Morte a Venezia

The Flavia’s final act. 

Image via tumblr

Described by the UK’s Guardian newspaper as “a slow, precise and beautiful film”, Italian filmmaker, Luchino Visconti’s 1971 adaptation of Thomas Mann’s 1912 novella, starring Dirk Bogarde and set in a ravishingly filmed Venice was a sombre meditation on art, beauty, creative attainment, age and desire. Critically acclaimed, Death in Venice would come to be viewed as an arthouse cinematic masterpiece.

Slow, precise and beautiful were adjectives that could at various times have been attributed to Lancia’s 1960s mid-range offerings – although the latter two were undoubtedly the more apt descriptors, especially once the power to weight aspect of the Flavia’s performance envelope was addressed towards the latter part of the decade. In its post-1967 Milleotto evolution, the Lancia berlina offered a refined, modernist, yet utterly Italian dissertation on elegance in motion, its seemingly unprepossessing style masking a highly considered technical and aesthetic package.

Introduced in 1971, two years after FIAT Auto’s acquisition of the fiercely independent carmaker, it is tempting to buy into the perception that the third (820 series[1]) was a hasty Fiat-sanctioned facelift to buy time until something more thorough (and cost-effective) could be contrived. However, the facts – such as they can be ascertained at least – are a good deal murkier and more opaque than that.

Clearly, the death of Technical Director, Dr. Antonio Fessia in 1968 left a sizeable creative vacuum at Lancia’s Borgo San Paolo nerve centre, with nobody to adequately fill his shoes. Of their two most senior engineers, Ettore Zaccone Mina was an engine specialist who lacked the forceful personality of a leader, while the experienced and talented Francesco de Virgilio had been shunted off the commercial vehicles division following an epic falling out with his dogmatic technical chief. So not only was it unsurprising that Fessia’s position remained vacant for some considerable time, but that no technical roadmap existed for Lancia into the 1970s.

It is of course possible that the professore believed that the Flavia concept had more to give in developmental terms[2], or that his illness prevented him from giving such matters due consideration – like so much from this deeply confused period of Lancia history, we may never know for certain. But prior to Fiat’s takeover, evolution of the Flavia line had proceeded in time-honoured, piecemeal Lancia fashion. In 1969 the 820 series 1991 cc engine was introduced into a heavily revised Flavia Coupé and later that year, the existing (Mileotto) berlina bodyshell. Further evolutions included a fully optioned LX version – some (very few) of these being fitted with a five-speed gearbox.

Given the arbitrary manner in which product changes took place at Lancia, it is entirely likely that a further evolution was envisaged, and work likely to have started, but how much of the resultant 1971 car was a Lancia creation and how much came within FIAT’s purview is almost impossible to quantify with anything approaching confidence.

Image: garazsmagazin

In late 1969, FIAT appointed Pier Ugo Gobbato as Lancia’s chief executive, with Mirafiori loyalist, Sergio Camuffo as Technical Director. A thorough cost-analysis of the business was quickly enacted, and what they discovered horrified them[3], precipitating savage cost-cuts. Amidst copious quantities of blood on the floor, all model programmes would come under intense scrutiny, with sources suggesting that FIAT considered axing the Flavia model line entirely. But without a replacement in hand, this would not only have been commercially imprudent, it would also have cast the Torinese car giant in a less than favourable light[4]. Nevertheless, FIAT’s accountants were not wholly unjustified in questioning the viability of the model, since sales were hardly stellar[5].

There was a further consideration. With the top-line Flaminia consigned to the history books[6], there was an imperative to provide something with at least a shadow of its scale and bearing. The Flavia’s cabin was never short on passenger space – a function of its lengthy wheelbase and unencumbered floor, but the Flavia’s evolution was perhaps viewed as an opportunity to upgrade its status to that of de facto flagship.

As the Sixties drew to its chaotic close, Italy too was changing. FIAT’s near monopoly of the domestic market was coming under attack, while both Alfa Romeo and Lancia also faced growing threats from abroad. Lancia’s ownership profile[7] had already gravitated from the nobility towards the professional classes, and although domestic politics had yet to turn violent, there were many technocrats and industrialists who valued the subtleties and “quiet elegance” the Lancia offered. The Flavia after all spoke of discernment, but also of propriety.

