Something Rotten in Denmark: 1996 Lancia Kappa

This is how a decent car ends its days.

Not Lancia Kappa style.
Not Lancia Kappa style.

Whoever last owned this car really should have gone for a Vectra or Mondeo. The original alloys probably corroded and needed to be replaced with something sympathetic. You can put jokey wheels on an old Mondeo as they are blank canvas. These wheels are a custom paint job, I think. One does not customise a Lancia. Perhaps the last owner considered the disjunction of motorsport style colours and the Kappa’s formality amusing, like wearing runners with a suit.

1996 Lancia Kappa 2.0 LS
1996 Lancia Kappa 2.0 LS

I saw this about two months ago. The seller had it as a bulk trade item. It’ll be broken for spares.

Faded Lancia glory
Faded Lancia glory

The interior has a quite wonderful blue velour, almost certainly the last large car to offer this kind of comfortable ambience.

1996 Lancia Kappa interior
1996 Lancia Kappa interior.

I’d be keen to test one of these. There aren’t many reviews available and none are recent. The Kappa has an intriguing five-cylinder engine which could be had with a turbo. It performed quite well. It would offer a lot more interest than the four-pot 318’s people go for without thinking. My expectation is that’s a “professional” vehicle that’s quietly capable, easy to manoeuvre and able to cover distance with no effort. If the 406 had been so pleasant inside as this it would have been perfect. Instead they went for a design of screaming anonymity.

Author: richard herriott

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

4 thoughts on “Something Rotten in Denmark: 1996 Lancia Kappa”

  1. These seats are really awesome!

    Yes, it’s amazing what a bad taste in wheels some people have. The good thing is, other than a bad paint job, this kind of ‘tuning’ is reversible.

  2. It’s always odd when people acquire an arbitrary car (maybe given them by an old uncle) then treat it as if it was a WRX or GTI.

    Of course, far from being a selling point, ‘sports’ wheels just suggest the car won’t have been treated sympathetically.

    1. That’s a probable story. Perhaps it was on sale for a noteable amount less than some more obvious candidates and the buyer thought “what the heck”. That’s how I ended up with an XM. Nothing cost less for the price and at that mileage (63,000 miles, 11years old and a mismatched nose cone). Conceivably most Kappas are seen as just cheap oddballs. Everyone who really wants one has one.

  3. I agree the wheels don’t suit the car at all, but somewhat surprisingly, they aren’t straight out of the Demon Tweeks catalogue – they’re just spray-gunned 166 alloys. In that light, it’s actually quite surprising how inappropriate they look. (Or perhaps not – wheels are a criminally-overlooked aspect of overall automotive design.)

    I like Kappas very much, although I suspect I am more one for the SW – as has been discussed here previously, it is probably one of the very last mass production cars with traditional carrozzeria elements. Still, the sedan is nice (and encompasses more than a touch of Quattroporte IV); as you say, the interior is genuinely inviting, to the point that I can even overlook the decidedly unnecessary, and very overtly fake, ‘wood’ finish. On a mild tangent, please enjoy this gratuitous shot of a Beta Coupe with quite excellent interior:;topic=6892.0;attach=26868;image

    (On the subject of excellent interiors, perhaps DTW’s readership would enjoy an item on the Ghibli Primatist? Also, on the subject of rather sad-looking big Lancias – you have mail.)

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