Micropost: Lancia Advertising From the US

Lancia did not have much of a presence in the US. It’s zenith: 1975 to 1983. This advert comes from about the middle of their last “proper” push to sell new vehicles.

1977 Lancia advert
1977 Lancia adver

The choice of used Lancias in the US is not great. For $8950 you can have a Lancia Fulvia bodyshell. No doors, no interior. Just the shell, wheels and motor. If you want a bit more car then $15,000 is what you shall pony up for a 1965 Lancia Flavia coupe. It’s missing the top part of the dashboard, only. If you look around you’ll also find one of the three Lancia Scorpions used in Herbie Goes Bananas. That’s up for auction.

It’s really hard to imagine how the 70s Lancias were viewed by American customers. Small and modest looking, it took a certain type of East coast sophisticate to want to choose one of these over even something obviously more unambiguous such as a BMW 2002 or 316. What I can easily imagine is the rage of the buyer upon discovering their car dissolving as the salts of December etched into the undercarriage and became visible in February.

The couple in the photo look more Buick, Lincoln or Cadillac to me.

Author: richard herriott

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

9 thoughts on “Micropost: Lancia Advertising From the US”

  1. Is it me; the photo in this post and some previous posts hasn’t appeared. Also, is that a Freudian slip – Lincolon?
    Re. Lancias in the USA, Is saw this on Regular Car Reviews recently https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ihixc26QCd0 which illustrates just how unknown Lancias are in the States. (Sorry, if my link doesn’t work, go to YouTube and type in RCR Lancia Scorpion).

  2. “The intelligent alternative” is a remarkable line. It would be impossible to use nowadays and it was possibly quite outré back then as well. You would use “smart” or “clever” instead, something more peasant. “Intelligent” sounds just too aristocratic, too class conscious (from the wrong side of history) to appeal to a broader audience. Especially from a brand with a somewhat left-wing odour to it. Have Volvo ever advertised with “intelligence” to be, well, the intelligent alternative?

    The copy is very lacklustre and unambitious. Not even a hint of imagination, belying its “intelligence” claim.

  3. They looked like FIATs to us. FIAT pushed 124s, especially the spider, and 131s much harder. Betas looked like FIATs to us too. In other words, rust disguised and held together by paint.

    I bought a used Fulvia Sport in ’73. Rust underneath disguised by a sheet metal pan pop riveted to what was left of the sills and covered with undercoat. Fixable, at a cost. The front wheel bearings couldn’t be extracted after they failed, massive corrosion. I was not a happy owner. Even so, when the Beta line appeared I was fascinated and wary. I’m glad I was wary.

    Pre-FIAT Lancias rusted, FIAT Lancias rusted faster. Re pre-FIAT, in ’75 I looked at 2.8 Farina bodied Flaminia couple. Lovely car, but a screwdriver penetrated the sills from below with minimal effort and tapping the vertical panels created a lovely rustling noise of little flakes of rust falling.

    1. I can understand the sentiment. There’s a Beta coupé parked nearby, which, to the casual observer, might just as well be just another Fiat. It’s obviously Italian, but not particularly sophisticated, not even in the same sense as, say, an Alfetta.

      Come to think of it, I used to be a bit of an Alfa Sei (6) apologist – but not anymore, after having seen one in the metal for the very first time. Apart from the lovely Campagnolo alloys, there was an overbearing air of crudeness about the car, which it shares, to some degree, with a great many other Italien cars of the ’70s/early ’80s. This was the time when Italy began to lose the fight in the prestige car sector. I may not be the biggest fan of either the E12/E28 or the W123, but neither car feels as cobbled together.

  4. Puh, these US-bumpers did not do those fine small italian cars any favour.
    A famous Lancia driver in the States was Raymond Loewy, he drove his own creation – the Lancia Loraymo – a few years as a daily car.

    And aren´t there some Lancia Deltas with a Chrysler badge an american roads?

    1. Marcus, the Delta was never sold in North America despite the Chrysler badges. They’ve got the Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200 instead.

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