Draw Your Fork Across The Surface Of The Soup

Something of a quest this, to drive as many Lancias as possible. So finally I am behind the wheel of a rather miley Kappa 2.0 with its transversely aligned five-banger.

1998 Lancia Kappa 2.0

So far DTW has driven and documented the Trevi, Lybra, Delta Mk3 and the Thesis. I did also drive a Kappa coupé a long time ago but have forgotten much of the experience except the deep disappointment about the ashtray. The coupé is also the car I most regret not buying.

Now, the time has arrived for another Kappa experience as I have had another chance to test one, this time the four-door 2.0 litre petrol five.

Well, sir, what’s it like to drive? Before I get to that I need to say I feel a burden on my frail shoulders. Nobody has reviewed this car in the English language since Car magazine devoted a couple of pages to it in 1994, which is a good quarter of a century ago now. So, I have to get this right.

1998 Lancia Kappa 2.0 saloon. It’s a packaging-led design.

The Kappa arrived in 1994 and bowed out six short years later, never really building on the success of its predecessor. Most likely the problem didn’t lie with the car but the marketing and the market; during this time the Scorpio and XM withered and several manufacturers abandoned the large car segment.

The Kappa’s mediocre market reception did not come from a lack of effort on Lancia’s part. First, Lancia had an estate and coupé as well as the saloon, one more bodyshell than the Thema had (is the Kappa one of the last mainstream cars to have a coupé version?). Lancia offered a delightful range of engines: a 2.0 litre four-cylinder, a blown and non-blown 2.0 litre L5, a 2.4 L5 and a V6. Did any firm ever offer more choice in configurations at the one time than Lancia and Fiat at this time? That range of 4s, 5s and 6s is rather impressive? And one could burn diesel too.

The kerbweight didn’t crush the scales, coming in under 1500 kg. And if you experience the car it does not feel flimsy either so the Lancia engineers handled the weight efficiency chore with skill.

Outside the Kappa is very much in the Lancia tradition of dead plain saloons, almost flamboyantly unadorned. The IDEA Institute gets the credit (Ercole Spada at the helm); I’d be curious as to what else Lancia considered and rejected. I think this 1994 car has aged well and has become more distinctive as time slithers by; I saw one drive by at a long distance a few weeks ago and noticed how strongly the car’s identity carried, being easily identifiable from its overall profile and distinctive side-glass pattern.

The lamps front and rear are enclosed by a clear boundary line of panel edges in a logical position, a pleasing coalescence of graphics and engineering. A little chrome lifts the front and the rear; the C-pillar says formal and the profile is packaging-led with a low-nose such that inside the car you can’t see anything below the base of the windscreen. The side profile does not do the car justice -it looks sleeker than the photos suggest.

1998 Lancia Kappa 2.0 interior: the IP is set quite low.

Inside, you step over real metal kick plates and settle into comfortable, supportive seats. Points get lost for the manual seat-height adjuster. No car in this class should have manually adjusted seats. The instruments are below the line of the base of the window (really low) and the dashboard is a long way away.

The fake wood isn’t all that good even if you like fake wood (and I love it), sorry to say. I don’t think there was the possibility to delete the wood. The problem is that the shapes do not support the argument made by the finish. The austerity that informed the outside did not make it into the car. The rest of it is quite okay though.

The gear lever can be reached easily; the pedals well-placed and drivers will enjoy a supernice indicator of supernatural smoothness. Iffy ergnomics haunt the speedo whose top is clipped by the binnacle and the button-controled HVAC system is annoying. There are great seats at the back with scads of legroom. The centre armrest falls to the right height. You would not mind spending a good many hours as a passenger in this vehicle. Built into the C-pillar are reading lamps, like eye-balls. The centre ashtray comes as a let-down: a one-piece horizontally hinged plastic bucket of minimal dignity.  It’s pretty civilised otherwise.

