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Lancia - marque/manufacturer information

List of all Lancia cars

Lancia is an Italian automobile manufacturer founded in 1906 by Vincenzo Lancia and which became part of the Fiat Group in 1969. The company has a long history of producing distinctive cars and also has a strong rally heritage. Modern Lancias are seen as presenting a more luxurious alternative to the models in the Fiat range upon which they are based. One of the firm's trademarks is the use of letters of the Greek alphabet as the names of its models. The firm was also known for persisting with right-hand drive until 1956.

Lancia is famous for many automotive innovations. These include in 1913 the Theta was the first production car in Europe to feature an complete electrical system as standard equipement, the first with a monocoque-type body - the Lambda, produced from 1922 to 1931 which also featured 'Sliding Pillar' independent front suspension that incorporated the spring and hydraulic damper into a single unit (and featured on most production Lancias until the Appia was replaced in 1963). In 1948 saw the first 5 speed gearbox to be fitted to a production car (Series 3 Ardea), the first full-production V6 engine, in the 1950 Aurelia, and earlier experiments with V8 and V12 engine configurations. It was also the first company to produce a V4 engine. Also, Lancia pioneered the use of independent suspension in production cars, in an era where live axles were common practice for both the front and rear axles of a car as well as rear transaxles which were fitted to the Aurelia and Flaminia ranges.

Association with other automakers

Lancia was not closely associated with any other manufacturer until the late 1960s. By this time, the company's expensive, high standards of production had become unsustainable. In aiming to produce a product of the highest quality, company bosses had sacrificed cost-effectiveness and when Fiat launched a take-over bid in 1969, they accepted. This was not the end of the distinctive Lancia brand, and exciting new models in the 1970s such as the Stratos, Gamma and Beta served to prove that Fiat wished to preserve the image of the brand it had acquired.

During the 1980s, the company cooperated with Saab Automobile, with the Lancia Delta being sold as the Saab 600 in Sweden. The 1985 Lancia Thema also shared a platform with the Saab 9000, Fiat Croma and the Alfa Romeo 164.

Current models

Lancia Musa

A small MPV produced since 2004, the Musa is largely based on the Fiat Idea and available with rich image and equipments as high quality.

Lancia Ypsilon

The Ypsilon is a luxury supermini produced from 2003, evoluted in 2007 and is Lancia's best selling model as of 2006. Available with small (1.2- and 1.4-litre) petrol and JTD diesel engines, is also signed by MOMO design in one version: The Ypsilon Sport Momo Design.

Lancia Thesis

The Thesis is a four-door executive saloon produced since 2002. It is the successor of the Lancia Kappa.The quality is very high.

Lancia Phedra

The Phedra is a prestigious MPV made by Sevel, a joint-venture of PSA and Fiat Group. It is manufactured at the Sevel Nord factory near Valenciennes in France, and has been in production since 2002.

Lancia in the United Kingdom

In the late 1970s and 1980s, Lancia suffered an increasing image problem in the United Kingdom, centred around a perception that Lancia cars were prone to rusting. Fiat was at this time allegedly using Russian steel which was less durable than that used by the majority of other manufacturers and in the British climate, many of the group's vehicles were plagued by corrosion. Regardless how widespread this rumour is, there is no document or reliable source to verify it.

However, according to the July 2007 issue of Classic & Sports Car magazine, The Daily Mirror tabloid newspaper started a series of exaggerated articles in April 1980, filled with half-truths and riddled with false claims about the rust problem in the Beta model — a problem which was mostly restricted to the saloon version, which suffered from a lack of water drainage channels and holes, especially in the engine bay and front suspension subframe area. According to the magazine's article, the Daily Mirror presented affected cars older than six years and falsely claimed that many of these cars were newer than that, although they were not. In reality, the Beta did not rust significantly more than typical models produced by many other manufacturers at the time; rust protection was often extremely poor on British Leyland and Ford products and even BMWs rusted profusely. However, the British and German competitors of the Beta were spared the high levels of criticism aimed at Lancia, despite the fact that they were just as rust-prone as their Italian counterparts. To counter the problem, Lancia introduced a six-year anti-corrosion warranty, which was a first for the automobile market, but the criticism continued and the smear remained.

While Fiat's popularity with British buyers rose in the 1980s and 1990s, Lancia sales slumped after the bad publicity, never to recover. Even today, the rumours started by the Daily Mirror are very strong and widespread among the buying public and the Press, which keeps on perpetuating it given half a chance (such as this 30 July 2007 Channel 4 article by Russell Hayes ). The last right-hand drive model was sold in 1994, after which Lancia withdrew from all right-hand drive markets.

However, as of September 2006, it has been announced that the brand will return to the UK with a right-hand drive version of its new Delta, in early 2009.

Lancia in the United States

Whilst some models had been imported on a small scale in the 1950s and 1960s, Lancias were officially sold in the United States from 1977. Sales were comparatively slow and the range was withdrawn at the same time as Fiat in 1982.

Lancia in motorsport

Formula One

After Vincenzo Lancia's son Gianni became director of the firm, it started to take part more frequently in motorsport, eventually deciding to build a Grand Prix car. Vittorio Jano was the new designer for Lancia and his Lancia D50 was entered into the 1954 Spanish Grand Prix, where Alberto Ascari took the pole position and drove the fastest lap. In the 1955 Monaco Grand Prix Ascari crashed into the harbour after missing a chicane. One week later Ascari was killed in an accident driving a Ferrari sports car at Monza. With Ascari's death and Lancia's financial problems the company withdrew from Grand Prix racing.Altogether Lancia took two victories and ten podiums in Formula One.

Remnants of the Lancia team were transferred to Scuderia Ferrari,where Juan Manuel Fangio won the 1956 championship with a Lancia-Ferrari car.


Lancia has been very successful in motorsport over the years, mostly in the arena of rallying where, in the World Rally Championship, they remain the most statistically successful marque, winning constructors' titles with the Fulvia (1972), Stratos (1974, 1975 and 1976), 037 (1983) and Delta (all years between 1987 and 1992). The Delta is also the most successful individual model designation ever to compete in rallying. The history of the brand in rallying is also tainted with tragedy, with deaths of Italian and Finnish drivers Attilio Bettega (in a Lancia 037) and Henri Toivonen (in an S4). These deaths would eventually led to the end of Group B rallying.

Sports car racing

During Lancia's dominance of rallying, the company also expanded into sports cars in the late 1970s until the mid-1980s. Originally running the Stratos HF in Group 4, as well as a brief interlude with a rare Group 5 version, the car was replaced with the Monte Carlo Turbo. In 1982 the team moved up to Group 6 with the LC1 Spyder, followed by the Group C LC2 coupé which featured a Ferrari powerplant in 1983. The team was unable to compete against the dominant Porsche sports cars, and so dropped out in order to return to rallying.


  • Lancia V4 engine
  • Lancia V6 engine
  • Lancia Flat-4 engine

List of all Lancia cars

Source: Wikipedia


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