Deserving Beta (Part Two)

Fate’s cold hand catches up with the Beta.

Lancia Beta Series II.  Image: autoemotodepoca

The Beta and its derivatives were developed progressively over its production life. A smaller 1,297cc 81bhp (60kW) engine replaced the 1,438cc entry-level unit in 1974, at which time power steering was offered on LHD models. In 1975, the 1,592cc engine was replaced by a slightly smaller capacity 1,585cc 99bhp (74kW) unit and the 1,756cc engine was supplanted by a 1,995cc 117bhp (88kW) powerplant. Electronic ignition was fitted from 1978 and automatic transmission became an option, making the Beta the first Lancia to offer this feature.

The 1,995cc engine received fuel injection in 1980, raising the power output to 120bhp (90kW). Fuel injected models carried the 2000 i.e. suffix. Finally, the 1,995cc engine was fitted with a supercharger (reverting to carburettors) in 1982. Supercharged models produced 133bhp (99kW) and carried the 2000 VX suffix.

After just three years on sale, the Beta berlina received a subtle but well judged and highly effective facelift in 1975, with stylistic input from Pininfarina. The key changes were made to the DLO of the car. The bottom edges of the door windows were made deeper so that they now sat flush with the instep at the top of the door skin(1). The rear three-quarter window was adjusted to match and extended rearward, with a triangular vent added to the trailing corner in place of the Lancia emblem.

Lancia Beta Series II.  Image: Carsbase

The previously flush rear windscreen was now inset at its lower edge, to make it a little more upright, reducing reflections and improving rearward visibility. The effect of these changes was to make the DLO appear larger and to take some visual weight out of the rear end of the car.

At the front, new headlamps with dual lights under a single rectangular lens replaced the previous twin circular units on the upper-level models. The rear lamp graphics were also reworked to make the units appear slimmer. The cumulative effect of these changes was to make the Beta look noticeably sleeker and more elegant. The revised model was given a Series II designation, although not badged as such.

In 1976, Lancia introduced a larger sibling to the Beta, the Gamma; the four-door fastback-saloon joined by a two-door coupé variant. Both models were styled by Pininfarina.

Production of the Beta Montecarlo was suspended for two years from 1978 to deal with a safety issue. The brakes exhibited an alarming tendency to lock-up, a problem that was solved simply by removing the brake servo. Quite why this took two years to fix is unclear. The relaunched model was identifiable by its glazed rather than metal rear buttresses, a change made to improve rearward visibility.

Lancia Beta Montecarlo Series II.  Image:

By this time, word was spreading about worrying corrosion problems. Such was the superficial standard of rust-proofing in the auto industry in the 1970s that it was not uncommon for external body panels to develop signs of corrosion when vehicles were only a couple of years old. However, the Beta’s issue was structural, involving a box-section cross-member to which the rear side of the engine and gearbox subframe was bolted. This cross-member had inadequate anti-corrosion protection, and could rust through, no longer providing a secure fixing for the subframe – rendering the car beyond economic repair.

The problem was most acute in the cold and damp climates of Northern Europe, and particularly in the United Kingdom, then Lancia’s biggest export market. In severe cases, the corrosion would result in an MOT(2) test failure. To the company’s credit, Lancia acknowledged the problem and established a buy-back programme for cars up to six years old, even if they were no longer owned by the original purchaser. Cars bought back were dismantled and scrapped.

The British news media reported the story widely, often in rather hysterical and misleading terms(3). There were also rumours about inferior quality steel supplied by Russia, untrue stories about engines falling out while the cars were being driven, and misleading claims that the problem was still affecting cars built in the early 1980s, by which time Lancia had introduced reinforced subframe mountings and more thorough anti-corrosion measures.

The media onslaught on Lancia was unrelenting, and UK confidence in the marque slowly ebbed away. Even if a potential buyer trusted Lancia’s claims that the issues had been resolved, the car they might buy could prove unsaleable second-hand. In order to try and reassure the market, Lancia introduced a six-year anti-corrosion warranty(4) in 1979, the first mainstream manufacturer to do so.

Lancia Beta Trevi.  Image: wheelsage

Lancia did not go down without a fight, however, introducing the well-regarded Delta C-segment hatchback in 1979, following this three years later with a saloon version, the Prisma. The company also launched a three-volume version of the Beta berlina in 1980. This was initially called the Beta Trevi, but Lancia subsequently dropped the Beta prefix across the range to distance themselves from the now tainted name.

The Beta berlina was simultaneously updated as a 1980 model. It received the Trevi’s front end, with its shield grille, new headlamps and outboard indicators set into the corners of the front wings. The roof drip rails, which had previously terminated at the trailing corner of the rear side windows, were extended rearward to the tail of the car(5). The Beta also received the Trevi’s unorthodox dashboard by industrial designer, Mario Bellini. This cliff-like structure featured multiple circular indentations for switches, warning lights and instruments. This update was called the Series III. The berlina was discontinued in 1981.

The Montecarlo was also discontinued in 1981, while production of the Spider ended in 1982(6).  The coupé and HPE models continued until 1984 with a minor facelift, identifiable by larger bumpers that wrapped around the bodysides to the wheel arches and a black rather than bright metal trimmed DLO.

Total sales of the different Beta derivatives were 435,802 over twelve years, broken down as follows:

Model Years in Production Number Produced(8)
Beta berlina 1972 to 1981 194,914
Beta coupé 1973 to 1984 111,801
Beta Spider(6) 1974 to 1982 9,400
Beta HPE 1975 to 1984 71,261
Beta Montecarlo 1975 to 1978
1980 to 1981
Trevi 1980 to 1983 40,628

As far as the UK and Irish markets were concerned, the corrosion issue precipitated a decline which would ultimately prove terminal. Lancia sales plummeted year on year; in 1993, just 569 cars found buyers in the UK, following sales of 701 in 1992 and 1,320 in 1991. This was a far cry from 1978, Lancia’s best ever year, when around 11,800 cars were sold in the UK.

Lancia HPE Series III.  Image: alfaowner

Lancia announced in December 1993 that they would no longer supply RHD markets, including the UK and Ireland. Many of the 46 surviving UK dealerships had already taken on other franchises as selling and servicing only Lancia cars had long ceased to be a viable business.

The Beta’s corrosion issue is often cited rather lazily as the major or even sole cause of Lancia’s subsequent difficulties, its withdrawal from RHD markets and further retrenchment. I think this is simplistic and unfair on what was an otherwise excellent and highly capable range of cars.

There were many other missteps amid Lancia’s route to near-oblivion. Following Beta corrosion debacle, there was the failure of the Gamma flagship model, and a less than inspired attempt to replace the Beta and Trevi with the Prisma model, which was obviously a booted version of the C-Segment Delta.