1998 Lancia Kappa rear passenger compartment is very comfortable indeed.

To the driving:  you turn the key and try to ignore the noisy starter motor and reluctant first and second gear. The light clutch helps. And the super light steering is delicious. I really liked this characterisitic. Why do people want heavy steering? The Kappa has clear and clean turn-in such that the car reacts to what you do, as you’d expect.

Acceleration is decent if not awe-inducing but the car is noisier at speed than I’d like. It has triple door seals but perhaps the 5-banger sounds like this and it can’t be helped. It’s not a bad noise but it’s there, the engine, and not wind noise. The outside mirrors are a bit too small.

What impressed me is the ride quality, courtesy of the suspension set-up, the relatively high-profile tyres and the stiff shell. This car is a smooth saloon, relaxed and cosseting with conspicuously well conceived suspension settings. Yet it does not feel inert or wallowy. If you want to throw the car around a bit it does as instructed, feeling more agile than you’d expect a formal saloon ever to feel. Does it do it better than a 406 though? It does it differently, being a bit less reserved than Peugeot’s acknowledged mastery of the ride-handling compromise.

The Kappa’s boot is big and deep. The pursuit of shell-stiffness has probably led to the aperture being a bit on the small side. It’s not a very big price to pay; I am not sure how many trips to Ikea will be confounded by the small dimensions of the boot’s opening. But maybe that is also a signal and a hint: stay away from Ikea, it just shrivels your immortal soul and no quantity of cheap donuts and processed sausage can restore it. The Lancia man does not go to Ikea, he does not need a wide boot to get things from the hardware store.

Quality: overall it’s very pleasing with deep carpet, cloth (velour!) seats, plenty of features and is palpably well-constructed with the lamentable exception of the flimsy radio cover. Nodding to Robertas P, we must ask if the Lancia Charter has been enforced. Lancias always seem to have one duff feature in plain view. It’s an infuriating thing, a flimsily hinged panel which spangs open with a click of plastic on plastic. So, leave it open the whole time. It is like an otherwise nice person who happens to have a compulsive need to block toilets with all the spare toilet rolls whenever the chance arises. Needless.

Matters of taste: there is one colour too many in this interior and it is probably the light-grey carpet. It ought to have been dark blue, black or grey. Many of the Kappas were like this. The Thema did it better and so did the Thesis. At the back and front we find a rather oddly designed door card. What exactly is that light grey form under the arm rest for? It only holds the window switches and gets in the way of the flock-lined door bin. The colour break up of the B-pillar is also a bit on the cheap side.

Not shown so clearly: flock-lined storage bins in the lower door.  This is not a particularly nice door design though, is it?

Overall, the Kappa is  a comfortable, refined and well-made car with three gripes: the 1st and 2nd gear change is a bit cumbersome, the centre console’s flaky panel is an irritating oversight and it’s noisy at speed.

The rest of the car is very pleasing indeed and once you are on the open road you discover a beautiful ride quality and a deliciously light and sensitive tiller. The Kappa is spacious yet wieldy and is an intriguing shape to behold. I find myself unable to get bored of the exterior design.

I realise now that I have driven the Kappa what a strategic blunder the Thesis was. The Thesis was clearly not a replacement for the Kappa, not in the same way the Kappa replaced the Thema. The Kappa asks to be driven and is a very manageable size (and compares well to the 406, for example). The Thesis was far too aloof and bulky – beautiful and smooth but up a class and too pricey.

A revised Kappa was what they needed: a car which did everything the Thema and Kappa did but better, such as improved ergonomics and possibly updated engine technology but not something so radically different in scale and ambition.

Post-Script: the RWD Kappa.

It’s very easy to sit back in one’s armchair and criticise other people’s design. It’s easy because you don’t know the constraints. The proportions of the Kappa were driven by its FWD architecture and, probably, the wish to have lots of room inside. With that caveat in mind,  I have taken the liberty of remodelling the Kappa to make it look RWD and I took about 3% off the roof height, simply by compressing the glasshouse above the waistline. The image is a standard one from Wikipedia.

