So the GTV6 is sold and we’ve decided to shelve our plans for building a new home. That means it’s Game On for car shopping!
I had a couple of important criteria for my next car, key among which were that it had to be good for a long distance east-coast road trip that Mrs Swade and I want to do in a few months from now, and that it also had to be fun and engaging for me as a daily driver and club car. Those criteria were going to be difficult to resolve.
I think we’ve solved that particular dual-purpose problem, however.
Mrs Swade has agreed to an upgrade from her Saab 9000CS to a more potent and more functional Saab 9000 (our car has a number of electrical and functional niggles that would be uneconomical to repair). Yes, we love the 9000. I’ve currently got a bead on two suitable 9000s in good order, one an Aero and the other an Anniversary model. I’ve craved an Aero for years and the one I’ve found seems to be in good order after checking it out with a friend who knows the car. The price is right, too, and 9000 Aeros in good condition are only getting harder to find. It’s likely I’ll pull the trigger on that one very soon.
That takes care of the cruiser that’ll make for a wonderful utilitarian family car for us. So now to the fun car.
The usual suspects are on the list. Porsche 944 (either S2 or turbo), Alfa Romeo GTV V6 (the wedgy coupe from 1998 onwards), Alfa Romeo 33 16V. My mate Eggs has even got me looking at Maserati BiTurbos (the survivors have to be well sorted by now, right?).
As you can see, Italian is a factor here. I belong to an Italian car club and while a lot of members own an Italian but bring their reliable Japanese cars to the track, I’m an advocate for flying the flag at all times.
Something Italian that I’ve never considered before, but has recently become available is a very nicely sorted vintage Lancia coupe. We have all manner of brands available in Australia but even here, Lancias are relatively rare. Most of the Lancias for sale are Betas from the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. For those who are unfamiliar, the Beta is the car that killed Lancia thanks to rust issues. That old joke “on a quiet day you could hear them rusting at the dealership” applies.
This isn’t a Beta, though.
This is a 1968 Lancia Fulvia coupe. Isn’t she pretty?
Here’s the text from the ad:
1968 Lancia Fulvia Coupe,1.3S excellent condition, great little car that’s lots of fun to drive. Car comes with koni adjustable shocks, stainless steel exhaust, sports seats & 4 point harnesses (comes with original seats & new standard seat belts), factory sports air filtration kit (comes with original filter set up), HF wheels & flairs, Sandro Munari signed steering wheel, re-conditioned brake calipers & master cylinder, some spares included (electrical & mechanical).
It seems to be set up nicely, yes?
If you’re unfamiliar with the Lancia Fulvia, I encourage you to spend the next 2 minutes watching this excerpt from the Top Gear Lancia special (it goes for 8 minutes, but two is all you need). It spends a couple of minutes on the Fulvia that will inform your thinking.
Yes, it IS amazing to look at.
But did you hear that engine????
Lancia used a narrow-angle, high revving V4 in the Fulvia. It’s a 1.3 and it only pushes out around 90hp but then the car only weighs 895kg. It’s not fast, but it’s extremely nimble and even said to be quite reliable, too. If Clarkson’s only knock on it was its historical price, then there’s got to be something to explore with this car. There’s a lot to like about it, that’s for sure. It’s rare. It’s Italian and it’s genuine in both styling and performance.
But then, there’s the practical side to consider.
It’s 45 years old and the question has to be asked – could you use a car such as this 3-4 times a week without fearing too much for its future? One of the main reasons I sold the GTV6 was that it ended up as a garage queen that was driven only once a week because I had the Brumby for regular duty. The Brumby will go. I want something that I both want and HAVE to drive when Mrs Swade has use of the Aero.
Is it fanciful or irresponsible to think that a Lancia Fulvia can be used on a regular basis?
This Fulvia is for sale for $21,000 and it’s located in Queensland (around 2000kms and a boat ride away) so it’s no small decision. I’ve found a club member here in Tassie who owns one so I’m hoping to check out his local example to see if/how I’ll fit in it with a helmet on, as well as taking the chance to simply appreciate one in person.
Despite the challenges it might present, I have to admit I find myself far more smitten with the idea of getting this car than I do with any of the others on my list. Am I a complete idiot?
Here are a few more Fulvia videos to watch and listen to. Enjoy.
Petrolicious, as always, do it right…..
Overview of second hand Fulvias in Britain (old video)….
Good quality driving film from an owner….