There have been occasional rumours of a return to RHD markets(7), and currently, Lancia is reduced to selling just one model, solely in its home market, the extraordinarily resilient 2011 third-generation Ypsilon supermini, sales of which were 43,076 in 2020. Stellantis, the new owners of Lancia, recently announced that a revival is planned for the marque (its third since the Fiat takeover). We live in hope.

(1) Exactly the same technique had been used successfully on the Fiat 132 a year earlier after just two years on the market, transforming its originally rather frumpy appearance into something much smarter.

(2) The MOT test is the UK statutory annual inspection for vehicles that are at least three years old. MOT stands for Ministry of Transport, the long-defunct government department that originally introduced the test in 1960.

(3) This 1979 British TV news report was typical of the tone of much of the coverage, with an alarmist warning of engines “dropping out” and an accusation that Lancia was attempting to “cover up” the problem.

(4) The warranty was conditional on annual inspections on the car being carried out at Lancia dealerships at the owner’s expense, which seemed rather parsimonious on Lancia’s part and undermined confidence somewhat.

(5) Oddly, the alteration to the drip rails was actually introduced some months before the facelift proper and featured on some 1979 pre-facelift cars.

(6) A total of 791 Series IV 2000 I.E. Spiders were manufactured in 1980 and 1981 for export to the United States and would be the last Lancia model to be sold there.

(7) The third-generation 2008 Delta and 2011 Ypsilon models were sold in the UK and Republic of Ireland as Chryslers from 2011 to 2013. They made a negligible impact, the Chrysler name lacking the cachet of Lancia, however tarnished its reputation might have been.

(8) Production data from:


Author: Daniel O'Callaghan

Shut-line obsessive...Hates rudeness, loves biscuits.

95 thoughts on “Deserving Beta (Part Two)”

  1. Good morning, Daniel. I have been bitten by the Lancia bug, but I haven’t caught the Beta bug, apart from maybe the HPE. A guy in school had a HPE, incomplete and non-running as far as I recall. I wonder if he ever got it in driving condition. I think not otherwise I would have spotted it on the parking lot.

    Was Lancia really the first to offer a six year anti-corrosion warranty? If I recall correctly Porsche did that on the ’76 models.

    1. Good morning Freerk. Glad to hear you’ve acquired the Lancia bug. It’s harmless, but devilishly difficulty to shake off! The HPE is also my favourite Beta variant. I loved it from the first moment I saw one.

      A few days ago, Konstantinos asked (in response to another DTW Lancia piece) how five-door and three-volume saloon versions of the HPE might have worked. I posted some Photoshopped images, but I think the comment disappeared under the volume of responses on the Beta Part One piece. Here they are again, with the original HPE for comparison:

      You are correct to say that Porsche introduced a six-year anti-corrosion warranty in 1976. I should have clarified that I was referring to mainstream manufacturers, and have amended the text accordingly. (Ironically, back in the late 1970’s Lancia was mainstream and Porsche was niche, whereas today…)

    2. For me these redesigns don’t work. The HPE’s particular charme came from its two doors and the unique rear seat

      The seat got lost in the transition from HPE to HP Executive..

    3. The notional five-door HPE has the look of the Leyland Princess facelift which should have been, but never was.

    4. Hi Robertas. Yes, I can see that but, personally, I prefer the horizontal lines of the HPE to the wedge-shaped Princess. The five-door HPE works rather well, I think.

      The saloon has hints of Jaguar XJ to it, even moreso with this alternative rendering with a lower rear deck, narrower D-pillars and a more upright rear screen:

  2. The Montecarlo’s brake servo sat in the right hand rear wheelarch (of all things) where it corroded very badly, leading to brakes that stayed blocked once applied. Many Montecarlo owners simply modified the hydraulics to work without the servo.
    It didn’t take them two years to fix this problem – originally Montecarlo production would have ended after the first production run. Production was resumed because Lancia needed the Montecarlo as it was the only car that could be used as a base for the intended Group B rally car. Group B regulations demanded that the part between A and B posts of the body had to be based on a vehicle in current production. The glass inserts in the rear buttresses were already fitted to Series 1 cars for the UK market. Series 2 Montecarlos also went from 13″ to 14″ wheels and lost their individual wheels in the process. Series 2 wheels look like the standard alloy items from the two door versions but their wheel studs are further apart, leading to oval bolt holes that are clearly visible on the red car in this article.
    The Montecarlo must have been a tremendous loss maker for Lancia – it took them three years to sell 1,200 Scorpions in the US. Was this really worth the hassle with type approval, different engine, pop-up headlights and all? The total production of just 7,600 is ridiculous.
    I remember the Montecarlo was sold at eye watering prices that were closer to Porsche 911 than 924 and it always was criticised for being too slow.

    1. Good morning Dave and thanks for that explanation of the Montecarlo’s brake servo issue. Oval holes for the wheel bolts? I’m sure it was fine, but it sounds dodgy!

    2. My text was misleading, I apologise for that.
      The actual drillings in the wheels were of course circular, the depressions in the material were oval.
      The wheel bolts by the way were extremely heavy with copper plated threads and chrome plated heads and they were robust enough that the chrome didn’t come off even when an impact driver was used on them.

    3. “I remember the Montecarlo was sold at eye watering prices that were closer to Porsche 911 than 924 and it always was criticised for being too slow.”

      Are you sure about the price? This surely has to be specific to certain markets if true, because I have never seen a Monte price list that had it anywhere near a 911. Initially it cost more than a 924 in markets like Germany, that is true, but this price list for the relaunched version puts it at less than a 924 in the UK:

      But even the text on that article notes that the UK-spec Series 1s cost around 900 quid more than a Dolly Sprint. That doesn’t translate to anywhere near 911 money, whichever way you cut it.

      I am not quite sure the timelines work on the stated reason for resuming production as being necessary for the 037 either? The program that eventually led to the 037 began in mid-1980 and churned through quite a few proposals before they eventually settled on the Montecarlo as a basis; it was by no means the only option. Regardless, the Monte was already well and truly back in production by the time the Group B program ever had a single pencil put to paper – production had restarted in January 1980 and the S2 was launched at Geneva that year.

    4. Thanks for clarifying about the wheel stud holes, Dave. You had me worried for a moment!

    5. German 1978 prices were DM 24,000 for a 924, 28,000 for a Montecarlo and 31,000 for a 911. You are right, the Montecarlo sat in the middle between the car that was its competitor and the 911.