Author: richard herriott

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

70 thoughts on “Draw Your Fork Across The Surface Of The Soup”

  1. I love this. The style puts me in mind of a perfected 1970s lounge. The velour. The sweeping motion indicated in the door cards and window line. Also the low snout and the elaborate detail of the dashboard stack. I love the idea that the Lancia team worked up to this with 20 years of honing and refinement of the theme. What a marvelously detailed and well illustrated review. Thank you.

  2. I don’t want to be too harsh on its design because there’re aspcets of it I find appealing but to me the lack of commercial success may have come primarily because of its appearance.
    Sure, Lancia used to churn out ‘dead plain saloon’ but there may be a lack of dynamism in its design that perhaps didn’t sit well with the alpha mal- led ethos of the market. The choice of having body-couloured B-pillar strikes me as rather odd, I think it reduces its length visually.

    1. Robustness might be an aspect. It really looks as if the windows are carved out of the solid. But with the brightwork around the openings it really stops the horizontal flow, I agree. I’d have preferred a ‘single’ DLO, but maybe it would have taken a lot away of the car’s distinctiveness.

      The estate has the same pillar, of course, but with the more elongated glasshouse, the issue seems to be less apparent there.

    2. Richard – Good point about the Volvo (and Mercedes). I guess I thought it was better handled in those two.
      I think there’s a certain sadness emanating from the Kappa’s exterior styling, from the profile to the front fascia, the car kind of looks like it is sorry it ever came into existence, but maybe that’s just me. I do like the attention to certain details however. Of course, all this flies in the face of my childhood theory that ‘cars that look in pain are more successful’. Come to think of it this might be my chosen subject for my presentation at the “conference”.

    3. Simon – I do agree that B-pillars in black would’ve taken away a lot of what makes it different from the more obvious choices in the category at the time.

    4. Thank you. I’m going to need some time to digest the changes and form an opinion. The black might be too shiny but, fret not, this might just be a meaningless first impression.

    5. The FWD version with the blacked out B-pillar looks far better. Yes, it loses its disctinctiveness a bit. The improvement is worth this cost, I think. Absent the B-pillar the car is a bit longer looking and this counteracts the vague dumpiness of the original. Another reason for the design as-is is that it distinguished the car from its stable-mate, the 166 which has the blacked out pillar. Also, it´s supposedly more “honest” do show what the car is made of rather than paint it to look like something else. It would have been fabulous if Lancia had done the side-glass like Subaru and made it pillarless.

    6. The black pillar looks good, but, yes, a bit generic. My first impression was that it resembles the Alfa 164 a lot more in this guise. The “RWD” looks sleek, but also too conventional for my taste. A Lancia has to have somewhat odd proportions, it’s part of its charm. Otherwise I can just go and buy a BMW. Boring.

    7. The red/ burgundy one makes me think of the Alfa 155 in profile – especially with those very cool wheels.

  3. Thanks for this review!

    I was very interested in a Kappa in 2007/8 when my old car approached the end of its life. I’d have liked a 2.4 litre estate which I considered more practical and nicer looking than the saloon. Plus, it came with self-levelling rear suspension – a detail that appeals to anyone accustomed to Citroën’s finest. (Apparently, it also became a source of problems on many cars). I wonder how it would compare on shell stiffness and noise level to the car you tested.

    I never went as far as driving one, as I got an attractive offer for a different car. While I like Lancia’s velours, the rest of the interior would have been hard to swallow for me, even compared to the fake wood in the Xantia that followed.

    1. You are welcome. The IP is a bit hard to take. I like it that they pushed it back and reduced its bulk. I am not that keen in the fussiness of the detailing. I suppose they wanted to differentiate it from the Thema´s simple shapes (which have aged much better, I would contend). As a thing to drive, the Kappa was delightful.

  4. The sporty rims on the burgundy one do make a lot of (positive ?) difference to it’s appearance I have to say.

    1. Agreed, the blacked out B-pillar makes a huge difference, even if the design loses some of its distinctiveness. Combine that with the RWD proportions and you have a different car entirely, and a very nice one.

