The Lancia Fulvia

Via comments from Andrew Robertson:

You really do have the bug. Give us a run down on the model code names, specs and years? Know very little about this little car…liking it more and more myself.

Yes, I do have the bug.

Sadly, it’s an intellectual bug only because I’ve never actually driven one. The Fulvia has come to my attention through a combination of temporary availability and video. I want one because one was available for sale and I liked what I saw when I checked them out.

Exterior and Interior

The Lancia Fulvia was built in three series from 1963 to the mid 1970’s. The Fulvia also had three body styles. The first Fulvias were Berlina four-door sedans but most of the interest these days is around the Coupe and the Sport models. The coupe was designed in-house at Lancia and the Sport had a completely different body styled by Zagato. The Sport sounds exotic, but the coupe is the one to go for IMHO.

Lancia Fulvia Berlina

Fulvia Berlina

Lancia Fulvia Coupe

http://www.autogaleria.hu -

Lancia Fulvia Sport (Zagato)

Fulvia Sport

The Sport body by Zagato can be dressed up to look quite sporty, but IMHO looks a bit bloated. The coupe body was the biggest seller and it proved to be a wonderfully versatile design. The coupe can look either classy or quite mean depending on how you want to set the car up.

All three cars had the same basic interior design, which is simple, sporting and quite elegant in the way that it seems only 60s and 70s cars can be.

fulvia-int-super

OK, I cheated a little bit there.

That interior has been fitted out for rallying with its timing gear on the right and the Sandro Munari steering wheel – one of the best looking steering wheels I think I’ve ever seen.

But that’s part of the beauty of the Fulvia – it’s so suited to being both classically beautiful and very sporty – both in the way it looks and the way it drives.

Here’s a more standard interior from a later model Fulvia in RHD:

LanciaFulviaCoupeInterior

The Fulvia is a compact 4-seater whether in 2-door or 4-door version. The rear seat is small and there’s not much room for cargo in the boot, either. Most of the boot space is taken up with the spare wheel, actually.

But who cares about back seat passengers or cargo? This car was made to be driven!

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History

Lancia’s one of those companies that a guy of my generation probably won’t know much about unless they’re a bit of an anorak. Brits and other Europeans might be a bit of an exception because Lancia sold the vast majority of their vehicles in the European market.

My knowledge was limited to the Beta, which sold here and which I still quite like in terms of styling. Of course, I’d heard of the Stratos and later, the Delta Integrale, but I still didn’t appreciate the full measure of Lancia’s success as both an innovator and as a motorsports champion.

Two things slowly opened my eyes.

The first was the knowledge that Lancia was one of Victor Muller’s favourite historical marques. I’m led to believe he own a number of them. Victor is quite obviously a man of means with a flair for items of some substance. It put an asterisk next to Lancia for me as a brand that I had to look into a bit more at some stage.

The second was the Top Gear special story on Lancia. I included it in a previous post about the Fulvia, but I’ll put it here again for those who still haven’t seen it. Take note of the number of significant firsts this company achieved as well as their considerable motorsport success.

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Lancia had achieved a fair bit of success with the Flavia medium sized car when the company decided to make a more compact car, which became the Fulvia. The Fulvia debuted in 1963 at the Geneva Motor Show and the Coupe was introduced in 1965.

The Fulvia Coupe formed the basis of Lancia’s assault on the world rally championship, and what an assault it turned out to be. Lancia won the 1972 International Championship for Manufacturers, the predecessor to the World Rally Championship with the Lancia Fulvia HF (noted flying Finn and Saab works driver, Simo Lampinen was at the wheel of that car).

Lancia then dominated the initial years of the World Rally Championship with manufacturer wins in 1974, 1975 and 1975 with the Lancia Stratos. They returned to the winners podium in 1983 with the Lancia 037. In 1987, Lancia had the first of six consecutive WRC titles with the mighty Delta Integrale – the most successful vehicle in WRC history.

All that success began with the Fulvia.

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Specs

I’ll deal with just the coupe here, as that’s the model of main interest.

The Fulvia Coupe was made for around 10 years and was available in several different specifications over that period. The following is taken from Wikipedia but resolves quite well with other independent sites.

Coupe – A compact two-door introduced in 1965, designed in-house by Piero Castagnero. the coupe uses a 150 mm (5.9 in) shorter wheelbase along with the larger (1216 cc) or 1231 cc engine producing 80 bhp (60 kW) at 6000 rpm.

Coupe HF – A competition version of the coupe introduced later in 1965, fitted with a tuned version of the 1216 cc engine producing 88 bhp (66 kW) at 6000 rpm, and fitted with aluminium bonnet, doors and bootlid together with plexiglass side and rear windows.

Rallye 1.3 HF – An updated HF with a new 1298 cc engine with 101 bhp (75 kW) at 6400 rpm..

Rallye 1.3 – An updated coupe with the 1298 cc (818.302) engine with 87 hp (65 kW) at 6000 rpm.

Rallye 1.3S – An updated Rallye 1.3 with a new 1298 cc (818.303) engine producing 92 hp (69 kW) at 6000 rpm.

Rallye 1.6 HF – The evolution of Rallye 1.3 HF with a 1584 cc engine producing 115 hp (86 kW) at 6000 rpm. Other changes included negative camber front suspension geometry, with light alloy 13 inch 6J wheels; and a close ratio 5 speed gearbox and wheel arch extensions.

fulvia-2Rallye 1.6 HF Variante 1016 – Also known as Fanalone – The most-powerful Fulvia with a 1584 cc engine producing up to 132 hp (98 kW) depending on tune. This was the version used by the works rally team until 1974, when it was superseded in competition by the Stratos HF. 45mm bore Solex carburettors were used tht were later replaced by 45DCOE Webbers. The cam cover had special blue stripe over yellow paintjob (HF cars had just yellow paintjob). Some sources indicate the easiest way to distinguish this version is by 2 triangular holes between headlamps and grille.[4]

Coupe 1.3S – 2nd Series – Face-lifted body and new 5 speed gearbox with 1298 cc (818.303) engine producing 90 hp (67 kW) at 6000 rpm. Larger Girling calipers and pads replaced the Dunlop system fitted to 1st series cars.