      Development of the Lancia rally 037 started as Abarth SE037 in 1980, the Italian homologation sheet for the Stradale version is dated 16 March 1982. The 037’s first rally appearance was Costa Smeralda on 04 April 1982 which Markku Alén won. Walter Röhrl won the 1983 Monte Carlo Rally driving a 037 Evo 2.
      The 037 was the first car specifically developed for Group B and in order to have the car ready as quickly as possible Lancia made it RWD only.
      Very early in the 037’s life the development of an AWD version started. This looked like a 037-based hump backed monster was called ‘Mazinka’ – the end result was the Delta S4.

    6. I have the same recollection regarding the two-year break in production between series 1 and 2. (Read in a book from the last century, the information could be correct insofar). The resumption of production was primarily the need for a production car as a basis for the racing versions. This was another reason why the name Beta was dropped from the designation.
      And it is against this background that the elaborate modification of the chassis as well as the brakes should be seen.
      The minimum number of cars sold for the announced Group B was 200. Presumably, the sales price was calculated on this minimum number of units and therefore set “so high” – which, strictly speaking, it was not. (As with the Stratos, the quantity produced was not the decisive factor. Every vehicle sold above the minimum number was to be considered a profit.)

      And because it fits in with the topic of the article, I might as well come out as a complete idiot: In the late 80s I could have bought a well-preserved – and largely rust-free – HPE for just 7500 Deutschmarks and I didn’t do it. You can still beat me for this today, I deserved it.

    7. The number of Montecarlos produced in the second production run is rougly 1,800. Around 250 additional centre sections were made for use as 037s to which the front and rear tubular space frames were attached at Pininfarina to create the 037 which except for the centre section used no parts from the Montecarlo. The 037 was a masterpiece of simplicity and easy repairability that contained all of Lancia/Abarth’s accumulated knowledge about building rally cars. Gearbox changes were possible in eight minutes, shock absorbers could be fitted without looking at them, only two spanner sizes were needed to work on all relevant technical parts and a driver’s seat change was possible in less than a minute.

    8. Don’t beat yourself up too much, Fred. I’m sure there are many of us who have “Lancias I should have owned” regrets. I know I have. 😣

    9. I´ve got one and half Lancia regrets. I could have bought a Kappa coupe with 60,000 km on the clock. I´d have been hammered with import tax if I´d brought it to Denmark though. And I was a bit soft on a Lybra SW some years back. The myth of the 1000 euro cambelt change put me off. It was a lovely machine with super quality upholstery and carpetting.

    10. Lancias I should have owned… I don’t have a specific example here, but still regret a bit having opted for a Xantia when I considered to try something outside the Citroën world for a change and started looking for Kappas (estate, of course). To my defence, the Xantia offer came unexpectedly and from a friend of my Father whom I considered trustworthy, and the price was compelling.

    11. One warm summer evening I was driving past a Honda dealer in the countryside who had the front and rear doors of his workshop open. I could look through his building and in his backyard next to the scrap heap I saw a beta spider. Half an hour later it was mine for very little money.
      A couple of years later I was in Peugeot’s Saarbrucken HQ underground car park where a Gamma coupé sat in a corner under tons of dust. It came with two spare engines and I bought it for a very attractive sum.

    12. Well, unfortunately the HPE was not the only one in the great misses top 10.

      At the beginning of the 0s, an Alfetta GT just imported from Italy in blue with champagne-coloured velour in top condition, almost rust-free for 11500 euros.

      And because Dave mentioned Saarbrücken, something also rings a bell. From the father of one of my wife’s clients an SZ (ES30) for a price with a 3 at the beginning (Euro), or from the same owner a Gamma Coupe, restored by the old man himself with a replacement engine and lots of spare parts for around 14 Grand.

      Of course, we can continue this list here, but I fear my stupidity during the years is hard to beat.

    13. Cars I could have bought but could not be bothered and the ones I didn’t have to buy because somebody I know had one and let me have a drive every now and then…
      What’s the maximum length of a DTW article?

    14. Dave: the maximum length is based on an estimate of readers´ patience and the time available to the DTW team in their squalid Kensington underground sweatshop. That´s about 800 words. When I was a regular contributor I limited myself to 800 words; in the early days I wrote 2000 word pieces which few read (and still few do read). So, if you want to contribute, be kind to yourself and say it in 800-1000 words. If you need more words, split the text so it makes two articles.

  3. That rear view of the (Beta) Trevi … could be a Mercedes Benz, no? I’d forgotten how nice this series of cars were on the eye and also possessed of lovely, powerful engines and interesting engineering. The rusting Beta story did, in my view, alter the UK’s public perception of Lancias irreparably. Because ‘That’s Life’ was on the BBC, the stories they ran were taken as fact. The later Delta was a terrific looking and desirable compact car, and the Prisma was far more interesting and capable than the Orion, Rover 200, R9, etc., but they never stood a chance – the reputation of the marque was tainted indelibly.

    I just can’t see it worth Stellantis’s bother to try a revival of Lancia in the UK, not whilst it has DS to establish, FIAT to revive, Citroën to sustain, etc. I still enjoying every Y that I see, even if they are labelled as Chrysler in the UK (was there ever a more dumb marketing decision?).

    1. Hi S.V. The Trevi had great potential that was never properly exploited. This is something we will explore in a piece coming up shortly.

    2. >> I still enjoying every Y that I see, even if they are labelled as Chrysler in the UK (was there ever a more dumb marketing decision?)

      I would nominate Volkswagen’s rebadging of DaimlerChrysler’s minivan as the Routan in North America (to stay somewhat on topic, Wikipedia tells me this vehicle also was rebadged as the Lancia Voyager, taking the name of the discontinued Plymouth variant of this minivan).

      Just as switching a couple of letters around (Touran/Routan) didn’t fool anyone, the Routan was quickly recognized for what it was (i.e., not a Volkswagen and not the leading family-sized minivan in the market or even number two) and that greater value for money and even more features were present in the DaimlerChrysler brands. Production of the model ceased when dealer inventory reached inexhaustible levels.

      I’ve been charmed by the cars I’ve seen here, particularly the HPE. I’ve always had a thing for the non-mainstream example. I’m not sure how Stellantis can create enough marketing differentiation for Lancia to survive (especially to exhibit traditional Lancia brand promises) but I hope they give it a serious try.

    3. Daniel: are you planning a Trevi article? This will make DTW the world´s leading resource on the Trevi.
      Steveinmn: you´ve trod on a landmine there with the question about how to differentiate Lancia. We at DTW know the answer. The question is do Stellantis know how to use Google and find it here? Do they have the decency to write me and Eoin a cheque for our time and effort to map out a model portfolio? I ´m incredibly sure my/Eoin´s portfolio model is a goer, even more so when Alfa Romeo gets axed, freeing up useful money for Lancia R&D. That´s the new part of my product plan: close Alfa or leave it with one model (at most two) an roadster and a Mazda3-like sports saloon, nothing bigger than that and nothing costing more than 35,000 euros.

