• 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 costs out about 87 horsepower and (when new) propelled the roughly 2000-pound automobile to 60 mph in 12.6 seconds, in line with a interval check in Highway & Observe.
• An fascinating and extra reasonably priced various to an Alfa Romeo GTV of the identical classic, the Fulvia is so uncommon that you just’re virtually ensured that you will by no means see one other one outdoors a Lancia membership assembly. It is up for public sale on Deliver a Trailer, with bidding ending on Tuesday, Might 24.
It is greater than just a little unusual when specific photographs of your ex seem on the web. However that is precisely what occurred this week when 150 photographs of my ex–Lancia Fulvia popped up on Deliver a Trailer—which, like Automotive and Driver, is a part of Hearst Autos. It was my first basic. I purchased the Lancia Blue on tan vinyl 1968 Collection 1 Fulvia after recognizing it on Deliver a Trailer on the finish of 2008. Again then, Deliver a Trailer listed fascinating and oddball vehicles; the addictive public sale web site it has now turn into was nonetheless just a few years away.
Bought on the sage recommendation of contributor Jamie Kitman, who assured me that his Fulvia would doubtless 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 Automotive Restore in White Plains, New York, to offer me one other set of eyes and an professional’s opinion. Though we noticed some rusty floorboards, the automobile got here with a substitute set. Spadaro famous just a few 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 part 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 just a few paint cracks, however total the Fulvia appeared as marketed. Just a few days wanting my thirty fifth birthday, I purchased it, and the automobile went on to White Plains for a minor restoration that included just a few 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 means of the 4 ahead speeds is slick and exact. Dashing the one-two shift ends in a graunch from the synchros, one thing famous within the Highway & Observe check 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 in regards to the control-arm entrance and beam-axle rear suspension apart from the transverse leaf spring that suspends the entrance. Push as onerous 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, however it’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 all the 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 fashionable Audis.
On the freeway, the Fulvia cruised fortunately at 80 mph, and the narrow-angle 4 hummed a contented thrum, snarled by means of 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 just wish to final, and since it is not 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 would supposed on utilizing it as a day by 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 while you dwell in California. Components 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 might be sorted. 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 the entire work and love he is poured into it.
Lancia made the Fulvia coupe from 1965 to 1976. It is far more generally seen in Europe than within the States, the place it is an exceedingly uncommon automobile. Take one to a automobile present and be ready to reply a variety of questions together with, “What sort of Corvair is that this?” However, the upside is you may meet a variety 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 only some days left to attain some of the stunning and particular little vehicles I’ve ever owned.
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