Piero Castangero’s light and airy #LanciaFulvia
coupe was a standout from the very day it debuted at the 1965 Turin show. The #Fulvia
was already a very good car in Berlina form (also designed by Castagnero’s team) - boxy, upright, and family-oriented but mechanically sophisticated and fun. Driving its front wheels via a narrow-angle 1.1L V4, with twin carbs from 1964, the boxy family car styling belied how nice it was to drive and the engineering (inherited from the larger Flavia) that went into it. The Coupe used the same bones but offered style to match.
Unlike a sensible family sedan, the coupe was meant to be fun inside and out and it was as visually pleasing as the coachbuilt Appia coupes it technically replaced, but more accessible. There was a coachbuilt Fulvia Zagato, but the #FulviaCoupe
was a factory car that *felt* coachbuilt. They were beautifully made - every piece well engineered in the style of a vintage Mercedes or Packard, but lighter. Fit and finish were well beyond many contemporaries, but Lancia couldn’t make money building mass-market cars to such a standard, which ultimately drove it into insolvency and the arms of Fiat in 1969. The Fulvia was the last car launched before the transition.
Anybody looking at horsepower numbers or 0-60 times for the majority of Fulvias would probably be disappointed - but #Fulvias
are not for the incurious. They were not blindingly fast in a straight line, but they were light - only a little over 2,000 lbs., and wonderful fun on twisty roads and serious rally weapons. The first coupes used 1,216- and 1,231-cc versions of the original engine, but a reworked 1,298-cc V4 arrived in 1967 for the Rallye 1.3HF. This one is a 1969 1.3S, a 92 hp version that ran from 1968-70.
Lancias were not widely sold in the U.S. even when they were imported prior to 1967; and official imports ceased when Lancia didn’t want to deal with federal safety regs for ’68 (they returned in 1975, via Fiat, with the Beta). As a result many U.S. Fulvias, like this one, are later private imports. The Fulvia was superceded by the Beta in 1973, but the Coupe was so well liked that it continued in production into 1976.