    4. Hi Richard. Not exactly but, thinking about it, the piece could apply equally to the Trevi as the Beta…you say potato, etc.

      All will be revealed on Saturday morning!

    5. @ steveinmn; Every Routan I’ve ever seen has been a VW dealer’s customer-service shuttle. Fun fact; the Routan lacked Chrysler’s “Stow-and-Go” seating system, which made the rear seats a more comfortable place to ride between the dealership and your workplace while your Jetta’s getting an oil change and any recall work done.

  4. I’ve always wondered about the Beta Montecarlo’s brake system debacle. I don’t recall – correct me please if I’m wrong – any similar reports for the Fiat X1/9, which was its little brother. Ditto for the other mid-engined Lancia of the time, the Stratos. Couldn’t they simply copy what they did in those other cars? Or ask Ferrari, which already had considerable experience with setting up brake systems for mid-engined cars, for assistance? Other than that, when I was a kid and first saw a Montecarlo parked near the beach in Palaia Fokaia, my jaw dropped and, ever since then, I wanted one really badly. Oh well, another one in a long list of unfulfilled dreams…

    1. The X1/20 was the first car Pininfarina fully developed on their own and produced completely in house. No more transport of painted and trimmed bodies to the manufacturer to fit the mechanicals.
      Maybe this explains some of the difficulties they had. Of course having the brake servo in the wheelarch is a daft idea in the first place but seemingly this was done to create a large boot up front – the Montecarlo didn’t have a boot in the rear unlike the X1/9. But then the Lancia had its spare wheel in the engine compartment (the Fiat had a space saver wheel behind the passenger seat) and didn’t storage space for the roof in the boot because of its novel folding mechanism.

    2. I don’t understand why they installed the brake servo in the wheelarch. I mean, how much space would it take up? At worst, not more than the space a relatively full backpack would take. But I digress…

  5. You could write a small litany of clichées for some motoring writers. If it´s Lancia, it´s rust (now 40 years ago); if it´s Cadillac, it´s about pink ones and tailfins (we´re back to 70 years ago), if it´s Italian cars generally you have to mention ape-like driving positions; German cars are always “cold and Teutonic”. For Skoda, it is natural to mention the time for jokes is over. Rather than dwell on the metal oxide, I´d rather dwell on the post-Beta cars. None of them were actively bad; what makes them seem underwhelming is the knowledge of their forerunners. As Daniel says, the Prisma was probably nicer than an Orion or Kadett yet with a little more effort should have been as good as a BMW 320. The Thema actually is a good car – well packaged and nicely made. The Saab 9000 somewhat undercuts the argument for the Thema though. I presume you´d need to test them side by side. I suppose the Thema is nimbler than the 9000. Of course, you´d also have to see what Opel and Ford offered at the same price. Both the Rekord and Granada were capable cars with similar levels of equipment. It wasn´t until the Kappa and Lybra came along that Lancias distinguished themselves properly from their Fiat/AR relatives and both sold quite well. If the Kappa and Lybra had been followed up with repacement models after 7 years Lancia might have got through its sticky patch. The Thesis was too big and too late and the Delta II was a tinselly fake, all too clearly built to Fiat standards.

    1. “It wasn´t until the Kappa and Lybra came along that Lancias distinguished themselves properly from their Fiat/AR relatives and both sold quite well.”

      Sad to say, but I fear the last three words here are doing some very heavy lifting. Total Kappa production across seven years was around 80,000 cars – call it an average of 11k annually for saloon and SW together, with the remainder accounted for by the coupe. Realistically, this can only be regarded as a success if the benchmark is the Gamma or the Thesis. The Lybra similarly did only 165k in six years, or 27.5k a year – likewise pretty pathetic for a supposed volume-segment car. I suppose that if you want to look on the plus side, before the Lybra came along the Delta II and Dedra were each doing under 10k a year across Europe.

      It’s possible to play the chicken-and-egg game endlessly on this subject, but to me it is quite honestly staggering that Lancia is somehow still alive. Frankly, the rumours around its future seem to have been virtually constant since I remember taking an interest in cars – we are now just a couple of months away from the company’s 115th anniversary and the serious threats to its future were almost constantly swirling well before the centenary itself and even going back to the 1990s. Clearly the savage mismanagement is beyond contention or debate but there is also the ‘death of a thousand cuts’ effect in play – with each change of management at the Fiat Group, Lancia’s prospects must have seemed to make less and less sense, and the decision to cut line items and product development budgets looked easier and easier. At a certain point it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    2. Richard, I’d like to extemporize a bit on what you said here. Of course, I agree with you that far too many motoring writers are lazy, although I’m done being so polite to them.

      Regarding the Prisma, I agree it could have been at least as good as the 320; it even had a 4WD version, so a more powerful engine would have made perfect sense. In fact, perhaps a five-door estate version (again available with 4WD) would be welcome. The Thema, especially in its late LX trim level, with the 8.32-derived dashboard, would have been a fantastic proposal, if it was equipped with the 164’s Arese V6 and an adaptation of the Delta Integrale’s 4WD system (or the 164 Q4’s own, why not?). The Dedra’s range also had more than a few missed opportunities. The estate version, for instance, came too late. The Integrale, as I’ve mentioned earlier, could have been tuned to give the Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16 a run for its money. In fact, it could also be offered in a less powerful version (say, around 130-) for those who wanted/needed a 4WD family car, without going crazy. Such a version would certainly be a serious competitor for the 1.8-liter Audi 80 B3 Quattro.

      As for the Thesis, I’m not entirely sure it was too big, at least when compared to its German competitors. I know many people didn’t quite like its styling. But I think there were other weaknesses regaring its version planning: I think its engine range didn’t extend far enough (the E-class and the 5-series were known for going well beyond 3 liters with their engines), and it also was perceived by many as driving the “wrong” wheels; remember, those were the days when you could no longer hope to sell an E-segment car if it wasn’t RWD in its basic form. And, of course, the ironic diktat was that Lancias would never be 4WD again…

  6. Good morning Richard. I never drove a Prisma, but I did own a Mk1 Delta for a couple of years in the mid-1980s, attracted by its delightful Giugiaro styling. It was nice to drive and had an interior that was much more appealing than the contemporary Golf of Astra. On that basis, I’m sure the Prisma must have been a very pleasant car (if too small to be a proper Beta replacement). Here’s a nice photo of one in an appropriately Italianate setting:

    One of the keys to success in the automotive industry is consistency in model succession, so your existing customers have a ‘default’ option when they come to replace their car. If this rule is followed, then the manufacturer has the best chance of retaining existing customers, and even minimising the damage caused by substandard iterations of any model line (Escort Mk5 or Golf Mk3, for example).