Coupe 1600HF – 2nd Series – Face-lifted all steel body with 1584 cc engine producing 115 hp (86 kW) at 6000 rpm. The bodywork was changed from the standard 1.3 Coupe to incorporate ‘flared’ wheel arches (replacing the extensions used on 1st series HFs). ‘Lusso’ versions had extra trim and were fitted with bumpers and were mostly produced for export.

Coupe 1.3s Montecarlo – Replica of 1972 Montecarlo Rally works car livery with 1298 cc producing 90 hp (67 kW) at 6000 rpm. This version used his own bodyshell with flared wheelarches similar but different to the 1600HF bodyshell, ‘Lusso’ interior fittings (bucket seats etc.), fitted with front fog lamps and no bumpers; but were fitted with the standard 4.5J steel wheels of the standard 1.3 Coupe.

Coupe Fulvia 3 (3rd Series) – Updated Coupe introduced 1974 with a new design of seats incorporating headrests and new white faced instrument dials with an updated range of trim colours, materials and options. Mechanically the same as the earlier 1.3s S2 Coupes except for the addition of emission control on the solex carburettors.

Coupe Fulvia 3 Safari – A limited edition of the standard Coupe without bumpers, special trim, exterior badges on the bonnet and on the bootlid and also special numbered plaque on the dashboard.[5]

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Power isn’t this car’s strong point, as you can tell. The most powerful model had just 132hp and those models, known as Fanalone, are the ones that sell for the big bucks these days.

The car’s strong points are handling, engineering and styling. Fulvia owners that I’ve talked to will talk about these qualities at length and with relentless consistency. Lancia built its reputation in preceding decades on well engineered, well constructed and very stylish cars. Clarkson’s point about the Fulvia being more expensive at release than an E-type Jaguar come to mind, such was the expensive, hand-built nature of the little Lancia.

The Fulvia is known for being very reliable, even for such an old vehicle. There are plenty of them still being used as daily drivers. There’s a good enthusiast community around the world for them, too. A lot were sold in the UK so there’s even a ready RHD market and parts supply is pretty good for such an old vehicle.

The Fulvia is quite rare here in Australia. I heard from one source that there were only a couple of hundred of them brought here. Sales and values are therefore a little hard to judge, but I think it’s not beyond reason to expect a basic 1.3S or Rallye in restored condition to sell somewhere in the order of $20,000. Sellers of HF models have been asking amounts over $50,000 in recent years, but I’m unsure as to how many of them actually achieve this figure. A good condition Fanalone would nearly double that price in the right market.

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Video

These video were in one of my previous Fulvia posts, but they’re worth showing again.

Enjoy.

Petrolicious, as always, do it right…..

Overview of second hand Fulvias in Britain (old video)….

Good quality driving film from an owner….

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5 Comments

  1. As always Swade, a very interesting article. It seems to illustrate just how unfairly FIAT are treating this iconic brand.
    I have always hated badge engineering. It lacks any kind of flair and is purely down to saving money and flogging off assets with as little cost outlay as possible.
    Living in the UK I have seen the ‘Lancia’ Ypsilon and Delta with Chrysler badges which is ironic when you consider that Lancia was pulled from the UK years ago because of their reputation for the demon rust monster! Worst still is the fact that FIAT are quite happy to lop Chrysler badges off some of the worst looking cars available and put the cherished Lancia badge on them in an effort to flog them off in Europe. These cars were pulled from the European market because they sold so badly but they hope by sticking a Lancia badge on them this will somehow change their fortunes! Its cheap and nasty and no way to treat such a fine brand.
    Good luck with your hunt. The Fulvia coupe looks like a real cracker!

  2. Thanks Swade, nice article.
    The body lines are very interesting.
    There is a hint of 105 in the rear quarters. A dash of 124 in the glasshouse.
    Maybe even a touch of (would you believe Renault 17) in the swage line profile.
    The front window curvature and aperture is reminiscent of an E9 CSi in the way it curves about the A pillar and dominates the turret.
    Very early 70s.
    Which makes me think that the lines of the Fulvia were copied! As it seems years before the others mentioned.
    Hmmm.

  3. Lancia still is one of Victor’s favorite marques. He bought his first car before he got his driver’s license in 1978. It was a ’72 Lancia 2000 Berlina and his dad had to go pick it up for him. After that, he bought a Lancia Flaminia convertible which he describes as a chick magnet. He still has this Lancia Flaminia and he drove it in the Red Cross rally in The Netherlands a few years ago.

    This info is from an interview on Dutch radio from several years ago. http://saabworld.net/f85/summer-nights-victor-muller-dutch-radio-347/ From what I remember from the interview, he also described “barking” along the shores Lago di Como in Italy in one of his Lancia’s.

    I wouldn’t mind touring through Italy in a Flamina. 🙂

  4. Speaking of famous fans of Lancia, perhaps you should contact ex Oz PM Malcolm Fraser to see if he still has any Lancias left in his collection? Maybe he’ll sell you one!

  5. Waiting for Malcolm to order a paintbrush at the local hardware shop is an interesting experience. Very tall man. The Lancia must have a lot of headroom and good pedal clearance.

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