’s 316. All round independent suspension helped the car corner and ride with astonishing fluidity and disc brakes (when many still had drums at the rear) added further distinction to the Prisma. Every car resisted rust like no Lancia before it: 35 kilos of rust-proofing held the rot at a bay and every car was subject to 3000 checks before leaving the production line.

Author: richard herriott

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

6 thoughts on “Driven To Write’s Top Fifty Best Cars Ever: 5”

  1. I think, only the early Prismas with better equipment and engine had the famous “Ermenegildo Zegna haute couture” seats. So you have to choose between a Lancia Prisma 1600, a Lancia Trevi or a new Maserati Ghibli (in the Zegna-version) – if your body only accept italian luxury and style as an appropriate ambiance.
    (But i would still choose the Trevi in this particular case- so the Trevi would be a better choice here.)

  2. I could edit the article to reflect the limited availability of the Zegna option. I suppose that option was akin to the Thrupp & Meberley trim offered on some Humbers.
    You’re well versed on your Lancia trim levels.
    How many BMW customers or Ford customers considered this car, do you reckon?

  3. The Prisma was a cheap contender in is class – he was priced lower than a Renault 9, an Austin Maestro or a Escort in Ghia trim
    Lancia Prisma 1500 Road Test 1983 (6)

    But – after the rusty Alfasud – many customers gave everything from Italy a wide berth…

  4. It is a pity higher-performance versions of the Lancia Prisma were never produced along with a 2-door Coupe bodystyle, since the Prisma would have benefited from a 165-250 hp 2.0-litre AWD Lancia Turbo saloon / coupe equivalent of the Maserati Biturbo with Delta Integrale styling cues.

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