Why Lancia Deserves to be Saved

lancia-D24.jpg


A heritage that cannot be left behind.


Lately, I have been reading a bit about Lancia, its history and that of the cars they produced. Admittedly, I never had much interest before in this manufacturer, simply because since I was a kid in the mid-Nineties it has never been that relevant and of all the Lancia cars I had seen in my youth, they were usually negligible. Just lately, I am starting to understand what caused this and that this brand is instead far, far more prestigious than I could ever imagine. The astonishing cars it produced, many of which have left a distinctive mark, testify that.

Obviously, the most notorious are the rally cars: Fulvia, Stratos, 037, S4 and Delta 4WD. I could add in the marvellous F1 Lancia D50 or the Sport D24. The real surprise however, comes from other, lesser known to the average petrolhead, models.

The Lancia Lambda (1922) was the first production car to have a load-bearing bodywork coupled with a monocoque chassis, and it had an innovative V4 engine and sliding pillar front suspensions. The Artena (1931) had the engine mounted on leaf springs to reduce noisiness; the Aprilia (1936) had independent wheels all around, inboard rear drum brakes and a hemi engine. Brake discs all around? Fuel injection? Front-engine front-wheel drive? Lancia. They used technology for their production cars that took years, if not decades sometimes, to become a standard among the competitors.

lancia-lambda-chassis (white).jpg

The Lancia Lambda chassis

Not to forget the fact that the Lancia D50 was the first Formula 1 car to have the engine built and installed as a stressed member (we got more into the subject in this article) and the Rally S4 made use of both a Supercharger (Roots) and a Turbocharger, which was also a first (known as 'Twincharging'). Do you remember our article about the “Apfelback head”? Well, Lancia took the idea even further and built the ground-breaking “Triflux head”, combining the radial valves with two separate turbochargers so to have a more uniform power delivery (one working at low and medium rpms, the other being deployed at high rpms) and solve the problem with engine head cooling on turbocharged engines (due to the valves disposition).
ECV-triflux.jpg

These are just a few examples of how innovative Lancia cars were, and it would be an endless object of discussion to go into all of the cases were cutting-edge technology had been developed or used by this manufacturer, both in its production cars and high performing vehicles. Because, believe me, there are many more. However, Fiat, since it acquired Alfa Romeo back in 1986, started favouring the latter over the former, first in racing and then for production too, to the point where Lancia has now been completely abandoned and has no new models currently in development. This choice has been justified from Fiat’s management by saying that “Lancia is a brand without a history”. Does it, even only considering what we just said?

I will not discuss marketing strategies or industrial politics; this is not my area of expertise, not the aim of the article and frankly, not even my business. I would just like for as many people as possible to know what Lancia really means, in the hope that it would help bringing it back onto its feet, and not be obliterated from memory. After all, I am not alone in this effort, which shows the affection this manufacturer has amidst the motoring fans. Its importance in the history of the automobile and of the motorsport cannot be forgotten or discarded as “not relevant”. It would be poignant for the brand not only to be actually making cars again, but also to go back into the competitions. We now have Alfa Romeo doing a full (more or less) comeback into Formula 1. Wouldn’t it be awesome to have a Lancia comeback into Rallying or Sportscars racing too?

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Petrolhead and sim enthusiast, passionate since the cradle about cars, motorsports and simracing. I read a lot, and I love to share what I learned with others!

Andrea9805

50RPM
Jul 24, 2017
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I hope it doesn't count as spam but i suggest looking at Davide Cironi's YouTube channel, probably some of you already know it (he makes video in Italian but with English subtitles).
He makes interviews with engineers (like Nicola Materazzi, the creator of the F40 and the Stratos) and people involved in motorsports, there are also some great videos about Lancia.
 

Richard Hessels

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Jul 23, 2008
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Feel sorry for this iconic brand. But be real, who of us would buy one of the current Lancia models. They been producing some nice but mainly quite ugly cars for decades now. Many of them had a very distinct shape, but totally not a general apealing design.
 