Immage: autominded

The Flavia berlina was never a small car, although it perhaps looked a good deal more compact that it was in reality. However, for the revised 820 series, overall length increased by 40 mm, and given that the wheelbase remained unchanged, this additional stretch was confined to the extremities. If the nose was longer, it was by fractions, meaning that the majority of extra bodywork lay aft of the rear wheels, enlarging the boot area and creating an impression in silhouette of there being slightly too much car at either end.

At the nose, the changes were marked, with a clear imperative to signal the Flavia’s elevated position in the Lancia hierarchy. While the Milleotto’s style drew the eye downwards, the new aspect with its narrower, vertical shield grille had the opposite effect, necessitating a raised centre pressing in the bonnet to accommodate it. Otherwise, the arrangement of the lights and bumpers was competently handled, if lacking the richness of form and execution of its predecessor.

Similarly, at the rear, the tail styling was simplified considerably, with large, high-mounted integrated lamp units[8] sited at the extremities. And while there was a reference to the Milleotto’s framing device in the rear panel stamping, both lamps and number plate were placed astride it, thereby lessening its impact. Simpler, yes and certainly more contemporary, but the changes lent the car a far more conformist appearance.

Image: retroautomotodepoca

It is likely that FIAT management wished to place their stamp on the product, and certainly both the changes to the berlina (and also to the revised Pininfarina Coupé introduced at the same time) appeared to reflect an altered aesthetic sensibility. This was especially the case with the berlina, which seemed to look backwards rather than to the future; for a first post-takeover introduction, it did not particularly speak with confidence. Nor did front and rear ends speak with entirely the same dialect – the deeply patrician and formal front end contrasting noticeably with modernist, almost bland rear.

One is tempted to conclude that the revised car reflected FIAT’s idea of Lancia, more than that of Lancia themselves, but nevertheless, assuming that the stylistic changes were entirely at Mirafiori’s behest is probably stretching credulity somewhat. Saying that, some interference is likely to have taken place.

Despite these provisos however, the impression remained of a car in the traditional Lancia idiom, which placed function, ease of use and a strong sense of owner wellbeing above simple aesthetics[9]. A beauty which resided not in style as such – which was more correct than comely – but in its essential rightness and fitness for the purpose of transporting its passengers in ease and comfort, while lending the driver the satisfaction of directing a precise, well composed vehicle. These traits were fundamental to the Flavia in all of its derivations.

Inside the cabin, the principle of quiet luxury was continued. The dashboard was redesigned; main instruments now square in shape, (with rectangular minor gauges) and set into a mahogany and ebony dash panel. The two-spoke steering wheel was also wood-rimmed. The plush seating was upholstered in velvet material (leather was an option), with integral headrests on the front seats. The velvet trim material was also continued on the door panels. Here too however, there was a sense of retrospection. Previous Flavia cabins were more contemporary in feeling.

Image: autominded

For its introduction, the Flavia nomenclature was laid to rest[10]. While some suggest this was intentional on Lancia’s part, to make its elevation distinct from the outgoing cars, others contend that FIAT bosses vetoed the Flavia name from continuing. Again, uncertainty rules. Either way, Lancia 2000 it was.

Technically, most of the improvements had been previewed with the 1969 Flavia 2000[11] and its Coupé sibling. However, in 1972, a Bosch D-jetronic fuel injection system was made available, which boosted power to 126 bhp (DIN), and made the car as rapid as it was refined. The same year would also witness an in-house rival, the more compact and smaller-engined Beta model, which was to be Lancia’s new North. In 1800 cc form, it ran the 2000 close in space and performance, even if it fell some way short on sheer presence – or build integrity for that matter. Work was in hand to directly replace the 2000, the Flavia’s engine and key dimensions providing the basis for what would become the much-delayed Gamma model.

The 2000 sold in respectable numbers[12], appealing primarily to those who were already converts to Lancia’s approach to refined motoring. But this was not a firm basis for the future. It was clear to FIAT that for Lancia to succeed into the new decade and beyond, a fresh approach was required, even if this necessitated blood to be spilt[13].

Lancia 2000 Coupé. Image: theclassictimes

In Thomas Mann’s story, the protagonist, hitherto pragmatic and diligent, throws his innate caution to the wind, and ignores the outbreak of a cholera epidemic in pursuit of his creative and erotic muse. He contracts the disease, and his death bookends the story.