    Under Fiat, Lancia’s model succession was chaotic and disjointed, as you mention. This, in my view, was a far more significant factor in Lancia’s decline than problems with any single model.

    1. One of my father’s friends owned a black Beta Berlina S1, which he had subjected to an engine swap (from 1.4 to 2.0). My recollections of that car were vague, as I was way too young, and we only saw him occasionally. My father often said that this car was phenomenal, especially on the treacherous and murderous (we’re talking about 20+ deaths per weekend) 1970s-to-mid-2000s route from Athens to Karditsa (only two lanes per direction at best, no barriers to separate each direction from each other, no tunnels to bypass the dangerous seaside Agios Konstantinos, Kamena Vourla, Karavomylos, and Stylida route, plus, you got treated to the full Domokos experience). I remember he replaced it, some time around 1985, with a metallic grey (anthracite-like) Prisma 1.3, which I thought was extremely elegant. More so than the four-door FWD Ascona 1.3 GLS another family friend had…

    2. Gosh – that Prisma made me look three times. Compared to many maintsteam models such as mid-range Fiats and Renaults and Fords it is a pleasant alternative. Anyone who had run a Trevi or Beta would not have been so easily satisfied. Nonethless, I can´t disapprove of the car in itself. And it certainly looks tidy. Try visualising a BMW 316 or maybe one of the cheaper Saabs in its place. Damn. The Saab might have been a more appetising choice… Hmmm.

    3. Hi Richard. That, in a nutshell, was the problem. The Beta/Trevi should have been replaced with a proper D-segment model, not a booted version of a C-segment hatchback. The Prisma was 140mm (5 1/2″) shorter, 90mm (3 1/2″) narrower and had a wheelbase 60mm (2 1/4″) shorter than the Trevi. The reduced width is the real giveaway that the Prisma was trying to punch above its weight.

    4. Daniel,

      Consistency in model succession seems so blindingly obvious; how is it that Fiat managed to screw that up? I would also suggest sticking to one name over generations, like the aforementioned Golf. What would a 2021 Lancia Delta look like if Turin had consistently evolved it every eight years(it’d be on the sixth gen). For that matter, what would a sixth gen Fiat Ritmo be like?

    5. There were once two hypotheses. 1) Giving a model a new name indicates it is an entirely new product while retaining the name means any bad associations can be discarded. 2) Retaining a model name assures the customer of continuity and to give up a model name would diminish customer loyalty. Hypothesis 2 has won out.
      To answer your question cynically, a Delta would be like a Golf but a bit warmer inside. The Delta would be one of ten C-class hatchbacks which are all very good all endowed with some slight difference scarcely distinguishible from “noise”.

  7. The 1a serie Monte Carlo had severe brake locking issues caused from a very aggressive front brake bias (basically the ALFA 105 OEM rear brake bias distributor, which was mounted under the rear seat bench on ALFAs), which was greatly amplified by the wrong positioning of the brake servo inside the wheel well. Some have cited the faulty ALFA OEM part (supplied by Bendix-Bonaldi), but the main issue was the different configuration of the Monte Carlo, resulting in reverse weight distribution. The ALFAs and FIATs which shared this part for decades were always front engined and rear driven, whereas the Monte Carlo was MR, which greatly altered braking characterictics. The distributor was set to transfer more braking power to the front wheels, which was normal for a front engined car where most of the weight stresses were at the front, but disastrous for a mid engined car with considerably less weight between the front wheels.
    Most of the drivetrain was carried over from FIAT models, but the brake servo is not shared with the X1/9. It is a Bendix-type large drum unit, probably shared with the LHD ALFA 105 standing pedal models.
    In my opinion, the whole β project was never really developed specifically, rather inherited any mechanical changes and improvements FIAT was releasing on their new models. The subframe debacle has been discussed to death for decades, and although Italian manufacturers suffered with poor rustproofing during the ’60s and ’70s, some brands were hurt more than others. ALFA and Lancia were always positioned as premium propositions, and in the public’s eyes they should be more reliable and robust than the much cheaper and pedestrian FIATs. Poor reliability and dealer indifference regarding tight engine tolerances and proper cooling/lubrication, coupled by false claims and exaggerated reports, tarnished whatever reputation and customer loyalty was left. Even in countries with a strong customer following like Greece, sales were mostly mediocre after the seventies, and the rust reputation sticks even today. In a way, FIAT systematically destroyed the Italian automotive industry, buying every independent manufacturer/supplier and slowly diminishing its importance to nothing.

    1. ” In a way, FIAT systematically destroyed the Italian automotive industry, buying every independent manufacturer/supplier and slowly diminishing its importance to nothing.” A quotable line, thank you.

    2. A pithy summary, indeed, but it doesn’t fully cover Fiat’s self-immolation, which is an even greater mystery. Perhaps that was just karma?

    3. Daniel: I suspect that Fiat’s self-destructive tendencies were baked-in. An over-reliance upon a (once) captive home market and its needs, an ideological fixation on small, cheap cars and a fundamental lack of understanding regarding the luxury car market and its needs. This made them poor stewards of the likes of Lancia, Alfa Romeo and latterly, Maserati. Ferrari was another matter entirely.

      We’ll pick up on some loose Beta strands tomorrow – with a design-related counter-factual on Saturday.

    4. Eóin, I can’t thank you enough for noting Fiat’s over-reliance on its once-captive market. It’s among several factors that killed and/or crippled Greece’s coachbuilders (most notably, Biamax). Yet, neither this factor, nor their export failures (they’re celebrated for having managed to export a handful of buses throughout their history), has ever been mentioned by Greece’s car magazines – especially one that used to be the country’s most popular one and audaciously goes by the “part of Greek culture” tagline. On the contrary, the prevailing narrative was that the ones to blame are solely the trade unions and the PASOK government that ordered Ikarus urban buses instead of Biamax-bodied Mercs.

  8. I loved the Beta when it was launched, but sadly/luckily my pockets weren’t deep enough. Not sure I’ve ever seen a Trevi, but when I saw the launch photos I thought someone had knocked-it-up in a shed… It’s even less elegant than the conversion of the Chrysler Alpine to three-box.
    But the Coupe and the HPE were the really cute ones – a friend in 60’s London bought a Coupe to replace his Alfasud and I must have travelled in it a few times. Now, I’m not bothered by any jarring details or odd styling creases in the sheet metal of these cars – I just can’t see beyond the awkward termination of the exhaust system ! It looks like it was fitted by the tea-boy in Kwik-fit, rather than by the Lancia factory.