  5. Because it was never sold in the UK, I have had limited opportunity to study the Kappa in detail. As I recall from the few I have seen in the metal in Europe, it is a more subtle and nuanced design than it appears to be in photographs. The one-piece door pressings and unusual light treatment (invisible from the sides) give it an interesting austerity. It is unusual without being wilfully odd, like the “Gothic” Thesis.

    Richard, your adjusted image put me in in mind of another underappreciated design, Gandini’s Maserati Quattroporte IV:

    The interior, however, is a disappointment for me. The colour palate is rather odd, particularly the cream, beige and grey plastics, which look dissonant and cheap, particularly with that impressed Lancia emblem on the odd looking rear door trim. The dashboard moulding could be from any mainstream 90’s saloon and makes me think of Daewoo, for some strange reason. I don’t mind plastic “wood” but it needs to be used subtly and consistently, i.e. on more than just the centre console, to be convincing.

    1. Gandini ruined the QP with that awful detailing around the rear wheel. It doesn´t look very RWD, does it?
      And, yes, the Kappa´s colour break up inside is messy; the carpets really don´t help and the colour matching is poor.

    2. Yes, the rear wheelarch is a mess, but I can see what Gandini was trying to achieve; a continuous upswept line from the sill to the rear of the car, but it simply doesn’t work. Maybe he should have been bolder and instead used a semi-enclosed rear wheel arch, the top edge of which would be properly aligned with the upswept line of the sill and body crease aft of the wheelarch?

      And yes, the proportions are resolutely FWD, which is very strange. This got me thinking about the opposite; FWD card that look RWD proportioned. I can think of two (closely related) cars straight away. Anybody care to volunteer an answer?

      Sorry, NRJ, no Granada/Scorpio prize for the winner, only honour!

    3. If it helps, they are nothing exotic, just two five-door hatchbacks from the same European manufacturer that were sold simultaneously.

    4. FWD cars that look like RWD? I can think of several:
      – Current Audi saloons
      – Current Volvos, especially S/V90
      – A lot of Renaults in the 60s and 70s: 4, 5, 6 and 16. They had a longitudinal engine with gearbox and axle mounted at the front.
      Don’t know which ones you had in mind.

  6. Nice car, very IDEA in its looks – there’s a consistently robust, industrial and yet elegant look to their designs. It’s amazing how FWD often hampers the look of a car as your picture of how a RWD Kappa could have looked. Cars such as the Kappa (also the C6, the Vel Satis, the 607 …) have an added charm of obscurity and the knowledge that they were driving against a tide which would ultimately consume them; a late or last bid to succeed in an increasingly un-receptive market. In reality, at the time of their launch, most of them were already doomed to failure, and yet they managed to leave a mark – their’s something appealing about that.

    1. S.V Robinson – I was about to touch on the subject of these cars, including the Kappa, being doomed from the start (and I was acutely aware of it at the time) but I digressed onto the B-pillar converstion. Long subject !

    2. Counter-example: Audi are all front-wheel drive. It was probably not the FWDness of the also-rans that doomed them but the perceived quality problem. See: Lancia Kappa.

    3. Richard – I meant stylistically rather than commercially; and it is true that FWD does not HAVE to hamper the styling of a saloon (indeed, probably my favourite saloon, the 156 proves the rule, and there are a number of nice FWD Audi saloons – although none of them recent), but it often seems to be the case.

    4. The recent Audis are not nice because they made them look RWD…
      The very old ones weren’t that nice either because they combined the looong front overhangs with equally looong rear ones – resulting in much too short looking wheelbases. Around the turn of millennium it was a bit better.

    5. Stylistically, those cars were okay, weren´t they? They were a very disparate bunch at the end, as if the designers were desperately hunting for an alternative to the RWD three-box saloon that was killing them. The problem lay in execution and probably the Top Gearist and Evo/Car obessesion with dynamics. None of them were awful. The market was very polarised: outright success or total failure. Only the Omega managed at the end, and it was a rear-wheel drive, three-box saloon. Lovely car to look at though, I saw one the other day. It´s aged well.

