Sold: 1968 Lancia Fulvia Coupé Series I ($24,900)
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1968 Lancia Fulvia Coupé Series I ($24,900)

Mid-Century Motoring By Mid-Century Motoring
September 14, 2016

Photography by Carter Kramer

Written by Andrew Golseth

1968 Lancia Fulvia Coupé Series I

PRICE: $24,900

A Front-Wheel Drive Rally Hero

The AWD, RWD, and FWD argument will never end. Some gearheads think power delivered to all-four corners is best, but it’s not without it’s drawbacks—such as lugging all that extra drivetrain weight. The majority of the Internet will tell you rear wheel drive is the only way to go because they’ve seen every Chris Harris video… twice. We all love a good show of oversteer but that shouldn’t dismiss the benefits of front wheel drive—yes, there are pros to the least favorite power-t0-wheels configuration. After all, a 1.6-liter FWD Lancia Fulvia HF Coupé dominated the 1972 International Rally Championship with a 13-point lead!

The Tipo 818 was the successor to the long-outdated Lancia Appia—a rear drive suicide door saloon. Although the new Fulvia was structurally similar to its pedestrian predecessor, the FWD Fulvia received an all-new double wishbone independent single leaf spring suspension up front and a solid axle beam dependent setup at the rear. Despite the FWD layout, the suspension offered telepathic handling easily driven at 10/10ths. With four-wheel disc brakes, the lightweight Fulvia could halt abruptly giving wheelmen extra confidence in the bends.

Aside from the brilliant suspension, the peculiar narrow-angle V4 offered good power in an incredibly compact package. Mounted far forward, the all-new low-displacement four-banger’s “V” was just 12 degrees—so close that a single camshaft operates both engine banks through a single head! With high compression pistons and twin Solex carburetors, the small 1.2/3 liters were good for around 80 horsepower at 6,000 revolutions, depending on engine variation.

DESIGN

The competent underpinnings and sweet singing V4 are matched with a shape only the Italians of the era could pen. Designed in house by Antonio Fessia, the Lancia Fulvia Coupé is a testament to the timelessness of “less is more.” The profile is a slab-sided flank with no rear wheel haunches, scoops, or busyness detracting from the unbroken tumblehome waistline. The tall upright greenhouse features a wraparound windscreen and pillars just thick enough to purposefully hold up the roof and keep the glass in place.

The front features four sealed beam headlights and a large mesh grill. The narrow bumpers hug the body tightly indicating they were merely installed to meet production car requirements. Out back, the Kamm-tail panel is flat and bare aside from two oddly shaped taillights and reflectors. The overall shape and minimal trim finishing has kept the near-50-year-old design fresh, much like the Mercedes “Pagoda.”

THE CAR

This 1968 Lancia Fulvia Coupé is a well-sorted Series I model that’s been left unmodified from stock and maintained in good driving order. It’s believed this Fulvia was originally sold in Italy where it spent the majority of its life in Bergamo, a small town outside of Milan. At some point, the car made its way to the Netherlands and entered the 16th Racident Oldtimer Tour in 2008. Now stateside, it’s most recent 200-mile venture to Lime Rock put the car to the test and it performed flawlessly.

The body panels are all original, free of threatening corrosion, straight, and wear an older respray that’s held up nicely—notice the added navy pinstripe that makes the profile bodyline pop. The seller notes a few touch-up paint spots are slightly off-color and that the respray is a tad brighter than the factory white. Being a late Series I model, this car features highly sought after lightweight aluminum doors, hood, and trunk lid. The original steel wheels wear a newer coat of silver paint and are complete with all four poverty caps. The bumpers, brightwork, badging, glass, and lighting equipment are original and in good nick.

The interior is the result of meticulous ownership but has likely received some new materials over time given the cabin’s current impeccable state. The warm wood dash insert houses the original Veglia Borletti gauges and the lightly patina’d two-spoke wood-rimmed steering wheel shows its age beautifully. The seat covers, door panels, taut headliner, and rubber floor mats are excellent. The five-digit odometer reads 33k but has “rolled” and is estimated to be 133k kilometers (~83k miles). Aside from the passenger seatbelt receiver, clock, and fuel gauge currently non-operable, all accessories are working to include the wipers and lights.

Under the hood is the appropriate 1.2-liter V4 with healthy compression and oil pressure across all four cylinders. The engine is believed to be original to the car and runs smoothly with the proper twin Solex carburetors. The generator has been rebuilt and the radiator manages to keep operating temperatures cool without issue. The seller notes the brakes are excellent and the car rides well, though the suspension could use some new bushings and the steering box would benefit from a rebuild. Yet, as is, the car fires and drives nicely with light but direct steering feel and is equipped with the early long-lever four-speed gearbox, which shifts flawlessly aside from a tricky clutch.

CONDITION

Exterior Highlights

Exterior Blemishes

Interior Highlights

Interior Blemishes

Mechanical Highlights

Mechanical Blemishes

Underside

 

ORIGINALITY

Being a rally hero, many Lancia Fulvia get the “vintage racer” treatment. We admit, they look great bumperless, flared and lowered on forged four-spokes, with a pair of Cibies up front, but this example has been untampered with. Although not in concours presentation, this is a very clean and handsome Fulvia Coupé that’s been enjoyed but obviously greatly cared for. White, which really brings out the classic Fulvia lines, is a striking but welcome color over the more common red. Aside from the paintwork, this car is believed to wear all original body panels, trim, wheels, and badging. The drivetrain, powertrain, and interior area all believed to be original as well. This car has never been restored but, instead, sympathetically maintained throughout its life. 

The car comes with authentic Dutch plates and some pretty cool stickers.

DOCUMENTATION

Very little documentation accompanies the car but it does come with the original Battaini jack and tool kit.

OWNERSHIP TIMELINE

The current owner speculates this is a four-owner car spanning its 50-year Italy to the Netherlands to the United States importation.

GET INSPIRED

“The joy, the sound, the experience of owning a Lancia Fulvia is unique.”  

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Good Investment: With HF and Fanalone prices reaching above $100k, a standard Fulvia at this price is highly unlikely to lose it’s value, if not go up.  We think the Fulvia is underrated in the market, both from an admiration and investment standpoint.  

Perfect DIY Car: While this example needs some a bit of ironing out, the major components like the powertrain and body are solid avoiding the need for any major restoration working.

This Could Be You: They are brilliant and pleasurable cars to drive.  You need this in your life!

MEET THE SELLER

This car is for sale by Benjamin Tarlow of Mid-Century Motoring. You can learn more about him here.

Interested or want to learn more?  Hit the button below to make an offer or contact the seller directly. 

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