I’m currently looking for a Lancia Fulvia. As they’re relatively rare in Australia (there’s one for sale publicly right now, detailed below) I’ve widened my search to include vehicles overseas.
As I type this, I’m looking at three – maybe four – basic options. Your considered thoughts would be appreciated.
But first, a look at what I consider to be the ideal attainable Fulvia from the ones available for sale around the world right now. Attainable is important. There are more desirable models for sale, but at crazy prices. I don’t have that kind of money.
In fact, this car would be stretching the budget well beyond what’s reasonable, but if I were going to be completely selfish, this is what I’d buy.
This is a Lancia Fulvia 1.6 HF ‘Lusso’. The HF cars were like a 1970’s Lancia version of BMW’s original M cars. They’re the hi-po editions that were made to enable homologation of Lancia’s competition cars. The ‘Lusso’ version here is a more consumer-oriented car, slightly detuned and more comfortable than a pure HF (known as the ‘Fanalone’ model amongst the Lancia crowd).
This is a series 2 car. Series 1 cars are more desirable and thus, more expensive. You’ll note is has nice HF seats, HF wheels and all of its brightwork on the front and rear of the car but it’s still set up as a sports car.
This car is original RHD and strangely, is for sale right now in a non-RHD country (Belgium) – for 25,500 Euros. That’s $38,000 in Aussie money and then there’s around $5K in costs to get it here. All up, that’s way more than I intend to spend.
But that’s the ideal.
Option 1 – Blue 1967 Fulvia Coupe (Australia)
He bought the car in the early 1980’s and it had been off the road for 5 years at that point. He’s never registered it, either. It still has the registration sticker from the last year it was on the road legally, in 1977. The owner was young and moved around a lot for work in country Victoria, so never got to work on the car as he wanted to. Time passed, he got married and had kids. The car has been sitting in his in-laws’ garage for nearly 15 years now in non-rusty Canberra. He claims the mileage – just 22,000kms – is genuine.
Unfortunately, none of this is documented. It’d be a great low-mileage history and I don’t doubt the truth of it when it comes from his mouth, but in order to form part of the car’s history when it passes from one owner to another, you need to be able to back it up. That old registration sticker is about as good as the proof gets.
The car hasn’t been started in around 10 years. I inspected it a few weeks ago in Canberra and we were going to jump-start it when we realised that the fuel was also 10 years old. We decided against it.
The car is structurally sound and the interior is absolutely fantastic, but the exterior needs a complete restoration and the mechanicals?…… who knows. You could easily sink $20,000 into this car. You’d have a wonderful (un-proven) low mileage Fulvia, but it’s take a hell of a long time.
- Genuine Series 1 car with aluminium doors, bonnet and boot lid.
- Outstanding interior.
- Quite possibly one of the lowest-mileage Fulvias in the world.
- He wants a low five-figure sum for the car as it is.
- No documented history.
- Magical mystery tour of restoration with who-knows-what needing to be replaced after all those years idle.
Option 2 – Red 1971 Fulvia Coupe (England)
A friend of mine checked this Series 2 Fulvia out for me last week in England.
The seller is a former Lancia, Ford and Saab mechanic and he’s owned the car for nearly 30 years. He built rally cars for the dealership he worked at back in the old days when dealers did that sort of thing and we swapped a few interesting Saab stories over the phone when I spoke to him. Bottom line – a very genuine seller and Lancia nut.
This is a turn-key car with little-or-nothing needing to be done IF you like your cars set up like a rally car. I prefer the sports car look, so the mudguards would have to go, as well as the extra spotlights.
Then there’s the seats…..
They’re actually really high quality Recaros with Sabelt 4-point harnesses. This is good, quality stuff but there are downsides. For starters, I plan to use this car 3 or 4 times a week and I just don’t know how long I could shoe-horn myself into those seats before I got totally sick of them. Unfortunately, the seller doesn’t have the original seats.