The Lancia 2000 signified an ending, a final flowering of an entire ethos of carmaking, where the pursuit of technical excellence outweighed more pragmatic commercial imperatives. It was not a set of principles which would bear exposure to the FIAT method of doing business. For Lancia to live, these too would have to die.

[1] The 820 series Flavia in fact made its debut in 1969 with the 2000 berlina of the same year, which retained the Milleotto bodyshell. 

[2] To some extent it did. Ecce Gamma.

[3] One of the foundations FIAT Auto built its empire upon was the rigorous control of cost. Lancia’s approach, while not entirely cost no object, was diametrically opposed.  

[4] Whatever carnage was being enacted by Gobbato and Camuffo at Borgo San Paolo, FIAT didn’t wish to be viewed publicly as ‘corporate raiders’.

[5] With all necessary provisos regarding the bluntness of sales figures as an evaluator. With Lancia in full Mary Celeste mode, it’s anyone’s guess as to what was happening at the time. 

[6] A point worth noting is that the Flavia had opened Lancia to new markets, a large proportion of these customers, for instance being female drivers. 

[7] By the time of the Pesenti family’s capitulation to the inevitable, the Flaminia had long ceased production at Borgo San Paolo. It did remain on the price lists until 1970 or so, and could nominally be ordered, but in reality, demand had dried up well before. 

[8] Most notably, ZF power assisted steering, dubbed Hydrosteer, a remote gearchange selector and Superduplex dual circuit, servo-assisted brakes. The 1991 cc horizontally opposed engine developed 115 bhp (DIN) at 5500 rpm, and 123 lb/ft of torque at 3500 rpm. Smaller capacity engines were no longer offered.

[9] The rather generic looking rear lamp units looked vaguely similar to those used by Alfa Romeo (they weren’t) and somewhat unfortunately perhaps, to those fitted to the contemporary (facelifted) Volvo 144.

[10] The Flavia was accurately described by fellow DTW-scribe, Richard Herriott as ‘passionately rational’. 

[11] It was to later make a less than auspicious comeback.

[12] Production of the 2000 berlina ceased in 1974, although new examples remained available into the following year. In total 14,311 third series 2000 berlinas were built. (2,620 Coupé 2000s were built by Pininfarina until 1973). 

[13] FIAT’s high-handed approach at Lancia didn’t serve them particularly well. Hard lessons were learned, and their subsequent business assimilations (Alfa Romeo/ Maserati) were handled a good deal more sensitively. 

More on the Lancia Flavia.

My grateful thanks to Geoffrey Goldberg for his invaluable advice, assistance and guidance with this piece.

Author: Eóin Doyle

Co-Founder. Editor. Content Provider.

52 thoughts on “Morte a Venezia”

  1. What an excellent read, Eóin. For me, Lancia articles are DTW’s bread and butter. Prior to reading DTW I had no clue of the structuring or indeed market-placement of Lancia’s oeuvre, let alone the difference between a ‘Fulvia’ and a ‘Flavia’ since Lancias are so incredibly foreign to American audiences today. Of the three Flavia berlina iterations, the Milleotto certainly comes off the most traditionally attractive, though I think I prefer the purity and slight gawkiness of the original. The taillights on the Milleotto seem especially prescient, though, since ‘heckblendes’ and bumper-mounted rear lamps are now the norm.

    The final iteration covered here as the 2000 is nice enough, being rather ‘conventional’ and formal looking. The rear in particular seems especially ‘Fiat-like’ with the 130-esque square lamp clusters somewhat ruining the simplicity and creativity of the Milleotto’s slim treatment. Could this be considered Lancia’s first brush with the ‘Fiat Charter’?

