• Wearing Lancia Blue, this 1968 Fulvia coupe is a uncommon and good-looking little automobile with surprisingly superior engineering.
• The tiny 1.3-liter narrow-angle V-4 expenses out about 87 horsepower and (when new) propelled the roughly 2000-pound automobile to 60 mph in 12.6 seconds, in keeping with a interval take a look at in Highway & Monitor.
• An fascinating and extra inexpensive various to an Alfa Romeo GTV of the identical classic, the Fulvia is so uncommon that you simply’re nearly ensured that you’re going to by no means see one other one outdoors a Lancia membership assembly. It is up for public sale on Carry a Trailer, with bidding ending on Tuesday, Might 24.
It is greater than a little bit unusual when express pictures of your ex seem on the web. However that is precisely what occurred this week when 150 pictures of my ex–Lancia Fulvia popped up on Carry a Trailer—which, like Automobile and Driver, is a part of Hearst Autos. It was my first traditional. I purchased the Lancia Blue on tan vinyl 1968 Collection 1 Fulvia after recognizing it on Carry a Trailer on the finish of 2008. Again then, Carry a Trailer listed fascinating and oddball automobiles; the addictive public sale website it has now turn out to be was nonetheless a number of years away.
Bought on the sage recommendation of contributor Jamie Kitman, who assured me that his Fulvia would seemingly be the final automobile he’d promote out of his 30-plus-car assortment, I drove out to Connecticut from Michigan in C/D’s long-term Jaguar XF to see and drive the Fulvia. I enlisted the assistance of Lancia mechanic Frank Spadaro of Dominick European Automobile Restore in White Plains, New York, to present me one other set of eyes and an skilled’s opinion. Though we noticed some rusty floorboards, the automobile got here with a substitute set. Spadaro famous a number of different minor points, together with a carburetor feeding a bit an excessive amount of gas.
The vendor had imported the automobile from Italy, painted it, retrimmed the inside, and swapped in a more recent engine. Whereas it is by no means a good suggestion to have a look at a automobile within the rain—every thing appears nicer and cozier when it is moist out, and it is robust to correctly study the paint—the climate did not cooperate. I missed a number of paint cracks, however total the Fulvia appeared as marketed. A number of days wanting my thirty fifth birthday, I purchased it, and the automobile went on to White Plains for a minor restoration that included a number of rust repairs, fuel-system cleansing, and tuning to deliver it as much as tip-top mechanical form.
A robust-running Fulvia is a pleasure to command. A ridiculously lengthy shift lever sprouts from the firewall, however the motion by the 4 ahead speeds is slick and exact. Speeding the one-two shift leads to a graunch from the synchros, one thing famous within the Highway & Monitor take a look at of the Fulvia coupe. A fragile precision is infused all through the equipment, from the way in which the doorways click on shut to the unassisted steering’s shocking suggestions when bent right into a nook. There’s nothing notably fascinating concerning the control-arm entrance and beam-axle rear suspension aside from the transverse leaf spring that suspends the entrance. Push as arduous as you want, the Fulvia merely gobbles up abuse, a trait that helped make it a world-championship-winning rally automobile.
Credit score for the sunshine really feel is a component tuning, but it surely’s additionally the 2000-pound curb weight, a quantity that is solely about 100 kilos heavier than the 2005 Lotus Elise that changed the Lancia. Mounted exterior panels are metal, and mine got here with aluminum doorways, hood, and trunklid. Opening the hood reveals off the narrow-angle V-4 that sits canted at about 45 levels, and your complete powertrain and entrance suspension mounts to a subframe. Energy travels to the entrance wheels, and the longitudinal four-cylinder hangs out in entrance of the front-axle line as in most trendy Audis.
On the freeway, the Fulvia cruised fortunately at 80 mph, and the narrow-angle 4 hummed a cheerful thrum, snarled by the consumption, and rumbled out the exhaust. Round city the 1.3-liter engine made sufficient energy to speed up briskly when floored. R&T clocked a 12.6-second time to 60 mph and an 18.6-second quarter run at 75 mph. The mechanical tune it sings is one that you simply need to final, and since it isn’t fast, you get to listen to the engine working and the transmission buzzing. Unassisted four-wheel disc brakes stopped the little coupe shortly and supplied a pleasant agency pedal with sturdy chunk.
I might supposed on utilizing it as a every day driver after transferring to Los Angeles, however a brake master-cylinder failure early on in its time in SoCal made me a bit gun-shy about utilizing it to expire to purchase kale salads and avocados and all of the belongings you do once you dwell in California. Elements are surprisingly plentiful and are not costly. Aside from a generator rebuild in 2010 or so, the Fulvia by no means requested for any consideration.
The Lancia neighborhood is tiny, so after I began speaking about promoting, a purchaser shortly emerged whose enthusiasm for the automobile gave me confidence that it could be taken care of. Through the years the present proprietor, and now vendor, invited me to go to and drive the Fulvia. Verify-ins have at all times included a report on all the work and love he is poured into it.
Lancia made the Fulvia coupe from 1965 to 1976. It is rather more generally seen in Europe than within the States, the place it is an exceedingly uncommon car. Take one to a automobile present and be ready to reply a whole lot of questions together with, “What sort of Corvair is that this?” However, the upside is you will meet a whole lot of memorable folks as a result of that is an fascinating automobile that pulls fascinating folks. The public sale ends on Tuesday, Might 24, so at this level there are just a few days left to attain one of the crucial lovely and particular little automobiles I’ve ever owned.
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