    6. Hi Simon. I should have been more specific about the judging criterion for a “RWD” stance. It is that the distance from the front wheel centre to the leading edge of the front door is greater than the distance from the wheel centre to the extreme front of the car. Audi and Volvo typically disguise their long front overhang by pulling back the front corners, but wouldn’t, I think, pass this test.

      In any event, congratulations, you got the right answer! I was thinking of the Renault 4 and 6, but the 5 and 16 are equally valid answers. They all had longitudinal engine installations with, very unusually, gearboxes mounted in front of the engine, pushing the front wheels well forward:

      This necessitated their unusual dashboard mounted gear lever with the gearbox linkage passing above the engine.

      Interestingly, Renault hedged their bets with the contemporary 12, which had its gearbox mounted behind the engine and a typical FWD stance:

    7. OK, your criterion for RWD stance is a bit more specific than mine. I don’t go so much by numbers, rather by a somewhat back-heavy look, i. e. the rear overhang has to look substantially longer than the front one. And there is a large strip of metal between the front wheel and the door.

    1. I went onto their site for the first time a few weeks ago ! I was looking for some infos on Bertone designs and ended up there . I remember thinking ‘this is a strange site’.
      I just noticed the ‘I’ of the IDEA logo looks a bit like the Punto’s ‘P’ in the shape of a driver.

  7. Even in Italy this car was not appreciated as it deserved. My dad bought one in 1996 and I still own the car. Now at 160.000 km, my Kappa drives like new (first and second gears are silky smooth…). The subsequent Thesis, which I had the bizarre idea to buy as my daily driver some years ago, proved to be a real nightmare of unreliability and much, much less pleasant to drive than the Kappa, albeit supremely comfortable. Now I have a Jaguar XF for daily duties and the Kappa for the occasional pleasure trip, and I’m the most happy of men.
    Great review.

    1. Dear Mattteo: thanks dropping by. So, your Kappa has no problem with the first two gears? Interesting. On the test car they were sticky or resistant. The others were fine. My feeling about the Thesis was that it was too big and reserved to be a nice car to drive for its own sake: a servant, nothing more but delightful in the static sense. Strategically it was a blunder.

  8. Dear Richard, during winter (I live in northern Italy, where winters are very cold) first and second gears are admittedly a bit sticky, but only for a couple of miles. I use that old “ferrarista” trick, to jump directly from first to third gear. Once up to temperature, the gearchange is a joy.
    As for the Thesis, most in Italy were chauffeur-driven and used to transport politicians. Decidedly not a driver’s car.

    1. Thanks for that, Matteo. It’s just how I’ve found my two Kappas have behaved in winter, as Normandy gets very cold too.
      Even the 5-pot 2.0 is flexible enough to take skipping a gear, and, as Richard says, the clutch is perfectly light.
      I’ll return to this later in my busy day, and will ignore the Thesis for the reasons you say.

  9. As it is a car that interests me, I felt the need to scratch the Quattroporte IV itch and see what might happen. Here’s what I came up with. First, what I think Gandini might have been trying to achieve:

    Secondly, a wholly conventional solution:

    What does anyone think?

    1. I should have said that I also adjusted the wheelbase for a proper RWD stance.

    2. The first proposition makes it look like a Citroën. I don’t mind the second illustration at all, even if it looks a bit more conventional.

    3. That original Quattroporte looks a bit like a swordfish at the front, maybe it’s the bonnet that seems slightly curved inwards when viewed from profile.

  10. A lot of years ago, when I was a lazy student of design in Milan, I collected same images of the rejected Kappa (in Italy simply K) proposals, I need to search them. On the web I’ve found only this one, another proposal from IDeA Institute:

    1. The K coupé on that site would have blown all opposition away — as might the Thesis coupé , called GT, too.

  11. Richard, I thought you might say that, and I agree. It’s now rather Kappa-esque. Wheel arches are more often than not round for a good reason.