    1. Fair comment, Mervyn. I was tempted to erase the back box and exhaust pipe in the Photoshopped images above!

  9. Stradale has commented:

    ” “It wasn´t until the Kappa and Lybra came along that Lancias distinguished themselves properly from their Fiat/AR relatives and both sold quite well.”

    Sad to say, but I fear the last three words here are doing some very heavy lifting. Total Kappa production across seven years was around 80,000 cars – call it an average of 11k annually for saloon and SW together, with the remainder accounted for by the coupe. Realistically, this can only be regarded as a success if the benchmark is the Gamma or the Thesis. The Lybra similarly did only 165k in six years, or 27.5k a year – likewise pretty pathetic for a supposed volume-segment car. I suppose that if you want to look on the plus side, before the Lybra came along the Delta II and Dedra were each doing under 10k a year across Europe.”

    All of which begs the question as to what is the viable production volume for a series-production car, using industry-standard manufacturing methods? These days powertrain and platform sharing is to be expected, but the Lybra, Kappa, and Thesis had superstructures and interiors not shared with any Fiat Group products.

    The White Hen comes to mind: Consistent 60,000 per year, or just over 1000 per week. I’d reckon anything less is simply not viable. And this is not a product with Alfa ‘Giorgio’ levels of complexity. That one’s a horror story: huge R&D costs, but still under-capitalised relative to the German Big Three, and about to crash into the electrification buffers within one model cycle.

    About ten years ago I discussed this general matter with a production engineer, who reckoned that the design, development and tooling cost of a new mass-production car was around £1 billon assuming there was a competent platform and powertrain to start off with – a bit of ‘evolution’ of these was costed in. This was for something produced in medium volumes – not Golf, 208, or Clio numbers. Also not a premium product – they deliver higher margins, as the manufacturers can afford to spend much more on R&D relative to production numbers.

    At around 100,000 per year over a six year model cycle the £1 billion figure just about works, assuming margins are acceptable over the product lifespan.

    That was a decade ago, and the nobody anticipated the headlong move to electrification. Even so, the numbers highlight the struggle which Alfa, Lancia, DS, Jaguar, and probably Cupra will have to survive.

    1. I think it was a lost opportunity that Lancia and Alfa Romeo didn’t share much more in the way of common ‘premium’ platforms and drivetrains, with each marque having its own unique bodystyles, and dynamics tuned to be comfort-orientated in Lancia’s case and more sporting for Alfa Romeo. The two marques would have happily co-existed and could have been sold alongside each other in a unified and high quality dealer network.

      Think of what Phoenix achieved for, in automotive terms, small change with Rover and MG, by retuning the 25, 45 and 75 into the ZR, ZS and ZT. This was remarkably successful for a time, and possibly the only sensible decision Towers and co. made during their five-year tenure.

    2. How much more commonality do you expect than between Alfa 164/Lancia Thema, 166/Kappa, 145/6/7/156 and Delta II, Lybra or (heaven help) Giulietta and Delta III?

    3. I understand what you are getting at Dave, but as I am sure you know, for many years these tendencies weren’t really regarded as too big a problem within Fiat and in fact were considered a competitive advantage by some in Fiat corporate. Throughout the 1990s, Fiat had a different definition of ‘platform-sharing’ to the industry norm. While most in the industry would use that phrase to mean the floor pressings and hard points and, invariably, suspension pick-up points, in Gruppo Fiat terms it translated more loosely as referring to “models that could be built on the same production line”. I think there was a lot of self-congratulation going on that even though Alfa and Lannie were falling further and further behind their major competitors in sales terms, this wasn’t regarded as an overly-pressing priority since, hey, Puntos and Ys were still shifting, and we can do breakeven on fewer Ks and 166s than Merc needs E-Classes because we spend less on development. This is only one part of the story but the accumulated effects over time I think are underappreciated.

    4. Um, I might have thought that comment through a bit more before posting. 😨

      I’m afraid that, irrationally, I never quite regarded the Type Four cars as the ‘genuine’ articles, mainly because of the existence of the dismal Croma. By the time the Giulietta and Delta III arrived, I regarded both Lancia and Alfa Romeo as lost causes and had lost interest, as they were very far from ‘premium’ in conception and execution. Putting ‘vin ordinaire’ in fancy bottles was never going to cut it against the German premium trio.

  10. There is are a few things I don’t understand here. DTW is like a therapy session I suppose, it doesn’t always go well, however. Today is one of those days, would you help me get through it?

    There appears to me to be a large elephant in this room which eludes the discussion. How does Fiat throw away the underlying engineering of 130 and it’s Lampredi V6 and instead develop two entire ranges (Beta and Gamma) neither of which… (sorry I feel like I need to walk on eggs here, go ahead and correct me). I can draw a conceptual straight line direct relationship from the 1955 Lancia (Aurelia) Florida to the 130 Coupe… Was Fiat blinded or stricken some kind of design amnesia? Was there something terribly wrong with the underlying engineering of the 130 (I read that the 130 coupe had a button activated passenger door release so the driver would not have to stretch too far to open the passenger door, it seems like just the kind of special touch that a Lancia would have)? Or is it that by 1969, the Lanciaisti could no longer accept a RWD Lancia?

    1. This is a good question but I honestly think the answer is very prosaic. The 130 in both bodystyles was a fantastic car and the last berlina I saw (an absolutely mint silver example in Ascona) reminded me of nothing so much as how easily one could believe it to have been developed by Lancia. But I suspect that there was likely some ego that came into it and I can easily imagine some Fiat lifers were dead opposed to relaunching their brand-new and very-expensively-developed flagship under the auspices of what they would have seen as their newly-acquired sub-brand. This kind of stuff shouldn’t matter but, as we all know, it does, and to a remarkably pernicious extent.

  11. I haven’t much to add besides simply praising the quantity and quality of writing on this site! In the last couple days, I’ve been through the Dedra, the Prisma, the Lybra, the Deltas I and II, and of course the Beta. As an American, Lancia’s positioning was always a big black box to me; most of us haven’t any idea of the brand, and with their oft-discussed poorly consistent naming convention it’s been highly confusing trying to match each model to its appropriate size segment and market appeal. You guys make it easy to make heads and tails of it, though!

    One logistical thing: I know this is a blog with certain formatting limitations and I’m not sure how much work what I am about to request would be, but I’d love for there to be a simple list of links to articles by marque in the archive rather than the “feed” style previews that you get on the main page. The thought is that I can simply go to a marque, have a list of the articles, and choose something rather than scrolling endlessly to reach older articles that I’ve yet to read. I apologize if this is nitpicky, but it’s just a simple UX thing that I’ve been noticing. The numbered articles with multiple parts are especially difficult to navigate in order when in the archive. DTW’s wealth of information and dissemination needs to have a proper ‘table of contents’!