  2. Good morning Eóin and thank you for the story of the Flavia, for me the definitive Lancia saloon, elegant, discreet, sophisticated and beautifully understated. Even in its final 2000 form, it retained those qualities, and I dont mind the revised tail. It was, for me, the last true Lancia. Here’s a nice example in a very appropriate colour:

    1. It was an example such as this that I saw once in the metal in Koeln. It really left an impression on me. There is a hint of Mercedes in the roof, yes. The other details are gorgeously executed though. Alexander picked out the boot – take a look at the way the little crests of the rear wings end in radiused folds curving to the centre; the lights and lamps make a delightful unified whole. The later cars retain much of the intrinsic qualities of the design even if they lose some of the finesse. It´s a little bit sad that Lancia´s futures is supposed to be a brand modelled on the zombie concept of the DS marque. There needs only to be one or two Lancia models and they need not chase after volumes over five years but over a decade. Look at how the first Tesla saloon is still selling jolly nicely as is the slow-but-steady Toyota Century. Lancia could very easily be Stellantis brand for the wealthy and discrete. What it isn´t is the brand for whoever buys cars with spangly styling and a gazillion options.

  3. Very nice article about intriguing cars produced during an interesting time in the development of the marque. I read elsewhere that the ‘re-launch’ of Lancia is gathering pace under Stellantis via … a new piece of sculpture, and a revised badge/ font. Stellantis seems to be creating an in-house competitor to DS, which does not augur well in my book.

    1. Yes, this hit the interwebs earlier. It’s Lancia Design Day, to launch the new logo, proudly three dimensional, coloured and chromed, unlike the ‘flat, dull graphic devices’, ‘favoured by others’.
      Take that Audi!
      Combined with a ‘sculpture’, a ‘three dimensional manifesto’ that ‘previews a styling direction’

      And the news that there will be three new Lancias an Ypsilon replacement and two others, all electric.

      For the full Stellantis media release, see

    2. If you look at the old logos


      the new one is nearly acceptable, much more so than the current one

    3. At the risk of disturbing the celebrations of the day, I can’t wait to see a Y in the shape of a submarine – for when it appears, probably the slim sum of 40 grand.
      But at least they’ve realised at Stellantis in the meantime that a Lancia logo should also include a lance. One should learn to be satisfied with the small pleasures…

    4. That press release really is spectacular.

      We now have Pu+Ra Design – Pure and Radical. Ah, but is it Sensual in its Purity?

    5. The new shield badge and script are fine, but where does the red circle fit in? (It might be explained in the press release, but I haven’t enough hours of life left to waste time reading press releases.)

    6. Hello Daniel – the circle is one of the ‘tail lights’ on the Pu+Ra Zero, their ‘three dimensional manifesto’. The picture is an arty shot, from underneath and to the rear of the model.

      “On the rear the round taillights stand out. They call back to those of the Stratos and will be used on the new Ypsilon”.

  4. I’m ambivalent about that grille. It’s a device that had widespread use in the ’50s, particularly in the UK and USA, and often as part of the badge-engineer’s toolbox. Lancia stepped decisively away from the traditional shield with the 1957 Flaminia berlina, and the 1959 Appia Series 3.

    Plenty others followed, Rover and Humber for example, and horizontally-emphasised anonymity became the norm.

    To me the Lancia 2000’s front end looked as if the designers had wanted to make an Alfa, but ended up with a Wolseley.

    1. Robertas: My thoughts exactly. This move was wholly retrograde, one which only served to emphasise the 2000’s old-fashioned appearance, without lending much by way of distinctiveness. To the untrained eye, it could indeed have been a ‘Scudetto’. And yet, this was not to be a precursor to what would follow. Both the Beta and to some extent, the Gamma avoided this ‘heritage’ treatment. It is worth observing however that the Gamma’s intended frontal treatment, which was something more akin to the Lamborghini Jarama, was vetoed in favour of a more conservative theme.

      Car designers (and those they report to) have consistently dashed themselves against the opposing imperatives of implying heritage (with the use of vertical grilles – ‘front grilles’ of course!) and conveying an impression of width. Millennial-era Lancias, from the Thesis onwards were prime examples of this approach. It simply didn’t work in practice. (Jaguar’s S-Type was another egregious example).

      The 2000 berlina suggests to me a ‘too many cooks’ approach. Hardly surprising, given the background.

      Alexander: The Milleotto is certainly my personal landing spot in Flavia terms, although the first series also has its charms.

    2. Eóin: For me the first iteration of Flavia comes across as such a subtle and considered form that betrays its cutting-edge engineering with that slight FWD gawkiness I previously mentioned. It feels like ‘Flavia as Fessia intended’ and really captures my interest as perhaps a more ‘engineering-led’ design.