Davide Nativo

Columnist for RaceDepartment
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Apr 4, 2014
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Feel sorry for this iconic brand. But be real, who of us would buy one of the current Lancia models. They been producing some nice but mainly quite ugly cars for decades now. Many of them had a very distinct shape, but totally not a general apealing design.
That is why it would be important to breath fresh air into their lineup with new models, respectful of Lancia's history (here is the problem), which is made of innovation, luxurious style and outright performance. A true Lancia is made of all these three aspects, which is what is missing since a couple of decades in their cars.
 
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Nov 3, 2015
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Sadly been just badge-engineering for a couple of decades now :( I was even reading about Lancia last week sometime to see if there was anything left. Would be nice if FCA just sold it & let someone else make something, but I'm not sure if there's a segment left for them now.
 
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wombat999

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Oct 11, 2015
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Unfortunately the 'Corporate Business' world cares nothing for history.
Lancia produced and pioneered innovative and outstanding cars as mentioned above, I owned a B20 Aurelia years ago and I would happily own one again.
If FIAT are going to dump Lancia then I'd be surprised if another business would take the name on, as they are sadly just another econobox builder today and the market is flooded with them.
:whistling:
 
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Emery

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Jun 6, 2009
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Sadly been just badge-engineering for a couple of decades now :( I was even reading about Lancia last week sometime to see if there was anything left. Would be nice if FCA just sold it & let someone else make something, but I'm not sure if there's a segment left for them now.
BMW will buy them and build new models in Brazil?
 

Metla

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Jan 25, 2014
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All things have a lifespan, They are no longer the company they once were and never will be so its pointless to pretend.

Let em have their rest, the legacy is established.
 
Jun 1, 2013
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I grew up not noticing how beautiful the Lancia Cars are, but my friends from the Racing Sim community made me appreciate not just its history but also every cars they have released to the world - and whenever I can see them in any racing games - I select them instead of the more flashy road cars and even the Rally/Professonal-grade cars.

To see a living legendary car about to become a myth is heartbreaking, just when I've becoming more appreciative with Lancia, they are about to disappear right in front of me.

Somebody has to save it, someone who will deserve to continue its legacy and not just thinking of it as another typical car manufacturer.
 

guidofoc

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Jan 2, 2015
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I think FCA group have too many iconic brands and not enough budget to use them all. Ferrari (hmm Ferrari is independent now?), Maserati, Lancia, Alfa Romeo and Abarth. Basically all the great historic brands of Italian racing (Lamborghini is not historically a racing brand). And Dodge, FIAT, Chrysler, Jeep, RAM. I think the reality is that the group is not profitable enough to have many racing teams. Their only timid attempt at a comeback in rally was the Fiat Abarth 124, when they could have Lancia in rally and Jeep in rally-raid. I have to say that I am already glad that they are reviving Alfa Romeo with the Giulia and now the F1 team.
 
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Jonny Austin

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Nov 25, 2017
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When was the last time Lancia made a decent car?Delta Integrale in 1990?
Other than the Integrale lets face it Lancia made terrible cars that were unreliable & rusted through in no time.

The Stratos,037,Delta S4,Integrale & Group 6 & Gr C cars were great but they were Fiat projects with Lancia branding.
Lancia should go the same way as Pontiac or Rover.The great race cars will never be forgotten.
 

Niels_at_home

Reiza Studios
Jan 2, 2011
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The problem with so many 'brands' is that they are just stickers these days. Way back, each brand had their own factory and design office, it was actually unique.

Now, Lancia, Bugatti, Alfa, Lamborghini and probably many others are swallowed by huge corporations.

The cars have become way better I'm sure, but that brand identity was lost. Strangely (to me anyway) people like stickers and pay the premium. To me it has lost its value and you're just buying a more expensive Volkswagen with some pointy bits and a bit more leather..

It can't really work anymore, because lots of small manufacturers would probably mean we get the quality and reliability of those times back, and nobody would accept that these days..
 
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