    1. How about this, Alexander:
      You´re right about the odd naming conventions for Lancia. However, the US brands have their platforms and -bodies such as the GM C-bodiees and N-bodies which get swapped around in ways I find bewildering e.g. “For 1986 the Buick Cadaver Royal wagon switched to the G-body, shared with Olds 2 door Poulet Royale LX, while the Cadaver coupe and sedan remained with the A-body which was now front drive so it was paired with the Chevrolet Belmondo and Cadillac Mariner de Ville (formerly on the now downsized N-body.” Or something like that.
      There isn´t really an equivalent brand to Lancia in the US. Perhaps Buick in that it was middle market (in a market where there was no Cadillac-type brand; Maserati and Ferrari were on another plane). Have you checked up on the Ferrari-engined Lancia Thema 8.32? If not, have a Google.

    2. Hah! Not quite, I meant for each marque individually having the articles laid out more like the “Marques” page itself to make it quicker to navigate. No matter, though, just me being persnickety!

      I’m a kid of the 2000s who grew up in Volvo 740s, so I’ve got no real insight into the institution of American automaking either. All I vaguely can conjure up is their mid-90s offerings since they were still on the road during my childhood and my maternal grandmother owned a B-body ~’95 Caprice that was an amazing road-trip machine.

      Lancia is special, an “engineering-first” marque in the vein of Saab or Panhard, but with a distinctly old-world type of subtle classicism (even Neoclassical, like Jean Françaix if you will). Odd because you’d think such a typically “fuddy-duddy” customer base would stick to a hyper-conventional marque, but I suppose therein lies the rub—that Lancia was meant to appeal to the refined intellectual, persay. I almost see a bit of Volvo in that image, though certainly Volvo is historically technically more cautious.

      I laugh at your suggestion that I Google the Thema 8.32 given that I am currently staring at my 1:18 scale BOS resincast model of that very car sharing shelf space with an AutoART Alfa TZ2. A shame my replica doesn’t have its fantastic motorized spoiler on show, but I having grown up in Volvos, I very much appreciate fast rectilinear cars.

    3. Alexander: I would very much like to make the archive more accessible – especially now there is so much material there which isn’t readily located. However, to do as you suggest would be a huge undertaking, one I simply don’t have the resources for. For now I’m afraid, it will have to remain an aspiration. I appreciate your kind words however and your request is duly noted.

    4. Ah, unfortunate! I was hoping maybe WordPress would have a built-in feature to simply list all the articles as hyperlinks so that I can avoid having to load images and text to peruse them, but alas! No worries, totally not your fault; it’s just something that’s been on my mind!

    5. In terms of positioning when asked I would reply Lancia is to Alfa is rather line Maserati is to Ferrari.
      One is more luxurious, less sporty, more likely to be driven higher kilometers while being less pampered and more robust.
      My own Kappa was purchased new and a colleague bought an Alfa 166 a month later. The Alfa was very problematic and the Lancia trouble free over a three year period.
      If you inspect the Kappa engine bay you will find a demonstration of finest German engineering. Engine management, fuel injection, ABS all from Bosch, connectors and switchgear even the headlights were from Siemens. A wonderful package of Italian style, thrummy 5 cylinder block and some solid reliable German underpinnings. Lovely.

    6. It almost seems to me that Lancia is more akin to a Saab-meets-Volvo: idiosyncratic engineering, formal and classical looks, and a historically well-educated customer base. Sure, many product managers would probably like us to see Lancia to Alfa as Maserati is to Ferrari, but I feel like Lancia is far more nuanced than that and requires special attention, clearly something that no industry executive is willing to sort out. In terms of all the automakers, I would almost hazard to say that Lancia is the most nebulous in terms of target customer simply because of its historical diversity and constant change in management. It’s interesting to me how Lancia were able to take what is now the most basic, conventional idea of a car (FWD 4 cyl saloon) and make it a wonderful thing to perceive and to drive. I suppose that’s what happens when you do it first.

      I’m surprised that Fiat would take the due care to ensure the Kappa was better built than the 166 given how hard they were pushing Alfa Romeo as a brand and letting Lancia languish in the background. I’m glad though, as your Kappa experience (ironically) sounds like a Volvo C70, what with the German bits and 5-cyl engine! It wouldn’t be until the second gen that the C70 would get some Pininfarina action, though!

    1. Bob: There can´t be too many of those revised Betas. I think it also got the same dash as the Trevi. Unlike many facelifts, it´s not worse and possibly better.
      Alexander: that coinincidence with the 8.32 is rather spooky. It´s not as if it´s an especially well-known variant. I have a wonderful drive story on it in Car magazine. I even saw one in Dublin, an import from Germany. Never mind the engine, the interior is a masterpiece of hide and wood. That said, the regular Thema had a fine interior too without heading into Jaguar/Rover territory. Among Lancia´s characteristics was the application of the right type of quality and comfort. Although later in later years Fiat idiots pushed Lancia in the direction of Roveresqu cod-classicism, they were Modernist cars. You´ve seen the confident Modernism of the Beta HPE interiors; the Trevi was uniquely bold and the 1960s cars were austerely simple in a way Rovery Jaguary people would not go for yet the Modernism didn´t resemble Citroen´s idiosyncratic mode (which I also like). Lancia reminds me of Edmund Burke´s definition of conservatism which is that it is an attitude more than a philosophy. One can´t easily sum it up, it´s so qualified and compounded.

    2. Richard: I think the fact that Lancia as a marque engenders this upscale, “patrician” (as is oft-said around here) mystique is most of its appeal since with the breadth and diversity of its cars, designs, and leaders it’s hard to pin any sort of loyalty to many of their innovations. The fact that they essentially lay down the groundwork for the eventual and eminently successful (in America) Lexus ES with the Fulvia saloon in the ’60s is rather eerily forward thinking while everyone else was testing their pie-in-the-sky Wankel rotors and hatchback shapes. Their invisible hand on the methods of car building that Lancia gave were so subtle yet so profound that it’s hard to imagine a car world without Lancia, yet nary a soul here would know the name. It’s perhaps a bit unfortunate that most individuals today would consider many Lancia designs (I speak mostly post-war) rather ‘pedestrian’ with small displacement engines and FWD drivetrains despite their once groundbreaking nature. I suppose it is the heartbreaking romanticism that makes them so flawed in terms of sales successes and sometimes reliability in the frantic, post-Fiat years. I wish we could live in a future envisioned by the famous visionaries of Lancia’s past, but I suppose even that would be a rather disjointed affair given the shifts in philosophies through decades.