      The Milleotto is more traditionally attractive, but it also seems like a slightly more generic interpretation of the Italian berlina. I definitely prefer the rear end treatment, but the rings of chrome at the front seem a bit fussy and contrived, though nothing compared to the crude full-width grille of the 2000.

  5. And what’s wrong with a Wolseley?! But I fear you’re probably right. I, too, see the Flavia as the last definitive Lancia, a line which surely began with the Aprilia.
    Another excellent piece – thank you.

  6. Find the later Flavia and 2000 models more appealing than the earlier versions, yet recognise they should have appeared in the early to mid 1960s instead of the late 1960s to early 1970s.

  7. With all this talk of the 2000 being ‘Wolseley-esque’ I happened across this comparison test photo that seems especially telling…

    The Flavia and Triumph were landmark cars in their own right, but the DS manages to visually outclass them with a twenty-year old shape, lightly massaged by Opron.

    The 2000’s rear seems especially dumpy in this comparison photo, leading me to the question: does conservatism = upmarket? It certainly seems that way based on the modern ‘winners’ of the luxury segment.

    1. Sorry, but the rear of the DS was always “wrong” – the narrow track, and the lack of decent rear overhang !
      On the subject of Lancia, I was always in love with the Flavia Coupe, long before I realised I could never afford one….

    2. Hi Mervyn, I recall a previous discussion on DTW about the proportions of the DS (and the SM) and it was suggested that the designs were meant to accentuate the fact that the cars were FWD, hence pulled by the front wheels rather than pushed by the rears. It seems a plausible explanation.

    3. Though I can’t explain why, the rear of the DS is fundamentally and idiosynchratically right for the DS. It’s one of those cases it shouldn’t have worked but couldn’t have been done in any other way. On any other car, it wouldn’t have worked. Try to better that rear? It can not be done.

    4. Agreed, Ingvar. It’s really incredible how timeless and well-considered the DS shape is; the only thing that really betrays its age is the lack of thick pillars and whatnot for today’s ‘safety standards’ (I say while throwing stones from my modern Volvo). Stellantis would do well to think long and hard about what made it so great before they try relaunching any of their ‘luxury’ brands, but judging by the new Lancia suppository it’s already too late…

  8. I’m with Mervyn here – the DS that really worked was the Safari. Rare as hen’s teeth (actually as rare as hens themselves had become by that time…) but all the more memorable for that reason in my teenage years here in Ireland. Cars like the DS Safari and the Lancia 2000 were so rare that a photo like Daniel’s of the brown 2000 brings me straight back … but what happened the rear curtains?

    1. To my eyes the rear end of the DS is the best part of the car. The fins of the longer rear end of the break work best with the older styles nose.

    2. “New Lancia suppository”…… this just gets better and better!

    3. While the shape of the DS berline is undeniably iconic and I’ll always love it for that, I’d agree that the Safari was the best of the DS line. As an estate-car enthusiast through and through, I almost always prefer the estate variant to the saloon. Sadly the Lancia never had an estate variant, though the Triumph estate was also a sight to behold:

  9. They went with a ‘Cars of Precision’ tagline in this range commercial, which briefly shows the 2000.

    1. Funny as I associate Lancia with many things (sprezzatura, finesse, elegance) but precision isn’t really one of them, unless it’s the Flaminia we’re talking about. Perhaps that’s more to blame the manufacturing foibles than the designs themselves, but it all has to come together for the final product!

  10. The 123-125bhp* from the fuel-injected engine is very impressive, given that it was a pushrod unit with two valves per cylinder. The 1966 Rover 2000TC only managed 105bhp, and that with a ‘peaky’ camshaft ill-suited to a luxury saloon. The Kugelfischer injection Peugeot 504 was no more powerful than the Rover. There’s nothing ‘magic’ about injection which will make it provide more power than a properly sorted carburettor set up, so some good work must have gone into that engine.

    The Flavia and P6 each suffered from being overweight by the standards of their time – both around 1250kg. Good for ride and absorbing NVH, but not for agility or power to weight ratio. Dante Giacosa was never slow to cast up the matter of the weight of the Fessia-era Lancias. He loathed Fessia for just about everything – from his patchy competence as an engineer to his personal character; a blowhard and a philanderer.

    *Accounts vary.