    The partly covered wheel version might work better with a fastback and third side window, but that’s another whole world of pain for me using Paint…

  12. It’s strange the whole front of the car from the A-pillar forward look a different shade of blue compare to the rest of the car. Mainly visible on the 3/4 front view of the 1st picture. I would have understood if the colour variation occured on plastic bumpers or plastic wings as they notoriously turn a different shade but, here, all these parts, wings, bonnet, are made of metal.

    1. The rear wing, C-pillar and bumper are also lighter. I would guess that both doors have been resprayed after accident damage and it’s a poor colour match, or the rest of the (original) paintwork has faded.

    2. I was thinking either a lemon or only the doors have been replaced with a slightly different colour (Ebay purchase ?), we can’t really see the back properly but it may be the same colour as the front and only the doors came from somewhere else.

    3. Oops, sorry Daniel I didn’t see your post when I replied to Simon, we’re pretty much saying the same thing 😉

  13. Richard, the first thing to say is that you had a base model, and a poorly specced one at that.
    Top specs — and I forget the designations, “L” this and that — have heated and three-memory seats, electrically adjustable including back comforter, in Poltrona Frau leather or that nice alcantara that yours had.

    The basic 5-pot 2,0 is adequate, the Turbo (which has bigger brakes etc) exhilarating, slightly more so in 4-pot. The 2.4 petrol is a great compromise, the 3.0 V6 lovely and has enough power to make an auto box less of a speed brake. There’s a rare later auto, Comfortronic, which has an even better memory. (Yes, both types remember how you’re driving and hope its replication of the style will suit you. I expect Mercs etc have this too.) The original can be jerky, especially on kickdown.

    Strangely, I didn’t find the suspension the most comfortable, although, yes, handling and steering are fine. Crosswinds can affect the line, but in fierce storms I see far newer luxury cars suffer a bit too. (Dedras were more slippery and better). I never drove a Thema in such conditions, but normally its steering and handling was more direct — it didn’t have the speed-related power assistance.

    The passenger box is among the most rigid you can get. I never get any wind noise through the doors.

    Ashtrays (just for Richard): the rear one is a back-wrenching stretch; better if in the armrest.

    The faux wood is always the same: there’s no Intensa version à la Lybra.
    And, yes, even fore and aft steering wheel adjustments never give you a view of the whole speedo. I suspect this is because some Italian drivers are so much shorter!

    The grey side thingy is to match what on the driver’s side is a very handy storage box. In this you keep your sharp pointed dowel for adjusting the date/time on the dash.

    The boot is indeed back-breakingly huge, openable as so often now from inside the glovebox.

    The SW: the rear Nivomat dampers are optional. At €400 a pop last time I looked, unless you’re a cement merchant or a mafioso with many corpses to dispose of you won’t need it. Mrs Vic’s huge case of “holiday” shoes doesn’t upset the stance, so …
    It’s not as rigid as the Berlina, but nothing distorts. The coupé is obviously rigid
    too — but its prices are holding up a bit too well for me!

    Finally, carpets.
    There’s not much choice, and beige tends to be most common. Doesn’t match the many upholstery colours, unless that’s also beige. I can live with that oddity in what you can tell is, for me, a loveable car.

    1. Sorry, forgot non-matching paint colours.
      That’s a crash job.
      The original paint on a K is as good as you’ll ever get. And you paid for it too.

    2. I wanted to say sorry for calling it a lemon because now I realise, if it’s indeed a crashed car, it implies the owner conceals this fact and we don’t know that.

  14. Am I the only one thinking that the external door handles are far too small for this car? For me, the plastic internal door handles are unforgivable in a car of that class and they’re particularly annoying because Lancia otherwise was very clever in using new materials for car interiors – they introduced Alcantara to the automotive world and later used magnesium on the Thesis’ dashboard…

    1. I like the door handles, and I think they are perfect for this car. Like the front and rear lights, they are simple and rather small. It all adds up to an impression of visual restraint.
      Or would you like something like on the new Peugeot 208, where the length of the door handle is more than half of the door’s width?