  12. Regrets, there are too many on my side. I recollect that I have never driven a Lancia car. Worse, I have been inside only once as a passenger. It was a Lancia Musa, a taxi in Milano 12 years ago. From the central square to the hotel, I think. Really liked the short ride.

    1. At one point I didn´t like the Gamma´s rear quarter panels and C-D pillar. Now I enjoy its quirkiness. The thing that undermines it is the dashboard – as with almost all 70s Italians especially those from AR and Lancia.

  13. I noticed the mention of Lancia Gamma (γ the 3rd letter, alpha, beta, gamma or α, β, γ) that is a car I have never seen. Searching in the inter-net, there is a short film of a light blue metallic Gamma driven by Alain Delon in the film “3 hommes à abattre” (three men to kill) in some very spectacular scenes.
    An other appears in film “Spécial police” driven by Richard Berry.

    1. Such is the Gamma´s rarity I can only claim to have seen two. One at a long distance in a barn in Switzerland and one in Dublin, fleetingly. I ought to drive to see the one that is for sale in Denmark.

    2. I think I have seen a Gamma berlina once, but cannot remember when or where. Apart from the poorly resolved rear quarter treatment, I think it is a very handsome design.

  14. Good evening Daniel. Thank you for the article, I will surely study it. Gamma seems to be interesting. In the film it is driven very hard.

    1. A Gamma doesn’t accelerate too well and it doesn’t have a particularly high top speed. But once in motion you can make rapid progress because its roadholding is very good and the big four has enough torque to hold the speed.
      In some test the Gamma was described as a jumbo sized Alfasud and this description fits it well.

      Somewhen in the Seventies one of my parents’ neighbours who held a management position at our local IVECO plant was given a Gamma saloon as a company car. I had the opportunity to enjoy it a couple of times and admire its details like a parking disc integrated into the driver side sun visor or the way you coupld flip up the blind over the second rear screen. After a couple of months all Gamma company cars were taken away from their proud driver and replaced by beta saloons (which later were replaced by Argentas – sic transit gloria mundi).

  15. 6) A total of 791 Series IV supercharged VX Spiders were manufactured in 1980 and 1981 for export to the United States and would be the last Lancia model to be sold there.

    This seems not correct, these had been 2000iE Spiders. In Europe Spiders never had injected engines. VX was never available with the Spider, neither for Europe nor for US.

    1. Hi Thomas. You are correct: those 791 Series IV Spiders were 2000 I.E. models, not VX. Thanks for pointing this out. Footnote amended accordingly.

  16. I’m interested to read the dismal sales achieved by Lancia in the UK in the final years because I recall that in Ireland the company exited the market to a background of increasing sales. The Thema did write well, in so far as cars of this size ever did, and the Delta and Prisma were common enough in their day as was the forgotten Trevi. I guess the rust stories didn’t make it across the Irish Sea to any great extent.

  17. Good morning Eóin, thank you for the suggestion. I will surely study it. Yesterday afternoon I went for a walk a little further away than usual. There was too much traffic, it is a reality that began during and after the lockdowns. Spotting interesting cars, this is a happy activity. Spotted 5 Lancia cars. Two Delta II, one Dedra, and two Delta III. Not parked, moving on the street.

  18. Yesterday night I spotted a dark blue 5 door Lancia Delta II. It looked magnificent in the dim light.

    1. Hi gpant. The Delta II seems to be rather forgotten about today, overshadowed by its excellent predecessor and far from excellent successor:

      A very neat design, although I’m not sure about the garnish (vent?) On the C-pillar.

      It rather reminds me of this, though:

  19. Hi Daniel. A Delta II like this one in the picture you provided, but with steel wheels, not alloys. Yesterday night I spotted an estate Lancia Dedra. Very elegant. In a metallic silver-gold colour. Estates are very rare in Greece. Any model, any make, the buying public does not prefer them. Mysteriously.

  20. The headlights with turn indicators seem close. The surface treatment above the door handles is similar. The front pillar as it goes to the upper bonnet line.

  21. Last Saturday ‘s car spotting provided three Lancia cars. A Delta II like the one in Daniel’ s photo above, in a light green and blue colour. A Delta II hpe in bright yellow. A Delta II hpe in dark apple’s colour. All in working condition.

  22. Hello from cloudy and rainy Athens for the last 4 days. Most recent car spotting: One Dedra 4 door, aluminium wheels and dark red colour, and one Dedra 4 door, steel wheels and dark blue colour. Elegant and beautiful.

    1. Hello gpant. It’s warm and sunny in my corner of England today (but it won’t last!)

      Have you seen this piece about the Dedra?

      Euro Standard

  23. Just read it through. Great article – dense writing. Thank you Daniel! It says that the Dedra 1.8 was the best pick. When you look at a Dedra, the engine capacity is written in a tiny tag that is located between the front wheel and the front door. Difficult to see it. I like the interior as much as the exterior, I really like this car. A detail I am very fond of, is the metal around the door windows that is painted dark grey, and not in the chassis colour. Is this a visual clue that is a link to older Lancia cars?

    1. Hi gpant. Thank you but credit is due, not to me but to Eóin, who wrote it.

  24. Hello from windy and cold Athens. One Dedra 4 door, blue colour, its doors in need of new paint, is the latest spotting. These cars need some sort of protection, they are part of the car museum in the streets, where you can see things you were not expecting to see.

  25. Hello with new spotting news. This Saturday I visited Kifissia, a northern suburb of Athens, where I spotted: 2 Lancia Delta Mk3, both in white, roadgoimg condition, I was surprised finding out how large cars they are. A beautiful design, much more handsome than new cars. And a Lancia Beta 5 door, in a dark red-brown colour. They still exist!

    1. Well spotted! I cannot remember the last time I saw a Lancia on the road.

    2. A Beta five-door is a bit of a miracle. If I want to see a Lancia around here I´d have to contact the Lancia owners´ club and ask someone. Or I might go to Dublin where a few Ys can be seen (I mean two I see parked near where I stay in central Dublin). Sometimes I see a Kappa (fewer recently though….)

    3. I’m quite lucky in this respect – two last gen. Deltas are regulars on our company parking lot. However, no chance to remember when I last saw a Beta.

  26. Thank you! The dark red Beta was a revelation. It was in a dark spot, next to the road, and I had difficulty in believing it was really a Beta, so I went closer. I do not remember the exact street, I will notify you by email.

  27. Hello, this is another spotting, this time from snow covered Athens streets. While slowly making my way through snow covered pavements, the beauty revealed herself, a light gold Lancia Delta II five door, encircled by snow. Unfortunately, I could not take a picture, I assure you, the image was of artistic value.

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