    1. The Fulvias also suffered from their overweight. Imagine an original 1,100cc berlina with nearly 1,100 kgs and 58 PS. The excessive weight was partly caused by the use of unusually thick steel for the bodywork (and by the design of the front subframe and suspension which was a typical Fessia solution in search of a problem).
      Thickness of the sheet metal was reduced in several steps over time but only for the Fiat-era S3 coupé did they use standard 0.7mm sheet steel. Weight reduction by thinner steel was enough to nearly compensate for the weight gain caused by the replacement of aluminium parts (bonnet, boot lid and doors) by ones made from steel on the coupé.

      The power of the 2000 i.e. engine is all the more remarkable because it isn’t even a proper cross flow design but like the Aurelia/Flaminia V6 has inlet and exhaust ducts causing a Z-flow due to the strange positioning of the valves.

      Fiat’s influence on Lancia wasn’t all negative. I don’t know how it was for the Flavia but the Fulvia got dual circuit brakes (and better ones from Girling intead of the obsolete and expensive Dunlops), a brake booster and an alternator on Fiat’s insistence.

    2. Comparing horsepower outputs for anything from the 60s and 70s is problematic, SAE and DIN figures were often mixed up, the Rover 2000TC is no exception. It was the highest output 2 litre engine for a while there and the figures you show there might be understating it.
      According to James Taylor:

      2000 SC: 9:1 CR
      99 BHP SAE @ 5000 rpm, 89 BHP DIN @ 5000 rpm
      121 lb.ft SAE @ 3600 rpm, 108 lb.ft DIN @ 2500 rpm

      2000 TC: 10:1 CR
      124 BHP SAE @ 5500 rpm, 109.5 BHP DIN @ 5500 rpm
      132 lb.ft SAE @ 4000 rpm, 124 lb.ft DIN @ 2750 rpm

      2200 SC: 9:1 CR
      98 BHP DIN @ 5000 rpm
      126 lb.ft DIN @ 2500 rpm

      2200 TC: 9:1 CR
      115 BHP DIN @ 5000 rpm
      135 lb.ft DIN @ 3000 rpm

      The SAE figures were the “gross” figures of the power and torque that the engine could produce without the drag of radiator fan, dynamo, exhaust system etc.
      The DIN figures were a more realistic approach, also known as “installed” horsepower, that was taking into account the parameters mentioned above. However, all these figures are horsepower and torque measured at the flywheel and should not be confused with the respective values at the driven wheels that take into account also the transmission drag.

      I think that the figure you have quoted for the Lancia might be the SAE output and you are comparing it to the DIN output for the Rover. My first car was a very healthy ’68 2000TC and it could achieve 115 mph, (an indicated 128 mph on the speedo.) My current ’78 Gamma Coupe is scarcely any faster, despite similar aero, another 500cc, and ten years newer technology.

    3. How much weight could have plausibly been reduced on the Flavia had something akin to Fiat-era S3 coupe 0.7mm sheet steel been used and in terms of performance, would it have made any significant difference with its existing engines (or was it within Lancia’s ability to similarly upgrade the Flavia units pre-Fiat)?

    4. “Thickness of the sheet metal was reduced in several steps over time but only for the Fiat-era S3 coupé did they use standard 0.7mm sheet steel.”

      During the 1970s, there were two Fulvia Coupés in my neighbourhood. An off-white first series, which was in quite sound condition when I first observed it. A tidy, unmolested looking example, it was complete except for its grille (front grille of course!) but never moved. It sat on the lawn of the house for about 15 years, slowly deteriorating.

      At the other end of the street was another house with a third series Fulvia Coupé in the driveway. This left Chivasso a sort of Sage green colour but mostly consisted of ferrous oxide and air. Hopelessly, irredeemably rotten.

      I remember at the time being struck by how much worse this later example was in this regard. Now I think I understand.

      Actually, what am I saying? Silly me, it was that dastardly Russian steel again, wasn’t it children?

    5. Fulvias in general and their coupés in particular belonged to those Italian cars with the mystic ability to develop corrosion in the most improbable places and this was independent of the thickness of the steel in their bodywork. The complicated way the coupé bodywork was made largely from two welded/brazed up large pieces didn’t help in this respect.
      Imagine that all visible panels ahead of the A post were welded up into one piece (and everything behind the B post as well) and then pushed over the substructure and welded in place. Look at the number of rust traps visible in this picture

    6. Here’s a picture of the substructure without the external bodywork.
      Cars were produced by building them like this and then put the bodywork over it without any kind of rust protection whatsoever in the cavities.