    2. Have they perfected door-handles transplants yet ? Both cars could swap their handles and everyone will be happy.

  15. Kappa external door handles (as well as mirror switches) were subsequently used also for the Maserati 3200 Gt. The Maserati 3200 Gt used many other bits taken from Fiat Group parts bin. Apparently:
    – glovebox handle from Alfa 156;
    – internal door handles from Alfa 145/146;
    – door mirrors from Alfa 166;
    – ashtray from Fiat Barchetta.
    Maserati 3200 Gt interiors were designed by Enrico Fumia, head of Lancia Centro Stile from around 1992 until the end of the 90s. He supervised Lancia Kappa Coupè and added a final touch to the saloon in the form of the chrome blade on the edge of the boot lid. His masterpieces were Alfa 164, Alfa Gtv/Spider 916 and 1995 Lancia Y.

    1. Hi Matteo,

      I wonder if the (horrible) square tail lights of the facelifted version came from another car, or maybe it’s because they look so generic.

    2. Also I think the small triangular window pane on the Kappa rear glasshouse, created by the low-set window deflector, is odd too. It doesn’t signal a high-standing car I think. The car may have looked more mature and upmarket without any window deflector or with one set a bit higher.

      That rear-window deflector painted black also looks out of place I think because there’s no other black accents around the DLO: where you would usually have a black B-pillar and possibly black side mirrors that would balance it out, here there’s this lone black strip in a sea of chrome and paint and it sticks out for the wrong reasons in my opinion.

  16. I think Maserati 4200 gt rear light were specific to this model. This is an aggravating factor in the crime committed against the 3200 Gt. Probably, the boomerang lights were not appreciated by everyone in Maserati…

    1. I loved the boomerang tail lights, it’s people who didn’t like them who committed a crime and should be locked up in the Pisa Tower until they come to their senses.

  17. You are definitely right. According to Enrico Fumia, it was Luca Cordero di Montezemolo who demanded that the magnificent boomerang tail lights be replaced by the bland rectangular ones seen on 4200 Gt/Spider. Giorgetto Giugiaro (author of the 3200 Gt) was not even invited to express his opinion.
    It’s a shame that Enrico Fumia’s autobiography (“AUTOritratto”, published by Fucina Editore) is only available in Italian. You cannot imagine how many surprising information can be found in this book.

    1. Hello Matteo, the DTW readership look forward to reading your official translation!

  18. On further reflection, that Lancia gave the exterior of the K such an austere style and the interior such a florid one makes no sense. When did they idea appear that Lancias were about over luxury? The Thema got it right. The Kappa is nice but daft inside. It ought to have been very restrained in its geometry. Some warm colours would have been okay. Not however, the mish-mash of colours seen inside this car. Did anyone inside Fiat understand Lancia?

    1. The colour combination inside this Kappa reminds me of a colour combination we find in mens fashion regularly (see pics below): beige and blue. I think that this colour combo in clothes often signals an ‘upper-crust’ vibe.
      I first noticed this colour combination years ago on the posh teens of South Dublin. Lancia might have wanted to go for that look but clearly it didn’t work as well as in mens fashion here.


    2. Reminds me of my first walk down Boulevard St-Michel, in 1961, looking in all the big designers’ windows. It was hard for this English teenager, who was not very posh, to get his head round the frequent pairing of mid-brown with blue. Two entirely different tone worlds, so a complete clash to my eye.
      But there it was, and it’s continued to be acceptable to some right up to today.

      (I don’t think at that time Italians would have done that.)

      Now, our posh visiing Parisians disguise themselves with either v expensive denim or the ubiquitous orange chinos. Probably in a 500C.

      Back to Lancias: I’ve the same K coupé catalogue illustrated here. But in the very few cars I’ve ever seen, I don’t remember any daring seat colours, certainly not the turquoise — and I can’t see which paint colour it could go with.

    3. Thank you for the anecdote 😉 For me, the first time I noticed it, it was on Wicklow street, Dublin. it’s funny we even remember this.

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