I’m also concerned about whether or not the modifications made to this car will pass inspection when I bring the car to Australia. Will the seats/harnesses/spotlights/unknowns be approved by the Transport inspectors or will I have to change them?
The other thing that’s missing is the brightwork around the front grille/lights and around the rear of the car. The seller has some of it, but some is missing and would have to be sourced. That’s not impossible, but it’s a pain.
This car is selling for around $12,000 Aussie and would cost around $5K in transport, taxes, inspection and registration. At $17K, it actually represents pretty good value providing the body is sound. I have every faith in the mechanical integrity of the car but those salty English winter roads…. the seller says that he has waxoyled the car religiously but you never really know what lurks beneath.
- Very solid owner who has loved the car to bits.
- Some spare parts, special tooling and factory repair manuals come with the car.
- Likely to be the best value-proposition based on condition.
- It’s in England, which means considerable freight costs as well as Australian compliance checks – will the seats, harnesses and lights pass muster?
- Rally livery not really to my taste (if it’s not a genuine HF then I don’t really like the idea of HF decals, etc. Just personal choice. Thankfully they’re removable)
- Lack of original seats and brightwork.
Option 3 – Fulvia Sport Zagato Coupe (England, most likely)
I’ve never been that excited about the Zagato but one turned up at a local meet last Sunday and it was far more attractive in person than what they tend to be in photos.
The local car:
That’s still a bit too ‘straight’ for me. But there are options available for re-making a Zagato into a pretty hot looking little sports car.
The car below is currently for sale in England and it’d make a good starting point. It’s what’s referred to as a Series 1.5 car as it has a Series 1 Zagato body (subtle but nice differences including the side-hinged bonnet made from aluminium) along with Series 2 Fulvia mechanicals (most notably, a five speed gearbox).
This car’s already got some nice HF-style wheels on it. Remove the front and rear bumpers, add some wheel arch flares and then lower it a little and you get a very nice stance. Change the headlamps for dual-round units with black surrounds and you get a very nice effect, too.
Here’s one in blue, care of the people who do this sort of thing for a living, Vere Lancia
Now THAT’s something unique …. but still with all the driving characteristics of the original Fulvia.
The red Zagato, above, is currently for sale in England for around $20K. Add the cost of transport and the customisation cost and you won’t get much change out of $30K – if any change at all.
It’s beyond what I’d like to spend, to be honest, but the uniqueness of the car appeals to my sense of the unusual a great deal.
- Ad reads like the seller is quite genuine and knows what he’s got (but then they all do, don’t they?)
- Unique and unusual option with some very desirable pedigree
- It’s in England. Unknown rust issues and cost of transport are both to be considered.
- Modifying a car like this from standard rarely, if ever, increases its value. You get unique, but you may not be making an investment.
Option 4 – Australian Fulvia not officially on the market yet.
This option only popped up yesterday so I don’t know much about it at all.
I was talking with a Lancia specialist interstate and he mentioned that there is going to be a Fulvia come up for sale soon as part of a deceased estate. The owner was a very fussy owner of several classic cars, the Fulvia being one of them.
Details unknown except the following: it’s a Series 2 car and they will be seeking a price in the low $20,000s. Rust will not be a problem and the general mechanical upkeep is expected to have been attended to religiously. All up, this is expected to be a very good car.
Given the costs of bringing in a car from overseas and the headaches associated with not really knowing a foreign car’s condition until it gets here, this might be the best option of the lot. It’s an Aussie car, already registered, ready to go.
I just don’t know who the seller is or when it’s going to come up for sale.
Those are the options. If you’ve managed to read this far without falling asleep, thankyou!
Your thoughts are welcome in comments. I’m most partial to the red Fulvia in England as I’ve got a lot of confidence in the long-term owner. Plus, the price is the most manageable for what is a ready-to-go car.
I’m intrigued by the local car that’s not officially on the market, though. It’s a bit more expensive, but involves far fewer headaches and is reputedly going to be a very clean example, too.
And in case you’re wondering why this is (still) occupying so much of my thought time (again), here’s a couple of video reminders.