  11. In Colin Dexters novels of Inspector Morse, our chap Endeavour drives a Lancia. In the books only. And it’s never mentioned what model. In my mind, I’ve tried to pinpoint the case, and ny conclusion is a Flavia sedan or coupe of this generation. The older sixties range? Too old at the time. The Flaminia? Too much upper crust, that’s the car of the landed gentry. The Fulvia range? Too much boy racerish. The Beta? Too modern. This generation of Flavia? Just perfect…

    1. Yes, the use of a Mk2 Jaguar, ( and with a VINYL ROOF!!), always struck me as wrong when I saw the otherwise excellent TV series. It is the best example of vehicle miscasting ever, i.e. the worst vehicle casting ever. A Lancia Flavia would have been perfect, a saloon rather than the more louche coupe.

    2. A vinyl roof is always wrong on a Mk2 – really a criminal offence.

    3. The only redeeming quality of the Jaguar choice is that it follows a plausible character/timeline arc. In the “Endeavour” tv-series, they had him as a “Batman” before he took his Seargents exam. In that job included being the “Governors” designated driver, driving a Mk I Jaguar for his boss. It isn’t unreasonable to suggest he picked one up for peanuts in the seventies on his DS salary. A slightly used unloved 2.4 with the vinyl roof.

    4. As an occasional binge-reader of crime fiction and thrillers, I’m amazed at the inappropriate choices of cars for the characters, and also the anachronisms in period series.

      I can’t imagine Jan Fabel, Craig Russell’s cultured and liberal Frisian historian-turned detective, really driving an M3 convertible, although Russell’s better on the villains’ cars, invariably top of the range and modified Mercs, which come to a bad end.

      Ian Rankin is very good on cars – Rebus’s ancient Saab which just keeps going on is spot-on; possibly close to what Colin Dexter intended with Morse’s Lancia. I recall from a published interview that Dexter himself had an old and ordinary car and lived modestly despite his earnings from the success of Morse.

      I don’t buy the idea of these cerebral detectives, wedded only to their work, cherishing Porsches, Morgans, and Austin Atlantics. They would run ill-maintained old heaps, and take the most forgettable ‘unmarked’ available when on duty.

      Lee Child paints a varied and credible USA carscape in the Reacher series, although I’m less well placed to judge its authenticity than is the case with Central Scotland or Northern Germany.

  12. Bagman, for FFS. I changed it twice from “batman” to “bagman”. Ducking autocorrect….

  13. Ah, yes. I’ve noticed I’m telling the same stories over and over, and for that I apologize. At least I’m consistant in my thoughts… 😉

    1. Ingvar: You’re in good company. As anyone who knows me will attest, I’ll never tell a story once if I can tell it several times.

    2. There’s nothing wrong with repetition, I say, there’s nothing wrong with repetition.

      Now, where was I? Ah yes, there’s nothing wrong with repetition…😁

  14. Regarding the tail lights, footnote [9] is so spot on. Along the lines of “perfect is the enemy of good” I’ll posit that “fashion is an enemy of design”.

    1. Reading “progressive classic brand” I had already fallen into a deep sleep.
      The timer woke me up because the pasta bake was ready…

  15. The pernicious spread of International Arts English, where you can never have enough nouns.

  16. The 2000 was prominently featured in the actually quite nice 2013 movie „RUSH“.

    Fun fact: I once came across the film crew while they were doing shots for the movie in my hometown. I did not care much (or at all) about the film business going on, but was indeed attracted to their cars. The Peugeot 504, Saab 96 and the 2000 as seen in the clip were all in tiptop shape and neatly aligned next to the film production‘s catering van.

    I‘ll leave this here for further reference (and enjoyment):

    1. Thanks for that, onemoretime. That is, indeed, a great movie, unusual in that despite being about F1 racing and the rivalry between Lauda and Hunt, it had universal appeal, and very good reviews. The Lancia was exactly the car that a young Niki Lauda would drive, and did drive. The sporty, non shouty, quality saloon later encapsulated by the BMW 5 series for a while, but IMHO not represented now by anything.

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