The introduction of the Fulvia sedan in 1963 maintained Lancia's reputation for innovation in automobile design. The boxy replacement for the Appia featured an all-new, narrow-angle, V4, overhead-camshaft engine, along with front-wheel drive, independent front suspension by double wishbones and disc brakes all around. A 2+2 coupe version on a shorter wheelbase was launched in 1965. Though mechanically similar, the newcomer had all the visual presence its progenitor lacked and came with—initially—a 1261-cc engine producing 80 bhp. Tuned HF versions provided increased performance, and formed the basis of the works' highly successful rally program. Series II cars (1970–76) came with the 90-bhp version of the later 1298-cc engine and a 5-speed gearbox. This right-hand drive, 1298-cc, one-owner example was in the vendor's late father's possession from new. Regularly maintained, this well-preserved and highly original car has covered circa 50,000 miles and is described as remaining in "good/very good" condition overall, with an "excellent" engine and chassis and "as-new" interior.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1973 Lancia Fulvia 1.3

This vehicle sold for $5,716, including buyer’s premium, at the Bonhams Olympia sale, held December 3, 2001. The price is indicative of the general market’s estimation of this model of Lancia: a great car nobody (well, almost nobody) cares about.

The Fulvia line was comprised of three models: the Berlina, a boxy four-door sedan; the factory-designed and built coupe, which is the subject of this profile; and the Sport, a Zagato-bodied coupe.

In the Fulvia pecking order, the high-performance “HF” (hi-fi, yes, as in stereos) models with slightly more horsepower, alloy doors, hood and trunk lids and Plexiglas windows in 1.3-liter and 1.6-liter versions are the most desirable, followed by the Zagato-bodied “Sport” and finally the “basic” coupe.

At home on road or track, the HF coupes and Zagato Sports Fulvias scored many successes in international competition, including numerous outright victories in championship rallies from 1965 to 1972, as well as class wins in distance races including Daytona, Sebring and the Targa Florio. Fulvias also exhibit the elegant engineering and cost-no-object design of all pre-Fiat Lancias, and are far more mechanically sophisticated than contemporary Alfa GTVs or MGB GTs.

Fiat took over Lancia in 1969 and introduced a “Series II” Fulvia in 1970. While these Series II cars did reflect some of the bean-counting mentality of the new management, their essential nature was not compromised. The main additions to the Series II were a five-speed transmission, twin calipers on the front brakes, a new and improved handbrake system and a thermostatically controlled engine fan. The five-speed in the later cars is a mixed blessing. It does give quieter highway cruising but has a much less precise feel than the earlier four-speed and is more difficult to use in spirited driving.

When buying a Fulvia coupe, as with any Italian car of the ’60s or ’70s, check the condition of the sills and floors. Look for rust in the rear outriggers of the powertrain-supporting front subframe and in the two rearmost mounting boxes where the subframe is attached to the body. In addition, cracking in the paint on the front fenders can indicate a near-terminal case of rust in the upper subframe mountings, or flexing in the mounts from crash damage. Especially if the paint on a car you are considering is fresh, be sure to check these points.

The brake systems can also be problematic on cars that have sat idle for any length of time, so be prepared to go through the hydraulics.

Selling a Fulvia, or any Lancia for that matter, is challenging in today’s marketplace. Auctions are not their natural home, especially for Fulvias, as the market for them is so thin. Lancia owners (along with Alfa and MG owners) have a reputation for being notoriously tight-fisted, and would often rather spend months scouring the classifieds looking for the deal of a lifetime on a rusty old beater than stepping up and paying a premium, in a public arena, for a top-flight car. (It should be noted that most hard-core Lancia enthusiasts have a barn full of these hopeless cases, all, of course, bought at a bargain price.) All of this is reflected in the price paid here for a solid condition #2 car in the UK, which remains one of the strongest markets for older Lancias.

Hence, getting top dollar for a nicely done Fulvia HF or Sport requires finding an enthusiast who has outgrown the infantile notion of cost-effective DIY projects, and is prepared to part with an extra $5,000 to $10,000 to have a car that is ready to go today.

Most Lancias, with a few exceptions, such as the Aurelia B24 Spider America, Flaminia Zagato and Stratos, are not great (or even good) investments. However, as an affordable, uniquely conceived and enjoyable ride, the Fulvias are hard to beat. Consequently, I rate this sale a superb deal for the buyer. – Donald Osborne

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